Adam McNeil, Online Marketing and PR Manager, joins me on the podcast to discuss how Füm is taking podcast advertising by storm and making it a huge priority in their marketing strategy.
Adam McNeil, Online Marketing and PR Manager, joins me on the podcast to discuss how Füm is taking podcast advertising by storm and making it a huge priority in their marketing strategy.
Adam shares how he integrates podcast advertising into the brand's marketing mix and how he took learnings from influencer marketing and implemented them into podcast partnerships at scale.
He also talks us through their strategy for discovering shows to partner with, what critical factors determine who they work with and why bigger shows are not always better.
Adam tells a few well-kept secrets about how he finds high-trust audiences in genres he wants to focus on and what their tracking and measuring system looks like.
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[00:00:30]Heather Osgood: [00:00:30] Hello, and welcome to the podcast advertising playbook.
[00:00:32] I'm your host, Heather Osgood. And today I have the privilege of interviewing Adam McNeil. Adam is the Online Marketing and PR Manager at Füm. And Adam is actually one of the advertisers that we have at True Native Media. And so when he agreed to be on the program, I was so excited just to talk to him about his experience in the podcast ad space.
[00:00:54] Welcome to the program, Adam.
[00:00:56]Adam McNeil: [00:00:56] It is a pleasure to be here. Very excited. I've been [00:01:00] listening to the podcast and it's kinda fun to now be a part of it. So this is exciting.
[00:01:05] Heather Osgood: [00:01:05] Absolutely. I'm glad to hear that, that it's been helpful for you and you know, on the podcast, the whole purpose is to kind of dissect podcast advertising and just look at what works, what doesn't work.
[00:01:17] And we know it's kind of an ever-changing evolving medium. And what I like so much about interviewing people like yourself is that you have, I would say real experience in the industry. Of course, we get to deal with lots of different advertisers, but I love to be able to interview someone like yourself who has all of the insight knowledge.
[00:01:37] So before we kind of get into that, I'm just curious if you could tell us a little bit about your company and kind of what you guys do?
[00:01:45] Adam McNeil: [00:01:45] So at fume, we make a wooden aromatherapy inhaler to help people quit smoking, uh, boost mood, and improve relaxation among a few other categories of support that we focus on.
[00:01:54] But, fundamentally our primary market that we serve is the smoking cessation community with a safe [00:02:00] and easy-to-use and portable replacement therapy. Tell them to quit smoking in the easiest way possible. And we use nothing like nicotine or vape or anything like that. It's just a simple replacement therapy tool that uses the benefit of super plants.
[00:02:11] And we've been doing that for about three and a half years and have served over 35,000 customers around the world and have been on a crazy journey, especially in the past six months of just growing in popularity as kind of the number one natural tool for quitting smoking.
[00:02:25] Heather Osgood: [00:02:25] Wow.
[00:02:25] Adam McNeil: [00:02:25] Podcast advertising has been a big piece of that.
[00:02:27] Heather Osgood: [00:02:27] Wow, that is awesome. I mean, I think that the product is really amazing. Um, obviously you're serving a really good purpose to help people to quit smoking. Um, I'm curious as you have kind of evaluated all of the different options to market the product, what made you initially interested in podcast advertising?
[00:02:48] Adam McNeil: [00:02:48] That it's kind of a twofold story. We kind of accidentally stepped into it, uh, because a network had reached out to us. They wanted to get us on there, but to kind of prelude that we have been in a bit of a pickle of a situation as the [00:03:00] brand, our product and seemingly representing the shape of a cigarette intentionally to fill that hand to mouth function, means that it makes it really difficult for us to advertise our product on any public domain, like Facebook or Tik Tok or anything like that.
[00:03:13] Uh, because they have all sorts of guidelines, uh, regarding that promoting tobacco or smoking or the action of smoking or anything like that. And so we were limited in those avenues, those mainstream media avenues for advertising. And so we had to find alternative ways. And so one of those ways was Google.
