PODCAST ADVERTISING BEST PRACTICES
You have probably landed on this article because you are interested in trying podcast ads but have no idea where to start. Step-by-step guides about how to create effective podcast ad campaigns are hard to come by. So, in this article, we will cover podcast advertising best practices that have helped hundreds of our clients achieve outstanding results.
Podcast advertising is an incredible, untapped medium for companies looking to build brand awareness, gain more customers, launch new products, and increase sales conversions. With over 2 million podcasts and counting, companies have access to over 68 % of the US population who listen to podcasts for an average of 8 hours per week.
Do you need a summary of this article? Download our Marketers Guide To Podcast Advertising to help you navigate the best way to create and run podcast advertising campaigns.
WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES FOR PODCAST ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS?
There are over (25) tips about podcast advertising in this article, but these are our top 5 most used best practices that we implement into each ad campaign to drive better results.
- Target podcasts that have the correct demographic for your brand.
- Select podcasts where the host likes or uses your product and is excited to share it with their audience.
- Provide clear talking points and allow the host to create their own authentic ad-read.
- Your call-to-action must be compelling and unique enough for listeners to take action.
- Track results and iterate on your findings until you know which types of podcasts provide the best results.
The rest of the best practices are broken down into three categories: campaign preparation, creation, and implementation. There are specific techniques, methods, and courses of action to take with each type to see success. You can go through each section or skip to the ones that matter the most to you.
CAMPAIGN PREPARATION BEST PRACTICES
The top three areas to focus on in the preparation phase of a podcast ad campaign are your goals, target demographic, and budget. These three sections set the stage for your campaign and influence the overall processes.
Five Ways To Create Solid Campaign Goals
Goal setting for a podcast ad campaign needs to be very specific. To start, you will decide between two different campaign types: direct response or brand awareness.
Most ads in the podcast space, right now, are direct responses. We see an increase in brand awareness amongst large umbrella companies with smaller indie brands trying to build a following. If you are interested in sales, then you will design a direct response campaign.
From there, you will need to consider the following:
- Which product/service is our focus? (only choose one; otherwise, your results will get diluted) Lead with your best-selling product first. Promote a product or service with proven results, then follow with a new one you want to boost sales.
- What do you want listeners to learn about our company?
- What return on investment do you expect?
- How will you measure the return on investment? Sales, website visits, gains in followers, subscribers, ranking, etc.
Two Techniques To Niche Down Your Target Demographic
It is crucial to get really clear on who your target customer is before diving into a podcast ad campaign. This vital information will help determine your messaging, call-to-action, podcast partnerships, and overall results.
Here are a few best practices that we recommend marketers use to help guide them through the process:
- Review your website traffic for the particular product you will be trying to sell. Note the specifics like gender, age, and interests.
- Social media metrics help to niche down on your demographic, so analyze data from posts that have been served about the product you intend to promote with podcast ads.
We recommend that brands spend a reasonable amount of time on their customer avatar. When it comes time to choose podcasts to partner with, the process is more straightforward, and you get better partnerships.
Best Approach For Creating A Podcast Campaign Budget
While there is little wiggle room for marketing budgets, we find the best approach for brands is to add podcast advertising into the influencer mix.
The host-read endorsement ads are parallel to influencer ads. A bonus is that you can use the learnings and implement them into podcasts if you do a fair amount of influencer marketing.
You budget will be determined by the podcasts you choose to advertise on.
The larger the show, the greater the overall investment. Our recommendation is to create a portfolio of podcasts in varying sizes to stretch your budget. It allows you to test and scale more effectively.
We will discuss podcast selection in more detail next.
CAMPAIGN CREATION BEST PRACTICES
This is where the magic happens, and you get to put all your ideas and preparation pieces together. The first step is to start curating a list of podcasts that you are interested in.
Four Clever Ways To Find High-Quality Podcasts
Podcast discoverability is a challenge for both advertisers and listeners. There are a few places that you can search for shows, such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Castbox.fm, Podchaser, etc. But, it is time-consuming and may leave you frustrated.
You can save time and effort by using a representation agency, like ours, with pre-qualified podcasts. You share your campaign goals with us, and we curate a list for you based on the podcasts we represent. Since we have podcasts in many categories and varying sizes, advertisers can create campaigns with as little as $5k.
Networks are another way to find shows. They are typically a group of podcasts within the same genre. While networks can be an excellent place to find podcasts, networks focus on podcast producing, audience growth, among many other items. This means they may not have the same focus on advertising that an agency or representation firm may have.
Some advertising agencies specialize in putting together ad campaigns for advertisers. An agency can be a good option if you have a budget that exceeds $100k.
If you are going it alone and reaching out to podcasts directly, here are some of our favorite vetting criteria we use:
- Review the listener demographic and make sure it aligns with your consumer demographic.
- Connect with other advertisers who have placed ads with them before and ask for feedback.
- Read reviews to see what people are saying about the show.
- Check how often they publish episodes and make sure they are consistent.
