Gender stereotypes affect every part of our lives, be that in our own private and personal lives or our jobs. Just as it penetrates across the physical spaces, issues on gender is also felt in the technological space. Tackling the gender wage gap happening in the podcasting industry, host Tracy Hazzard sits down with COO of Simplecast, Jeanine Wright. With two big podcasting companies under their names, Tracy and Jeanine give us a great view of podcast wage gap and bring awareness to the areas where the industry can make changes. Jeanine shares with us her own research about the topic along with some of her own experiences, diving into the forces that prevent women from negotiating more pay than men and their differences in defining success. Tune in to this great episode and discover the crippling trends in the podcasting world.
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The Podcast Gender Wage Gap With Jeanine Wright
I’ve got an interesting interview for you. I’ve got Jeanine Wright from Simplecast. Before you go there, Simplecast and Podetize are somewhat competitors. We play in a little bit different plane. Our client base is very different as I’ve gotten to know them a little bit better. The reason I wanted to bring Jeanine on is that she’s got such an interesting research that they’re doing over there that’s valuable for the entire podcast industry. At Podetize and at Feed Your Brand, we want to make sure that everyone’s podcast can grow to be as successful as possible and it doesn’t matter what platform you’re on.
I wanted to bring you this great idea of why we’re doing this and where we’re going. I met Jeanine at She Podcasts. She was giving a talk on the podcast wage gap, the gender wage gap. It goes along with many articles that I’ve written for Inc. Magazine over the years. I wanted to make sure that we’re highlighting this because I would love it. As you’ll read at the very end of the conversation with Jeanine, we would both love it if podcasting became gender-blind at some point in the future. It didn’t matter. There wouldn’t be any monetization or wage gap differences. Wouldn’t that be an amazing world? Jeanine and I are here to bring exposure to the topic because when we bring awareness, we start to get at where we can make changes. Let me introduce Jeanine.
Jeanine is the COO and CLO of Simplecast. It’s a podcasting technology company that powers podcasts from some brands, media companies and creators like Netflix, Twitter, Politico, Us Weekly and Dax Shepard. Their management hosting and audience analytics enable creators of all sizes to distribute their podcast anywhere people listen. Jeanine’s got an amazing background in Angel investing, tech startups, mentoring high potential women professionals and serving on corporate boards. She is a very busy woman. She does a lot of writing for them as well. You’d be able to see a lot of blogs on their Simplecast website. I’m looking forward to this conversation. I’m looking forward to knowing your feedback on this conversation as well. Let’s talk podcast wage gap with Jeanine Wright.
Jeanine, I’m glad we’re getting a chance to sit down here because we didn’t have time at She Podcasts to talk. We were all crazy going from event to event. Everything was running back to back. I don’t know about you, but I was deeply tired after the event.
It was very exciting. There was a ton of people and a ton of things to do. They did a beautiful job, especially with it being the first event and many people to meet and talk to. It was exhausting.
I missed the first couple of minutes of your event trying to get out of my booth and get up there with your particular talk within it. I was fascinated by the comments over the time and what I heard in your talk about the wage gap that’s going on. What I was most surprised about was that it wasn’t such a male-female demographic as it was a cultural demographic difference that the wage gap is greater.
That’s exactly right. We see a wage gap emerge in podcasting and all of the same ways that it has emerged in all of the other mediums. Part of the point of the speech that I was making there and part of the reason why I’m so passionate about this is I feel like podcasting is such a new and young medium that we have this opportunity to not make the same mistakes of the past and not let history repeat itself. We can start to identify that these same trends are happening in podcasting. If we come together as a community and engage early, there are things that we can do to prevent these things from happening.
