What does 2023 have in store for Digital Audio?

Voiceworks Head of Sport (and host of Voiceworks: Sound Business) discusses what the future holds for audio and podcasting in the year ahead.


For the very first episode of Voiceworks podcast "Sound Business" in 2023 I wanted to pick the brains of the podcast team!


January is always a good time for some crystal ball gazing and so the Voiceworks Team gathered together at the start of this year to make some big and bold predictions about how podcasting and digital audio might evolve in the year ahead.


Here's what they predicted.


Listen to the full discussion on the podcast here

Listen here


Sophie Hind (MD Voiceworks)

Despite what some of the naysayers predict, podcast popularity is not going to slow down in 2023. Rather, I believe that this year we will see the podcast market really maturing. It is no longer an experimental media and because of that the commercial tools available now need to improve.


As advertisers begin to take Podcasting more and more seriously the hosting platform technologies need to offer more capability and flexibility in terms of how advertising and promotions can be scheduled.


I believe that the development of these tools and services will be a key focus going forward this year.


Neil Sloan (CommunicorpUK Group Content Director)

My prediction (well, more of a wish than a prediction) is that the download data for podcasts becomes properly verified, accessible and transparent.


We know that algorithms are at play for the Apple Podcast charts, and we rely on producers telling us how many people are listening – but its all a bit of a dark art.


Stefan Doyle (Head of Sport Social Podcast Network)

YouTube looks to become THE destination for podcasts, more and more high-quality shows will be born on the platform. Whether that be Google investing in their own original series or more and more production houses thinking with a YouTube-first mentality. The video platform is the second biggest search platform in the world after Google, so if you currently dont have a video strategy for your podcast then youre missing a huge opportunity.


www.youtube.com/podcasts exists within the US at the moment. You would imagine once they have worked out what works well and what doesnt that it will only be a matter of time before the rest of the world is allowed to get in on the action.


Google are very good at tailoring their YouTube algorithm to make sure you are looking where they want you to look for content and whilst no one really knows what the master plan is yet, you can be sure that if Google/Youtube want us to start consuming podcasts then theyll do their best to make it happen.


Andrea Day (Operations Director Voiceworks)

I believe that in 2023, Ad tech in podcasts is going to play an even more fundamental role in the development of the podcast advertising landscape – for those podcasts where monetisation is part of their strategy.


We will see a high proportion of advertising using dynamic insertions as a standard around the world, more impressions delivered via programmatic channels and more personalisation and targeting of audiences based on audience demographic data, rather than podcast titles.


Local advertisers will become more confident in harnessing the power of podcast advertising to target audiences in specific areas, making podcast advertising part of the standard” portfolio of print, online, broadcast and podcast.


Podcast advertising will become more personalised, using the data available to offer different creatives for a campaign based on the audience's location, device, or method of listening.


Kyle Evans (Director of Content Voiceworks)

I think we will see publishers diversifying their slate of podcasts to drive audiences and revenue. 


It isnt just about genre, its about formats too.  Podcasting has always been about the right idea with the right format and the right person delivering the content but now, developments in technology (eg. Then Metaverse) are offering ever-increasing opportunities for innovative new ideas and formats.


The creative ways of revenue generation will evolve too as we yearn for more natural brand activation.  The biggest names will most likely drive the biggest audiences however the room looks, but that wont hinder innovation.  What I think we will start seeing though is a more aggressive approach with less patience for slower-growing pods as pressure for revenue increases.


Michael Holt (Director of Commercial Partnerships Voiceworks)

I have two big predictions for 2023!


First... the evolution of podcasting via multi-platform expansion. As Stefan predicted, I see YouTube playing a key role in podcast growth in the year ahead. I think it will prove its value particularly when it comes to podcast discoverability (being the 2nd biggest search engine on the planet). With that, it will also offer podcasters new revenue opportunities and more ad solutions for advertisers. It will also mean that podcasters are more willing to experiment with creating video content to complement their podcasts and we'll see that filter through to other channels such as TikTok and Twitter.


I also think we'll see more Podcasting Live Events and Experiential in the coming year. Podcasts engage with audiences like no other media and listeners actively want to participate and engage with their favourite shows. Live events help podcasters deepen that engagement, build loyalty and offer brands great activation opportunities - it's a great development of the space and one I'd like to see further exploited. 


Paul Swaine (Business Development Director Voiceworks)

I can see Podcast advertising /branded content becoming a key part of an agency's / direct clients' major traditional media plans by the end of this year.


With over 20 million people now listening to podcasts in the UK and 76% acting on a message within an episode it makes complete sense. As well as tracking and measurability becoming easier to access and helping support campaigns – it's giving brands more confidence in using this platform to promote and sell their products.


Nicola Lynch (Brand Partnerships Director)

One of the most exciting developments in podcast advertising is the ability to monitor the efficacy of campaigns.  Traditionally this has been in the form of ‘promo codes’ in Host Read Ads or clients seeing an uplift in their website visits.  We’ve enjoyed some good success with clients in both these areas, with brands who use the promo code method such as Nord VPN, Athletic Greens and Better Help reporting positive results and, the best measure of all, repeat booking with us. 


We have also heard from clients that when their campaign with us took a break they saw web traffic fall by over 50%. Weve also been told that the dwell times for leads generated by podcast advertising were much higher for podcast ad listeners than users that came in from social campaigns. 


However, in partnership with Veritonic we can now offer even more insight for our clients. 


Attribution and Tracking allow us to use IP address matching to include a tracking link in any audio we deliver.  Clients can select from a wide range of actions including visiting the website, signing up, making a purchase, and by placing a pixel on their website we can monitor if the listener has taken any of those actions using IP address matching.  


For performance marketing clients this allows them to measure the effectiveness of the campaign against their key measures and monitor the conversion rate against the metric that is most important for them. 


This has allowed us to work with commercial partners to prove the effectiveness of our campaigns and provide them with the confidence to rebook. Were delivering conversion rates for some clients of over 2.5% and our cost per acquisition rate is lower than both social and TV making our contextually targeted podcast advertising incredibly cost-effective in comparison to other channels.


It also opens up the opportunity for us to work with commercial partners to optimise their campaigns.  We can monitor if certain shows/verticals resonate better with their audience.  We can also look at pieces of creative to monitor if one converts better than others - it's an area that I expect to see strong growth in 2023.


You can hear the team discussing and dissecting their predictions on the Voiceworks: Sound Business podcast here.

Listen here