Justin interviews his daughter about podcast ads, women in podcasting, and how to attract more young listeners.
Interested in building your own SaaS company? Follow the journey of Transistor.fm as they bootstrap a podcast hosting startup.
Justin Jackson: Hey everybody, Justin
here, I've got a treat for you today.
Uh, some of, you know, my daughter did
a podcast research report, it's on the
transistor blog called gen Z and podcasting.
And her and I sat down to discuss her
thoughts on the podcast industry, based
on some of the research she's been doing.
She's 18, so she's firmly
in that gen Z demographic.
And it's interesting.
It's interesting to see what the next
generation is thinking about in terms of
podcasting, audio, audio ads, Spotify.
We get into all of that stuff i think
you're going to enjoy it let's get into it
Justin: You were telling me the other day you
were doing some research on podcasting and you
said: "women are the future of podcasting."
What did you find that made you say that?
Sadie: Well, the main reason why I said that is
because I'm reading an article done by Edison
research they did mostly on women listeners.
And it showed that the new women listeners,
so people who've been listening to
podcasts for six months were women.
It was 53% of women and only 47% men.
Whereas men before dominated
within like the past three years.
Justin: Oh, I see.
So, Edison was looking at " who has started
listening to podcasts in the last six months."
And, what percentage was women?
Sadie: uh, 53% were women.
Of all listeners?
Justin: So 53% of the folks who started
listening in the past six months were women.
And in the past, this
would have been mostly men.
In the past it was 63% of men.
They were considered " super
listeners," I think?
Those who were listening for
three or more years; who started
listening for three plus years.
Justin: Got it.
So the trend is going the other way now.
If it started off mostly men, now,
increasingly we're seeing mostly women
who are starting to listen to podcasts.
Why do you think that is?
Why do you think it's changing now?
Sadie: Um, it could be for a
bunch of different reasons.
I think one of them was actually COVID.
Um, more women were reported to stay at home.
More women are reported to be working also.
So the combination of work and home,
cause that's where most podcasts
listening gets done is at home or at work.
Sadie: And, also, On that same article,
they interviewed a lot of women and they
said: " how did you get into podcasting?
How were you introduced to it?"
And most of them said, Spotify, actually.
They're like, oh, I was just on Spotify.
And I just happened to stumble
upon and they have podcasts now,
or, oh, I see an ad about it.
Justin: They opened up the Spotify app.
They see podcasts in there, and that
was enough to get them interested
to, to listen for the first time.
Justin: So what do you think this means?
If up until now, the podcasting industry
has been mostly dominated by men.
And that includes traditionally a lot
of the big names like Adam Curry and
Joe Rogan and, in the tech sphere,
Leo LaPorte and all these guys.
What do you think this means now for the
future of podcasting if there's going
to be more and more women listeners?
Sadie: I think it's going
to be interesting for sure.
I think information's going to be different.
I think how people see podcasts in
general are going to be different.
One thing I was kind of thinking about
is: not that many women even know about
podcasts or how to find a good podcast.
And they say that most of their podcast
recommendations are suggested from
Spotify, social media or their friends.
It's more so of a social means of finding it.
And in a way that's kind of related to
advertising as well, because a lot of
women dominate the, the consumer industry.
70 to 80% of all consumer
purchases are done by women.
Justin: Oh, wow.
So, so, so in households, a lot
of the buying happens with women.
And so I guess there's an irony there that a
lot of podcasting listening and personalities,
the podcast creators have been men.
And so a lot of the ads have
been maybe targeted at men.
Sadie: Yeah, exactly.
So a lot of the ads have been targeted at men,
and it's also said that 91% of women believe
that they feel misunderstood by advertisers.
And I think that that can also
be attributed to podcasting.
So how are we presenting
the information to women?
Because right now it's just,
the market is just men.
It's just getting presented towards men . It's
men talking to men, whereas half the other
population is not getting recognized maybe.
Not being recognized or served.
How do you think the ads might change?
Maybe the thing that's being advertised
or the way they advertise it, do you think
that will have to change if advertisers
want to reach female podcasts listeners?