We’re going to talk about some of the things that you mentioned in your talk about preventing them, but let’s talk a little bit about how this is coming about. You started some research. You also have based it on some of your own experience with the clients that you have as well as marketplace information. You have PodcastWageGap.com. If you have a podcast already, especially if you are taking advertisements, sponsorships, affiliates or some revenue from it, they’d love to have your information there. The more data, the better. I firmly believe in it, which is one reason why Jeanine is here because I want to make sure that you get as much valuable data from as broad an audience as possible. That’s going to lead to more valuable information and greater services and information about how to close it. How has that research been going for you and what is it studying?
Initially, there was some resistance to us conducting the research. We got a lot of surprising feedback from people who commented that they couldn’t believe that it was even worth us looking into. There were some snide remarks about how nobody’s making any money in podcasting so there can’t be a wage gap. We even heard some comments that it wasn’t about differences between men and women or different cultures or ethnicities, that it was about motivation. People who are most motivated were the people who are going to make the most money. We initially saw some resistance and then when we started to pick up the pace on the number of people that we were getting to respond to our survey. We got a good swath of people respond to the podcast wage gap survey. That created a good broad base of research for us.
We also looked at a lot of the research that we’re seeing in the space. It’s easier to study gender differences because even if people don’t identify as men or women when they’re signing up for a survey, a lot of times you can tell by the name or by somebody’s voice when listening to a podcaster. Certainly, it’s harder to get as broad of information on culture, LGBTQ, BIPOC. It’s harder to get that information from listening to somebody or looking at their names. We started to get some of that information too. We started to see some other surveys in the space like the number of podcasts that are now hosted by women, the number of women listeners, what the demographics of listeners are, and the way that women listeners behave differently than men listeners behave. We did this partnership with a company called Glow, which is a crowdsourcing monetization platform, sponsorship tipping like Patreon, designed specifically for podcasts. They had a lot of good data that they were able to share with us on the different ways that men and women in particular are using their platform and what they see in success in terms of crowdsourcing monetization.
I thought that was interesting. Some of the Glow numbers, there were more equal numbers in terms of men and women signing up for Glow accounts and doing all of that. When it went to go asking for money, the gap widened to something between 90% and 10%. It was that broad a gap between starting to go out there and say, “I’m taking donations for my podcast or sponsorship.”
The encouraging data there is that once podcasters launch their tipping platform, once they decide to make the ask and they have set up so that people could provide them with some direct sponsorship, the rates of monetization between men and women look like they’re pretty equal. Men and women podcasters are able to engage their audiences and get their audiences to give them money in fairly equal numbers. When you pull back the curtain and look at who were the people who are utilizing the platform, the data was about 65% of the people who sign up for accounts are men. Right out the gate, more men than women are putting up their hands to say that they are ready to make the ask.
When you look at the entire funnel of who starts an account and then who actually launches the account, 95% of the shows that launched the account to start asking for money are men versus women. It’s pretty incredible when you look at it, especially when you think that once they get out the gate, they’re performing fairly equally. What is it that is holding women back from getting out of the gate? Some of the research that we were doing and some of the learnings that we’re getting from what we’ve seen in wage gap research in other spaces and in particular, the actual wage gap of what is it that prevents women from asking for more wages, from negotiating more pay. Some of those same things we believe are forces that are operating here. Women are more hesitant.
We’re bringing all that baggage into everything that we do and it’s time to break that in a great way. That’s where I was looking at. Some of the things that we do in both prepping our shows and how we build our shows and the audience and the feedback in the community demonstrate great value. Why is that not enough? Why is that not enough for us to say, “It’s time to ask for tipping. It’s time to ask for sponsors. It’s time to move on and do a call to action, sell something?”
It’s almost like these are the people, these are the women in particular, that could be the natural-born leaders in the space because these are women who are podcasting. You would assume that they have already found their voice. They already see themselves as an authority on something or having something that is worth being said that people want to listen to. There is some barrier to taking that next step of saying that not only is what I’m saying valuable and worth being heard, but it is also worth somebody paying me to do it, at least helping cover my costs to do it. This is valuable than just me sitting in my home office behind a mic, recording into my computer and hoping that somebody hears it.If we come together as a podcasting community and engage early, there are things that we can do to prevent things from happening. Click To Tweet
Is your survey taking a look at traditional versus non-traditional monetization? Is it looking at things like are you making money in selling your courses, your books and the other things versus just selling advertisements and sponsorship space?
