Podcasts are fast becoming popular in the UAE, with studies showing that more and more people tune in to podcasts every week, as compared to traditional media. The latest findings from Markettiers MENA who teamed up with podcast consultancy 4DC to analyze the podcast/audio landscape in the region, reveal that three quarters (76%) of those who live in the UAE are familiar with the term podcasting, signifying that we are moving towards a ‘tipping point’ whereby ‘regular listeners’ will soon describe a huge proportion of the country. In this context, developing an audio content strategy is important for businesses as it can help them capitalize on creating awareness and sales. Hazem AlHabbal, Founder of Panda Voiceover, a company that is focusing on helping businesses tell their stories through the power of audio, speaks to AME Info about this and more.
Why do businesses need an audio content strategy?
A: Audio is the medium humans are most naturally wired for. The market is witnessing an ongoing change in listener preferences and consumers are using more audio content than ever before but not the traditional radio broadcasting. Audio content now plays a central role in any forward thinking marketing strategy as it offers a uniquely intimate atmosphere where people can connect with brands and in turn helps brands boost their on-page SEO performance. Then again, the content can also be quickly repurposed into social media videos.
Although video is a popular form of content it restricts an individual to a seat and demands their constant attention, whereas audio content can be consumed easily while doing other things.
By creating an audio content strategy, it is easier for the audience to consume the content into their schedule and familiarize themselves with the brand and its core values.
As per the latest statistics, audio content currently offers better reach than other media. There are 440 million blogs, 23 million YouTube channels, but only 750,000 podcasts, hence making it much easier to be heard in a less saturated market. Audio is poised to double revenue in the next three years. Developing an audio content strategy can help businesses capitalize on creating awareness and sales.“
How can audio technology humanize a brand’s identity?
A: Since the brand identity is based on abstract attributes and associations, the company can convey and stand out with a sound by creating their own audio branding guidelines. Studies have shown that sound has an uncanny ability to humanize and unify brands’ presence in today’s touchpoints. Music and voice that are aligned with the brand persona generate more favorable responses and increase memorability.
The process which we follow while working with brands normally include a briefing and evaluating. Quality consulting advice is what many businesses are after and value the most. We evaluate companies’ business requirements and advise options that will help them achieve the best results. The behind the scene process includes having a look at the script and shortlisting the candidates from our database who we feel will be able to do justice in influencing people’s imagination and position the brand correctly. The selection of a voice is important to reflect the brand’s values right and build appeal for its products. For example, for a well-established brand that has been present on the market for some time, it’s recommended that they use a deep voice to showcase the brand values and long-term presence in the market.
Can you give us some insights into the audio/podcasting industry in the UAE and the region?
Very soon, we will be witnessing UAE take over the world in podcasting. The current statistics show that 16% of the population has been tuning in at least weekly, which is on par with the UK and a little behind USA, which is now the world’s premier podcast market.
Podcasts are slowly gaining popularity as the most trusted form of media, with an equal gender split in the UAE.
With a captive mobile audience, advertisers are quickly moving towards mobile video advertising, particularly on social media. But podcasting, isn’t lagging behind too.
Staying traditional is no longer a viable financial option for businesses. So how can audio technology help them cut costs?
A: Content marketing is a long-term strategy that uses content in a variety of formats to build a stronger relationship with your audience, capture their attention, improve engagement, and improve brand recall.
Effective audio content has proven useful in generating leads, driving sales, increasing credibility and even act as an avenue to engage with customers in a more direct and personalized manner.
We have seen audio content provide retention and engagement rates that outshine both television and the internet, which makes it the most effective and economical medium and the one which brands and marketers cannot afford to miss.
How can audio technology address the future skills gap?
A: Globally the labor market is tight and talent shortage is at a record high. More than half of companies around the world cannot find candidates with skills they are looking for. With the pace of digitization, automation and technological disruption, companies are looking at a Skills Revolution now more than ever. In a technology enabled world, people with definite skills such as voice talent will be in demand.
Companies are shifting to a personalized ‘more human’ sound branding to their image as it translates to being a more approachable, trusted and relatable.
Podcasting is the new blogging. How?
A: Blogging was considered as the ‘in’ thing a couple of years ago. Modern day podcasts are in a similar position to blogs.
While podcasts have been for quite some time, there has been a significant surge in listenership over the recent years. UAE in specific has 1.3 million people who have warmly embraced the medium.
Just like any other communication medium, podcasts too were considered nothing more than a passing fad but with the number of benefits it provides it has proven to be anything than a marketing gimmick.
Despite the challenges, brands are now preparing their business strategies to include an audio content strategy to reach out to the right targeted niche audience which leads to positive strides in the rise of audio content like the blogging revolution – but faster.