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Recapping Podcast Movement 2021


As of 2021, the growing demand for podcasts is more vital than ever, with over two million podcasts in existence. There isn’t a better time than the present to learn more about the podcast industry. 

Podcast Movement’s annual conference was held this year in Nashville with over 300 speakers covering a variety of podcast topics, including monetization, marketing, and the industry as a whole. Spanning the course of three days, valuable discussions took place in the form of workshops, panels, and bootcamps about the ever-changing podcast space and what this means for creators at all levels, brands, and marketers. 

With pandemic case numbers rising, many attendees were virtual this year rather than in person. Numerous speakers and companies backed out at the last minute as the Delta variant swept the Nation. However, more and more brands made up a large portion of the in-person population this year, a sign of the ever-growing interest in the space.

Podcasters explore an ever-changing landscape

During Podcast Movement, common topics included discoverability, celebrities entering the space, technology, and measurement changes. The competition for share of ear is greater than ever with 48 million episodes available to listeners. The pressure builds, pushing podcasters to create engaging content and retain listeners. Podcasters are trying to find clever ways to engage with their audience, from social media to local events and meet and greets. But how does one measure success without accurate reporting? Podcasters agree it is time for better standardization.

Veritone One hosted a panel with Veritone Licensing, Audible, and CBS News Archives, which covered new advertising opportunities and introduced the topic of licensing content into podcasts as well as licensing representation for podcasters. The takeaway? Original content, original reporting, and great storytelling are always going to have a strong appeal. Protecting and monetizing your original content takes expertise and a strong content licensing partner. 

In a panel with NPR, Stephen Smyk discussed audio marketing in 2021, reminding podcasters that the strong bonds between podcast hosts and listeners remains an important differentiator among other channels. 

Shifts in podcast advertising

Conversations with podcasters about advertising have changed. Where one-off ads or collaborations were common before, a real shift has been made into discussions around 360-degree sponsorship opportunities and integrated endorsement opportunities. 

In a session with New Media Show Live, our SVP of Growth, Bart Roselli discussed many topics, including brand safety and podcasting. Managing brand safety expectations is crucial; it is imperative that advertisers match the tone, genre, and content of the podcasters’ target audience. 

Addressing brand safety is a collaborative effort between the advertiser and podcaster. Choosing the right hosts for your brand ensures a more successful advertising campaign. 

Read more about how to manage brand safety with podcast advertising.

Of course another topic for debate at the conference was dynamically inserted ads (DIA) vs. host-read ads. 

According to Roselli, host-read ads and dynamic ad insertion can both be effective and complementary. It comes down to the research and execution of what ecosystem they can program and target. Marketing strategies should be employed based on each brand’s goals, hosting platform, talent, and type of content. Overall DAI gives elemental access to brands, but also the direct response that advertisers really need for return on ad spend.

Watch a replay of the live cast to learn more about current trends in the podcast advertising space: New Media Show.

YouTube as a podcast discovery tool

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine and the most popular streaming video platform, with over 1 billion hours of video streamed each day. As Tom Webster of Edison Research pointed out in his opening keynote, many listeners tune into the platform to watch their favorite podcast. A 2019 Futuri Media study revealed that YouTube is the top destination for podcast consumption, scoring 70.2% among survey participants. Webster pointed out that (18%) of people it surveyed during Q2, 2021 said YouTube is the service they most often use to listen to podcasts. Apple Podcasts were the choice for 21% of those surveyed, and Spotify, came in at nearly a quarter (24%) of people selecting it as their most-used app. With discoverability often ranked the top issue for podcasters, Webster left the audience with a final point to ponder. 

“Am I telling you that your podcast needs to be on YouTube? I kind of am, because it is the universal content search engine,” said Webster. “You can probably find it on YouTube if I tell you to look for it – if your podcast is there. That’s part of being easy to find.”

Final thoughts on Podcast Movement ‘21

With Spotify’s continued growth and content acquisition strategy, many are wondering what larger changes the streaming platform’s moves will have on podcasting overall. Will independents still have a seat at the table? Will others be able to keep up?   

Social audio had its moment with Mark Cuban’s keynote… which was a bit more of a sales pitch. The audience is wary to see what Fireside will truly deliver, but only time will tell. 

Change and innovation continue to abound in podcasting, and so the channel remains vibrant,  growing, and full of opportunities for those with the right mix of creativity, ingenuity, and talent. 

  • There’s never been so much excitement in or investment in podcasting
  • Podcasting continues to grow with significant momentum
  • Measurement and standardization remain slowly shrinking issues

Learn more about how Veritone One can help you expand your reach and grow brand awareness through podcast advertising on our website.