Nearly eight in ten podcast agencies have 10 or fewer employees. That size may be why the podcast hosting platform’s annual survey of podcast agencies finds that nearly half say resources – people, time and budgets – are their biggest constraint. The State of Podcast Agencies report from Quill’s hosting platform CoHost says agencies work with an average of seven tools throughout their production process and the result is many podcast agencies are “under-resourced” and need solutions to save time and increase efficiency. “Limited resources can create bottlenecks in the production process, potentially leading to delays, reduced quality of content, or not enough time spent on scaling the agency,” the report says.
While 45% of those surveyed said resources are their biggest challenge, the report shows it is not the only one their face. More than a third (36%) says lead generation is their top problem, while 11% say their biggest constraint is brand awareness. One sliver of good news for podcasting overall is that just two percent say client budgets are their top problem.
For now, downloads remain the most popular metric podcast agencies use to measure client success by far. The survey says 86% of agencies are using this metric. Less than half of podcast agencies (43%) are measuring success with the number of leads and revenue from the podcast.
CoHost suggests downloads are being used as a proxy since it can be challenging, time consuming, and expensive to report on more meaningful metrics.
“Downloads are not the most reliable metric since it’s not indicative of unique reach and doesn’t give a sense of true engagement. This shines a light on the need for better metrics within the podcast industry to measure performance and ROI,” the report says. “Currently, there are very few tools available to measure podcast ROI. Thus, agencies are unable to give their clients data of podcasting’s impact on bottom-line business metrics.”
According to the survey, audience growth is the biggest constraint for agency clients, with more than three-in-ten (37%) identifying it as a significant challenge. Measuring ROI was the second biggest constrain as cited by one in four agencies.
The survey also finds that word of mouth is the most common client acquisition tactic for podcast agencies with 71% saying it brings new customers in their door. And 59% credit referrals. Far fewer rely on search engines, with fewer than a third crediting organic search for building their client list. And while just four percent say that social media grows their business, the survey shows that social media is the most commonly used tactic by podcast agencies to grow their business, with almost 87% of respondents identifying it as a significant channel.
Looking ahead, CoHost asked podcast agencies for their predictions about the next five years. Three in ten predict the most significant trend in the industry will be better data to measure podcast ROI. Nearly as many – 28% -- say video podcasts, while 15% predict that podcasts will be deemed a success based on engagement rather than audience size.
“By partnering with skilled podcast agencies, brands can leverage the unique strengths of podcasts to deliver their message and achieve their marketing objectives,” says Fatima Zaidi, CEO of Quill and CoHost. “Brands will come to realize that a podcast is more than an audio channel. There’s nothing quite like a podcast when it comes to building genuine relationships within your industry while also generating awareness for your company’s unique perspective.”
The State of Podcast Agencies 2023 is based on data collected from 46 podcast agencies, including some in the Quill & CoHost network.
Download the full report HERE.