[00:03:31] Uh, we were able to do some Google advertising and a little bit on YouTube limited, but we can, uh, and on influencer marketing. And so we were primarily focusing on those two channels for the longest time and word of mouth and kind of our, or our organic, uh, market. And then we had a podcast network from the comedy space to reach out to us and they said, Hey, we found your product.
[00:03:52] Uh, they had apparently reached out to us about a year earlier, before I knew about them. And before I was working with Füm, uh, one of the reps there got in touch with me and said, [00:04:00] Hey, we've been working with another nicotine replacement product that did really well on our network. And we thought you guys might be a really good fit for us.
[00:04:06] We're kind of hands tied, trying to find new ways to spread the awareness of Füm because we were being so, you know, we were tied, we can do anything. Uh, and this was kind of like maybe the golden ticket. And we got in and we were really fortunate, uh, to get on two shows right away that were highly profitable for us.
[00:04:22] That gave us enough evidence to say, wait, this is a place that we can advertise and we can make an impact.
[00:04:29] Heather Osgood: [00:04:29] Do you think that there's anything about those particular shows that made that initial campaign successful for you?
[00:04:36] Adam McNeil: [00:04:36] Well, looking back, I can dissect them and kind of point out some of the results in them. If we were to go into demographic targeting, but honestly it was a pretty big shot in the dark. It was a conversation with the rep there. He had a few shows that had done work with that other nicotine replacement product. And we were like, let's find out if this works. Let's throw know $3,000 at this and find [00:05:00] out if it brings back anything, nothing. And if not, maybe I need to go find another job. We'll see. Uh, but we were really fortunate. It worked out and looking back demographically, we were advertising on a kind of political comedy podcast. Uh, the host himself kind of is, uh, a commentator on political things in generally it has an older male demographic, that's invested, probably blue-collar workers, generally speaking.
[00:05:25] And when you think about it, yeah. If you dissect that a little bit, that audience is typically your blue-collar stressed out, most likely to smoke crowd, trying to look for an alternative, or trying to look for a way out that can replace that. And so it just seemed like a really good fit for them.
[00:05:41] Heather Osgood: [00:05:41] So what I hear you saying is that the target of the market was really, but what was most important in that, right? Is that you were reaching people who you knew were most likely going to be a higher kind of cigarette smoker audience. So really having the right target audience probably helped a lot in the [00:06:00] success of the campaign?
[00:06:02] Adam McNeil: [00:06:02] It definitely did, but it was definitely accidental. It was not something that we knew when we went into it. It kind of just happened. And now we've taken those learnings and now we're implementing that more for going forward into the upcoming podcasts that we're jumping on it. It's like, okay, is this audience most likely to kind of fit that mold of high smoking demographic? And would they be interested in making a change?
[00:06:24] Heather Osgood: [00:06:24] Yeah, absolutely. Very interesting. And would you say that, um, I don't know what that first host read was like, have you had any hosts who have successfully used Füm to quit smoking themselves and then being able to share that story in their host read ads?
[00:06:42] Adam McNeil: [00:06:42] Yeah, so we have a few hosts in particular and a show that we're actually jumping on in a couple of months. I can't talk too much about it, but we're really excited about it. Uh, he's been a huge advocate for us for a long time, and we're finally advertising on his podcast and it's quite large. Uh, but he used a Füm to cut back on his tobacco.
[00:06:57] We've had a number of other hosts [00:07:00] use it to either cut down on their vaping or almost fully replace it, or they're getting very close because quitting is a journey. It's not something that's like, oh, let's just pick up this product. Wow. I'll never go to use a cigarette for the rest of my life.
[00:07:11] Um, now as much as we wish that was the case, uh, it's oftentimes a more convoluted journey than that. And so the longer we can work with these hosts, the more results that we ended up getting because they're slowly reducing their nicotine intake and they become a greater advocate over the long term for us as they are using the product.
