Podcast: Idil Cakim of Audacy covers seismic shifts in the media landscape

We spoke with Idil Cakim, Senior Vice President, Head of Research and Insights at Audacy, about the rise in popularity of audio and how listening has become a ritual for consumers. Audacy is a leading multi-platform content and entertainment company; they engage 200+ million consumers every month. Over the course of her twenty-year career, Idil has devised marketing and communications strategies for Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She’s the author of the bestselling book, “Word of Mouth Marketing: Online Strategies to Identify Influencers, Craft Stories and Draw Customers” (Wiley, 2010) Idil currently serves on the Ad Council’s research committee. 

We discussed a new study from Audacy, and how it has uncovered the ritual function of audio in consumer’s lives. Idil then shared details about how the study was conducted, and opportunities they discovered for brands. Idil concludes with some ideas about the future of the audio space.

Idil began by sharing about an exciting new Audacy study. “We just conducted some new research that uncovered how the media landscape is shifting, and specifically how audio’s role has moved to the very heart of our daily lives.” They discovered that audio has moved “from the background to the foreground.” The rise in popularity of audio in today’s society has helped change the entire media landscape. “For almost 40% of American adults, it is a ritual in itself and has become central to people’s lives.”

During Covid lockdowns, people increased the amount of time they spent with audio content, and this trend is now continuing. “So that got us thinking,” shared Idil, “how do people spend their time in their daily lives, and what kind of rituals do they bring audio into?” They did not expect to find audio becoming a ritual in itself, so they conducted in-depth research, looking at both qualitative and quantitative ways of measurement. The study evaluated ways in which the audience navigated listening time, and the types of rituals they built around it. 

Idil shared the specifics about how the study was conducted: “We started with a qualitative analysis of social media insights. That helped us shape the questions we asked.” Then came a robust, 15 minute online survey. From there they built out an ethnography, and over a five-day period, respondents received different tasks surrounding how they consumed audio. “The more you know, the more questions you come up with,” says Idil, so this was then followed by a series of in-depth interviews to supplement the study. 

“The big aha, was that 74% of US adults said they set aside time for audio,” shared Idil. And 40% of respondents said they plan their daily activities around audio. “We spotted many opportunities to come in authentically into the day of the consumer. Whether it was the morning walk, children being dropped at school, evening time between parents and kids, or something for work - there were 11 specific activities they listed for us.” These 11 specific moments that consumers are most engaged with their audio consumption are big opportunities for brands. 

Idil gave some insight into what is next for the world of audio. “Audio can seep into any platform,” she shared, so they are looking at all the opportunities coming available, including the metaverse. They are also increasingly receiving requests from clients about understanding sonic branding as a creative tool, and the potential of brand anthems.

Learn more about the study we talked about on this episode at:

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