Yes, and that’s an important point and some interesting data that we’ve been able to get from the survey. We look at all the different forms of monetization. The one that first comes to mind for everybody is ad-based monetization. For some reason, people have it in their mind that that is the pinnacle of success in podcasting, that you’re an ad-sponsored model. It’s always funny to me. Maybe an appropriate analogy is becoming a professional athlete or becoming a well-known celebrity.
I’m going to get on the box of Wheaties and that’s the pinnacle of success.
If I want to be an actress, then that means that I’m going to be the Kardashians and I’m going to have all these endorsements and I’m going to have movie deals. There are a lot of people who make a good living acting and a lot of people who make a good living supporting others who are acting. It doesn’t mean that they’re the top 1% and that they’re monetizing in the same way as the people who are in our faces all the time are monetizing. It is true that the overwhelming majority of the money being made by podcasters is advertising money, but that’s being made by a very small percentage of podcasters. The way that most podcasters are monetizing, and a lot of podcasters are monetizing and monetizing very successfully, is outside of the ad model.
That’s because right now it’s still very difficult for people to get advertising dollars. There’s not that easy Google or Facebook kind of platform to make ad buys to connect podcasters with advertisers directly and for them to efficiently be able to do small buys. Most of the people in this space who are making money in advertising are these mega shows with sales resources and connections. They’re able to garner the top dollars and the majority of the dollars in podcasting so far. The good news is that there are tons of advertising dollars coming into the space. We’re starting to see the flow and the analytics behind podcasting are getting better. The ease of making and buying transactions is getting better. Those doors are going to continue to open and more and more people are going to make money from advertising. For right now, the overwhelming majority of podcasters who are making money in podcasting are not making money through advertising.
It’s interesting because one of the first conversations we usually have with our clients over here is what is your number one business goal for doing this podcast and what is a sign of monetary success for you? Very often, it’s not ad dollars because they already have a sense of, “I do affiliate sales and it doesn’t make me a ton of money.” This is my personal opinion and of course we’re doing some research on it and that’s somewhat included in our pod fading research that we’re doing. There’s a little section on it, but I believe that it is a bad training module out there on those that are educating people on what podcasts are about, how to start a podcast, all of those things.
Most of the old school model of how to set up a podcast is a digital marketer’s model of it, which was going after passive income. Passive income is ads, sponsors and affiliate sales. That model of setting up your show is what they’re hearing. They only have this thought that that’s the way to go about it. It’s coming in this early perception of what is a podcast. If we can break some of that down, we certainly break it down on our end. What I want to get at is understanding why you guys decided to do this research. What triggered this for you? Were you seeing something in your client base? Were you seeing something that was saying there’s a problem here?
We are pretty unique in this space. We provide hosting distribution analytics. We’re best known for our analytics in the space. We’re one of very few companies out there that serve both creators and enterprises. We were doing a lot of studying on how do we help these independent podcasters who are not a celebrity name become bigger, have big audiences and get success, whatever and however they define success for themselves. We started to see that there were differences between, in particular, the ways men and women were thinking about or defining success.
It started with that understanding at a base level. The success model was already different.
Some of that data has been confirmed in the podcasting wage gap survey because when you ask people who haven’t started monetizing yet, how do you think that you’re going to monetize or what is your plan for monetization? Women and black and indigenous podcasters of color and LGBTQ in particular, they all think monetization, where I’m going to go towards monetization. For some reason, monetization through ad buying might be the second or third top choice. The overwhelming majority of men think that their plan towards monetization, even if they haven’t started yet, is probably sponsorship, merch, live events, touring these other monetization models.
