Cracking the code on podcast advertising for customer acquisition – TechSwitch

    Krystina Rubino & Lindsay Piper Shaw

    Krystina Rubino is a advertising government who leads the offline development advertising observe at Right Side Up. Lindsay Piper Shaw is an promoting strategist and development marketer at the moment consulting on podcast and offline promoting at Right Side Up.

    Of the varied channels accessible to development entrepreneurs, podcast is among the many most misunderstood.
    Brands like Dollar Shave Club, Squarespace, and ZipRecruiter have deployed podcast promoting for person acquisition for years, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a channel that flies below the radar. We have managed tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in podcast advert spend for challenger manufacturers and market leaders alike, and are desirous to share some tips of the commerce.
    If you need to check in a channel the place early adopters are being rewarded with each enticing CAC and scale, right here’s what you want to know:
    Podcast promoting is used very efficiently as a direct-response channel with CAC on par with different consideration-stage actions. It is not only for consciousness.
    Podcast attain is superb, reaching 51% of US audiences aged 12+ month-to-month.
    Ads learn by hosts outperform canned “programmatic” advertisements.
    Tracking is more durable than most digital channels and the price to check the channel is increased than most digital channels.
    Dive deeper on podcast advertisements and different development advertising ideas with Extra Crunch’s ongoing protection of development advertising, the place Right Side Up was just lately featured as a Verified Expert Growth Marketer. 
    Who listens, who advertises, and why trouble?
    Podcast listeners are a wanted group – the viewers traits in the direction of educated, early adopters with a excessive family earnings. You can discover this profile elsewhere, however what makes podcasts distinctive is that they’re selecting to devour that specific content material time and time once more. The host turns into a trusted voice to ship them not solely attention-grabbing tales and banter, however info on corporations as effectively.
    Often podcast advertisers are newcomers or start-ups, and the podcast advert could be the primary time the listener has heard about that firm. Having the primary contact with customers be from a radical, private, and infrequently humorous host-read interplay is extremely invaluable and helps manufacturers leap over the credibility hurdle. Compare that to an impersonal banner advert, and I’d select a podcast advert each time. 
    Even although the time period ‘podcast’ was coined in 2004, promoting within the medium has exploded within the final ~5 years. The IAB has been monitoring podcast advert income since 2015, when the complete medium generated #105.7 million in advert gross sales. It just lately launched its third examine of podcast advert income, which estimated the US market at $479 million in 2018, with development accelerating to a projected  $1 billion+ by 2021.

    Andreesen Horowitz did an amazing investor profile on the house earlier this 12 months, with a useful rundown of the holistic ecosystem, from internet hosting mechanisms and platforms to the tempo of podcast monetization.
    Historically, the medium has been dominated by a mixture of comedians doing their very own factor, radio entities simulcasting sports activities exhibits, and in any other case fashionable exhibits that had a loyal area of interest following relative to different mediums. Most advertisers purchased podcast advertisements as an extension of their different audio acquisition campaigns.
    Podcasts go mainstream
    Then Serial got here alongside, in 2014, exploding into recognition and popular culture. They ran a MailChimp advert that had somebody mispronouncing the identify of the corporate as “MailKimp”, which was a humorous inside joke for these within the know. Nina Cwik and David Raphael, co-founders of Public Media Marketing, clarify the preliminary dialog round this now iconic spot.
    “While discussing a launch sponsorship with sponsors there wasn’t a huge amount of interest in taking a risk on a new show even with the amazing This American Life provenance. MailChimp was committed to supporting Serial. The talented production team at Serial and This American Life created MailKimp and the sponsor was rewarded for believing in the show.”
    Not solely have been they rewarded by being a launch sponsor of some of the profitable podcasts in historical past, however as soon as Serial and the medium itself expanded, a loving impersonation of Serial host Sarah Koenig and the MailKimp joke ultimately made its manner right into a Saturday Night Live skit. Serial additionally appealed to a feminine viewers, serving to to convey new listeners into the channel, and podcasters and advertisers adopted.