- Review their download statistics and fan engagement. (have them send you a screenshot of the downloads, so you know for sure they can deliver the downloads they quote)
- Listen to other ads they have done. Do you like the ad read? Did they convey the product/service thoughtfully and thoroughly?
Three Critical Campaign Steps For Advertisers
Brands are responsible for providing assets to the host to be prepared and confident in delivering the most authentic ad-read they can.
- Set up a service trial or send a sample of the product to the host in advance so they have time to evaluate and familiarize themselves with it.
- Make sure to provide strong talking points with unique selling propositions. We recommend creating variations of the points to offer different perspectives on how the product or service can be promoted.
- Features are good to talk about, but the focus should be on the benefits of those features. They should provide a solution to the listener’s problem and add value to their lives.
- Talking points are a starting place for the host. Allow the host freedom to create an organic ad from their perspective. The ad will sound more natural and integrated into their episode. Read more.
- The call-to-action must be strong and compel listeners to take the time to use the podcast vanity URL or promo code.
- Provide a call to action that is DIFFERENT to any other promotion or discount you currently have active. Suppose you make it available on your website, Amazon, Instagram, Facebook, flyer, billboard, etc. In that case, there is no incentive for the listener to use the unique vanity URL or promo code. You will not be able to prove the effectiveness of podcast advertising correctly.
- Ensure your auto-fill in the promo code section in the checkout is off; otherwise, customers will choose the first code that comes up.
The call-to-action is an essential part of campaign success and should never be overlooked.
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RUN CAMPAIGN AND MEASURE RESULTS
The last section to share our podcast advertising best practices is in the implementation and tracking category. Each podcast will have different results, and tracking allows you to see which podcast performed well and should renew. It helps you to niche down on your targeting and refine your messaging.
Two Best Methods For Ad Delivery and Frequency
There are two different delivery methods for ads: embedded or dynamically inserted.
Embedded ads are stitched directly into the episode and remain there for at least 120 days. Dynamic ads are digitally inserted into the entire catalog of episodes for 30-45 days and then removed. They are inserted across the current and back catalog, not just a single episode like embedded ads.
Budget, podcast choices, and goals determine your choice of ad delivery. We have found that both are effective in their own right. We usually recommend a specific ad delivery system based on the advertisers’ needs.
Frequency is something that we often advise our clients on. As marketers, we know that the more a potential customer hears an ad, the more opportunity for conversion. It is critical to run your ad frequently enough to create awareness facilitating a buying decision.
Our best practice for podcast ad frequency is two ads per month for three months. Then we review the results, make the necessary changes and run again.
Three URL And Promo Codes Tracking Techniques
We advise our clients to create a unique URL for each podcast they are advertising on. Creating the URL may take a little extra time; however, it will be worth it.
- Do not make the URL or promo code complicated. Listeners will input them incorrectly, get frustrated and move on. It will have a direct impact on the effectiveness of your podcast advertising campaign.
- Make sure the URLs or promo codes setup accepts both lowercase and uppercase variations. This flexibility will aid in capturing all conversions. Do not add special signs or symbols.
- Make sure the URL or promo code is active and works before the ads go live. We recommended leaving them active for up to a year to capture as much data as possible.
Best Options For Attribution Tracking
Several attribution companies out there are doing an incredible job at deepening the data options in podcasting. We work closely with them to help our advertising partners get the most out of their campaigns.
With attribution, you can:
- Track on-site visits from your podcast advertising campaign without custom URLs or discount codes.
- Allow for re-targeting of podcast listeners off-platform.
- Get real-time reporting dashboards for actionable marketing decisions.
The only downside is that some hosting providers don’t allow tracking, and some hosts don’t allow tracking. Therefore, no attribution option may impact your decision to sponsor a specific show, so we advise our clients to confirm if attribution tracking is available.
Five Best Practices For Testing Podcast Advertising
Lastly, let’s discuss testing a podcast ad campaign. When you advertise digitally, it is essential to try your campaign for a short period to see any traction. The same rule applies to podcast ads.
We always advocate for a test period when you begin with podcast advertising for the first time. Testing helps us learn what works, what doesn’t, and what to do better.
If you don’t see results, go back to the campaign and review:
- The podcast listener demographic: Are they in alignment with your product or service?
- Talking points: Are you listing features or sharing benefits to solve the listeners’ problem?
- Call-To-Action: Is the CTA enticing and different enough from other offers to get the listener to make a buying decision?
- Tracking Method: Is the tracking set up correctly? Is the URL or promo code too tricky to remember?
- Podcast Host: Did you choose the right host to sell your product or service?
The best approach to a test period is to run for 3 – 6 months to make an informed decision if podcast advertising is suitable for your company.
We have shared a lot of knowledge in this article. Still, if you want a summary, you can download our Marketers Guide To Podcast Advertising as a rich reference to steer you in the right direction.
While each podcast advertising campaign is unique, there are best practices to help marketers prepare, create, implement, and track their success. If this seems too much to do yourself, reach out to us at truenativemedia.com, and we would be happy to help you.