Key Takeaways from The Podcast Show 2024

7 min read

It was another great trip across the pond for our US-based team to attend The Podcast Show 2024 in London. Over two action-packed days, we spoke with countless content creators, heard from global publishers, brands, and agencies, and managed to participate in several panels. 

Dive into the insights and inspiration that we’re taking from Islington:

Podcasting Is Thriving

Ollie Chadwick, Regional Director, UK & Ireland, AdsWizz, participated in the “Brands and Advertisers Question Time Part 1” panel on day one. Several topics were discussed, including IAB certification and measurement, but the highlight included discussions about the future of podcasting. 

Ruth Fitzsimmons, Head of International, Sport Social Podcast Network, kicked off feedback by sharing that “podcasting is doing incredibly well, still. It’s the fastest-growing digital media, according to the IAB.”

Chadwick continued, “podcasting as a channel has grown, and we’ve seen that the technology around podcasting has evolved so much, which has enabled podcast buying and digital audio to be treated in the same way as other digital channels.” 

He added that “podcasting can now be treated on even footing with display buying with CTV with SEO, and it’s the fastest growing digital channel by a country mile.” 

Content Alignment Is Key in Multicultural Campaigns 

Justine Benjamin, Global Head of Marketing, AdsWizz, and Simplecast, participated in a panel with Maribel Quezada Smith and Tangia Renee al-awaji Estrada, Co-Founders of the BIPOC Podcast Creators. The three often encounter how a particular brand, company, or organization is not succeeding in its marketing outreach efforts in any specific community of color. 

Benjamin shared, “I’m very fortunate to be around a lot of [streaming or podcast] audio campaigns, and I would say my experience with being in the room is that there are a couple of different ways to look at it. When you’re looking at audio or podcast campaigns, buyers aren’t thinking about them as purely podcast; they’re thinking about it as a full digital audio buy, so streaming and podcast play a big part of that. Content alignment is the number one way for people to be successful or to resonate with audiences of color.” 

Smith and Estrada shared that the U.S. is projected to become one of the most diverse countries in the world within the next decade. According to recent data from Eurostats, over 40 million people living in the EU identify as people of color. 

Benjamin added, “Doing pure multicultural campaigns or even carving out a slice of a larger campaign for a multicultural audience is great. The thing we have to bear in mind is that pure campaign or slice has many different flavors. There are different bilingual percentages across the diaspora; how do you then target a multicultural campaign to that broad group? Carving out a month (speaking to Hispanic Heritage Month)? No.” 

“The thing that Aimi and I were laughing about (hi, that’s me!) is for us as women of color in marketing, when our ‘heritage month’ comes around, I don’t know that we’ve ever historically done anything, particularly in our month. We’re year-round multicultural marketers. Doing it just in the dedicated months feels like a box you’re checking.”

Smith closed, “One of the biggest mistakes brands can make is that they’re not thinking broadly throughout the calendar year for a long-term investment. And that’s the most disingenuous thing you can see from a brand when they pop up for just a month.”

How, Not Why, Are You Buying Podcasts Is the New Question

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Rowan Hamill, Director, Business Development, AdsWizz, moderated “How to Target Relevant Audiences at Scale: Host Reads, Programmatic Adverts, and the Future,” a panel discussion featuring AdsWizz partners Silvia Correia, Senior Associate Director, EssenceMediacom, Kat Bean, Head of Media, Wake the Bear, Andrew Goldsmith, CEO, Adelicious, and Lindsay Lynch, Director, Business Development, AdsWizz.

On the question of what made your clients decide to use podcasts as their media mix, Correia shared that “After COVID, a lot of people started to listen to podcasts more often, and after that, it was on their commute, and (doing) idle tasks, so there was huge growth and clients wanted to capitalize. Podcasts have a huge authenticity because of the hosts, and it’s an engaged listenership that clients want to tap into.” 

Bean continued, “A lot of clients tend to use pretty tried and tested channels, like digital and TV, and it feels as though this year there’s been a trend in how do we diversify our media mix...and podcasts have that unique ability to gain an audience’s attention.”

Lynch shared a point about brand safety being the reason, adding, "It's one of the things where everyone knows it's something they should be doing (buying podcasts). I think a brand feels much more comfortable when they understand the fact that you can anti-keyword target and target specific keywords. At AdsWizz, we work with Newsguard, which helps us ensure that ads are being served on relevant, brand-safe, truthful sources.” 

The topic of host-read ads vs. spot ads brought lots of insight and discussion. Goldsmith shared that recently, they’ve seen “huge growth in a lot of direct buys because people want to know and want to pick and choose the podcasters and hosts that they’re working with.”

Regarding how panelists find audiences at scale, Bean shared, “There is a little bit of trial and error…but if a client is willing to test it out, there is a leap of faith to be able to do that. Why spot advertising?” Getting in front of more of the right audience is going to increase the volume of chances of there being a relatively immediate sale off the back of it.”

Goldsmith shared, “You sell the medium first and foremost, and you lead with the evidence we’ve garnered from the industry. The relationship between the listener and the audience, parasocial relationships, is incredible. They are very important, and this is why host reads work.”  

In closing, the panel agreed that the future remains bright as we continue to sell the medium, build trust, and deliver results that matter. 

Podcasting Is Global

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Kevin Y. Brown, Chief Content Officer, Head of Strategy, AfriPods, moderated the discussion “Podcasting in Africa: 54 Countries, 54 Difference Narratives”. He shared the stage with panelists Jon Savage, Founder of Africa Podcast Network, an AdsWizz partner, and Bernard Masoka, Founder of Sounds and Sounds Media

Brown highlighted some of the trends they’re seeing at AfriPods, one of which is live shows and tours where content creators can monetize. He shared that audiences have been listening to international content first, local content second, and other African countries third. 

Masoka picked up here and stated that podcasting is first and foremost about storytelling, and the “more we can promote it in our native languages, I think that’s when we can start seeing the biggest rise of podcasting in the African continent...The more representation people see of themselves and their languages, the easier for them to jump onto this growing bandwagon of podcasting.”

With additional education on the marketplace, of the content creators, and the rich culture and diversity in Africa, the growth opportunities are endless. 

Our Team Is Ready 

Just two weeks ago, it was announced that Simplecast is now part of the AdsWizz family as the flagship content management system for podcasters of any size. Simplecast Professional tier users can now access AdsWizz’s industry-leading monetization platform to boost their podcast content's performance and earning potential. Our team is thrilled to support the continued growth of content creators, advertisers, publishers, and more. 

The future has never been brighter. Reach out to our team with any questions about Simplecast Professional.