    Over the previous 5 years, the house has diversified. We now see so many various exhibits with all flavors of true crime, information and politics takes that you simply don’t hear within the broader media image, ladies speaking to different ladies about actually every part, comedy and popular culture pods as various as Bodega Boys, Who? Weekly, and RuPaul: What’s the Tee with Michelle Visage, and a podcast to go along with each actuality and tv present you may consider. There are too many exhibits to speak about; there are over 750,000 exhibits listed by iTunes.
    How to interact for development promoting
    So how do corporations begin testing in podcasts? And how do they accomplish that efficiently?
    Start with a robust (however doable price range) and take your time
    We advise corporations to start out with a check spend that you simply think about significant within the context of your different buyer acquisition efforts. Initial exams within the channel which are correctly diversified usually fluctuate from $50,000 to $150,000 in media value. If the concept of a testing price range within the excessive 5 figures makes you gasp, don’t rush it. If you under-invest, you run the chance of a false destructive, i.e. you didn’t spend sufficient to validate efficiency, or a false optimistic; if you purchase tiny exhibits, one or two gross sales might pay again. If you make media choices at scale based mostly on that knowledge, it’s possible you’ll end up in deep water. If the chance of testing a brand new channel and having a dip in your CAC is just too nice, we suggest you exhaust different channels, like Facebook, earlier than leaping into the podcast house.
    Podcast provides advertisers a low barrier to entry. Creative manufacturing is restricted to producing copy factors for hosts to make use of as they document their advert reads. However, it’s fairly guide relative to digital channels, and may take weeks to place into place. Most buying is completed by means of a present’s gross sales illustration or community, by way of calls and emails, and set prematurely (generally manner prematurely relying on stock ranges). It entails RFPing a number of community companions, doing analysis and outreach to unbiased exhibits, gathering charges and evaluating content material, and at last making choices based mostly on price range and stock availability. We usually describe this because the media puzzle – ensuring that the perfect exhibits, with favorable pricing can be found if you need them to be. This can take time and a few forwards and backwards along with your community rep to set in stone, so give your self room to plan forward.
    What’s the media panorama appear like and the way do you decide exhibits? 
    Image by way of Getty Images / venimo
    We purchase with plenty of direct exhibits, gross sales illustration companies, and advert networks. We’re beginning to see the beginnings of programmatic and exchange-based stock change into accessible, nevertheless it’s largely impression-based media, which isn’t but a confirmed tactic that direct response-oriented advertisers can constantly use for buyer acquisition. There are some managed service-like shopping for companions within the house, that work to various levels of effectivity for buyer acquisition.
    When it comes to selecting what varieties of exhibits to accomplice with, past price range and availability, it’s essential to recollect the plain alternative is probably not the very best one.
    One of probably the most constant, and nice, surprises in podcast promoting is how effectively exhibits which are seemingly unrelated to a product work effectively for buyer acquisition. We’ve labored on merchandise that had a main goal demographic of suburban mothers, however guess what? Gamers need to keep at dwelling and order snacks and meals supply, too; they’ve disposable earnings and are more durable to achieve by way of conventional channels.
    If you’re promoting a product focused to folks, you shouldn’t simply check into parenting exhibits, you must also think about testing into exhibits with hosts who’re dad and mom, however have content material in no way or tangentially associated to parenting, like Your Mom’s House, with Tom Segura and Christina Pazsitzky. Sure, it’s a comedy podcast, and it’s NSFW (and hilarious). They’re additionally human dad and mom who they do wonderful reads, and their followers are legion.
    Ryan Iyengar, CMO of HealthIQ, notes that “hosts with wildly different backgrounds were able to find a through-line to connect ad reads with their audiences, regardless of product line.” Of course, contextual promoting is value consideration, and there are generally distinctive alternatives, however most profitable exhibits aren’t a bullseye for content material.
    We’ve additionally seen the inverse, on contextual match; meals merchandise can both do wonderful or not effectively in any respect on food-related podcasts. If you could have a meals product with mass attraction, however one which (for instance) many dwelling cooks might already be conversant in, it’s possible you’ll be higher off doing nearly another fashionable style of exhibits apart from meals.
    Plus, these hosts are professionals; they’ve been doing advert reads for every part from mattresses to meal kits for years. They know the best way to speak about your product in an attractive manner.
