According to a recent survey of 3,000 consumers aged 13 and up by Luminate, YouTube edged out Spotify and Apple Podcasts as the most used platform to listen to podcasts—but there’s a catch: A lot of it is actually video.
Luminate’s Podcast360 report reveals that 78 percent of consumers surveyed use YouTube to discover new podcasts and keep up with favorites. That makes sense: YouTube adds an extra layer of immersion to podcast listening—video—and it also gives creators the opportunity to share extras—like links in their bios, images or other video clips that audio-only listeners miss.
According to the Luminate study, 59 percent of podcast listeners watch their podcasts on a video platform, with YouTube as the undisputed leader. That power is not lost on YouTube, which is facing competition from TikTok and Snap for users’ attention. The difference is that for advertisers seeking to reach Gen Z and millennials, YouTube has the lion’s share of users’ attention when it comes to content. According to eMarketer, two-thirds of the U.S. population visits YouTube at least once per month. That’s a huge audience that could be primed for new podcast discovery and that could help increase YouTube’s online engagement rates. Approximately 104 million Americans listen to podcasts on a regular basis and 66 percent of those listeners who identify as podcast fans are 18-34, per BuzzSprout. Boosting YouTube’s podcast appeal may not only keep young podcast fans online, but it may also help YouTube reach aging populations like millennials who, along with Gen Z, show respectable rates of daily podcast listening (both 32 percent of those who listen to podcasts) according to S&P Global.
This brings context to YouTube’s recent, US-only launch of a dedicated homepage for podcasts. The page will not only help users find their favorite podcast content and discover new ones, but it may also be part of an A/B test to get emergent creators excited about shifting their brands to YouTube from its competitors over time. While purportedly leaked plans for an expanded podcast strategy hints at practical improvements for creators (like RSS uploads), YouTube’s soft launch may have been nudged along by TikTok’s reported plans to launch a music service. YouTube is currently offering incentives of up to $300k to creators willing to deliver video versions of popular podcasts, according to 9to5Google. Merging formats as a creator is a lot easier when there is a search, ads and video behemoth like Google behind an offer. While TikTok has a powerful draw for Gen Z viewers, YouTube is still the OG with a powerful ad network, analytics and brand name penetration among all demographics, not just the kids. Only about 42% of millennials use TikTok, while 82 percent use YouTube.
What It Means For Marketers:
There will be some intriguing opportunities for brand marketers to get in on the “ground floor” of YouTube’s podcast push. Podcast creators and influencers looking to expand their content range may find YouTube eager for quality content. The good news for brand marketers is not just that there are opportunities to reach new audiences with creative ad formats. There will be new content options, too. Creatives can deliver powerful branded content, from fiction to video/podcast hybrids that take advantage of YouTube’s live-streaming and watch party features to drive new levels of brand engagement. But it may take a while for YouTube to roll out all of its planned creator goodies. That gives marketers some breathing space to create a strategy that can leverage creator relationships to develop exciting new content formats.
Check out YouTube’s new page here.