[00:07:28] So we've seen a lot of reduction in use and some that are getting very close to quitting. And we've only been advertising in the podcast space for less than six months now.
[00:07:36] Heather Osgood: [00:07:36] Has it really only been six months? So it's really a very new platform. I thought it had been longer than that, but it's a new platform for you.
[00:07:44] Adam McNeil: [00:07:44] Yeah, it's been really new, but it's become our number one, aside from our organic and our Google. It is our number one advertising platform now.
[00:07:52] Heather Osgood: [00:07:52] Uh, huh, that's amazing. So when you look at it as your number one platform, I know that oftentimes marketers [00:08:00] look at their social media ads and, uh, you know, I think most people feel like I've got this scenario with my social media ads.
[00:08:09] I know if I invest X number of dollars, I target this specific audience I use maybe these sorts of headlines or these sorts of photos, I'm going to generate a certain number of, you know, conversions from that campaign. I think that people spend so much time focused on the social media ad aspect, but then we also see that a lot of times those, you know, ads maybe aren't as effective.
[00:08:33] I know there are so many changes that are happening with privacy around social media ads in particular. So I do think oftentimes people kind of jumped ship from their social to their podcasting.
[00:08:44] But when you're thinking about really looking at the channel and seeing kind of its effectiveness, do you think that you've been able to come up with a strategy that is kind of something you can reproduce time and time again so that you can say, [00:09:00] gosh, I know if I get on this kind of podcast, um, I, I work in this way that it will most likely result in a specific return on my investment?
[00:09:10] Adam McNeil: [00:09:10] I think we're getting closer to that. Um, we've only been in it for six months, so we haven't even seen the lifetime value of some of our shows that have aired, you know, six months ago that are still getting a sale here and there. Like we've ended contracts with shows four or five months ago that we still get a trickle sale in here today, or, you know, last week or who knows.
[00:09:29] So how long is that going to go on for? Will that be another year? Will that be another couple of months? We're unsure. So I'm not sure about the long-term journey yet of our efforts, but right now I'd say we're actually trying to pivot our strategy a little bit. Um, we focused a lot on finding bigger shows with really strong advocates for our product.
[00:09:49] Uh, but we found that dip was a little bit slow. It would take us a long time to find another good winning show for us. Another show that would, you know, bring us a three X ROAS or whatever it was. And we were [00:10:00] spending, you know, $1,500, $2,000 on an episode. You name it, and we had run that show for four, or five, six weeks and we'd get close or it wouldn't work out.
[00:10:08] And then we'd have to restart and find one new show. We're pivoting a little bit. And we're looking at transitioning to doing a lot smaller shows and building out our micro influencing podcast advertising efforts. Whatever you want to call it. But really spreading wide so we can get a little bit more data. We've really been focused on that comedy slash political podcast space for quite a while. And we want to find out if that's actually our home. Uh, maybe our home is elsewhere as well. Maybe we can fit into that MMA space, which we found a little bit of success, and maybe we can fit in into the business or economic space where there's a lot of people working, middle-class, high-class jobs that are very stressed out all the time.
[00:10:44] So we're beginning to explore that and looking to kind of shoot a little bit wide, which is actually why we're kind of coming back to True Native is we're looking at, and we're getting on a couple of shows, in a few different demographics, and trying out some new testing at a lower budget and begin scaling some campaigns there.
[00:10:58] Heather Osgood: [00:10:58] Yeah. I think that that's really [00:11:00] smart. I know that a strategy that I definitely see used time and time again is one that I often call kind of shallow and wide. So the concept is how can we get on essentially as many podcasts as possible with just a small test to see where we're going to get a bump, right?
[00:11:17] So if you were to say, gosh, maybe we're going to get on 10 different shows, 20 different shows. And instead of saying, we want to do, you know, three to six month runs with these shows. Placing, maybe, a really small test buy, and then you're able to see what is really actually going to be effective for you. So it sounds like that's kind of the strategy behind what you're, what you're trying to do.
