Nearly everyone who starts a podcast thinks that some day soon it will make money, but according to Agnes Kozera, Senior Vice President and Co-Founder of Podcorn, the reality is that "roughly 85% of podcasters haven't been able to monetize their efforts through traditional advertising."
The reason for this is that podcasters believe they have to grow their audience to a significant size before they can begin to sell advertising. This might have been true in the past, but not now. Podcorn, which was recently acquired by Audacy, is the marketplace that helps podcasters recognize their value and monetize their podcasts from the start.
"Most podcasters equate their ability to monetize their podcast with the number of downloads they get" said Kozera. This misconception is what keeps many of them from trying to get advertisers, and many advertisers from finding those podcasters. The reality, according to Kozera, is that "podcasts could have 1000 to 5000 downloads and already be working with brands."
Metrics Aren't Everything
Podcasters think that they have to take the traditional route of selling themselves on a CPM basis, but if a podcaster has under 1000 downloads, the CPM model makes it difficult, if not impossible, to sell themselves or prove their worth.
The truth is that a podcast getting a few thousand downloads has a lot more value than advertisers understand. "There's so much value to creators beyond their metrics, such as their expertise," Kozera explained. "If you're a brand trying to reach parents, and there is a parenting podcast that has a thousand mothers listening who are dedicated to the topic and the niche that the creators are talking about, that's a lot of value to advertisers."
Before Podcorn was created the industry had an "ad slot-type mentality," Kozera noted. "Many brands were too small to have access to ad agencies, the media landscape was fragmented, and there was no real infrastructure or centralized hub for podcasters to be discovered by advertisers." That was the inspiration to build Podcorn.
Kozera and her co-founder David Kierzkowski created Podcorn to make it easy for brands and podcasters to connect. What the platform has done is centralize and consolidate independent podcasters and brands in one place so that they can easily find each other.
Understanding Overall Value
Kozera wants podcasters to know that they have value to brands at all sizes, and she wants brands to have a better understanding of a podcaster's overall value, including "the length of the integration, their expertise on the topic, the creative they're doing, where they're placing the brand, how much airtime the brand is getting, and … their overall status as influencers on other social media platforms."
Brands working with Podcorn "more and more are seeing the value of deeper integrations and collaborations," Kozera explained. "They are definitely seeing a return on investment through this approach of podcasters as influencers." They are also seeing the value of native content, interview segments, product reviews and other engaging ways to be part of the creator's conversation.
A More Intimate Medium
During the pandemic a lot of attention and investment went into the podcast space. Kozera said this flow of dollars "sparked more innovation, more content creation, and more creators moving from YouTube, Instagram and other platforms. Because there has been more choice in creators, there are more opportunities for brands to find the right creators."
Brands have now recognized the opportunity that podcasts offer to engage with listeners on a deeper level. Kozera sees the medium this way: "With Instagram you might have 15 seconds to engage someone because you scroll through that feed really quickly. But people don't listen to a podcast by accident; they actually seek out the creator, they learn about them, and they follow the personality. It's really intimate."
Kozera also pointed out the length of the engagement. "With YouTube it's 10 minutes on average that you engage, but with a podcast it's 30 minutes on average, so it just takes everything to a whole other level," she said.
Podcorn saw incredible growth during the pandemic. According to Kozera, they currently have over 48,000 podcasters on the platform, up from 9,000 a year ago. As for now, she is seeing the same significant growth in profits for podcasters and brands. "It's still very early on, and there's so much growth to be done," she asserted. "This is why brands are seeing so much more success. When you have more creators, you have more choices for brands, so more brands come to the space and provide more opportunity."
Photo credit: ConvertKit / Unsplash
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