Because we know that the overwhelming majority of podcasters are going to have monetization success in those other ways besides advertising, it’s almost like the men, the white men in particular, have the inside scoop that the women don’t have yet and the minority podcasters don’t have yet because they are still falling into this stereotypical understanding about how podcasts get monetized. It was that definition of what success looked like. The other thing that stood out for me is that I don’t make a podcast myself. I respect the people who do and have that creative talent. I listen to a ton of podcasts.
I’m glad you’re a listener because I can tell you there are a lot of hosts who aren’t listeners and it shows in the quality of their show. One day when you go to make your own show, you’re going to know exactly what you wanted to sound like.
Sometimes, especially before the holidays when there’s going to be a road trip or something like that, we often volunteer to our community group. If you want us to listen to your show and provide you some feedback, drop your link here.
That’s you. You’re the one who does it.
I spend a good amount of time listening to podcasts and providing constructive feedback. There’s one thing that I started to notice anecdotally as a person who listens to a lot of podcasts and in particular men versus women because I can tell a woman’s voice versus a man’s voice. I’m starting to take note of the way that women were addressing monetization and their calls to action differently than the way that men were. The thing that I notice most significantly to me that stood out in my mind was that women are much more likely to put their call to action at the very end of their podcast than at the beginning or throughout their podcasts. Because we have the analytics on completion rates and stop-starts and skips, our data shows that in the last two minutes of the podcast, the overwhelming majority of your audience is dropping out. The thing that was this light bulb that went off into my head was the overwhelming majority of women are putting their call to action in the last two minutes of their podcast when the overwhelming majority of their audience is not even hearing it. Even if they are asking, their audience isn’t even hearing it.
Companies like yours and like mine, when we look at that broad data sets and we start seeing these trends happen across many shows, this is why I believe we’ve been so successful with our launches and setups being very successful. It’s because we do this again and again and we see these patterns happening. When you have a certain style cover art, it doesn’t work. It has a slower launch than other ones. You’re looking at the data and you’re saying the same thing. You’re saying, “This is common with shows hosted by women and yet our data shows this isn’t even a point that most people listen to.” What an a-ha. How could you avoid doing this? You’re like, “I have to validate this. I have to understand this. There’s more here that I’m missing.”Men are spending way more time making the ask than women. Click To Tweet
That’s why my ear perked up to it. I literally even started a log of how many men I was hearing, the way that they were asking, when they were asking. The other thing that I started looking at is how much time are they spending asking, literally how much of their airtime are they spending making an ask. Men are spending way more time making the ask than women are spending making the ask. They ask more frequently. The ask itself is longer than women are. I had this journal in the car and I started telling these different things as I was listening to all these podcasts.
Now we have to look at it from the other side. Because our platform is known, like you’re the guys who are known for your analytics and everything and you guys have great analytics. They’re beautiful-looking, by the way. It really does because ours are ugly and we recognize that. Ours have not been the important part of what we’re providing there. Our goal is strategies and setups to making sure that alternative monetization is the primary goal. My first question to someone is, “Why would you want to take ads? Is this the right thing for you?” That still doesn’t mean you get out of your call to action because you’re not taking ads and what you’re pointing out is so valuable.
Here’s the thing that our data overlapping is going to have to be very valuable to the people reading this. Our data shows that if you make your ask in the first 25 episodes, if your ask is too heavy in the first 25 episodes, especially if you do a heavy launch where your first eight weeks are 25 episodes, then you will have significantly less traction long-term than if you wait until after 25 episodes and start making the heavier asks. There’s a timing of how you didn’t earn my trust yet. That’s where I see it.
Maybe you did earn my trust, but you haven’t demonstrated value to me.
