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Targeting the Podcast Crowd

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New media brings with it a pocketful of questions. How do I utilize this new channel? Who is receiving the message? Is it the right audience for what I am trying to sell? Fewer people are asking, “what’s a podcast?”, but that doesn’t mean the audience is diverse.

Targeting the Podcast Crowd
What Do Podcastees Have In Common?

Online media metrics firm Nielsen//NetRatings just released some insight into the podcast world and the demographic configuration is almost cliquish. Though some headlines have indicated that the figures put podcasting above blogging in popularity, that’s not quite accurate.

The study actually said that there were more people downloading podcasts than people publishing blogs, which is a strange comparison, unless it’s just for the sake of perspective.

Nielsen//NetRatings found that 6.6 percent of the US adult population, or 9.2 million Web users have recently downloaded an audio podcast; 4 percent, or 5.6 million, have downloaded a video podcast. But what’s more telling than the numbers, is who is downloading podcasts. This isn’t your father’s medium.

Here’s a portrait of the average podcast listener/viewer:

Between the ages of 18 and 44 (but mostly 18-34)

Uses Apple’s Safari or Mozilla Firefox to browse

For audio, visits Macworld, Lycos Wired News, Slashdot, Niketown.com, Apple and iTunes, more likely in the 18-24 age group

For video, visits StarTrek.com, Live365.com, Fark.com, eMusic, and Niketown.com, more likely in the 25-34 age group

Judging from that we could accurately say that the podcast audience is young, tech-savvy, early adopting, and (perhaps) more on the affluent side of the spectrum. It’s Silicon Valley in a podshell.

Michael Lanz, an analyst for Nielsen//NetRatings believes this target will expand as portable media becomes more popular. “The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young, on-the-go audiences,” said Lanz. “We can expect to see podcasting become increasingly popular as portable content media players proliferate.”

But for now, your podcast target is the geeky, hipster, upwardly mobile dotcom type who likes decent shoes for mountain biking and tennis, when he’s not debating Kirk versus Picard.

For everyone else, the “old” route is the best. Think Internet Explorer, AOL, and Netscape users, who’ve barely heard the term “podcast.” These are the ad clickers, much broader in terms of demographics, for whom a mass-market approach suits best.

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Targeting the Podcast Crowd
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