[00:11:39] Adam McNeil: [00:11:39] Yeah. I was listening to one of your episodes a little while ago, and it was either the one with, uh, I can't remember the gentleman's name from Blinkist, or it was Helix mattresses. And we're kind of following suit a little bit with one of their strategies. You know, we try to get on 10 shows and hope that we find two to three of them that are really good, that kind of carry that batch of 10 and then keep those two to three and then rebook them [00:12:00] for a year or rebook them for six months, whatever that is.
[00:12:03] Once we find those winners. And then, either we kind of retest a few of those other ones that are kind of in that, they're almost there, but not quite. And then we find another new set of 10 and kind of repeat that process is really where we're trying to grow to so that we can really build an army of advocates for Füm and make, make it really hard not to know about her name.
[00:12:21] Heather Osgood: [00:12:21] Right, right. And when you're looking at those shows and trying to evaluate which 10 you're going to choose, do you feel that there are certain characteristics that you're going after to identify which, you know, which shows are going to be a winner for you?
[00:12:39] Adam McNeil: [00:12:39] So in general for our product, we really rely on high trust audiences. Audiences that have built a really good trust with that host.
[00:12:46] there are certain podcasts hosts that have great podcasts that are high entertainment value, but they aren't high trust value, meaning that I might go to them to get a laugh. But I'm not going to go to them to find out what product I should be using to quit smoking. [00:13:00] and that just might not be the right fit for us, even though every other metric, every other audience is correct.
[00:13:05] So I probably spend more time diving into the type of content that person creates both on and off their podcast. On their socials, really trying to get into the psyche of that person, to know whether or not that their audience genuinely will trust them when they say, Hey, this is a great tool for quitting smoking.
[00:13:21] Because when you see this product, if you don't have a lot of education around it, or if you're not familiar with it, it takes a lot of commitment to say, Hmm, I'm going to try that. So we really do rely on those high trust, high advocate podcast hosts, which sometimes pigeonhole us to spend more on those really high audiences.
[00:13:39] but at the same time, we found incredible advocates at great CPM rates that we've been able to afford and work with for a long time.
[00:13:46] Heather Osgood: [00:13:46] I totally agree with you. And one of the thoughts that I have had is what creates those high trust audiences? And as you mentioned there, you know, there's the entertainment [00:14:00] space.
[00:14:00] And then when I look at podcasts, I think. I'm here just to be entertained. And then there are other shows and I listened to those shows because I really am seeking advice, whether I've been listening to a fashion podcast for middle-aged women that I love. And she's all about advice, right? I've listened to a ton of business shows that are all about advice.
[00:14:23] So I'm very accustomed to them telling me what to do anyways. And so I feel like, gosh, if they sneak in, um, you know, a product placement, you know, product endorsement. I'm going to be more likely to say like, oh, well I've already trusted them for all of these other recommendations.
[00:14:41]So that's one set of my, you know, thinking and, but then also I feel like just because you're in an entertainment space doesn't necessarily mean that I maybe don't relate to you. You know, so like maybe as I'm talking to the host, maybe the host doesn't make a ton of recommendations or [00:15:00] provide a lot of advice, but I think, man, like I really see eye to eye with this host, or I just really need the, I admire the host.
[00:15:08] So I think there can be different levels of trust-building. When you look kind of across both the podcast landscape, do you think that there are certain maybe genres or types of shows where there is more trust that's being built?
[00:15:23] Adam McNeil: [00:15:23] So, yes, uh, the political podcast space has a high level of trust because if you think about it right regardless, and we're, I'm a Canadian.