That’s part of why our alternative monetization model of doing the admixing after the fact, once you hit 25 episodes or 100 episodes or wherever that is, you can go in and put your calls to action anywhere you want later and you can change them out at any time. That’s where we created that ability to have the value and we don’t recommend them in the post. We do that so that the outro does always have a call to action in it because it would be silly if someone was listening to it for you to miss that point. Another mistake that we see is that the introduction itself that has the call to action on it with the music underlying it, maybe it’s a voiceover, maybe it’s you as the voiceover, but if you make that call to action immediately, that does worse when you’re launching as well. Immediately it sets people up who’ve checked out your show to say, “They’re going to sell me a bunch of stuff on this show. It’s not in my best interest to be listening to it.” We don’t recommend that and we remove that from the intros as well. You can do it right after that. You can add it in later, but we don’t recommend it right in that intro with the music.
We see a lot of people in our data a lot of skipping behavior at the beginning of an episode, especially when the normal cadence of a podcast has been very set in stone. They are like, “The first three minutes is going to be commercials and then your chit chatter and so then I’m going to start seven minutes in it.” One of the things that we like to work with our customers, in particular our professional planning customers, where we can engage with them on a more hands-on basis is we start helping them run tests to see what would happen. “Let’s see if you did an Easter egg,” like Ira Glass and This American Life is famous for, putting an Easter egg at the very end of the show. How does that change your completion rates? If you played around with your intros, are you going to get more people who are listening to that introduction spot instead of skipping? What if you moved it around in the episodes that it wasn’t always exactly in the middle? We’ve been helping people test a number of different things like that and seeing some interesting results.
That’s what we’ve seen as well. We’ve seen those that don’t follow up the programmatic style to their show, which follows the radio model of at eighteen minutes, a bunch of ads are going to run and following that model of it where they put it naturally into the down spots. A down spot for us might be I’m doing a separate intro of you and we’re talking about that downtime might be right before you start the intro. I’ve already excited everyone. They don’t want to miss what you have to say. I’m going to run my spot there. If it’s not programmatically five minutes in every single time on every single episode that I do, they’re not going to want to skip it. They’re not going to want to miss the fact that they want to hear who you are and then hear the interview with you. You’re right. It is a planning and programming thing as much as it is an execution. You’ve got to have these calls to action. I’m not going to ever convert if I never ask.
That’s interesting and it’s funny to see how our data is parallel two sides of the same coin. There were two other things that came up in my researcher by listening to hundreds of shows and taking notes in my journal about what I was hearing. I was also finding that women are less likely to communicate the value proposition. They’re more likely to say something like, “If you like me, go to my Patreon page,” or “If you like what you hear,” and frame it almost as a call to validate me or validate my show. Whereas the overwhelming majority of the male podcasters that we were listening to, when they were asking for a sponsorship or to attend a live event or to buy merch, the communication was often around the value that was shared. It was something along the lines of, “This podcast takes money to make and I know that you get a lot of value out of it. You hear it week over week and we’re always the top of your listen. We do investigative journalism and that’s expensive to bring you high-quality grade shows,” or whatever it is. It’s around what it is that we made and that it actually costs money and that it is worth your contributing to it to keeping it alive rather than vote for me by giving me $1.
That’s a good point and it is showing in the data of why people don’t want to be sold too soon, why in my study of doing the first 25 episodes is too soon to be putting in those types of calls to action. By the time you serve them, they do feel obligated. You just need to remind them of that. That’s what those male hosts are doing. Some women won’t feel comfortable with that. I could see that happening because I’ve coached a lot of them as they come through our programs and we’ve come up with a slightly modified approach than, “You’re getting value, so give me something back,” because that sounds harsh. I’m simplifying it of course, but it does sound harsh.
What we like to do is a little bit softer reminder and this has worked for many of the women who have done something like a donation platform. What we do more of is, “Here are the examples of the value that you received.” You’re reminding them of what they heard. This is an example of what you have and then you’re reminding them that there is this platform to do it. The connection has to be made in their mind, but you’re tying it to value that was given. Here’s the platform. You don’t make that same, “You need to go do this,” because that sounds too harsh. You’re putting the two things next to each other and our brains naturally want to make that connection to the two things.
