Cracking the code on podcast advertising for customer acquisition – TechSwitch

    Krystina Rubino & Lindsay Piper Shaw

    Krystina Rubino is a advertising govt who leads the offline development advertising follow at Right Side Up. Lindsay Piper Shaw is an promoting strategist and development marketer presently 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, however it’s nonetheless a channel that flies underneath the radar. We have managed tens of tens of millions of {dollars} in podcast advert spend for challenger manufacturers and market leaders alike, and are desirous to share some methods of the commerce.
    If you need to take a look at in a channel the place early adopters are being rewarded with each enticing CAC and scale, right here’s what you could know:
    Podcast promoting is used very efficiently as a direct-response channel with CAC on par with different consideration-stage actions. It isn’t just for consciousness.
    Podcast attain is excellent, reaching 51% of US audiences aged 12+ month-to-month.
    Ads learn by hosts outperform canned “programmatic” adverts.
    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 adverts 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 tendencies in the direction of educated, early adopters with a excessive family revenue. You can discover this profile elsewhere, however what makes podcasts distinctive is that they’re selecting to eat that specific content material time and time once more. The host turns into a trusted voice to ship them not solely fascinating 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 shoppers be from a radical, private, and sometimes humorous host-read interplay is extremely useful and helps manufacturers soar 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 all the 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 excellent investor profile on the area 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 reveals, and in any other case widespread reveals that had a faithful area of interest following relative to different mediums. Most advertisers purchased podcast adverts as an extension of their different audio acquisition campaigns.
    Podcasts go mainstream
    Then Serial got here alongside, in 2014, exploding into reputation and popular culture. They ran a MailChimp advert that had somebody mispronouncing the title 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 had been they rewarded by being a launch sponsor of one 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 finally made its means 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 area has diversified. We now see so many various reveals 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 all the pieces, comedy and popular culture pods as numerous as Bodega Boys, Who? Weekly, and RuPaul: What’s the Tee with Michelle Visage, and a podcast to go together with each actuality and tv present you may consider. There are too many reveals to speak about; there are over 750,000 reveals 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 finances) and take your time
    We advise corporations to start out with a take a look at spend that you simply take into account significant within the context of your different buyer acquisition efforts. Initial checks within the channel which are correctly diversified sometimes fluctuate from $50,000 to $150,000 in media price. If the concept of a testing finances 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; whenever you purchase tiny reveals, one or two gross sales could pay again. If you make media selections at scale primarily based on that information, chances are you’ll end up in deep water. If the chance of testing a brand new channel and having a dip in your CAC is simply too nice, we advocate you exhaust different channels, like Facebook, earlier than leaping into the podcast area.
    Podcast presents advertisers a low barrier to entry. Creative manufacturing is restricted to producing copy factors for hosts to make use of as they report their advert reads. However, it’s fairly handbook relative to digital channels, and might take weeks to place into place. Most buying is finished via a present’s gross sales illustration or community, by way of calls and emails, and set upfront (typically means upfront relying on stock ranges). It entails RFPing a number of community companions, doing analysis and outreach to unbiased reveals, gathering charges and evaluating content material, and eventually making selections primarily based on finances and stock availability. We typically describe this because the media puzzle – ensuring that the perfect reveals, with favorable pricing can be found whenever you need them to be. This can take time and a few backwards and forwards together 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 choose reveals? 
    Image by way of Getty Images / venimo
    We purchase with a whole lot of direct reveals, gross sales illustration corporations, and advert networks. We’re beginning to see the beginnings of programmatic and exchange-based stock develop into accessible, however 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 area, that work to various levels of effectivity for buyer acquisition.
    When it comes to selecting what kinds of reveals to companion with, past finances and availability, it’s necessary to recollect the apparent alternative might not be one of the best one.
    One of essentially the most constant, and nice, surprises in podcast promoting is how effectively reveals which are seemingly unrelated to a product work effectively for buyer acquisition. We’ve labored on merchandise that had a major goal demographic of suburban mothers, however guess what? Gamers need to keep at house and order snacks and meals supply, too; they’ve disposable revenue and are more durable to succeed in by way of conventional channels.
    If you’re promoting a product focused to oldsters, you shouldn’t simply take a look at into parenting reveals, you also needs to take into account testing into reveals with hosts who’re mother and father, 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 mother and father 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 price consideration, and there are typically distinctive alternatives, however most profitable reveals 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 enchantment, however one which (for instance) many house cooks could already be conversant in, chances are you’ll be higher off doing nearly every other widespread style of reveals apart from meals.
    Plus, these hosts are professionals; they’ve been doing advert reads for all the pieces from mattresses to meal kits for years. They know methods to discuss your product in an attractive means.
    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 be the previous VP of Marketing at ZipRecruiter; should you’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, partly resulting from 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 predict may 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 extra reveals, 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, essentially the most constantly performing advert unit for buyer acquisition within the area — fluctuate from $10 to $100. Yes, actually.
