Tracking and podcast advertising KPIs are a sticking point right now with a lot of advertisers. They see podcast ads as a digital product. Banner ads and email ads and social media ads are all trackable, so it’s only natural that a podcast to be trackable as well.

But it’s not EXACTLY digital. It is a combination – it’s really traditional media that is served digitally. So, how do we measure traditional media advertising? How do you measure radio ads? How do you measure television ads? How do you measure magazine ads? That's all media. This is media as well. So, this topic can be tricky.

Traditional media buyers would say that they know how large the audience is before they advertise. That is also true for podcasts. The number may fluctuate, but traditional media does too, so the principle is the same.

One podcast advertising KPI is social media. A great way to see if things are working is to track if the social ads are working. You should see a bump in social media and conversation regardless of whether or not you've included social media in the contract. Conversation around your brand should be taking place, especially if you're launching a new product.

The best tracking scenario is by far going to be something the advertisers can control. For example, the Sleep With Me Podcast. In the show notes you can see a special link that’s been provided to the show host. The advertiser then tracks the traffic to that page so they know whether or not it’s working.

Another podcast advertising KPI is promo codes. Coupon and promo codes are another really easy thing for an advertiser to track. If the coupon or discount hasn’t been used, perhaps the campaign isn’t working as well as you’d like.

Landing pages and coupon codes aren’t an exact science.  Not every person listening is going to remember that coupon code because podcast listeners are often doing other things while listening. They're jogging or driving or working out, (you can learn more about the podcast audience here) and they may not remember what the coupon code is, but they still may buy. All consumers are guilty of that. So if you're getting a bump the day of or the day after even the week after an ad goes live, you can consider that.

Any web traffic can be a podcast advertising KPI. Yes, to the landing page specifically, but also to the brand website overall. We aren’t looking at normal everyday traffic. Check to see a significant bump, a needle move the week of the audio ad. You can use this as a KPI because listeners may not remember the landing page tag, but they will remember the name of the product and go to the website and then purchase, or sign up for the email list, etc.  The email list can also be a success indicator – so if there’s an increase there too, that can be attributed to the podcast campaign.

Now that we’ve discussed the direct response KPIs, let’s discuss branding campaigns (although they're not too different).

The first KPI would be the number of downloads for the particular episode you’ve advertised on. If you want to know whether or not your message is getting out there, look at how many times the episode has been listened to in a period of time usually 30 to 45 days. Then, we can look at the website and landing page overall, as well as any specific landing pages.

Is there a bump? Is there an increase in brand conversation online, such as social mentions? Overall brand action: traffic, social numbers increasing and conversational buzz are a great way to tell if your branding awareness campaign worked. Another way is to do a brand awareness study. It’s a complicated tactic, but it’s definitive. You can survey the podcast listeners before they heard the show with the ad, and then after. Ask questions that require them to recall messaging, perception, just general product knowledge. There’s a great sample of a brand awareness study from a few years ago here. You can see that the results show podcast listeners have a jump in awareness, features, even positive feelings about a brand.

KPIs are a definite sticking point in the podcast industry right now. The best thing is to use a measurement tactic that will prove your marketing goal the best.

If you're already a podcast advertiser, how have you measured success?