That’s interesting how closely that parallels the research on how women should negotiate for increases in wages. Because that research has indicated that it’s hard to go in and say, “I am worth X,” or “I have given you this amount of value, so therefore you should pay me Y.” For women, there seems to be more effective in their approach when they say something like, “Here is the value that I’m bringing to the table. Here’s how you’re benefiting as an organization. Here’s how I fit in and here’s how we can be successful together. This is what the market typically values this at.”
I always call it an invitation. That’s how I term it when I’m talking to and coaching the women. I try to do it with men too, because you have women you’re talking to and they don’t always respond well to that push. It’s making it more of an invitation style of, “I invite you to get even more value, get even more benefits by joining our event.” Putting it in that terms, you’re creating an opportunity. You’re not selling.
I think that it’s great to listen to some of the greats in the space, especially like the public radio organizations that have been podcasting for a long time and listen to the ways that they’re doing their calls to action and their invitations for sponsorship. You can hear the love and the dedication that goes into creating this part of the content that is certainly as important as the rest of the content that they’re creating. That’s one thing that we talk to our creators about a lot too, is that if they want to increase the listen throughs and to have happy potential sponsors or get good responses to their calls to actions, then they should get creative with the way that they’re asking and start testing it. Maybe one episode you ask this way and you give it a different code or you test a different time period and another episode you ask this way.
That’s why our platform with being able to drop ads in and take them out, we’ve been able to do that in a greater way across the listens and do much tighter A/B testing to start to study what’s working and what’s not. There is a certain time at almost always we see host recorded ads do better. Host recorded calls to action do better. When you’re asking for yourself on behalf of it and you’re the one who has given the value, it has the highest traction. It will always have a higher call to action traction and conversion rate. There is an occasion where you’re like, “This is the last minute. The tickets are on sale only for two more days,” or something like that. That’s where we find using your voice-over artists can be more useful in that more pushy reminder that the deadline is coming for something. That’s where your voice over, that voice of authority that started your show out can serve you well in pushing them to take action immediately, as opposed to the way that you might have done it otherwise. You don’t have to tread over your icky feelings about being that pushy about it. “The $100 offer is off on December 1st. You’ve only got so many days left.”
I imagine that those are more effective for women than they are for men as well because audiences stereotypically tend to resonate less with women being pushy sales versus men being pushy sales, even though it’s the same message.
That’s where if your voiceover artists isn’t a male. We recommend that to the women that you’re advertising voice-over whenever you use it should be a male. It has a more demand authority unfortunately, but it’s the level and the resonance of the voice. It doesn’t have to do with gender. It has to do with the push in the sound of the voice to the cortex of your brain to say, “Do this now. It’s an urgent thing.” There was a bunch of studies where we got the information from.Audiences stereotypically resonate less with women being pushy in sales versus men, even though it’s the same message. Click To Tweet
There’s a bunch of studies on navs. The navs that are women telling you to take a turn and do all of this, many brains take that as more of a suggestion than urgency. If you’re about to run into a wall or do something wrong, if you had a male voice telling you, you will treat it with a higher level of urgency because of the resonance of the voice hitting your brain. You’re passively listening, which is what happens on the podcast. We’re not always actively listening. We’re doing other things. We’re doing dishes or folding laundry or driving somewhere. That passive listening, you have to have that sound hit you in the right place.
I would love to work with a client to test that. We have dynamic audio on the platform as well. We love to encourage our customers to run A/B testing on their programs with all of their different kinds of content. A lot of people look at analytics or look at dynamic audio injection as this is for ads. The analytics is first and foremost a feedback loop for helping people make better content and content that resonates better with the audience that they’re trying to reach. Once you are able to dial in that content that you’re making and continue to listen to this feedback that you’re getting from your audience, both in what they’re telling you in response to surveys and how they’re engaging with you on social and all those ways, but actually in the data. You can think about what is your monetization strategy and how can you officially get to monetization. What does the data tell you about how you should build your monetization strategy around what you know?