    Doug Hoggatt, the VP of Marketing at Betabrand, agrees, mentioning he would additionally coach new advertisers to “take the time to test across genres and hosts, you’ll be surprised at the results.” Iyengar can also be the previous VP of Marketing at ZipRecruiter; for those who’ve ever heard a podcast, you will have heard the corporate marketed a couple of times. He additionally notes, “[regardless of] content of the show, audiences can be interested in all sorts of topics, and are still potential customers. Yes, even hiring managers listen to comedy podcasts!”
    Many business-to-business (B2B) advertisers do effectively within the channel, partially attributable to increased allowable CAC and excessive lifetime worth (LTV). And the identical level about present choice holds true for these audiences, as effectively. Visnick famous, “[HoneyBook] originally focused on testing industry-specific podcasts as those seemed to be the most natural way to target our prospective customers. We discovered that by diversifying our podcast mix into non-industry content we could still reach our target audience while also growing our reach and overall program performance.”
    If we hear one thing that we expect will help us at work, we’re amenable to that message, particularly when it comes from our favourite host. Having an open thoughts to testing has helped so many advertisers unlock further exhibits, and potential clients. You can take these insights again to different channels, too, and start to combine your campaigns and set up cross-channel frequency.
    Pricing within the channel is unstable, and demand-based as a result of stock is finite; efficient CPMs for host learn, embedded mid-roll commercials — by far, probably the most constantly performing advert unit for buyer acquisition within the house — fluctuate from $10 to $100. Yes, actually.
    Worrying an excessive amount of about CPMs may imply that you simply’re abandoning among the greatest stock within the house. So whereas it may make sense to chop increased CPM placements from a media plan, you need to be cautious. You may inadvertently minimize out potential quantity drivers or in any other case extremely efficient placements.
    Allow for the host’s persona to shine by means of
    Image by way of Getty Images / TwilightShow
    The listener is there for the hosts. They relate to them, snigger with them, or snigger at them. They come to count on a efficiency from them, and infrequently that efficiency bleeds into the advert reads. Whether it’s a semi-NSFW jingle about MeUndies from Bill Burr, or Joe Rogan recommending his mind-blowing NatureBox snack mixture, or Levar Burton delivering an oh-so soothing Calm learn.
    Alan Abdine, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Rooster Teeth, a community with geeky, gamer exhibits with a touch of irreverence, stated “the best ads are the ads that are organic, natural, and originate from the voice of the show talent. When brands allow our hosts to be themselves, there are more opportunities for entertaining side stories and commentary related to the brand.”
    He continues to say his “belief is that if an advertiser is willing to spend money to reach out audience, then let us be the experts on that audience and let us use our own voice to share their message and talking points!  They will always get better results in that scenario.”
    There is a sure particular belief that goes into podcast advertisements. And to permit hosts to be themselves whereas additionally being a optimistic model advocate usually imply placing a stability between scripting and giving house. The mostly bought advert unit for buyer acquisition advertisers is a host-read, embedded, mid-roll commercial, usually :60 in size, however many hosts go over.
    Overly scripting the copy can result in an advert sounding inauthentic and infringe on their creativity. Kate Spencer, the co-host of Forever 35, notes that “often there are a lot of required talking points to hit in a short amount of time. We’re always happy to oblige, but I think it takes away from the organic and conversational nature of the ad, which is what makes podcast advertising especially unique. ”
    On the flip facet, not scripting sufficient may result in a disjointed learn the place the host is making an attempt to piece worth props collectively on the fly. Nick Freeman, Chief Revenue Officer at Cadence13, explains that “some hosts do like the perfectly written out :60 script, while others like bullets they can riff off of.” Because podcast marketing campaign check throughout a number of exhibits and personalities, it’s greatest to seek out a place to begin in your copy the place hosts will be guided, however not stifled. Freeman says “that doesn’t necessarily mean trying to make jokes for comedy hosts, for example, so much as it’s giving the hosts who do well with it the freedom to ad-lib.”
    And for people who need to get somewhat extra artistic, the house is primed for customized integrations. Recently DoorDash partnered with Rooster Teeth for an advert on a livestream in celebration of a brand new recreation their studios have been releasing. Since there was a visible factor, DoorDash and Rooster Teeth partnered on a artistic spin to the advert.
