Written by Maher Ali, Chief of Staff
Podcast networks in the MENA region are seeing incredible year-on-year growth with listener numbers. YouTube wants to become the next big podcast platform, TikTok is getting in on it, and every other major streaming platform is adding tools for audio-based creators. Regionally, we have one of the youngest populations facing some of the longest average commute times in the world; most podcast listeners are under the age of 35 and listen while commuting. The signs are all there. But over and over again, we’re finding that advertisers and marketing agencies don’t understand how (or why) they should build podcasting into their brand strategies.
The demand from listeners and the supply from creators and the platforms they use is undeniable. Part of our strategy for 2023 is to educate our market on the potential podcasts have for brands. Last time, we discussed why not every brand needs a podcast and what other options there are for them. Over the next few issues, this series will address some of the most common questions clients have asked. Let’s begin with a look at how podcasting can fit into your brand strategy, and what sets it apart from other more traditional (or more popular) digital channels?
36% of brands worldwide are dedicating between 20 and 50% of their marketing budgets to influencers on social media. Much of this spending will go towards paid promotions and product placement, but as much if not more will go towards brand ambassadorships. These influencers aren’t driving clicks or conversions, they’re driving brand equity. Conversions pay the short-term bills, and brand equity maintains the long-term demand. As budgets seem to dictate, both are equally important parts of a brand’s marketing strategy (and its long term sustainability).
Think of podcasts as tools for building brand equity. I may be driving when I hear the podcast you’ve sponsored so I may not be able to click a link right away, but if I’m hearing your brand name while listening to my favourite podcast on my way to work each week, I’ll definitely remember it. 92% of listeners of our series Saqr’s Eclipse recalled Toyota as a brand associated with the series. Brand recall has a direct impact on both market share and intent to purchase.
If brands are already spending upwards of 30% of their ad budgets on influencers, why should they consider podcasts? One word: trust.
Beyond building brand equity, podcasts are a great way to build connections with listeners. They’re kind of like word of mouth marketing in that sense; 92% of respondents to a Nielsen survey say they believe their friends and family over any kind of advertising. The same survey concludes that buyers will always invest more weight in the opinions and experiences of people they trust, essentially making word of mouth marketing your brand’s most powerful tool.
In a part of the world where every major social media platform has some of its highest user penetration rates globally, 93% of MENA-based listeners say they trust podcast advertising more than any other form of social media. People seeing ads on YouTube or Instagram see them whenever they open the platform, regardless of the content they’re seeking. Listeners who hear ads on podcasts have sought out that content. That podcast host? Maybe not a big-time influencer, but a trusted voice in your customers’ ears on a regular basis. A friend, some might say, recommending a brand to you.