Millions of Australians are catching a Quicky on the way to work, the intimate smart podcast helping make Mamamia the country's largest female-focussed independent website.
Content head Holly Wainwright says the podcasts - which led from a 2007 blog by founder Mia Freedman and have grown to "360 degrees of content" - has drawn 62 million downloads (54 million of them by women) with a sustainable reach across 20 million women a month.
"We started low with Mamamia Out Loud, a twice-weekly live events property which with 18 million downloads, diverse sponsors and an 18-44 engaged female audience which discusses each episode, became one of Apple's most-downloaded shows of 2018.
"No Filter, a premium interview show with 'candid conversations that count', led by Freedman, and sometimes 50 minutes long, and another for expectant women called Hello Bump, have followed, attracting sponsors such as the Westpac bank."
No Filter engages with a younger, affluent audience, with more than half having household incomes of more than $100,000, with a similar proportion of mums. Mamamia's newest podcast project is The Quicky, a 12-minute news broadcast which delivers a deep dive daily at 6am. "It's resonating," Wainwright says, "a commutable show with a different daily listening habit."
It exceeded its first-month goal in two weeks, and had scored more than 934,000 downloads in ten weeks. Wainwright says its bustling, affluent audience skews towards working millennials in urban areas.
Underwriting the success - and supporting Mamamia's claim to be the first smart podcast - is technology from Trident Digital and hosting platform Omni to drop advertisements dynamically into the content. "It's very desirable to advertisers," she says.
In address to Publish Asia in Singapore this month, she advised delegates to "never stand still". "Connection is key, and podcasts are not the same as radio - it's a very different relationship with listeners."
While people "tune in and tune out" for radio, podcasts are a very specific choice - an important difference - with an intimate connection. "People feel they know you," she says. "It's a great privilege with responsibilities, one of which is not to waste their time."
She also counsels against taking an audience for granted, tricking or confusing them - "tell them it's an ad, which is best read by in house talent". Commercial options include original content, sponsorship, and 'run of network' advertising.
But she says metrics are messy: "Clients vote with their marketing budgets, and they come back," she says. While there is disagreement about measurement, the consensus is that conventional metrics don't work.
"Podcasts tick all of the boxes and give all of the feels."
Wainwright advises other publishers to "never stop innovating", be prepared to take some calculated risks - they found that "beauty works, even without vision" - and engage "the smartest tech you can, in a merger of art and science. This dynamic market favours the brave," she says.
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