If you have a reasonably long commute to work, you might choose to bury your nose in a good book or scroll endlessly through your Twitter feed for the latest news. If you’re like the majority of Americans, however, you have most likely replaced your hardcovers and touch screens with headphones – exchanging written words for spoken ones.

For those who aren’t familiar with the current trend, podcasts – a new wave of radio easily accessible from any mobile phone or tablet – have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and experts say it’s a trend that’s here to stay.

What are podcasts?

Podcasts are easily accessible audio files that provide listeners with a wide variety of topics ranging from talks on health, sports, and business strategy to entertainment topics like celebrity interviews – becoming one of the main outlets sought out by students, professionals, executives and basically anyone looking for an easy and efficient way to pass time.

As a result, podcasts, and the new “audio industry” that has emerged from the new fad, has gained attention from business owners, advertisers and PR reps alike.

The rise of podcasts in 2019

Why are podcasts gaining so much attention?

In a recent Forbes article, they concluded that 25% of Americans sit through a handful of 45-minute podcast episodes throughout their day, accompanied by a plethora of 90-second ads in between. Additionally, 85% of the 65 million people in the United States (between the ages of 18 and 34) who have reported listening to podcasts in the past twelve years, say that they listen all the way through the end.

From a marketing perspective, that’s a dozen companies, products or services being promoted to a consumer; all in one day.

Why this matters to companies

Podcasts provide a key opportunity for big-name brands, small businesses, and advertisers to target their often hard to reach and entertain younger audiences. As a result, more and more companies are recognizing podcasts for their business potential.

Whether choosing to create their own channel, or simply investing in advertisements on others, the marketing industry is slowly but surely turning over to the audio industry.

The rise of podcasts in 2019

‘Hey Alexa, play my podcasts’

Many smart devices have been designed to provide easy access to podcast features, including Amazon’s Alexa – but in 2020 several new cars, social media platforms, and other smart devices such as the Apple watch, are predicted to begin doing the same – facilitating the continuous growth of podcasts in the near future.

Companies like Google, Pepsi and Starbucks, have already chosen to invest in this new and expanding industry, and have reportedly been seeing very positive results.

General Electric (GE), one of the largest and most successful innovation-focused conglomerates in the US, has also seen fruits from marketing successes in the audio industry; proving to others that podcast marketing is effective.

The rise of podcasts in 2019

“I don’t consider it advertising. It’s a podcast show that just happens to be produced by a brand instead of a network,” is what Andy Goldberg, CEO at GE, told Nieman Lab in response to a question around what podcasting meant for their company. This channel, The Message, GE’s eight-part science-fiction podcast series, has received an increasing amount of popularity and engagement from consumers in the last year; with millions of downloads from viewers and their very own ‘number one podcast’ award on the iTunes’ podcast charts, GE has also managed to spark positive conversations from publications like New York Times, The Atlantic, and Tech Times.

A worthy investment

For companies and agencies who have not done so already, investing in content or ad creation specifically for podcasts should be on the radar – and if done right, podcasts have the power to increase exposure, audience engagement and stakeholder retention – a clear win-win for any company or firm looking to improve their business.

Easily accessible, free, AND interesting?! It’s easy to see why podcasts have become increasingly popular, and consequently, why the usage of audio is expected to keep growing as a place of entertainment for listeners as well as a useful tool for marketers. You can visit our very own Solomon McCown &Then Some podcast HERE.