The Rise of Audio & Voice
This is a huge topic that has been on my mind for the last 12–24 months. It goes back to the advice I constantly give to my community, which is to watch what I do, not what I say. Podcasting and the rise of Alexa voice is here today. For the past 24–36 months, brands and individuals alike have gotten serious about audio. The problem is, there still isn’t a lot of great original content to consume which leaves a massive opportunity for those who can produce on another level. Think of it like Netflix, the companies that create the best originals are going to win. There is no doubt in my mind that the level of creative we are about to see from long-form audio only “sitcoms” is going to blow your mind.
In fact audio and streaming in particular is up 76% Y/Y eclipsing video with 250B annual streams. I think this is just the beginning. Alexa and Google Home are another exciting space. More so than podcasting itself, I think Alexa is an incredible opportunity to win. If you consider podcasting to be the current go-to-destination for creative, then Alexa skills are the beachfront property vacation, yet to be discovered and booked up by the masses.
The ones who act early and provide real value are destined to win. — Tweet This!
With the ever increasing value of speed, I am starting to see consumers replace entertainment (music) with information (podcasting) to get ahead. The proof is in the behavior. The reason people are consuming more content than ever is because the consumption tools are now portable and we take advantage of every second. Walkmans have been around for years and music has been portable for 35+. What’s old always becomes new again. It’s really that simple. Today’s podcasts and audio series are yesterday’s AM/FM and drive time radio. The only thing that has changed is the platform. Today we have Soundcloud, Spotify, iTunes, iHeart Radio, and dozens of other competitors vying for your attention.
The smart phone hit the reset button on media consumption and changed all of the rules. More 16–30 year olds are listening to podcasts instead of music during their commutes because it saves them time. It’s what humans value. Because we are now consuming multiple sources of media at once, podcasts and audio are destined to win. We would rather check our email while listening to the latest episode of Serial or take notes while listening to music. With video you can’t do both. It takes all of your attention to consume that content the second it starts.
The same goes for Alexa skills. The novelty of being able to use natural language to communicate with your device is going to change the world. Google just released a statistic that one in five queries made by search are through voice. If that isn’t an indicator of the rise of audio and voice, I don’t know what is?
Why do you think I do some many podcasts? Do I really think that the audio shows that I appear on have a million+ listeners that are going to convert and follow my page? I don’t. Do I think that podcasting is going to have a disproportionately strong impact on my life in the next 1–6 months? I don’t. What about 1–2 years? Probably not. But do I think there are going to be 12 people that listen to my podcast or an appearance I’ve made as a guest on another show who don’t know a thing about me that are going to become a fan and like what I do? Absolutely.
Do I think that after the hundreds of appearances I’ll make over the next decade, that one of the podcasters starting today is going to become a break out hit and move on to become a big time celebrity starting their own company and later want to do business with me? I sure do! I’m playing the long game, and I’m capitalizing on the medium of the moment. I have a strong feeling that the people who consume my podcasts daily are the techy silicon valley type who want to start a business because they know who I am. I would love for that to play out in 15 years with the next Elon Musk emailing me about an episode or thanking me for the 15 minutes on his or her show.
I’m way ahead of the game and I’m doing all that I can to win. — Tweet This!
Just remember, audio and voice are by far the most natural interface for humans to interact. We like to speak and listen. There was roughly 1.5X more audio consumed than video according to Nielsen statistics on streaming in 2016. This is HUGE. If you’re medium is voice, now is your time. Start creating today. Start a podcast, record your phone conversations with friends or call your relatives and host a talk-show. Develop an Alexa skill or start experimenting with Google Home.
Before AR and VR and AI, audio is going to be the next major platform shift for consumer attention. It’s here today! What are you going do?
You can listen to my podcast, The Gary Vaynerchuk Audio Experience if you need inspiration ;)