In this opinion piece, Acast CEO Ross Adams (pictured below) discusses the fraught relationship between businesses and adblocking consumers, also known as, the unreachables.
In a world of media saturation and shrinking attention spans, it’s increasingly difficult for marketers and advertisers to get cut-through in the ad-supported noise.
Audiences are quick to press the skip button at the first hint of a marketing message and ad blockers pervade.
It’s safe to say the genie is well and truly out of the bottle.
Meanwhile, traditional digital media brand creative slithers around in the bot-boosted murk, dropping cookies and selling through the tortured mediums of annoyance and repetition.
Audiences accept the transactional nature of consuming content. Ads serve a purpose when they keep the paywalls at bay, but consumers are increasingly blind to the messages they’re trying to land.
They bristle at the invitation to click banners pasted across YouTube videos and twitch with frustration during the pre-roll video ad.
Banners blur endlessly into each other adding no value for brands or their intended audiences.
These unreachables are the new norm – discerning consumers who are inquisitive about the world, curious thinkers who block or skip ads and pay a premium for ad-free media services like Spotify and Netflix.
They’re seeking out long-form discussion formats and podcasting delivers. It’s quickly become the preferred companion for a growing number of walkers, runners, drivers and commuters.
Half of this growing audience is 18-35 years old. They’re typically degree educated, aspirational and hungry for great stories.
Their favourite podcasts deliver everything from the science of happiness and haunted houses to cold case mysteries and the latest news, all delivered in a mobile, easily digestible, multitasking format.
These listeners are fair less likely to be inclined to skip the ads served with a podcast as they’re listening with their phones in their pockets or while they are doing other things like driving the car, exercising or on a long-haul flight.
A symbiotic audience relationship
These enlightened unreachables have only really started listening to podcasts in large numbers during the past three years.
The audience relationship here is symbiotic so it’s no coincidence that we’ve seen a new, diverse breed of content creators embracing the opportunity to reach this audience during the same time period.
Influencers are launching podcasts as a way to increase their engagement with audiences built on YouTube or Instagram, delivering greater value to a maturing fanbase with enquiring minds, purchasing power and an insatiable demand for suitable content.
Audio self-learning is the hippest new addition to an increasingly mobile consumer world.
But as a brand how do you reach these unreachables – digital natives with an inherent ability to tune advertising out? Influencer marketing is effective but barely measurable.
Getting these trusted voices to endorse products for an engaged fanbase is a universal part of any smart brand campaign, but it’s not scalable. It’s bespoke and frequency is a real problem.
Influencers can’t be seen to endorse too many brands or they risk devaluing themselves and alienating their fans.
So imagine a world where you can boil down the essence of the influencer endorsement, making it scalable, putting it to work across many different types of content and serving it dynamically, geo-targeted at the point of play across a range of platforms from Apple, Google and Spotify.
Add the opportunity to reach an aspirational, smart, affluent audience through the intimate environment of consuming content through headphones, and you have the foremost digital advertising medium. Welcome to the heady world of podcasting.