The Podcast phenomenon in Italy: BVA Doxa and O-One show a winning alternative to do marketing

BVA Doxa and O-One, the digital unit of Industree Communication Hub, have joined forces to deepen a communication tool now on the rise in Italy: the podcast.

The project was born from O-One's idea to encourage brands to use the podcast format (also called branded podcast) to strengthen their marketing strategies: in fact, it is not only a phenomenon of the moment but also a powerful tool to guide brands’ investment decisions, both as a means of communication and as a potential media to make advertising investments.

The data generated by the BVA Doxa’s research in May 2020, showed that 90% of Italians are aware of the podcast format and 64% of them represent the heavy users – the ones who listen to podcasts daily or at least once a week or more – 30% the light users – the ones who listen to podcasts 2 or 3 times a month - and finally only 6% of the users interviewed said they listen to podcasts almost never. The research also showed that the average Italian listener is mostly young and male.

Spotify is definitely the most used platform (67%), followed by authors or magazines’ sites, Apple Music, Audible, Marginali Spreaker and Overcast.

The listening is mainly via mobile in free mode (in fact, only two out of ten users are willing to pay for listening to a podcast) and 63% of respondents prefer to dedicates themselves to this activity especially when they are into other tasks. The most popular timeslots are in the morning - from 9 am to 1 pm - after lunch and after dinner.

The first minutes are crucial to understand the level of interest in the subject matter: in fact, one listener out of two is able to decide whether to carry on listening to a podcast just after a few minutes from the beginning of its first episode; very few users (12%) continue listening to other episodes even though the first one doesn’t convince them.

The podcast theme is the main driver along with the host and title, which needs to be catchy. The ideal length is 45 minutes, with a timing of few days (56%) to one week (43%) for the launch of a new episode.

The main drivers range from entertainment (58%), to music (39%), from inquiry (37%), to political/social insight (30%). More niche topics are those related to vocational training (25%) and language courses (19%).

Advertising is of paramount importance: 80% of listeners remember the ad content served on a podcast and they consider it less invasive than other media. This is a very important fact because 81% of users claim they are willing to enjoy a podcast produced by a company if the subject matter is interesting, while 75% appreciate ads related to the podcast's subject matter (the so-called addressable adv). The most suitable time for advertisements remains the beginning of the program. In fact, only 25% of listeners appreciate the commercial break within the episode.