Google recently announced that podcasts will soon be listed in the Google Play Store.
Google moving into the space of promoting podcasts in their store should interest peace builders as there are only a handful of podcast creators in the peace building community (i.e. The Earbud_U Podcast, Jason Dykstra, Dave Hilton, and Pattie Porter). Podcasting is still viewed as a “niche” content creation mechanism; with 250,000 podcasts in circulation (in comparison to 157 million blogs) opportunities for growth in peace building are staggering.
The Google announcement (check out the link to the announcement page here and the interview they did with Libsyn (a podcast distribution company) here) while great in the light of Google discontinuing Google Listen in 2012, doesn’t answer two critical questions where podcast creators struggle:
- Getting accurate audience analytics; and
- Developing a strong marketing and branding process.
For the peace builder thinking about creating audio content there are a few things to consider:
Itunes is where most podcasts (even The Earbud_U Podcast) are hosted and distributed from. However, Itunes and Apple don’t value audio content. This is demonstrated by the fact that it is difficult for the podcast creator to get accurate measurement on who is downloading and listening to their content. The fact is, Itunes and Apple don’t commercialize podcast downloads. Yet, Apple has dominated podcast distribution for 10 years, while Google was busy developing other products.
Analytic data determines how podcasters monetize the content development process, while showing little traction early in the production process. The combination of inaccurate analytics, the struggle to get traction early and the lack of support from the largest distribution platform on the planet, leads to creators abandoning podcasting early.
Thus, the question: Is hosting a podcast in the Google Play Store going to improve the tracking of downloads and listeners for the benefit of podcast creators?
By submitting to Google Play Music, are podcast producers going to have access to the robust suite of Google products to track and monetize their downloads, i.e. have access to Analytics, Search, Google Ads (which Google promises not to put on top of creator owned content, or insert into content mid-show) and even Google My Business?
This question dovetails with branding and marketing of podcasts. Podcast branding happens when the right audio content, at the right moment, get in the ears of the right listeners. Podcast creators (and personalities) rely on ranking highly in Google search to establish brand identity with listeners. Many podcasters also create content (i.e. blogs, workshops, books) in other areas and leverage those audiences to grow their podcast brand. The question then is: If many larger, more popular podcasts (i.e. This American Life or Serial) are already dominating Google search rankings, how will having a podcast in Google Play Music impact “niche” audio content creators?
Peace builder’s know the power of the spoken word. With Google Play moving into the audio distribution space, now is the time for all peace builders to consider podcast creation.
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By Jesan Sorrell