Sadie: Yes, absolutely.
I don't think it's the, I don't think it's
what is being advertised like the product
itself, because the three most popular or
bought items are food and beverage, beauty
and grooming and health and wellness.
Justin: These are the products
being advertised on podcasts?
Sadie: Correct, yes.
So these are the products.
These are the three, three of the top five
most advertised products on podcasts; these
are also the top things that women purchase.
So it's not what is being advertised.
If it's a host read podcast, ad people love
that people prefer that way more and people
are more likely to purchase things and to
remember products, if it's a host read ad.
So I don't even think it's who I think it's
just how the information is getting presented.
Most of it is playing off
of gender stereotypes.
I've seen a lot of just TV commercials
of women vacuuming and saying
something to their son about cleaning.
And I don't that doesn't make me
want to buy a product for sure.
Justin: Do you think that advertisers
should be, even with products focused on
men, do you think advertisers should still
be considering women ? Like not always
assuming that men are listening to these ads?
And then the other question is, if I have
a podcast and let's say 30% of my listeners
are women, what should I be doing with
the ads to kind of accommodate all groups?
Sadie: Okay, so to answer your first question.
I think they should definitely put in more
of an effort to make their product more
appealing towards women because 80% of
the consumer purchasing is done by women.
Justin: When you say 80%, that could
theoretically include in household that
could mean that women might be buying like
products for the men in the household as well.
Sadie: oh, absolutely.
50% of all men's purchases
are actually done by.
If a man has, whatever, $10,000 of
purchases in a year, $5,000 of that was a
woman is buying on his behalf, basically.
So this is actually, for podcast advertisers,
this is kind of a hidden opportunity.
Because if they haven't been thinking about
this so far, there's this group, like you
say, it's roughly 50% of the population.
It's most of the new podcast listeners,
but also they're responsible for 80%
of the purchasing decisions, including
50% of men's products purchasing
decisions are also done by women.
Justin: So to get to the second question
then, how should advertisers respond?
Is the right response to focus more
ads with a female audience in mind?
Do you try to address every group with each ad?
What are some things that you think
podcast advertisers should be thinking
about with all this information in mind?
Sadie: I think definitely creating a story,
creating a relationship is super important.
It's a lot more empathetic.
It's a lot more emotional.
It's a lot more about connection, typically.
And so using more of a pathos approach:
more empathy, creating a relationship,
using more emotion, using something that
can really engage with them and also
steering clear of stereotypes and just
showing what women are actually doing now.
A lot of the ads are super outdated: women
aren't just vacuuming and cleaning all day.
They're making money and going to work and
they have friends and they have fun hobbies.
You know, have different interests and
super intelligent people out there.
So be very careful of old cliches.
I mean, this isn't even hard, like even you and
I talking about this, there's like a little bit
of, um, I always had like this, like you said,
uh, the way women's brains work, is there more.
And even I was like, oh, is
that too much of a stereotype?
Even there, you know, uh,
how, how do we do this dance?
Like if w podcasts, creators and
advertisers, what's, what's the approach?
How can we make sure that we're
connecting with people where they're at
and not, you know, making assumptions
and not reverting to old cliches.
Sadie: Yeah, that's a really good question.
Well, what I said before, women need more of a
story or need more of an emotional connection.
In psychology, there's quite
a few studies that show this.
They show that even .. Like it comes down
to movies that women prefer to watch.
Music has a lot to do
with emotional connection.
The amount of professions that women go
into could also be an indicator of how
their minds work and what they've preferred.
I want to say the majority of women, if you're
wanting to appeal to the majority of women, I'd
say including some empathy in there, for sure.
Along with other things as
well, but making that a focus
One thing that came to my mind while you were
talking is like, if you truly want to know
your audience, You have to listen to them.
Let's say you have a podcast
and 50% are women listeners.
One way to get to know them
better is you could do a survey.
You could do a series of, listener
interviews where you get on the phone or
a call like this with listeners and just
ask them real questions about their lives.
