Why Podcasts are a Modern Advertising Dark Horse

  • Categories:

    Industry Trends, Paid Media

  • Date:

    November 07, 2017

Why Podcasts are a Modern Advertising Dark Horse

Industry Trends, Paid Media

Cue intro music. On this week’s episode, we’re talking about the ins and outs of podcast advertising.

Podcast audiences are growing — 21 to 24 percent year over year (Edison Research). From the car, the gym or their own living room, listeners are tuning in to learn, laugh or escape reality. But what’s driving the rise of the podcast empire besides the wildly popular “Serial?”

  • Fewer ads. Podcasts have no or limited ads compared to radio.
  • Trust. There is a relatively high level of trust between the podcast host and listener.
  • Education. For those who want to learn but aren’t big readers, podcasts can fill that void.
  • Long commutes. If listeners live in the suburbs or have a moderate commute, podcasts are a good streaming option.
  • Freedom to multitask. People can do other tasks while listening to a podcast.

Why brand marketers should care about podcasts

Podcast advertising aligns more closely with influencer marketing than traditional radio advertising. In fact, two-thirds of podcast listeners act on ads they hear. Hyper-targeted, hyper-engaged listeners feel like they have a connection with the host, and since there are fewer ads, those that air have more credibility. Listeners are invested, and if a host says they’ve used a product or recommend using it, their word goes a long way.

In traditional radio, a consumer could listen to a Top 40 station and hear long blocks of advertisements about everything from carpet cleaning to dog walking to back waxing. But podcast live reads hail from a different planet than prerecorded ads. In addition, listeners are often invested in the show and trust their hosts. 

Many brands are already investing in digital, radio and out-of-home advertising. Podcast advertising is a newer option that can drive meaningful engagement.

How to capitalize on the healthy podcast market

Podcast ads represent an integrated, nonintrusive advertising approach. This is in part due to the fact that many podcasts are selective about the brands they allow to advertise and limit the total number of ads per episode.  

You should be selective, too. Like with traditional media buying, make sure the podcast is contextually targeted to fit your brand. Think of each podcast as a different publication, network or genre, with its own set of rules. Before you commit, ask smart questions. For example: What percentage of your listeners are loyal and consistent? How many listeners tune into a single episode in order to solve a temporary need? What themes or type of content drive your podcast?

Panoply, a podcast network for listeners and producers, now has targeted audiences. This means the network can programmatically serve podcast ads tailored to the content and the listener. This is great news for advertisers, because more targeted efforts mean better results. 

Here are a few tips for effective podcast advertising:

  • Find a podcast that’s a natural fit for your brand. For example, if your customers are skilled DIYers and contractors, hone in on podcasts that target that audience with renovation how-tos and similar topics.
  • Mix up your creative buy. Podcast advertising buys should be approached in the same vein as other media buy strategies. Dodge the intrusion problem (especially if you have a lot of saturation) by mixing it up.
  • Tell a story. People will listen. Whether it’s a single episode or multiple episodes, tell your brand’s story to listeners through your spots.
  • Do listicles. People connect with lists. If you have five blocks, list four things, and include a URL to learn more in every block.
  • Ask about tie-ins to other media. For example, some podcasts will produce a live video of the recording to accompany the audio portion. Radio stations are already doing this on Facebook Live, so listeners can engage across numerous platforms. Podcasts can list episode material in the description box, so a brand can be presented in two ways.
  • Create a memorable landing page. If you want to include a landing page, think of it like a billboard. If someone won’t remember it after a three-hour car ride, it isn’t catchy enough. Make it easy for them to continue their experience with your brand.

How to measure the success of podcast advertising 

If there’s a single number you should care about, it’s total downloads. One of the benefits of this medium is that listeners often return to older episodes for education. In the home industry, many podcasts are how-to resources. When someone listens to a six-month-old episode to support a design or DIY project they are working on now, the advertiser still wins. This type of podcast episode can also be valuable for contractors and home builders. 

Additionally, you can gauge success with a unique URL in the podcast to measure traffic, a tactic advertisers have long employed in print. An easy-to-remember, unique URL makes it simple to track specific traffic if you’re implementing other media tactics at the same time. 

Ultimately, the success of podcast advertising comes down to your media strategy. Approach this still-new platform with strategic thinking and careful positioning to make your podcast advertising buy a success.

Cue outro music.

Are podcasts part of your media mix? Until next time.

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