I often think about podcasting as a hidden revolution.
Perhaps because 92% of us listen to podcasts alone, it’s not an activity that drives Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) that other social media channels do with their explicitly displayed popularity scores in the form of play and like counts.
Just as surprising for me was discovering that 34% of us listen to podcasts as the main activity, rather than listening while doing something else. Dispelling the myth that we only listen to podcasts when we’re doing something else, such as working out or commuting.
These two stats taken together suggest podcast audiences are uniquely engaged with the content they are consuming, with the possible exception of a big Netflix breakout series or the latest Marvel blockbuster; but then again those cost big bucks to produce and promote.
But don’t be fooled into thinking podcast’s David has no chance against Meta’s Goliath, and the only way to reach your audience is by going viral on social media. The podcast momentum has been building slowly but surely over the last decade or so and the data suggests the category has come of age.
In 2021, Edison Research survey of digital media consumer behavior in America showed:
Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, 24% of the population, or approximately 16.3 million people, listen to podcasts every week. Wine brands should be taking advantage of the attention shift towards audio in order to tell the stories behind the brand. I’m passionate about this, based on the steady growth in listener engagement Interpreting Wine has enjoyed since 2017.
57% of Americans have listened to a podcast.
Here’s revealing data from my podcast, Interpreting Wine, from 2020 and 2021:
The audio canvas is a much bigger one with which to storytell. In February 2021 Interpreting Wine released its longest ever episode, lasting over 90 minutes, which kicked off the three-part Washington State Wine deep dive series. Far from putting subscribers off, the feature-length episode saw listener engagement hold steady and consumption per play topped 48 minutes. Just think of all the stories your wine brand would like to tell, but which it normally can’t because of the need for brevity in written and video format. Podcasting allows you much more time to develop those stories in the mind’s ear of the consumer. Indeed, the listener engagement from a single episode of Interpreting Wine delivers 6-15x the engagement of an in-person wine fair.
Secondly and perhaps most importantly, is that the growth of podcasting is driven by a younger demographic. The monthly listening figure in the US jumps from 41% for all age groups (12 and over) to 56% for the 12 - 34 age group. This younger demographic accounts for 50% of all podcast listeners, far exceeding its numbers in the general population. These figures are also true of Interpreting Wine, where the largest listener group is aged 18-22 followed by those aged 23-27.
But I may well be preaching to the converted and the message is getting through after all. I recently shared a poll on Linkedin asking if wine brands had considered using podcasts to tell their story online? 69% of respondents said they had. I like to think this is a sign that wine brands are finally ready to take advantage of the (until now) well hidden opportunities presented by audio podcasting.
Lawrence Francis is the Founder of Interpreting Wine, helping wine brands market themselves better online and in-person. Since 2017 he’s generated 100,00s hours of engagement for brands including Austrian Wine, New Zealand Wine, Willamette Valley and Washington State.
Lawrence hosts regular online small group marketing sessions for wine regions and producers. Registration is open for the next session at www.interpretingwine.com/roundtable