[00:15:32] So we, we try to stay out of the political mess of a lot of things, but in our fellow Americans world, uh, there's a lot of separation between left and right, you name it. But with that, there's also a lot of confirmation bias that comes with that. And so if you have someone that is either a harold on either side of that recommending something, their entire army that looks to them for advice on political leanings or whatever that is, or conversational topics. Uh, you're going to take their word, uh, much more seriously than you [00:16:00] would probably that person that's kind of in the middle, those hardcore people that either lean very far one way or very far the other actually ended up being some of the strongest influencers because they're so clear on what they stand for, whatever it is, that if they say I stand for Füm, they know that that person actually stands for that product. And they're not just doing it for product placement or not just doing it to make a buck, uh, that they've chosen that product. And so I found that those audiences can be pretty crazy in terms of how much they will buy into a product.
[00:16:30] But that's my little secret. Don't tell other brands that.
[00:16:34] Heather Osgood: [00:16:34] No, I, I think I, we, we, I mean, I have heard that before and at True Native Media, we really shy away from political podcasts because in America, obviously it is so divisive and I'm like, okay, we're just going to not represent those shows. And it makes it easier for us to focus on other types. But I have heard that again and again, and I think that it makes total sense.
[00:16:59] Adam McNeil: [00:16:59] Yeah, [00:17:00] it really does, but it doesn't have to be that way. Uh, if you can find a great host and a great audience that has a great connection, you can find those exact same results without having to go to those spaces. Um, for example, like I run a podcast, but it's super niche.
[00:17:13] It's small, but I just started working with a brand, Onyx Coffee Lab. And my podcast is all about sharing about this toy called Kendama. It's a Japanese wooden ball and cap game. And we talk about it over a cup of coffee, every episode. And I've been doing this for over a year now.
[00:17:28] And I brought on this, this sponsor finally. I reached out to them and their return on investment has been well over 20 X on a show that has less than a thousand a week, for downloads. And it's because it's very, very direct to that audience. I use this every episode, we talk about it and there's a high level of trust when it comes to coffee because that's what I'm talking about when I'm not talking about Kendama.
[00:17:49] And so when that product came into my world, it was an organic fit. So it made sense to my audience and they trusted it because it didn't feel like, Hey, and let me tell you about [00:18:00] IP vanish or any one of those other major podcast sponsors that are out there that everybody hears also. It doesn't fit my audience, but this was so clearly a perfect fit.
[00:18:09] Heather Osgood: [00:18:09] Well, and I think that's such a great transition into influencer marketing. And, um, if you've been listening to this podcast for very long, you know, that I definitely, really look at that host read ad as being influencer marketing. And that to me is what differentiates host read podcast ads from most, any other ads out there.
[00:18:29] Obviously we've got all, we've got the whole influencer space that's happening, but I believe that the power of audio in a lot of ways can sometimes trump, what is provided in other influencer kinds of realms and spaces. I know you guys definitely I believe, sampled into other forms of influencer marketing.
[00:18:51] How has podcast influencer marketing differed maybe, um, in terms of overall results from like a, just a standard social [00:19:00] media influencer campaign?
[00:19:02] Adam McNeil: [00:19:02] So when I actually joined Füm, I joined as the Head of Influencer Marketing. So that was what I came in to do was to build out the influencer program. And we'd kind of started that and it had grown and it had done pretty well for us.
[00:19:13] Like it was very profitable, high ROAS, but the amount of time investment that goes into every influencer activation, the amount of, of relationship investment that you put into every conversation and all the work that goes in for that profitability for that return can sometimes be exhausting until you find those, you know, you could call them like a goldmine influencer, an influencer that will go above and beyond for your brand will become a hardcore representative. You name it, whatever it is, and they bring in buttloads of money. There's no, no better way to put it. Uh, they're fantastic. And we find those every now and then, but it takes a long time to get there.
[00:19:49] And the scalability of influencer marketing requires a lot of manpower to do that. Podcast advertising is a little bit different. I can work with an agency or representation agency, like True Native [00:20:00] Media and scale a program, much more effectively, or much more efficiently, while still getting the same sort of host endorsement or influencer endorsement in a different kind of way.
