Podcasting’s Bright Future: Insights from SXSW 2024

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Podcasting’s Bright Future: Insights from SXSW 2024

Immersing herself in the vibrant atmosphere of the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2024 festival, Odile Beniflah, Head of US at Ausha, experienced the unique blend of film, interactive media, and music events that unfold every mid-March in Austin, Texas. 🤩

March 14, 2024 • About 3 min. read

SXSW

Focusing particularly on the podcasting sessions at SXSW, Odile dived into the epicenter of collaboration where creators, marketers, and industry leaders meet to push the boundaries of their fields.

In this blog post, Odile shares her Key Learnings and observations from the event. From the groundbreaking Sound Summit to hands-on workshops and inspiring meetups, she captures the very essence of what makes podcasting an essential medium for content creators and marketers alike. 🔥

Welcome the The Sound Summit

Hosted by Sounds Profitable, this groundbreaking full-day event was a first of its kind, shining an unparalleled spotlight on the business aspects of podcasting. Discussions spanned from the business of true crime, the influential role of podcasting in advertising, the resonating impact of familiar voices, and the pioneering crossover between Hollywood and podcasting.

The networking opportunities were as enriching as the discussions.

Odile also had a chance to participate in an exciting, forward-looking session on “Podcasting in 2024: The Industry’s Next Chapter”, a practical workshop on the five tiers of podcast audience development, and an empowering “Women in Podcasting Meetup”

Key Learnings from these conferences

  1. It’s all about audience growth. 

During the Sound Summit, Jonathan « MrBallen » insisted that Getting to the top of a chart is actual currency. You need to be in a chart somewhere to attract a brand. 

TikTok and IG Reels are the best social platforms for growth, as you may get organic growth even without a following. 

  1. Discoverability remains a major challenge, yet is vital for audience growth.

Ray Chao from Vox Media highlighted the challenge of podcast discovery due to the lack of algorithms to help with discovery, a consequence of companies safeguarding their business models. 

Emma Vaughn from Spotify shared the company’s journey from onboarding podcasts, now totaling 5 millions, to focusing on improving discoverability. Spotify’s investment in this area signals a strong commitment to improving podcast discoverability.

YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are powerful platforms to enhance discovery, especially for attracting younger audiences. 

The role of video in marketing is noted, despite its higher cost, as a strategic tool that can add value to predominantly audio-only content.

  1. Ads power the industry. 

In 2024, what will power the podcasting industry is brands’ understanding of ad placement and attribution. Unlike yesterday, when advertising played a secondary role, having better advertising options is crucial today. Therefore the expansion of ad infrastructure is now more critical than ever. 

Vox now looks at the business strategy and overall business model, including the advertising model, before launching a show. Similarly, Spotify now prioritizes content that can be effectively promoted.

  1. Video ads are fragmented

With the decline of traditional linear broadcasting, advertisers are eagerly looking for new ways to connect with audiences, increasingly turning to podcasts despite imperfect engagement tools, driven by the medium’s rising influence.

Video is a great option to meet customers where they are, but while audio is now well defined for formatting and monetization, video ads are more fragmented. There is also confusion between video content and video ads. Spotify is investing in tools to insert ads in video podcasting but they are not there yet. The consensus is a need for clearer ad placement strategies and infrastructure.

Conclusion

SXSW 2024 highlighted the significant potential of podcasting, from its influence on the creator economy to its effects on brand advertising. As the industry progresses, the integration of creativity, business, and technology will surely lead to exciting developments, and the evident enthusiasm across sessions showed that podcasting deserves its own full track next year!

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by Emma
March 14, 2024

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