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How Can Brands Effectively Advertise Within An Increasingly Diverse Podcast Market?

How Can Brands Effectively Advertise Within An Increasingly Diverse Podcast Market?

The podcast market has in recent years been touted as an increasingly lucrative space for brands to advertise in. Data shows that podcast listeners significantly outspend non-podcast listeners in regards to consumer goods and entertainment services and that the number of podcast listeners in the UK is expected to grow by 24% in 2021.

The industry is seeking to become more diverse, with some of the largest podcast platforms announcing initiatives to help promote content produced by BAME creators. With that in mind, how can brands use podcasting to organically connect with BAME audiences?

Expanding To New Audiences

Data from Nielsen’s Audio Today Report showed that two thirds of podcast listeners in the US are white, 15% are Hispanic and 8% identify as non-white. This overwhelming majority of white listeners could in part be due to the hosts: a survey looking at American podcasts found that 66% of them had at least one white male host.

Content creators and publishers are trying to do more to attract BAME audiences to podcasts. Most notably, Spotify’s Sound Up campaign is designed to champion and support BAME podcast producers who could, in turn, attract a more diverse range of listeners. This year they will provide 20 black women and non-binary individuals with in-depth courses during a four week ‘bootcamp’ that will teach them the essential skills needed within podcasting.

Sangeeta Pillai attended one of the first Sound Up courses, and went on to create the ‘Masala Podcast.’ The show gives South Asian women a safe place to talk about taboo subjects. She explained how the course helped her break into the industry: “Podcasting felt like it was for white middle-class men talking about football,” adding, “Sound Up gave me the confidence to create the Masala Podcast.”

Sound Up’s Global Manager, Abi Ogunmwonyi, described how the campaign sought to make podcasts more relevant for BAME communities: “It really shows that not only would we be diversifying the voices on the platform, but we’re also diversifying who’s consuming the podcast as well.”

Opportunities To Connect With BAME Listeners

For brands looking to target BAME podcast audiences, focusing on a few key areas could help building an effective campaign. Depending on the particular demographic, creating audio ad content in different languages could help you target bilingual BAME audiences. Publishers in the US are already looking at ways to appeal to audiences who prefer to listen to podcasts in whichever language they’re most comfortable in.

For example, US podcast publisher iHeartRadio has announced plans to translate more of their podcasts into other languages. And Univision Communications, a leader in Hispanic podcast publishing, announced an improved line up of programming which they say will help them to capitalise on the growth they are already seeing in the Spanish-speaking podcast market. Elsewhere, the podcast network Wondery has also announced plans to translate their successful podcast series Dr. Death into seven languages, including Mandarin, French and Spanish.

Creating versions of an audio ad in multiple languages could also allow brands to tap into a diverse audience base. A report from 4DC found that 18% of the UK population regularly listens to podcasts. Comparatively, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan all had much higher proportions, with 58%, 55% and 47% respectively. For brands targeting Hong Kong, a brand could create language-specific audio adverts for podcasts in Cantonese that could also appeal to the Cantonese-speaking population in the UK. As podcasts aren’t broadcast live, it’s simpler than other forms of media to create campaigns that will be heard in different time zones.

Utilising BAME Talent

More widely, sponsoring podcasts that feature hosts or guests that are from a BAME background could help brands tap into a more diverse audience.

A recent survey found that 74% of BAME women feel underrepresented in podcasting, with 84% saying that they would be more likely to listen to a podcast by a BAME woman. Pairing your marketing messages with BAME podcast creators, or podcasts that discuss issues that are relevant to a BAME audience could help you to advertise towards that group in an authentic and effective way.


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