Because you can ask, for example, what
kinds of shows are you watching on Netflix?
What do you do for work?
What's most important to you?
Like how do you prioritize
different things in your life?
Which car manufacturer
appeals to you most and why?
And you might get answers there
that surprised you, right?
I think you also said that, women
have a big say in car purchase.
What was, what was that stat?
Sadie: So 75% of car purchases are done
by women, even though it's a highly, man
focused industry, masculine industry,
75% of those purchases are done by women
Justin: that really surprised me.
In our family, I'm not a car person at all.
Uh, your, your mom is more
of the car person and so.
Um, I like, I've never really
cared about car commercials.
So it's definitely true in our family.
But yeah, the stereotype in my head was,
"well, most vehicle purchases are probably
done by men," but that's not true at all.
Sadie: it's not.
Justin: It's the reverse.
So if you were going to construct a
podcast ad for women or targeted primarily
at women, like a car ad, what kinds
of elements do you think you'd have?
Sadie: oh, I would definitely.
So for the ad, I would make
it to be unscripted, a style
that was unscripted, personal.
Cause there's also research done
that shows that ads, done by regular
people, so you find these ads a lot
on Tik TOK, Instagram, Facebook.
So kind of starting in podcasting
where it's just average people saying,
"oh my God, I bought these leggings.
They came in the mail, they look great."
They like put them on and it's people
of all different shapes of sizes, people
of all different backgrounds, people
with all different ages and that ad
focus I think it's simple, and already
like immediately there's empathy.
There's, there's a relationship.
There's like, "oh my God, you're like me.
You're not a celebrity.
You're not a known model.
You're just another person saying
what they like about it, honestly."
And I think going from that approach of
trying to sell a car and be like, "you know,
I like this because of this, this and this.
This is how it works for me.
It looks great.
You know, the cost is wonderful.
Gas is cheap, or if you get
electric car, whatever you get."
Sadie: from that approach,
Justin: I like
Sadie: what I do.
Justin: And, if you were a female podcast
host, like if you're on the microphone, sharing
your own personal story could be powerful.
Like, "Hey folks, you know, I've been looking
for a car for months and I just found one.
I had this bad experience at this
dealership, and then I went over here
and I had this incredible experience.
And the experience was so good I reached out
to them, asked if they would sponsor the show.
They said they would."
Like, that could be a great ad.
And like you mentioned, maybe also, in your
survey of listeners, ask: how many of you
have purchased a car in the last six months?"
If those were the kinds of ads you
want it to attract, and then, uh,
"tell me about your experience."
And then, pick one or two of those,
reach out to them and interview them.
So, " Hey, Janet, I heard
you just bought a new car.
Can you tell me about it?
What was the initial thing
that made you need a new car?
What were the kinds of
things you were looking for?
What did you find?
How'd you make your decision?"
We call used to call this "native advertising"
which is a advertising that's organic.
It feels like, "oh, this is just
an interview on the street."
But in this case, it's about this
particular brand, because this
person had a great experience.
Justin: It was that kind
of what you're thinking?
Like, do you think those kinds
of approaches would work?
Sadie: Yeah, for sure.
I think the car industry is difficult though,
because it's so masculine focused, even
walking into a dealership there's you can
feel as a woman and people weren't, people
warn me and they say, "oh, you be careful.
They're going to try and sell you.
They're going to try and charge you
more for this car, cause you're a woman.
You need to ask questions,
you need to be strong."
And I think it's a difficult industry
in general, because I think a lot of
women are treated as if they don't
know what they're talking about.
They don't know the details of the car.
Sadie: They " need a man's help to decide.
Justin: That would actually be, that would
actually be a great concept for a show.
A hidden microphone show called,
uh, "Women going into stores."
Justin: so here's, here's an
episode of, uh, the hardware store.
A woman goes into hardware store
and then, uh, you know, what, what
kind of stuff do you get on tape?
Cause I've had that experience too,
when I go to the hardware store
with your mom, again, I'm not handy.
I don't own any tools; mom owns
all the tools in our house.
