Why Brands Should Look at Podcasters as the New Super Influencers


By: Harvey Schwartz


An emerging market is moving mainstream with over 124 million people in the US listening to podcasts, up 40% since 2017.

It’s now time to consider the Podcaster a true influencer.

The relationship with their audience is unique in today’s fandom society.  A fresh step away from the traditional Instagrammer or YouTuber.

As Briahna Gray, host of a variety of podcasts and online programs, including NPR, TYT, and The Real News, put it, “Because of the ‘intimacy of audio,’ listeners feel they have a relationship with the podcast host. Listeners feel like they're a part of our 15-year friendship.”

Furthermore, 70% strongly agreed that the products and services they learn about on podcasts are generally relevant to their interests. And a majority of listeners, 52%, strongly agreed that the hosts of podcasts they regularly listen to are actual users of the products or services mentioned on their programs.

The supporting facts continue—55% of listeners expressed a positive sentiment toward podcast ads consisting of the host(s) mentioning products or services. Moreover, 34% of podcast listeners reported an annual income of between $75K and $100K, while 40% make more than $100K.

Perhaps the most significant opportunity for brands and marketers has to do with the fact that while podcast listeners have historically been mostly male, women are catching up as they downloaded 25% more podcasts compared with the year-ago period.

In addition to the traditional sponsorship, I am recommending advertisers activate a 360-degree campaign with the podcaster talent as the influencer, and utilizing paid media through their social channels to effectively target a desired audience.   

Given we’re on the bleeding edge of market adoption, this might not seem an easy activation; however, the upside in overall performance will make the rewards well worth the effort.

To illustrate my point, we took several podcasters and ran their social feeds through WHOSAY Match. And we found their engagement rates are some of the highest in our system.

Podcasters have fans, not followers.

When finalizing your picks for the right podcasters for your influencer campaign, marketers should always filter for demographic overlap. This ensures that your selected podcaster will resonate with your target audience. It's also essential to review social feeds for creative alignment to make sure there’s a common voice.

Lastly, make sure the influencer is an actual user/fan of the product/service to maximize the authenticity.  And once you find a perfect match, you should consider longer-term partnerships to build on the inherent trust that these podcasters convey.

We’re at a tipping point with 30% of agencies and brands currently advertising through podcasts, while 36% said they are likely to do so in the next six months. There’s no shortage of inventory, with now over 550,000 podcasts. So where do you start?

Alexa, find me some podcasters!

Sources: Nielsen Q3 2017 Podcast Insights, Westwood One, Infinite Dial 18, Backyard media, The IAB podcast advertising report, Apple WWDC


Harvey Schwartz is EVP, Talent & Co-Founder at WHOSAY. He oversees the talent relationship division of the company and is part of the WHOSAY Match leadership team. WHOSAY is a Viacom company.

WHOSAY powers influence marketing campaigns for brands across all verticals and utilizes every level of celebrity and influencer to deliver measurably superior results compared to other social and mobile advertising solutions.

Schwartz built the WHOSAY talent platform from the ground up, first on-boarding 5,000+ celebrities and influencers, including Ronaldo, Shakira, Rihanna, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, to the WHOSAY talent app, a multi-publisher for all social content.

He then helped design and implement the proprietary WHOSAY Match platform, which crossed audience of brands and influencers with unique social data sets to match the right talent-influencer to a brand’s campaign objectives.

Prior to co-founding WHOSAY, Schwartz was responsible of the North American representation for Peter Gabriel and Real World Records, overseeing Digital and traditional marketing campaigns for product releases and tours in the US and Canada.

He was also VP, Business Development, at Voquette, a Citibank and Yahoo backed startup focusing on live streaming. Prior to Voquette, Schwartz established the Capricorn/Universal A&R Department helping develop multi-platinum artists.

Schwartz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio and Television from Indiana University in Bloomington.

You can reach Harvey via email at hschwartz@whosay.com and on LinkedIn