How audio was reborn and transformed the world of digital content

“Recent years have shown that the protagonism of sound is not so far behind: today, we live in the Golden Age of Audio”, a view from Ricardo Zanella, General Manager Latam

Fashion is cyclical. If it is able to create new trends, it also carries within itself an admirable capacity of resurrecting something that seemed already doomed decades ago – just look at the vintage explosion of recent years, from the flowery shirts coming out of Woodstock (or the nearest second-hand shop in the gentrified neighborhood of your city) to articles like dad jeans, high-waist pants and choker necklaces (Hello to the 90s!).

Technology and communication also have their own comebacks and if the Golden Age of Radio dates back to the 1940s, the past few years have shown that the protagonism of sound is not so far behind: today, we live in the Golden Age of Audio.

Yes, I (also) want to talk to you about podcasts. And there is no need to raise your eyebrow or doubt it: they are a completely undeniable reality speaking of the global scenario as they are in Brazil – and it has nothing to do with fake news.

A few months ago, a survey carried out by IBOPE found that 40% of Brazilian internet users has some kind of contact with the format – and the numbers show a really promising reality to those who see the genre favorably: 16 million internet users (19% of the total survey) consume this type of content three or more times per week. And unlike the already outdated definition – “It is like a radio program, but on the internet” –, various types of podcasts have already landed in Brazil: in addition to the classic interviews and documentaries, there is room for fiction, humor, politics and a lot more.

And like large groups of media who have joined the trend (such as, the Estadão, Folha de São Paulo and Grupo Globo), advertising is not out of the picture: companies like Petrobras, Caixa Econômica Federal, SENAC, Natura and many others already advertise on several podcasts – a trend that seems to have plenty of room for growth. It is not surprising, for example, if companies begin to produce their own podcasts, making the idea of branding reach new heights.

But it is not only through the podcast that the Golden Age of Audio has shown to be powerful: each day we enter a moment of automation, with two of the largest companies in the world (Amazon and Google) working strongly in the market of personal assistants, with Alexa and Google Home, respectively. If in the past decade we were astounded with the touch screen, today, in the United States, it is already possible to do the monthly shopping – or even ask for an Uber to go to your friends’ house – with a simple voice command. Even Positivo has already signaled that it is working on the creation of a personal assistant with 100% Brazilian DNA, while Amazon is making the final adjustments to launch Alexa officially in the country, i.e., the market does not talk about anything else – excuse me for the pun.

If we are using audio resources available at the touch of a button (or not even that) like never before, what can we say of the content producers?

The use of voice capabilities to conduct searches – whether through smartphones or personal assistants – has become increasingly prominent among users, and has drawn attention of experts of the universe of content and branding. According to comScore, in 2020 the voice capability will be used for 50% of the searches on the internet. Now, Gartner believes that, in the coming year, 30% of all searches made on the internet will not use a screen.

How can this impact the SEO area and the digital market as a whole? Is it time to start looking more carefully and cautiously at the new (and unstoppable) wave of transformations in the digital world? Are we facing a new branch of SEO, which analyzes the behavior of users by the way they speak, instead of the way they write?

We can’t predict, but we can (and should) be aware and alert. The change is always just around the corner, just a voice command away.

*This article was first published on