We don’t want anyone to come out discouraged from this conversation between you and I. I hope we haven’t in any way discouraged you, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want the information and we want the data. How are you putting that out there? How are you sharing that with the public and with your community?
We’re definitely still in the process of gathering information at PodcastWageGap.com and putting together a white paper on the findings there. I’ve been doing a lot of writing on it, a lot of speaking on it. We work with our customers directly in providing feedback whenever we can and certainly with our professional customers. We’re working with them one-on-one to help give them the big picture of what it is that they could be doing.
You have to dial it in what’s best for you and your show.
A lot of the value add that you’re providing to your customers as well is that right now, it is very hard for people to understand benchmarking and podcasting. Because the overwhelming majority of podcasters can only see what their numbers are and they have no idea if that’s normal, is that good, is that bad? That’s why you see it in all these Facebook groups and all these community groups. Somebody who’s like, “I launched my podcast and now I have 100 listens.” Is that good? “Most of my listens are not even from my hometown. How am I getting these listeners?” Sometimes people know to ask questions of the community to try and get a sense of normalcy, but the overwhelming majority of people don’t. When you’re somebody like me or like you who sits in the seat of being able to see analytics across thousands of shows and to start getting true sense of what normal is, then you can help provide people more specific feedback as to how are they benchmarking and what they could be doing differently.
The other thing is being very clear in what that strategy is from the beginning is also giving you the right group to benchmark against. That’s what I find most often is I’m seeing on this Facebook group that they’re posting that they got 10,000 listeners in eight weeks. My first podcast out there, I didn’t know that we were doing well and I didn’t care. It wasn’t the point of it. We achieved 25,000 listeners in five months. This was years ago. It was at a different time. We were told by a publication that wanted to write an article about us that that’s phenomenal. We were like, “Is that good? I guess that’s good.”
It is crazy to think that I often know before the podcaster knows how successful they are. People have no sense of what is normal. We help provide them that grounding. There are lots of other insights as well. For example, I was working with a customer where I was looking at her analytics with her and I said, “You are getting so many listens on an Apple watch.” She’s like, “Really?” I’m like, “Yes, way more than normal.” We started talking about what does that mean? What is the tech slant of your listening audience and how could you lean into that?
The tech slant or the exercise slant. They’re listening while they’re exercising.
People come in with all these stereotypes of like, “Everybody listens on their commute.”
Many of us don’t ever commute. I joke with my clients when I listen to their shows like, “If you were a podcaster coming on my show here and I was interviewing you about successful podcasting, I would be listening to you while I put my makeup on in the morning,” because it is the only alone time that I completely have. My morning routine can be very long. I’m not ready to come out yet because I’m still listening to a podcast.
I’m pregnant right now so I have a lot of pregnancy-induced insomnia. I am probably listening to you in the middle of the night.
I’m the one that’s doing those overnight listens that you’re like, “I’m waking at 2:00 AM.”
That would be me.
Congratulations, Jeanine. I can tell you, I listened to a lot of podcasts when I was pregnant with my last kids too. I know the feeling. It does happen. This is the last thing that I want to talk about is that one of the things that I see so often is that I actually met some successful women who had great shows and they didn’t realize how great their shows were. They were getting feedback on, “You’re a niche podcast,” or “You’re focused on women.” My comment to them was, “Women are not a niche audience,” because I come out of the product design and the brand side of things.
