Is Podcasting Still the Next Big Thing?

Check the headlines:

Podcasting falls on deaf ears
Podcasting: It’s not just for geeks anymore
What Podcasting Revolution?

The line in the sand has been drawn. You either believe that podcasting is the next big thing, or just another over-hyped fad that will fade away and join the 8-track as an obscure Trivial Pursuit answer.

Given this seemingly “either or” outcome, many companies have shied away from dedicating advertising dollars to this new potential revenue stream.

As a subscriber and regular listener of numerous podcasts, all I can say to these companies is “You’re missing out.” Rarely do you get a chance to connect with such a targeted, attentive audience. Even if the audience is not as large as other advertising mediums, you are speaking directly to potential clients.

In addition to its pinpoint targeting, podcasting also provides the opportunity to create a level of customer loyalty unobtainable through other marketing channels.

Although the estimates vary, the number of Internet users downloading podcasts seems to be falling in the range of 7-12 percent. For ease of use, I’ll use 10 percent as my baseline.

Using a little math and the helpful statistics found at Internet World Stats, which say there are 229,138,706 internet users in North America, we’ll estimate that 22,913,870 people in North America are downloading podcasts.

Drawing on this number, and making an assumption that 1/2 of a percent of podcast listeners are interested in your topic – if you were to produce a weekly podcast you are looking at 5,957,588 opportunities to speak directly to your target market every year.

Make that a daily podcast, and you are talking about 29,902,509 opportunities every year.

Given this potential reach, maybe the question advertisers should be asking is not, “Is podcasting the next big thing”, but “What other advertising medium offers this type of targeted volume?”