    Instead of the everyday copy, meals can be delivered to the group of hosts whereas recording. Grant Durando, Senior Marketing Consultant at Right Side Up, works with DoorDash on their podcast marketing campaign and stewarded this distinctive partnership. “[Rooster Teeth] approached us with the opportunity to engage with the live stream in a deeper way than just a regular podcast ad. It was definitely an unorthodox integration, but exciting to be in front of the right audience for DoorDash, at scale, and in a meaningful, memorable way. Many conversations about chicken nuggets later (which I never thought would be part of my job), Rooster Teeth and Vicious Circle delivered a superb ad experience, [integrating] multiple brand mentions and actually making DoorDash a part of the content itself.”
    Zack Boone, Senior Director of Sales at Rooster Teeth, added there may be, “nothing better than having clients that understand how impactful utterly stupid things like this can be for a brand.” DoorDash “[offers] industry-leading selection to our customers,” stated Micah Moreau, VP of Growth Marketing at DoorDash. “It was incredibly effective to bring the DoorDash experience to life with Rooster Teeth in a highly differentiated, yet relevant way.”
    How do you measure response?
    Ads nearly all the time finish in some kind of name to motion, like use the present’s promo code to save cash, or go to a URL to get a free trial of a product for listeners of the present. It’s a manner for exhibits to get credit score for his or her listeners taking some kind of motion, normally a purchase order, associated to listening to the advert.
    And it’s how advertisers can work out if their advert investments are paying again, too. Along these strains, Hoggatt was blissful to see “how direct response the channel could be. I was surprised at the lift in site visits and follow-on orders that correlate so closely to when our podcasts drop.” Consumers have been conditioned to hear for that decision to motion on the finish of an commercial so we are able to measure a direct response within the channel.
    That isn’t to say podcast promoting ought to displace a extremely efficient channel like paid social or paid search in your paid advertising testing priorities. We usually ask advertisers details about their general CAC or CPA  from different paid advertising efforts like Facebook or Google promoting, and use that knowledge to benchmark goal CAC for podcast.
    As a normal rule of thumb, for those who can’t make Facebook or Google work for buyer acquisition at significant scale, assume twice earlier than you interact in testing podcasts at a scale significant to your online business. But for those who’re in search of demand producing channels, podcast is a wonderful contender.
    “The success we’ve seen from podcast advertising has proven that we can drive sales through paid media outside of “traditional” direct digital response campaigns,” stated Visnick. “We’ve considerably grown our podcast price range each quarter since we began testing the channel and it’s now a core a part of our general acquisition technique and an essential a part of our media combine.
    Don’t under-account for breakage or oblique exercise
    Image by way of Getty Images / Olivier Le Moal
    Another problem for advertisers that aren’t used to offline channels is managing oblique exercise, additionally generally known as breakage. It’s crucial to have a look at oblique exercise to assist triangulate response, as one other solution to get a false destructive is to solely take a look at direct response, i.e. direct redemptions of a promo code or gross sales from solely customers who visited the self-importance URL.
    A good analog is like view-through conversions, however with out the expertise enablement. You can inform, by way of monitoring, what actions web site guests have taken after publicity to advertisements on Facebook and Google, and so forth.
    However, there isn’t a manner for a client to faucet or click on in your podcast advert, so that you don’t have a direct motion correlated to advert obtain or publicity, nor are you able to observe oblique exercise (view-through) by way of pixels or different expertise enablement. The aforementioned promo code/self-importance URL combo is what generates that direct response.
    To get round this breakage and triangulate a full response, advertisers generally use a post-conversion attribution survey, colloquially known as a How Did You Hear About Us? or HDYHAU survey. This permits for a crude, however efficient, translation of the impression that podcasts had on that person’s exercise.
    It helps you establish how a lot of the exercise you’re capturing in paid search, for instance, might have really been pushed by podcasts, streaming audio, or tv. It’s self-reported knowledge from customers, positive, and it may really feel somewhat shaky if you’re used to extra exact digital measurement, nevertheless it’s how nearly each scaled advertiser within the channel has found a path to scale.
    It additionally helps you establish benchmarks earlier than you get into different channels, and may present a stable take a look at multi-touch attribution if the survey is designed with greatest practices, and served to sufficient of the inhabitants to realize stability.