The brand world of those that want to advertise and women buy or influence 86% or more of the purchases that are in the marketplace in almost every single product category. Finance, travel, obviously shopping, products, beauty, wellness and men’s products, they influence that. Why wouldn’t you be a valuable show to advertise on if your whole entire audience is all pregnant women, for instance? That would be huge, entire audience. I said, “Push back on those advertisers you’re talking to. Give up that company and go find another one because that’s not acceptable either.”It is time for podcasters to start sharing information and become mentors and connectors for each other. Click To Tweet
I saw in Forbes Magazine one time, they said, “If the consumer economy had a sex, it would be female.” They are driving almost, like you said, north of 80% of the consumer purchasing and are often the influence or the veto vote behind somebody else’s purchase even if they’re not the one who’s doing the activate purchasing themselves. I also think that the data that we’re seeing emerging in the podcasting space in particular helps women there too, because now we’re seeing that it’s quickly approaching to be the majority of the listening audiences are women across all podcasts. Two, we’re seeing that women listen and engage with podcasts different than men do. Women are listening for longer periods of time, are listening more intently. They’re less likely to skip. They’re less likely to drop off. This way that we’re seeing that women are engaging with podcasting also supports an argument that they are more of a consumer audience that an advertiser might want to reach.
That demographic, the listenership tipping right now should start changing the brand acceptance of it and the brand understanding of where the value lies.
We’re also starting to see more and more of the categories emerging that resonate with women’s audiences. You’ll see even more of that.
I loved the new category shift on Apple. It makes a lot more sense. This is where I have my own opinions and I give them pretty freely here about why I think it happened, but it is aligning itself much more with a consumer-based view of marketplaces. That’s what I see in how they’re listed. They’re aligned with how Amazon organizes books, for instance. You’re starting to see that absolute alignment in the categories.
You’re right that anecdotally we are hearing that a lot of women in particular when they go to negotiate with sponsors get bucketed into instead of in the gen-pop source of revenue for podcast advertising, they get put into like the Latina women category or the women’s sports category or the LGBTQ category. Women are finding or these minorities are finding that they need to speak up and push back to argue as to why their consumer base isn’t niche. It shouldn’t have access to just a niche bucket of funds that might be available to an advertiser. Instead, they should be able to tap into that gen-pop advertising dollar source.
Jeanine, it’s been such a pleasure talking with you. I’m excited to keep the motion of the industry going in the right direction. It seems like it is. It seems like great companies like yours in mine were working on it for all of the benefits of the whole entire community, not just our client base. We’re shifting that model as we move forward. At least what I love about what you’re doing with the podcast wage gap and what we’re doing over here with the pod fading research is we’re starting to get at where the failure points are happening, where the discrepancies are happening, and we’re raising awareness to that fact. When we bring awareness to it, we can change the model.
The biggest thing that people can take away is that it is time to start sharing information and to start becoming mentors and connectors for each other and start advocating for each other. Once we have this information and the power of this information, then we can make sure that this industry doesn’t go the same way as we’ve seen many other industries go.
I’ve written about a few too many in my Inc. column. We’ve been writing about tech wage gaps for gender and cultural wage gaps and all kinds of things lately. I’m tired of writing about it, frankly.
I would love to write a piece where it’s how podcasting figured it out and model for the rest of the world.
You and me both. That’s our goal here. Thank you so much, Jeanine. I appreciate it. Everybody will be able to find you at FeedYourBrand.co and they can take the Podcast Wage Gap surveys. Thank you so much, Jeanine. I appreciate your time.
Thank you so much.
- She Podcasts
About Jeanine Wright
Jeanine is the COO & CLO of Simplecast, a podcasting technology company that powers podcasts from many of the most well-known brands, media companies and creators, from Netflix, Twitter, Politico and Us Weekly to Dax Shepard. Our management, hosting and Audience analytics suite enables creators of all sizes to distribute their podcasts anywhere people listen. The Simplecast toolset makes it effortless for podcasters to grow, understand, and better connect with their audiences.
Jeanine also enjoys angel investing in tech startups, mentoring high-potential women professionals, and serving on corporate boards. When not in front of a laptop, Jeanine keeps busy with her 2 rambunctious boys, 2 dogs, 5 chickens, a hive of bees, growing her own food and making craft beers on her little “urban farm.” Jeanine also volunteers with her family to prepare and serve meals to shelter and represents victims of domestic violence and refugees pro bono. She received her JD from USC, Order of the Coif, and her BA in Political Science from UCLA, Cum Laude.
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