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Can Podcaster’s “Cash In” on the Smart Speaker Revolution?


There is no doubt that the rise of the Smart Speaker is kick-starting an audio revolution. Its a rapidly growing market with usage expected to rise by 130% this year. Plus, we know that those who have already taken the plunge and bought a device are listening to more audio than ever before with some even turning away from tablets and smartphones to complete search functions and consume entertainment.

With more audio being consumed there will, in turn, be more demand for audio and Podcasters are in a prime position to take advantage of this growth. With approximately 5000 podcasts launched into iTunes US every month, Smart Speaker’s not only provide podcasters makers with a new channel via which listeners can discover and access their audio-content but also that potential holy grail of monetising their shows.

Podcasting company Gimlet Media are amongst the first attempting to harness this power by launching its first ever show specifically made for Amazon Alexa. They see Smart Speakers as an opportunity to push their content into a wider world of multiplatform audio, and Alexa is the perfect place to start.

Their “Skill” (the Alexa term for an audio app) is focused on the younger generation. Called “Chompers” it is an interactive programme that uses games and stories to encourage children to brush their teeth. Importantly, the show is sponsored by Oral B and Crest Kids, generating that key revenue.

This is the first step into Smart Speaker’s for Gimlet, who are hoping to create more and more products for both audio and video voice assistants and have hired Wilson Standish, previous director of innovation at the marketing agency Hearts & Science, to be their very first director of voice, charged with growing this side of the business. They clearly see great potential in this market.

At first this move might seem a long way from podcasting but all the same principles and disciplines are involved. As experienced audio producers, podcasters know how to harness the “power of voice” in order to tell a story and engage an audience with is KEY to creating a successful and useful Voice App.

Although currently, major advertisers are allocating a fraction of their marketing budget to these devices, as the audience grows so will the investment. Gimlet claim their “brand advertising” revenue grew by 134% in 2017 and it is here where Smart Speakers excel: Using creative, engaging audio to build strong brand relationships, a benefit that has great appeal to marketers.

For podcasters out there the benefits of these devices is two-fold. Firstly they create a new platform for them to distribute their audio… be it via a bespoke podcast skill (VIDEO: What is an Alexa Skill), via a podcast/audio player or optimising content so it can be used as a flash briefing (VIDEO: What is a Flash Briefing). Secondly, the skills of the good, skilled podcasters are in demand within this brave new audio world. Although we may have to re-assess what we currently consider to be “podcasting”, the ability to tell a story and engage an audience in order to drive brand relations and thus generate sales will be vital in generating the right (and most effective) content for the platform. This is where Podcasters can really take advantage.


Want to give YOUR brand a voice on Smart Speaker platforms. We can help, get in touch.

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