Year in review: podcast discovery gamification

Year in Review is definitely an experiment to collect evidence on what we can help teach people new habits around hearing podcasts via their smart speakers by way of a fun and interactive audio content discovery experience.

Drawing over the long tradition of holiday quizzes and game shows, they is promoting an action with the Google Assistant platform which will introduce players into a variety of podcasts the Guardian creates, and provide users simple instructions the way to hear those shows through voice commands.

Each round gives users to choose topic which concerns a Guardian podcasts. Players will hear audio clips from a number of the year’s biggest headlines as well as their memory shall be offer high quality by answering trivia in regards to the stories they’ve just heard. After each round, listeners will hear from a bunch or producer with the demonstrate that associates most closely while using round’s topic, as well as the essential invocation phrase to spend time playing that podcast directly throughout the Assistant.

You can check it out now by asking the Google Assistant: “Hey Google, consult with Year in Review.” Go on, give it a look. We’ll wait.

More than only a game

Smart speakers and podcasts both have a discovery problem. Looking for a new favourite show is no easy task nevertheless relies totally on the grapevine. Similarly, having the full capabilities of a device like Google House is something many people suffer from.

Why will it be so hard to discover new audio? Probably the typical strategies to content promotion and discovery are just more optimised for devices with screens. Advertising and marketing doesn’t seem to provide you with the same chance audio to move viral love it does for text, images, and videos. Maybe checking a Facebook or Twitter feed with the bus stop just isn’t the correct time or destination to hear something totally new.

Radio giants including NPR and the BBC have built their unique vehicles permit discovery like NPR One as well as new BBC Sounds app. Even companies for example Spotify and Pandora, that contain built entire businesses over the back of music discovery and recommendation, still haven’t crack the exact same problem for podcasts. Without doubt they are really trying, though.

A reproducible model for narrative audio discovery appears not established. So how does that leave the rest of us who produce podcasts but they are unlikely to make our promotion tools and dedicated platforms around audio?

Enter a completely new medium: the voice-activated smart speaker.

New media create new habits

Music has become the ubiquitous use-case for this new device category that’s quickly replacing the air at home.

Outside of music, however, news and current affairs could be the main group of spoken-word audio that users need to hear, in accordance with the Smart Audio Report from NPR & Edison Research, with three-quarters of respondents interested. In spite of this, precisely the same study found only a quarter of respondents had requested to experiment with a podcast previously week by having a smart speaker device, even though folks who owned one said the device was crowned dominant mode of listening inside their lives.

As the Reuters researcher Nic Newman says in their paper Not able to Voice additionally, the Implications for News, mind the space. He reports that news is required about 50 % of nearly music on these platforms, however with just 1% of respondents calling it an important feature for them. This is certainly in stark contrast for the 61% who felt because of this about music.

One possible reason behind the gap can be that users do not know how easy it is actually to pay attention. Depending on Newman, some rrndividuals are unaware that podcasts can be found or the way to require them.

All voice actions have a problem with knowledge problem, not merely podcasts. In line with the Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report from, less than half of smart speaker owners state they not discover third-party voice apps by any means. Of those people who do, most discover voice apps through friends. The Reuters report also suggests it has an inherently social and fun element to these devices with friends often winning contests together.

Crafting a hypothesis

Any good experiment ought to state precisely what it wishes to validate. In accordance with our research, we decided to build our first project within the following hypothesis:

We think somebody who enjoys to browse the Guardian but never started podcasts might learn a more simple option to hear our stories when their hands and eyes are busy. Together, a person who already loves podcasts but isn’t concious of the Guardian’s offerings may find the latest feed a subscription to by sampling various shows we produces.

With christmas, tons of new smart devices will be provided as gifts. We notice this because the perfect possiblity to enjoy a little while with family, playing a sport that aspires to both entertain and inform.

We’ll have campaigns in print and internet based next week to push focus to the sport while using Guardian’s audience.

What ya think? Can we see more podcast listeners on the platform that is why experiment? Or perhaps there a better way that can help establish new habits? We’ll be back in January to tell you the way went and share what we’ve learned.


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