Interactive Audio: The Future of Podcasting
A new paradigm for listener engagement, analytics, and monetization
Nathan Iyer, Co-founder, Adori Labs
Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO and co-founder, recently lamented to Recode that, while video is a trillion-dollar market, the audio market is only worth about one-tenth of that¹. He pointed out, however, this disparity can be turned into a significant opportunity, given the tremendous headroom for growth in the audio market.
To fully understand the reason for this inequality, we need to look at how these forms of media are consumed. Audio, primarily driven by our ears, is a passive experience generally consumed in a “lean-back” mode. Video, driven by our eyes, is more immersive; it can be digitally interactive and often requires our undivided attention. Consumer insights and performance metrics provided by video programming go far deeper than what audio does in both detail and accuracy. This is one reason why video programming attracts a greater amount of advertising dollars.
For years, audio creators have sought the analytic data and audience understanding that come from higher listener engagement. It’s easy to see why. Sophisticated analytics lead to improved content, which then leads to even better engagement. Bottom line: It pays to engage the listeners.
Despite common perceptions, pure audio and video content need not be thought of as mutually exclusive. Imagine the “audio/video engagement spectrum” as a sliding scale. It starts with no screen interactions on the audio side, moves to a few interactions in the middle, and ends with fully engaging video at the other end (see figure below). In this “white space” between audio and video, there’s an untapped potential of significant value. Herein lies a great opportunity to increase the size and scope of the audio market.
With most of today’s digital audio piped through the ubiquitous mobile device, are we taking full advantage of the tremendous audio-visual capabilities that lie under the hood? The question then is, “How can we better utilize this available resource to provide a more compelling, engaging, and exciting audio experience?”
Are we ready to serve the needs of the “constantly connected and socially-savvy”² Gen-Z and Gen Alpha listeners?
While the podcast market is growing rapidly, it’s still primarily a passive experience. Many podcast listeners seek related information while listening to their favorite content, often requiring multiple steps to find what they’re looking for. Most spoken audio content includes multiple calls-to-action (CTAs). These “micro-moments”³ are often lost because of the number of steps required to deliver them. How can we convert such occasions into meaningful engagement with the listeners and without having to leave the podcast?
Adori Labs has developed the technology that actually makes this possible.
Currently, most podcast consumption happens on mobile devices that only show a static episode image on the screen. Imagine adding a companion screen to the audio stream with contextual visual imagery! By opening a brand new channel, the Adori platform offers creators an exciting and immersive way to enhance their storytelling and provide listeners the tools to engage with their content. This includes one-tap access to relevant information through links, social feeds, videos, and more. For the 95% of podcasts that are not currently monetized, Adori’s technology delivers Google-type analytics and multiple creator-driven monetization opportunities — all without interrupting the audio.