    Why can’t we use measurement methods from different mediums?
    We already talked about why, regardless that podcasts are digital audio, we are able to’t observe conversions digitally (we all know, it’s somewhat loopy). Unlike tv, the place you should utilize spot-based attribution, or radio, the place you may obtain constant advert publicity and however based on common quarter-hour (AQH) rankings, there’s a delay in each obtain of an episode and media consumption.
    For advertisers, which means efficiency is available in over time, and it takes a minute to construct attain and frequency (R/F). You might even see little or no exercise for the primary week or two of a marketing campaign, after which as R/F builds and crescendos, you’ll see conversion exercise catch up. That’s when you can begin to get a stable image of return on advert spend (ROAS); it’s best to have structured your exams so you could have an excellent sense of efficiency by the third or fourth drop with a present.
    Looking at outcomes sooner is feasible however largely inadvisable. “Give it time,” says Dan Visnick, CMO at HoneyBook, “It can take a few weeks to see the impact from a single podcast, and months to build a strong portfolio.”
    One of the largest errors new advertisers within the channel make is getting a false optimistic, by testing into tiny exhibits that again out as a result of 2 folks purchased their product, after which shortly scaling in the identical style solely to seek out out that the content material doesn’t scale.
    False negatives are additionally widespread, when advertisers get chilly toes within the first few weeks of an integration, and cancel exhibits after one advert insertion in a single episode. The channel requires diligence in testing, and when you have different enterprise challenges to navigate, utilizing digital development channels will help iron out your messaging, touchdown pages, and so forth. earlier than you launch offline channels.
    Although you will have honed your messaging in different channels, it’s best to count on to be versatile on the subject of podcast artistic.
    Opportunities to increase to different audio acquisition alternatives
    Image by way of Getty Images / Anastasiia_New
    Positive alerts in podcast campaigns also can point out that different audio channels could also be ripe for testing, which will help diversify your advertising combine and decrease the stress on people channels. Hoggatt says his “success in podcast advertising proved that it is possible to invest in offline channels and find measurable success.”
    SiriusXM and streaming platforms, whether or not pureplay like Pandora or Spotify, or aggregators like Westwood One and ESPN, are nice subsequent steps for advertisers who see the suitable alerts in podcast. For SiriusXM, it’s a excessive family earnings viewers which are used to paying for a subscription (any subscription mannequin corporations on the market?), and streaming audiences are selecting to take heed to their content material, equally to how podcast listeners select their content material. The podcast panorama is the proper area to play in to study extra about how your model works in offline media and permits there to be a stepping stone into different mediums.
    Be good stewards
    We know that podcast promoting can have a strong impression on the advertising combine for corporations of all sizes. As increasingly more gamers become involved within the house, it advantages all concerned, from advertisers, to networks, to entrepreneurs.
    It’s uncommon to have a possibility to take part in a nascent medium, and be good stewards of one of many final remaining mediums on earth with finite stock and listeners who really reply to advertisements. And alongside the best way, we hope to vary the best way folks take into consideration conventional offline media channels, like how they are often held to excessive development efficiency requirements, and the place they intersect with fashionable digital development ways like paid social.
    You’ll should get artistic, however with some belief and persistence, and adherence to greatest practices, advertisers can reap vital advantages and buyer acquisition, at scale, from podcast promoting campaigns.
    9 issues development entrepreneurs ought to do when getting began:
    Create the group (and time!) wanted to execute a marketing campaign, whether or not in-house or by way of partnership with a topic knowledgeable like a consultancy or company
    Learn the language of podcast promoting, phrases like obtain carry plenty of baggage and understanding them can impression your marketing campaign’s efficiency
    Budget your preliminary check(s) appropriately to keep away from a false destructive or optimistic consequence
    Have an open thoughts on present choice; be sure you check throughout a number of genres and codecs
    Measure direct and oblique exercise, to triangulate efficiency and enterprise impression, and make optimizations and choices on renewals
    Support, don’t stifle, the persona of the present hosts
    Get comfy getting artistic, and take time to onboard hosts
    Keep an eye fixed out for extra alternatives, not solely in podcast, however in different audio channels as effectively
    Be an excellent accomplice to exhibits, networks, and others within the house. It’s ours to nurture

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