Welcome to the 20’s! Here’s What Happens Next – Part II

Last week, we looked at the first 10 of our top 20 Predictions for 2020. Today, we offer the dramatic conclusion to our two-part series with 10 more!

Prediction #11: You’re Going to Start Feeling Stupid for Not Having a Voice App

Did I mention Smart Speakers yet? There is real research suggesting that there is an $80B market for Voice Commerce. That’s 80,000,000,000. By next year, there will be more Smart Speaker usage than tablets. By 2025, 75% of households will have a smart speaker.  

Pro Tip: Time to get your Geocities version of a voice app (think of it as an audio website). We don’t do this as a core competency, but we can make some referrals.

Prediction #12: People Start to Calm Down About Podcast

I’ve been talking about them since 2006 and frankly, I’m getting sick of it. No, I’m not tired of the industry and I think podcasts are awesome. But I’m so sick of the hype. The channel needed it to graduate from an obscure, edgy fringe player that could mint royalty of brands who were bold enough to go there. It’s no longer a new idea. Today podcast is a semi-established media channel and, soon enough, people are going to drop the pretension and look for the next new thing.

Pro Tip: Don’t talk about Podcast so much. That’s how these things get ruined. The space is getting gentrified enough, so leave it be and find something shinier to talk about at cocktail parties before you start looking like your mom on Facebook. 

Prediction #13: Multi-Variate Testing Emerges in Audio:  

You do it on your website, I hope. Facebook and Google do it for you with your ads. Audio is not even on first base here. We see people lying and saying they do it, but they don’t. We do an archaic version of it and it makes me want to die, even if it’s the best in our industry. Take heart, as new digital distribution platforms for audio emerge, they will reach critical mass so that this is more possible to execute than it has ever been. It will change because it has to change.

Pro Tip:Have faith and stay tuned. Audiolytics™ is half of the solution. We are vigilantly monitoring the platform side so you don’t have to.

Prediction #14: Local Podcasts Rise

Nothing ever dies. Vaudeville happens every day in theaters and on TV. Telegraphs evolved into text messages and emails. Local Radio is not going away, it’s transitioning. Podcasts are being produced every day in local markets, for local markets. But it isn’t interesting yet because the numbers are so small. Remember, it’s rare for a podcast to get 1M listeners, so a big local show is nearly impossible. Terrestrial radio will have to bleed out more as local podcasts climb in downloads and work out the kinks. You will hear more about them in 2020 as smart networks will do a better job of aggregating and marketing them. 

Pro Tip: Sit tight and pick your shots. Better to move slowly into these so you don’t get discouraged before the industry is ready for you.

Prediction #15: Audio Stays Hot 

For a while, people thought that Audio was going to drain like print. Podcasts and hep cats like Spotify and Pandora have proven it is not. According to research by Cumulus, DTC brands are over 2-3X less efficient on a cost per acquisition basis through Google and Facebook than they were 3-4 years ago. Demand gen channels like video and audio are the only way to bridge the gap.

ProTip: You know you need a healthy mix of Google, Facebook, and Audio, Video (other channels on a case-by-case). But don’t treat them the same in execution and expectation. The latter requires longer time horizons, complexity in attribution, proper message and media planning. That doesn’t make them branding channels, but they do help you build your brand. In fact, I’ve seen MyPillow’s brand awareness numbers and my jaw hit the floor. Still, it takes patience, relentless optimization, and also the money—IF you’re going to do it right.

Prediction #16: Multi-length Audio Coming to a Speaker Near You

As a master of mindfulness (not really), I like to use Headspace. It allows me to choose my meditation based on my personal preferences and needs, then it lets me choose the length of my session so I can fit it to my time available. At some point, audio programmers will try Headspace or something like it and have the same moment of clarity. Audio content MUST adopt customized lengths according to listener preferences. We already can speed up and slow down. Length options are next on the way to a more interactive experience.

Pro-Tip: When it becomes available, buy it.  

Prediction #17: Subscription Audio Rises

Industry folks love to dog Luminary, and even though they may be beyond redemption, they weren’t all wrong. Tim Ferriss tried to fund his podcast with donations from listeners out of the goodness of their own hearts. That didn’t work either and sponsors were rushed back in not long after the launch of the experiment. The prevailing concept will be a blend of free content and premium for a subscription. Spotify is all over this and they are right to be. The next wave of subscription audio will be specifically organized around programs and personalities more so than networks. Die-hard tribes will occasionally subscribe to personalities that are unmatched in their areas of expertise. 

Pro-Tip: When you see subscription only podcasts emerge, try to sponsor them. Much like cable TV, Hulu, and many others, the right answer is a both/and approach, and some of them will learn this and let us in.

Prediction #18: Overuse of the Term: “Full Stop”

First I heard it in multiple meetings from people at different companies within the space of a week. Then I heard Mike Pompeo use it while talking about Iran. Where did this come from and why? I predict it’s going to keep spreading from the halls of power into literature, business and culture, unless someone does something about it.

Pro-Tip: Let’s put an end to the full stop, shall we? Unless you’re using a dictaphone. Only then does it make sense. Readers of The Influencer are a powerful network, indeed. Let’s put it to good use and rid the earth of this menace before it spreads further. “Period” still works just fine.

Prediction #19: Spotify overtakes Apple

OK, I know. It may have already happened. But as pointed out by The Influencer, we will soon see how Spotify has the responsibility to match the power. Targeting is a wonderful thing, as is removal of duplication in audience counting, but let’s remember why the wild west had so many movies made about it. Something is always lost as an industry grows up.   

Pro-Tip: This is further evidence of the two worlds that will exist for podcast advertisers—the new tightly controlled, dynamically inserted one and the other that is what drew us all here in the first place; baked-in live reads that run long and live forever. Tune into AM radio while you still can and listen to the spot breaks. This is the type of content that Performance Marketers will need to make peace with as brands cough up the required costs for the shiny stuff, except for what’s available at remnant pricing.

Prediction #20: Automation finds its limits

Programmatic, Automation, Dynamic Ad Insertion, and the further digitization of everything. These are critical developments that none of us can afford to ignore. But it has a limit. Relationships cannot be automated. Influencer marketing programs are not going away, and while many will continue seeking ways to scale for efficiency, we cannot escape that the most valuable partnerships are truly built on relationships between people, and human touch will forever be a critical asset to marketers who seek to benefit from the value of personalities as ambassadors for brands.

Pro-Tip: Don’t fight it. Embrace that people are complex and require non-scalable interaction. Choose Influencers who can make a larger impact on your brand than any platform and nurture the relationship. It is worth the time to lean in and engage.

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