“The colonization of the eyes is over. Now it’s the colonization of the ears.”
Rishad Tobaccowala, author and futurist, famously used this profound insight in recent years to emphasize just how bright the future is for audio. He argues that the truth of this statement is now undeniable. According to Tobaccowala, we have only but to look at the world around us to see more people than ever before navigating their lives, and the current “new normal,” with headphones in their ears.
We see proof of his prediction in the investments being made in audio content and technology. Companies like Spotify, iHeart and others are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to solidify their place in the audio space. And now social audio is trending with popularity growing for Clubhouse, a platform that provides more intimate and “live” experiences than text-based social media. As the social audio era of media begins, social giants Facebook and Twitter are accelerating the roll out of their products to meet demand.
Tobaccowala delivered the Keynote at last year’s Radio Show, and recently at Adweek’s Outlook 2021 he outlined three ways we meet our needs to learn and grow: 1. through interaction with people, 2. by way of outside experiences, and 3. via interaction with the media. And, he said, for a huge chunk of 2020, our ability to interact with people and have outside experiences came to a screeching halt, which necessarily changed our reliance on media enormously.
During the pandemic, streaming music services on digital devices dipped while radio and podcast listening on digital devices soared, because people were craving companionship over escape.
Premium audio from the public radio stations and podcasts that Market Enginuity represents provides companionship—keeping someone company through powerful storytelling and giving them the information they need to get through the day, enjoy their life, and feel comfortable.
Premium audio has the unique ability to meet today's needs. Ratings are on the rise as traffic and lifestyle patterns begin to return, and the drive among forecasters and marketers seeking purpose-driven engagement is increasingly optimistic.
Audio is not only growing in popularity, but has another unique advantage: consumers are less distracted and more engaged with audio than other media.
Audio consumers are often multi-tasking. They’re cooking, they’re driving, they’re walking, they’re at the gym. However, they are not often on multiple devices when consuming radio or podcasts. They turn audio on, and become truly absorbed with the content, while going about their daily lives.
This deeper level engagement means premium audio sponsorship delivers higher quality impressions and therefore bigger impact on consumers.
Because audio provides such good companionship, it has a unique ability to connect with listeners, in turn, building an emotional connection with sponsors' messages. That kind of connection and consumer evangelism is what helps to build brands.
We already believe in the strengths of audio—it’s ability to hold attention, facilitate emotional connections, deliver cost-effective impact, and reach local communities, while being flexible enough to cater to the special needs of marketers as demand returns for their businesses. Now is when premium audio ambassadors can help clients and sponsors leverage the popularity—and longstanding ROI—of the medium.