Social media agency Social Chain has launched Cast Chain, a new agency dedicated to creating brand-focused podcasts.

The company has identified an emerging opportunity for brands to own conversations in this digital space as there are more than 20 million active blogs, a billion YouTube users yet only 500,000 podcasts.

Factoring in the fact that 44 per cent of the US population have listened to podcasts, there is a large potential for brands to infiltrate this space.

Social Chain’s head of audio Charlie Perry, who we spoke to about the rise of podcasts for our magazine (see below), will be heading up the division.

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“A podcast is a brand’s ownable, scalable, intimate stage outside of the Facebook Powerhouse,” she said.

“With podcasting, the audience doesn’t exist in one place in the hands of just one private company, the podcast can live across multiple platforms at the same time.

“We identified many reasons as to why to why brands needed to be in this space and we wanted to offer a solution.”

Cast Chain will offer a 360 approach to podcast production and distribution. The agency handles everything from strategy, production and talent sourcing, through to promotion and social marketing of the podcast to ensure it gets mass listenership.

Data analytics and brand uplift will also form a part of the services offered to clients.

The change in the podcast industry has now made it a viable option for brands to connect with their customer in an impactful way.

Digital audio distribution continues to rapidly grow, podcasts can be produced with limited resources, and are becoming better connected with more platforms supporting them.

Analytics are improving and podcasts have grown by over 100 per cent across certain demographics in the last five years. Cast Chain says it is offering brands the chance to be part of this growth.

The agency has already taken several projects to the number one spot in podcast charts. These include ‘Behind Closed Doors’, the podcast for leading online fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing.

Featuring celebrity guests and discussions on all subject matters relevant to their audience, the podcast offers a new way for the brand to connect with their audience.

Upon release, the first episode reached the top of the charts in just 24 hours.

Data will play a pivotal role in how Cast Chain produce the podcasts. Data tools will be used to acutely understand each brands existing audience and what they care about.

The agency uses data to identify the audience’s affinities, their interests and their consumption habits to engineer a format that is both appealing to them yet offers a point of difference.

Steve Bartlett, CEO and founder of Social Chain Group, added: “At Social Chain, we are constantly striving to offer clients the chance to be at the forefront of all innovations on social media.

“We have been working on a number of very successful podcasts and as the trend continues to grow, we wanted to create a dedicated division where we provide brands with all the services needed to create the chart-topping content.”