    Worrying an excessive amount of about CPMs may imply that you simply’re abandoning a few of the finest stock within the area. So whereas it may make sense to chop increased CPM placements from a media plan, you need to be cautious. You may inadvertently lower out potential quantity drivers or in any other case extremely efficient placements.
    Allow for the host’s persona to shine via
    Image by way of Getty Images / TwilightShow
    The listener is there for the hosts. They relate to them, chuckle with them, or chuckle at them. They come to anticipate a efficiency from them, and sometimes 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 reveals with a touch of irreverence, mentioned “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 adverts. And to permit hosts to be themselves whereas additionally being a optimistic model advocate typically imply hanging a steadiness between scripting and giving area. The mostly bought advert unit for buyer acquisition advertisers is a host-read, embedded, mid-roll commercial, sometimes :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 aspect, 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 take a look at throughout a number of reveals and personalities, it’s finest 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 inventive, the area 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 had been releasing. Since there was a visible ingredient, DoorDash and Rooster Teeth partnered on a inventive 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’s, “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,” mentioned 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 at all times finish in some kind of name to motion, like use the present’s promo code to economize, or go to a URL to get a free trial of a product for listeners of the present. It’s a means for reveals 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 determine if their advert investments are paying again, too. Along these traces, Hoggatt was glad 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 typically ask advertisers details about their total CAC or CPA  from different paid advertising efforts like Facebook or Google promoting, and use that information to benchmark goal CAC for podcast.
    As a basic rule of thumb, should you 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 what you are promoting. But should you’re searching for 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,” mentioned Visnick. “We’ve considerably grown our podcast finances each quarter since we began testing the channel and it’s now a core a part of our total acquisition technique and an necessary 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 typically referred to as breakage. It’s crucial to have a look at oblique exercise to assist triangulate response, as one other technique 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 know-how enablement. You can inform, by way of monitoring, what actions web site guests have taken after publicity to adverts on Facebook and Google, and many others.
    However, there isn’t a means 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 monitor oblique exercise (view-through) by way of pixels or different know-how 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 affect 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, could have really been pushed by podcasts, streaming audio, or tv. It’s self-reported information from customers, certain, and it could possibly really feel somewhat shaky whenever you’re used to extra exact digital measurement, however 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 might present a strong take a look at multi-touch attribution if the survey is designed with finest 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, despite the fact that podcasts are digital audio, we are able to’t monitor 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 in keeping with common quarter-hour (AQH) scores, there’s a delay in each obtain of an episode and media consumption.
    For advertisers, meaning efficiency is available in over time, and it takes a minute to construct attain and frequency (R/F). You may 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 strong image of return on advert spend (ROAS); you need to have structured your checks so you could have 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 most important errors new advertisers within the channel make is getting a false optimistic, by testing into tiny reveals that again out as a result of 2 folks purchased their product, after which rapidly 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 ft within the first few weeks of an integration, and cancel reveals after one advert insertion in a single episode. The channel requires diligence in testing, and you probably have different enterprise challenges to navigate, utilizing digital development channels may help iron out your messaging, touchdown pages, and many others. earlier than you launch offline channels.
    Although you will have honed your messaging in different channels, you need to anticipate to be versatile in relation to podcast inventive.
    Opportunities to develop to different audio acquisition alternatives
    Image by way of Getty Images / Anastasiia_New
    Positive indicators in podcast campaigns may also point out that different audio channels could also be ripe for testing, which may help diversify your advertising combine and reduce the strain 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 precise indicators in podcast. For SiriusXM, it’s a excessive family revenue viewers which are used to paying for a subscription (any subscription mannequin corporations on the market?), and streaming audiences are selecting to hearken to their content material, equally to how podcast listeners select their content material. The podcast panorama is the right enviornment to play in to be taught 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 robust affect on the advertising combine for corporations of all sizes. As increasingly gamers become involved within the area, it advantages all concerned, from advertisers, to networks, to entrepreneurs.
    It’s uncommon to have a chance 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 adverts. And alongside the way in which, we hope to vary the way in which 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 widespread digital development ways like paid social.
    You’ll need to get inventive, however with some belief and persistence, and adherence to finest 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 professional like a consultancy or company
    Learn the language of podcast promoting, phrases like obtain carry a whole lot of baggage and understanding them can affect your marketing campaign’s efficiency
    Budget your preliminary take a look at(s) appropriately to keep away from a false destructive or optimistic consequence
    Have an open thoughts on present choice; be sure to take a look at throughout a number of genres and codecs
    Measure direct and oblique exercise, to triangulate efficiency and enterprise affect, and make optimizations and selections on renewals
    Support, don’t stifle, the persona of the present hosts
    Get comfy getting inventive, and take time to onboard hosts
    Keep a watch out for extra alternatives, not solely in podcast, however in different audio channels as effectively
    Be companion to reveals, networks, and others within the area. It’s ours to nurture

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