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Adding Teeth To Podcasting's Promise of Intimacy
Episode 318th September 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

If you haven't heard the phrase “podcasting is an intimate

Evo Terra:

medium,” well, then you must be new.

Evo Terra:

Can this reported intimacy ever be anything more than just an empty promise

Evo Terra:

made by podcasting advertising advocates?

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Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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Now, if you're playing the podcast drinking game at home where you

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drink every time someone says "podcasting is an intimate medium,"

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you may want to sit this one out.

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I'm going to take a somewhat critical look at that much-lauded phrase,

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and a little bit of a cliche.

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I don't want you to be too tipsy before the show is over.

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Let's start here.

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Podcasters who are able to buy their way into tens of thousands or hundreds

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of thousands of downloads, they don't really care about intimacy.

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For them, it's a reach game.

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The more people that they can reach with their show, the more ads they can

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sell for their show, whether they're intimately involved with it or not.

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So, no, they don't really care about intimacy.

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Although that's not completely true because there's a collective need across

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the people who are able to get tens or hundreds or millions of downloads to their

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shows, there's a need to keep CPMs, the price of an ad, high, which, by the way,

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they're not doing a very good job of.

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CPM rates are relatively stagnant across the board.

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Have you seen a slew of reports talking about how CPMs have

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increased from an average of 20 to $30, let's say, in the last decade?

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I haven't really either.

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I know they happen in isolation, but overall?

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Kind of the same thing.

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But the idea is to convince advertisers that podcasting is an intimate medium.

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They need to do that to get those advertisers to spend

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more money on podcasting.

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And that is more or less working.

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Total ad spend in podcasting does continue to increase, and new advertisers

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enter the market all the time.

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Great.

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So think about that for a second.

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Also think about this.

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The opposite, however, is broadly assumed to be true.

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And that is that shows with more modest audiences tend to

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have more niche audiences where really intimacy can reign true.

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But does it really?

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What's our measuring stick to determine whether or not we're

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getting more intimacy from our people?

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It's not downloads.

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Downloads do not measure intimacy, especially since around a third

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of downloads are automated and may not be listened to ever.

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I don't even think it's consumption rate, which services like Apple

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Podcasts and Spotify and Google Podcasts will tell us how much of our

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episodes listeners tend to consume.

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I don't think that's it.

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Or, at least, it's not necessarily giving us the answer we're looking

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for - is there a correlation between consumption rate and intimacy?

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There might be.

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But anecdotally, I've seen a huge increase in the number of requests for

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podcast recommendations where people only want something to listen to in

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the background while they study or they work, or they do some other sort of

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brain intensive activity where they're not intimately engaged with our content.

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They just need some noise.

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And then there's all the people who say, "Hey, I need something to fall asleep to.

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Can you recommend a podcast?"

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The podcast stats we have today don't really tell us how, or even if

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people are engaging with our content.

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We don't have it.

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We don't have repeated listener initiated plays.

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We don't get that kind of detail.

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We don't really know - where's like the time to listen number?

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Like from the time an episode is published to somebody actually listening to it?

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We don't have it.

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What about listens per unique user?

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How many times does a unique listener listen to that episode

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again and again and again?

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We don't know.

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Or some sort of a loyalty rating, how many different episodes

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does a loyal listener consume?

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We don't know.

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Any of those things would likely get us to an understanding so we

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can answer the question is, in fact, podcasting an intimate medium?

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But our industry isn't really set up to report on that.

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The IAB takes the A in their name seriously.

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The IAB is the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

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Advertising.

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And advertisers don't care about intimacy.

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They tell us they do, but they really don't.

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They care about results.

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How well did the campaign perform?

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And in lieu of results, they care about benchmarking their spending

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activity so they're not spending too much or too little in a certain medium.

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Also, we have the problem with privacy issues.

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Privacy issues make everything I just talked about really challenging to

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get to, to understand the intimacy is almost, or as some will definitely

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say, an invasion of privacy.

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Now, personally, I do not care who knows what episodes I listen to and

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what episodes I skip and for how often.

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But I also know that that's just me, and I understand how

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that information could almost be weaponized or used in nefarious ways.

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So I don't know that we're ever going to see it.

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I also wonder what would we do if we knew?

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Specifically, what would you do if you could measure some sort of intimacy

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rating, either with your episodes or with your listeners themselves?

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Would it change how you produce your podcast and the episodes of your podcast?

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I wonder.

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Or would you just simply immediately start comparing yourself to the average

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intimacy ratings the same way we compare our own download numbers or CPM rates?

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I am actually genuinely curious what you would do if you could see

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either by listener or by episode some sort of an intimacy rating,

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a number that you could trust.

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Email that to me, would you?

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Email me your thoughts, evo@simpler.media.

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I'll compile them, and we'll come back and revisit this

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another episode in the future.

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Or, if you want, you can share your thoughts on this in the

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Advancing Podcasting community at advancingpodcasting.xyz.

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Let's do a few Boostagrams, shall we?

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Now it's time for the boost-the boost-the boost- Boostagram Corner.

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Boostagram Corner.

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I don't know a thing about crypto.

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Thank you very much to Mr.

Evo Terra:

Brad Tirpak.

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Brad is my newest virtual coffee member.

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That's right.

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He went to BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra and signed up for a monthly

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recurring coffee donation.

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Thank you very much, sir.

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Also, hello and thank you, Seth Goldstein.

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He left a review previously for Podcast Pontifications.

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He's gone one step further and actually bought a virtual coffee for me.

Evo Terra:

So I certainly appreciate that.

Evo Terra:

And if you received any value today out of today's episode,

Evo Terra:

please return some of that value.

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You can go to BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra, just like Brad and Seth both did.

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Thank you very much.

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Or if you're using one of the new fancy podcasts listening apps, you'll find

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them at newpodcastapps.com, actually be sure to set it up to stream some

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value to me, a few sats at a time.

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And that'll make a lot more sense once you get there.

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Or it won't.

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But if it does, be sure to set it up to stream some sats to me, or

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send a boost along with a message.

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And with that, I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

Evo Terra:

Cheers!

Evo Terra:

Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.