[00:20:08] I think they kind of were tandem though. I wouldn't disregard influencer marketing because it can be incredibly powerful for launches, promotion, for getting more awareness out there. And especially just reaching the same people on a different platform, which we found to be really, really impactful. When you hear, uh, have eyes to talking about whatever brand she's talking about on Twitter, and on her podcast, and on her social media, you start getting this web, uh, wherever you go, where you just can't hear about Füm, no matter if you're on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, whatever it is.
[00:20:40] And that's kind of the world that we're trying to build is that wherever you go, you see Füm and you know that that's the best tool.
[00:20:46] Heather Osgood: [00:20:46] I think you bring up such a good point and one that I believe we need to pay more attention to in this space. So I really believe that podcast ads are influencer marketing, but also everything [00:21:00] should end can be integrated, right. So if we've got a podcast ad read, why can't that be supported by a Facebook post, an Instagram story, a Twitter post, right?
[00:21:11] We can integrate all of it. And I'm wondering how often when you're working with influencers, do you see kind of a full integration across many of their platforms?
[00:21:22] Adam McNeil: [00:21:22] A little bit and definitely more now than we had been doing before. And that's kind of the next step of our podcast advertising efforts is actually kind of hybriding that world we had for quite a while, kind of treated them as two separate things where we had our influencers that were on Instagram or YouTube. And we had our podcasts who were kind of on YouTube and on their podcast platforms.
[00:21:41] And now what I'm saying is, oh, these podcasts there's also have a great social influence on their Instagram, or they also run a Twitch stream or they also happen to do all these other things. Uh, what are ways that we can fully brand them or fully work with them as a brand across the different platforms? And that's kind of the stuff we're working on in this quarter is how do we create [00:22:00] some influencer style activations with our podcasters?
[00:22:04] Heather Osgood: [00:22:04] I think that's great. The other thing I think is really important is that there, there can be a difference between an ad and a sponsorship. So if we're thinking about an ad, I feel like an ad is really like a read or a handful of reads, right? They're just ads. Whereas sponsorship can be, Hey, I'm going to kind of get behind you as the influencer, right. Füm is going to sponsor you. We're going to sponsor the show. We're going to be on your social. And I think there can be a much deeper relationship that is created. And one that is reciprocal, because if I see, oh, my gosh, this brand is so interested in me, the influencer, they're willing to invest in my audience and in the content I'm creating.
[00:22:47] Then I think the influencer gets behind that brand more and kind of brings it to their audience. And, you know, the goal is for us to have very clearly defined ads [00:23:00] that have really clear calls to action. But we also don't mind, like you said, like with Onyx, how can I maybe just slip this into some of the content that I'm creating? And I think that really is powerful for brands. And so there is that difference, oftentimes between just running an ad and running a sponsorship. Have you seen that to be true, or if you had any experiences with that?
[00:23:24] Adam McNeil: [00:23:24] Well, I think we're getting closer to the place where we'd be creating more of those sponsorships-style projects. We're looking at potential onboarding with the new show as one of their sponsors, as they're getting ready to launch their show and becoming kind of an advocate for that show in launching it. So we're beginning to look at more of that kind of work as we kind of work forward in deepening that influencer relationship.
[00:23:47] There's a brand out there right now that's doing some really cool work called Cuts Clothing. I'm not sure if you're familiar with them as a brand. And Ethan there, uh, he's their brand director and they've been creating a series of these influencer-style [00:24:00] campaigns where they're creating podcast-style interviews with these influencers that they've been working with for a while, creating these interviews, these projects, these film pieces.
[00:24:08] They're amazing. They're stunning. And they're just deepening the relationship with these influencers to the point where that influencer is getting just as much value from the brand, in exposure, as an influencer is bringing to the brand in exposure. And those are the best kind of relationships because, at the end of the day, you and I both then come to the table saying, how can we make this thing better?
[00:24:26] How can we work together to grow this thing? Instead of me as a brand, just being like, all right, how can I, how much more money do I need to pay you to get you to do this thing? But when we can work together to make something happen, uh that's where real work happens.
