Turn up the volume: Brands, are you listening closely to the audio trends?
Increase in audio consumption and how brands can capitalise on it
India is the third largest consumer of podcasts (after the US and China), with 57.6 million monthly listeners

Turn up the volume: Brands, are you listening closely to the audio trends?

India is the third largest consumer of podcasts (after the US and China), with 57.6 million monthly listeners
  • Nadir Kanthawala, AVP New Business (North & West), WATConsult writes about the increase in audio consumption and how brands can capitalise on it.
  • He shares various ways of incorporating audio marketing in digital strategy.
After having spent over a decade in video production, I made the uncharacteristic shift to digital marketing with WATConsult. Many things were learnt and unlearnt, over the due course I realized the importance of embracing new mediums to create interesting content. Having been a producer, with the resurgence of audio-only content, I naturally gravitated towards it. Then again not just any audio, but specifically - Long Form Audio Content (LFAC).

Two years ago, I started working on a parenting podcast called ‘Pops in a Pod,’ along with a friend and fellow dad. Although at a nascent stage, thanks to the lockdown, it has ushered in a whole new wave of LFAC dissemination that we cannot ignore. LFAC is here to stay, and brands need to lend their ears. After producing 90 episodes, here’s how we realized the sheer power of this medium and the potential it holds for brands to increase their reach.

New format

Podcasting in India is nearly five years old and according to KPMG’s Media and Entertainment Report 2020, India is the third largest consumer of podcasts (after the US and China), with 57.6 million monthly listeners. This number is only going to increase. We are also witnessing a rise in audio-only social platforms like Clubhouse, Greenroom, Twitter Spaces and Facebook’s soon to be launched Live Audio Rooms. Brands need to build their associations with creators and now than later.

Production ease

When we think of dynamic content, our minds automatically steer towards video content. It’s high time we consider audio as dynamic content too. Compared to video, it’s cheaper, faster and easier to produce and in return you don’t get a 30 or a 60 second video output; but an in-depth conversation on a given subject at a minimum average length of 30 minutes. With platforms like Clubhouse and Greenroom it’s even easier since there is no elaborate setup required.

Longer engagement

Whether it’s likes, shares, comments, or average watch time, they pale in front of LFAC, especially podcasts. According to industry experts, podcasts can deliver anywhere between 16-18 minutes of average listen time, depending on the topic of conversation. In the last one year, we at WATConsult have also produced two branded podcasts for SAP and India First Insurance to educate both their internal and external audiences about their products and services.

New niches, newer audiences

Long form audio content is opening doors to genres in India like heavy metal music, parenting from a dad’s perspective, LGBTQIA+ communities, national policies, even multi-format news. And because of this, brands can look forward to interacting with new set of audiences, especially the youth. As per Spotify Culture Next Report 2021, 83% of millennials and 70% of gen Zs in India believe that streaming platforms at-large, including audio, have significantly shaped how they discover and connect with broader culture.

Language no barrier

1100% year-on-year growth in Hindi podcasts on Anchor as reported in Spotify-YouGov report. This is further validated by industry experts, representing various platforms, who are betting on regional languages viz. Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Marathi and Bengali. Considering the ease at which audio can be distributed, the potential penetration to many more corners of India is now within reach either through podcasts or audio social apps.


Audio listening is a ‘phone-down’ experience. What this means you could be working, working out, driving, walking, crunching numbers, domestic work or even taking a shower but you would always been plugged in and listening to your favourite LFAC without looking at your phone again. More engagement, less distraction.

Seamless advertising

According to Spotify Culture Next Report 2021, 69% of Indian millennials said they like audio advertising because they can use their imagination to picture everything in their head. Advertising in long form audio content is not just seamless but the chances of retention are much higher, especially if mentioned by the hosts themselves.

Spotify-YouGov Survey reports, 18-24 formed the largest audience of those who listened to a podcast for the first time on Spotify in 2020. If that’s not a good enough reason for brands to jump on the long form audio bandwagon, then I don’t know what is.

Its time brands include long form audio content as part of their marketing plan. The possibility of delivering differentiated content is endless, the question is, how long will they take to make the first step.