Video didn’t kill the radio star, but it is helping podcasters court new audiences. YouTube, TikTok, and other video-centric platforms are increasingly being used by podcasters to get consumers to discover their shows, helping to solve one of the biggest pain points for the industry.
“We're making TikTok and YouTube a really big part of our strategy to lead-generate people back to our audio podcast,” said Chris Colbert, CEO of DCP Entertainment, which targets underrepresented voices, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. “At the same time we're thinking about how we monetize the video side,” he told Podcast Movement in Dallas this week.
Since visual elements are essential for marketing on the internet, podcasters are using video on social media to market micro content to prospective audiences. “We retarget those posts, and we drive people right back to the audio channels, because that's where we make the most money,” said Hala Taha, Founder and CEO of YAP Media Network, which provides marketing, research, analytics, and promotion services to podcasters. “Audio channels are monetizing much more than YouTube are and it's worth a lot more to have an audio listener than a video listener.”
Joe Saul-Sehy, who hosts The Stacking Benjamins Show, has been video streaming a live episode of the Cumulus Podcast Network show once a week all summer long on YouTube. “We had to make a decision as a company. Are we podcasters? Or are we people spreading financial literacy? And if we're spreading financial literacy, we have to use all different avenues.”
Aaron X, Creator, and co-host of “Theories of The Third Kind,” said the Cumulus Podcast Network show is building a studio in Austin, Texas to expand further into vodcasting. “We saw the writing on the wall. Everything's moving towards video,” he said.
The role video plays in podcasting is a recurring theme as the industry gathers this week in Dallas for the Podcast Movement conference. During the second quarter, Edison Research says 72% of podcast listeners said they “actively” watched a podcast while listening. Edison says 13% of those it surveyed said searching YouTube is the place they most often go to find a new podcast, putting YouTube ahead of social media posts or recommendations from other podcast hosts.
Meanwhile, one in four podcast listeners use YouTube as the place to access most of the podcasts they listen to, according to a recent survey conducted by the Cumulus Podcast Network.
Horizontal Or Vertical?
Podcasters looking to leverage video need to consider the platforms where they plan to distribute the video before shooting it. YouTube requires a traditional horizontal format while vertical is better for TikTok or Instagram Reels. “We're very intentional about how we're shooting it. That way it’s going to fit the mediums where we're putting them,” Colbert said. “You need to think about who your audience is, where they are, what platforms are they using, and then base the way you’re shooting your content based on that.”
Playing up the marketing value of online video, Taha made the case that video is the only way podcast content can go viral. “When you put it on YouTube, there's a chance, even if you only have 2,000 subscribers, that that video is going to get millions of views. You're capturing all this audience that you can then drive back to your main channels. And so for us it's a huge priority.”
Radio programmers have long used use brief segments of artist interviews on the air and directed listeners who want to hear more to head to their station website. The same approach is being used in podcasting with YouTube as the destination for the longer form interview.
Podcasters also see video opening new creative doors. “In audio you can only do so much. But with videos, you can do so many other things,” said Aaron X. “It's going to play an absolute priority in everything that we do going forward.”
But to be successful beyond lead generation for the audio version, video podcasts needs to differentiate. “Our video should add an extra element and [explain] why you need to go there,” Colbert said. “Maybe there's elements that you bring in, like graphics or what have you, but there needs to be something a little bit different there that’s going to make me want to watch the video, but also listen to the podcast.”