And we walk into a hardware store,
they immediately turned to me and
go, "well, you're going to..."
And I'm like, I, I, I'm not handy at all.
Like, she's the one that does all that stuff.
You can see some of those societal
expectations and, and things showing up.
Probably be good.
That would be a fun show.
Sadie: Yeah, that
Justin: Uh, is there.
On the technology side, and this makes me
a little bit nervous because, well, because
Transistor, the company that I co-founded
with Jon, we make podcast hosting software.
So I'm a little bit nervous here,
but what, w what do you think the
like, technological implications are?
For people making apps and podcast hosting and
other things, what should we be considering?
Sadie: I think definitely looking at your
gender demographic and seeing like, who's like,
if you're, if you're making content and your
intention for this content is for all people.
It's for all types of people and you look, and
you see that only that 70% of your audience
is men or 80% of your audience is men.
It's like, okay, well,
what can I learn from this?
What can I do differently?
How can I make this in a
way that appeals to women?
And I think a big part of
it is just women don't.
don't have access or they don't have
the right tools presented to them to get
into podcasting or to find podcasting.
I just think it's not designed to intrigue
them because a lot of women say that they
don't know how to find a podcast, they
don't know how to find a good podcast.
They feel overwhelmed by the amount of
choices; it's not super clear to them.
And maybe a way to do that is
to include more visual pictures.
A lot of studies show that women like
pictures, especially with faces, because
it's that empathy thing; maybe including
on your site, women experiences, like women
who have used transistor who liked it.
Case studies so that other women can see this.
Have a bit more of a path they can go down
and know what podcast is right for them.
I mean, the indie podcasting
industry, I think has always had this.
Uh, kind of S um, w we've been
wary about Spotify coming in.
And part of it has been awesome,
like way more listeners have come in,
way more people starting podcasts.
Like for on Transistor, a lot of our customers
start on Spotify's free podcast hosting
product, Anchor and then they switched to us.
But there's also been this wariness of like,
is Spotify going to take over and, you know,
are they ultimately good for the industry?
And one thing that's interesting,
you said like a lot of women are
discovering podcasts through Spotify.
Like having everything in
one app has been helpful.
So, what do you think, like if there, is
there things that like other apps could do,
like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts?
Is there any way that they can improve?
You know, uh, I attract more female
listeners and encourage more people
to find podcasts, try podcasts?
What should they be thinking?
Sadie: I think, advertising on social media
platforms is one of the best ways because
women spend, uh, women are the, I think 90
or 80% of women spend more time on social
media than men or something like they spend at
least two hours or something on social media.
And that's also where they find a lot of their
podcast information is through social media.
So I think using that as a means of getting
women interested and having ads that
are more organic and personal on there.
I think that's what other companies
can maybe learn from that.
If you were advising apple, you
wouldn't necessarily say they
should bundle it up into one app.
Like it should just be apple audio.
Do you think that would be better?
Sadie: I think it's a better
approach because I think it's kind
of lame to copy somebody else's idea
Sadie: it might be a great idea, but I
say if you were to bundle it, I'd say
take it a step further and add a third.
Um, Audio option.
So you have music podcasting and maybe
phone calls or video calls, FaceTime
calls, or you have, um, maybe more of
a educational podcasting option or,
Sadie: um, I don't know.
Like Spotify is doing this now
they're adding Audio books.
They're adding video there.
They're adding a bunch of stuff.
And uh, all of apple stuff is split up.
They have audio books in their iBooks app,
they have podcasts and their podcasting
app, they have music in Apple Music.
The one thing I, that's unfortunate about
unbundling, is that with bundling, you get to
go to the place where people are most often.
And for Spotify, a lot of people are waking
up every day and playing music and Spotify.
And so it's easy to get their
attention if you have a podcast.
But with apple podcasts, I mean, maybe
they could cross promote somehow like put
a little promo in apple music or something.
I know there's a, that's the
other disadvantage, apple doesn't
do ads inside of apple music.
Spotify can like run all
these ads for their own
Justin: podcasts and things like that.
