Why Smart Speakers Are Important

Long-term success for your podcast needs a little forward planning and one key area is how you include smart speakers.

Alexa, Siri and OK Google are all increasingly common. Outside of the USA, Ireland and the UK are two of the leading markets by percentage of household penetration. Both our markets are also one of the highest for podcast usage. It must be our upbringing on quality public service broadcasting from the BBC and RTE !!

However, looking at America is often like looking into the future, because what happens there usually filters down to what will happen here. Right now in the States, a third of adults own a smart speaker and how they use them is interesting.

According to Edison Research’s Smart Audio report, 51% of Americans buy a smart speaker to replace a traditional radio. However, once they do that, they discover all the other things you can do with it. One of the big new uses is listening to podcasts. How many of them listen to podcasts on a smart speaker? A whopping 47%.

The data shows smart speaker owners spend 20% of their audio consumption time with a smart speaker, which is the same share they spend listening to traditional radio.

So, smart speaker usage is on the rise. They are the new ‘radio’ but a radio which also allows you to play any music you like on Spotify etc or listen to your favourite programme on-demand using podcasts.

Of course, the reality is that this is still a small percentage of overall podcast listening, but the point to remember is that it is growing. So when you close your eyes and imagine how successful your podcast will be in five years’ time, you have got to factor smart speakers into your plan.

That is why it is so important to register your podcast not only with Apple but also with the big smart speaker manufacturers; Google and Amazon.

The other key thing to keep in mind is the title of your podcast. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Keep it easy to say. A lot of podcast titles are a play on words. While this works fine in text format, it’s a disaster area for speech. Smart speakers are not smart enough to figure out double meanings.

Also, pay attention to your overall podcast description. Google and Amazon use your entire web activity to build a profile about you. If two podcasts have the same name, it will use this profile to match with the podcast description that works best. Yes, I know, very big brother.

Podcasting is a long game and those who incorporate these little things into their overall plans will be the long-term winners.

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research is based on a national online survey of 1,190 U.S. adults age 18+ who own a smart speaker, as well as 560 U.S. adults age 18+ who do not own a smart speaker but use voice assistants on other devices such as smartphones, and another 584 U.S. adults 18+ who do not use voice assistants at all. Surveys were conducted from Feb 28 to April 18 2022. Download it here.

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