In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, brands and retailers seeking an innovative approach to captivate the Chinese market should turn their attention to the thriving realm of podcasts. Following in the footsteps of esteemed names like Lancôme, LA MER, and Vogue Business, Louis Vuitton has recently joined with its Chinese podcast series, EX-TENDED.
While podcasts have long been a formidable force in the West, the Chinese podcast scene is an untapped wilderness full of possibilities. In a world overwhelmed with short videos and articles, podcasts offer a unique escape, allowing consumers to relax in the subway while immersing themselves in valuable and entertaining content. As screens become increasingly cluttered, audio content emerges with guiding users to discover a world of information with their screens turned off.
The art of product seeding through podcasts has surged in significance. During this year's Single's Day, JD.com collaborated with over 1900 podcasters in China, accumulating an impressive 670 million plays and translating these engagements into tangible transactions.
Noteworthy podcast channels in China include the Himalaya APP, Apple Podcasts, and the rising star, Little Cosmos (小宇宙app). Apps like Fandeng Reading and Dedao focus on pre-recorded content, catering to diverse audience segments.
Little Cosmos stands out as the premier podcast platform, particularly capturing the attention of Generation Z. Since its launch in 2020, the app has dominated the podcast landscape with a remarkable 74.6% penetration rate among podcast audiences in China, as reported by JustPod. In contrast, Apple Podcasts (46.4%) and Himalaya (21.2%) claim the second and third positions. Following closely are NetEase, Spotify, and the ubiquitous WeChat mini-program.
The production of podcast series demands a level of professionalism that might pose a challenge for brands looking to launch their Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) podcasts. However, several effective strategies exist for brands to leverage podcast channels like Little Cosmos.
Launch a DTC Podcast Series. Brands can embark on creating their podcast series, conceptualizing it as a campaign or project. These series may be released in seasons to maintain sustained engagement.
Additionally, collaborate with Podcast Hosts (Influencers). Brands can forge partnerships with podcast hosts or influencers to advertise their products. This can take the form of short ads (10-30 seconds) at the beginning or middle of the series or be seamlessly integrated as soft advertisements through special interviews or panel discussions.
The rationale behind investing in podcasts is crystal clear: as traditional on-screen advertising spaces become saturated, consumers are growing tired of intrusive ads. Podcasts provide a fresh, off-screen touchpoint, offering brands an alternative route to reach their target audience. Notably, the Chinese podcast audience is renowned for its loyalty and education, presenting an invaluable opportunity for brands to forge enduring connections. Furthermore, the nature of podcast consumption ensures that listeners are less inclined to fast-forward through ads, fearing the prospect of missing out on engaging content.
Crucially, the podcast experience extends beyond the series itself, creating a holistic customer touchpoint. Brands can seamlessly integrate this engagement across various channels, including offline and online stores, WeChat, and more. For example, podcast bloggers' private WeChat groups evolving into dynamic hubs provide a space for members to actively share new product discoveries, insights, and intriguing gossip.
In conclusion, as brands and retailers set their sights on the dynamic Chinese market, the podcast landscape stands as a compelling frontier waiting to be explored. By harnessing the power of audio content, brands can not only captivate a loyal and educated audience but also cultivate a nuanced and lasting relationship with Chinese consumers in an increasingly digitized world.