And that's a big part of their success as well
as all the people are signing up for the first
time doing their free trial there, they're
exposed to all these ads that have to do with
podcasting music and other products as well.
Sadie: And, and also like, think of, think of
the rise of gen Z and even millennials, this
common trend, this popular trend of minimalism.
And I think bundling kind of fits into that.
It's like, why would I have five
different things when I can just
have one thing that does five?
That was everything right.
Justin: I mean, maybe apple should consider
bundling, just putting it all in one app and
then all that cross-pollination can happen.
And maybe they can not be a copycat,
but they can do it different and better.
Justin: um, and what do you think, uh, Google
has a podcast app, but it's not used very much.
What do you think are some
interesting things they could do?
Uh, cause I'm thinking specifically,
like they have YouTube.
Do you think they should be leveraging that?
For, you know, getting more people interested
in podcasts, getting more people interested
in that using the Google podcast app or,
uh, listening to specific things on Google.
Sadie: Yeah, for sure.
I think that, they, they play a lot of ads.
A lot of ads play on YouTube.
I think that's a way for them to grow
their popularity in podcasting, but
I think YouTube it's, it might be
even been D B doing fine on its own.
Looking at the data that was
collected from the survey that we did.
Um, it was, it shared a very similar
growth pattern to that of Spotify.
So gen X 2% use YouTube to listen to podcasts.
And then millennials was 4%.
And then I think gen Z was 6%.
Cause that's a pretty big jump.
I know it's small numbers, but it's a
big jump in terms of the amount of people
choosing to listen that for podcasts.
Th th the interesting thing for me,
cause I mean, now it's like, are they
watching a podcast or are they listening?
It's hard to know if they're
actually, you know, um, but the.
The last Edison research that came out, showed
that, uh, in terms of the share of their
audio consumption, um, it was like kids 13
to whatever it was 13 to 25 or something.
Um, non-music audio
entertainment is increasing.
Like it's becoming a bigger portion
of their listening, which surprised
me, uh, because you think kids are
just listening to music all the time.
Audiobooks and podcasts are taking up a bigger
and bigger chunk of their audio listening time.
Audio listening time itself is doesn't grow
or shrink that much, it's pretty steady.
But podcasts and audio books are getting
more of that share, which is interesting.
Like it may means that not everyone's
just, uh, uh, watching YouTube videos or
watching joe Rogan as a YouTube video,
but there is a younger people listening
to it, in their earbuds, just audio only.
Sadie: Okay, but dad let's be real here.
You have to watch the Joe Rogan
podcast just for the faces he makes.
Those faces make it all worth it.
Justin: I mean, and that's maybe another point
is that, you know, there's these purists.
And maybe I'm one of them, that
say, "well, no podcast has to be
an RSS feed and it has to be audio.
And it has to be on all the different
platforms, apple podcasts, and Spotify
and Google and pocket cast and overcast."
But the gateway for a lot of kids, a
lot of younger people, uh, uh, whether
we like it or not was Joe Rogan;
watching Joe Rogan YouTube clips.
And maybe other podcasters and podcast
companies, like Apple Podcasts and Transistor,
maybe we need to be thinking about that.
And, for attracting more female listeners
or more female podcasters, things like
YouTube clips might be the gateway, right?
That might be how people discover that stuff.
Sadie: Yeah, it could be.
Cause I know for sure.
There's been times where I've
been guilty of listening to a Joe
Rogan podcast of watching one.
And then, and then only realizing
that it's not the full thing.
So I have to go and find the
full version of the episode.
So maybe only playing five minutes of
a podcast episode on YouTube, so people
get hooked, they get hooked and then they
have to find the rest of the episode.
Justin: And then they got it.
You create the, uh, the trigger: " okay,
that's it for this clip, go and find the
episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify,
and then listen to the whole thing."
And that's a great way.
Cause you can also direct your
audience of where to listen to it.
Justin: This was great Sades thanks
for taking the time to do this.
Sadie: for having me here.
Okay, I'm going to hit stop.