[00:24:40] Heather Osgood: [00:24:40] I totally agree. I think that's really amazing. I'm sorry, what did you say? The company was called? Cuts Clothing.
[00:24:45] Adam McNeil: [00:24:45] Yeah, Cuts Clothing. They are like premier men's business clothing. The sport of business is like their catchphrase clothing for the sport of business.
[00:24:55] Heather Osgood: [00:24:55] Wow, how fascinating I'm gonna have to check that out. I totally agree with that because I think a lot of it is about the reciprocity that's happening right.
[00:25:04] Between the two entities and trying to work together. Now, that being said, I still believe that there is a place for testing and making sure that those partnerships are strong. So as you maybe look back on all of the ads you've run so far, you could say, well, we know the top performers are these, you know, a handful of shows and we want to go deeper with them because we know that there's already a fit.
[00:25:27] We know their audience already is responding to the product. So how do we go maybe deeper after testing? So I, I definitely see a place for, you know, making sure that you test and then kind of taking it a step further.
[00:25:40] We haven't talked much about kind of the size of the audience. I know that's a question that comes up frequently and with, however many podcasts there are now, I don't know.
[00:25:51] I think that recently I heard there was 2 million now, but. There are so many, right. I knew it. Yeah. But so we've got a lot of smaller shows out [00:26:00] there. And, I know you mentioned that you're kind of trying to buy into some of the smaller ones to test. And I think, you're testing probably genres, audiences, and that'll give you the opportunity to scale, but how small is too small?
[00:26:14] Adam McNeil: [00:26:14] You know, we have worked with a couple of really small shows, mostly because it was an influencer that we had already worked with and they were launching a new show and they wanted to bring on us as a brand because they already really liked us. And we're like, yeah, sure. Why not? This person's done great for us as an influencer, why wouldn't we support them in this new endeavor that they're going on.
[00:26:33] And to her surprise, like it, it, some of them have worked out pretty well, surprisingly well, for the scale of the podcast. And we track that through links like Googled UTMs. So we know that it's different from the influencer posts that they're doing on Instagram.
[00:26:48] And it's really interesting to see the difference of engagement that they end up getting via their podcasts over their Instagram influence. It's not the same. It's, it's almost deeper when you get onto a podcast platform because you're spending the hour or [00:27:00] 30 or 15 minutes, letting that person talk to you in your ear.
[00:27:04] And if you're committing to that, you're probably a little bit more engaged in what they have to say. And so that audience is more valuable sometimes.
[00:27:10] But how small is too small? I wouldn't say there's a number specifically, but because we've worked with shows that have been profitable, that I've had less than 500 downloads per episode.
[00:27:22] Oh man. And mostly friends that we, or like friends, influencers, I call them my friends. But, um, most of the influencers that we work with that are, you know, smaller in certain niches that have a really dedicated audience and they do pretty well. And mostly, I think I bring that bias because of the show that I host.
[00:27:38] Like I bring in anywhere between 500 to a thousand downloads an episode, and I've seen the results that I can bring for a brand that had been very profitable. So why wouldn't I expect that another person at that scale could bring in those results for us?
[00:27:52] Heather Osgood: [00:27:52] Yeah, I love that. And I, yeah, I think it's so interesting because I know oftentimes advertisers are looking for these [00:28:00] really large audiences and there's so much opportunity, I think, with the smaller shows.
[00:28:05] And I often think sometimes they're hungrier because they don't have as many ad dollars. So they might be more willing to negotiate too. In terms, I'm sorry.
[00:28:15] Adam McNeil: [00:28:15] Yeah, I was going to say the other piece with that too. And this is kind of the long-term game that we sort of play with some of these smaller shows is you kind of hope and cross your fingers for those viral moments for those smaller shows that then catch a wave and you've been on that show or you've booked out six months or whatever it is. And now that shows hit a ramp or a scale, and you're still paying that same flat rate that you agreed to. And now you're reaping that reward of that show growing because you were there when it started.
[00:28:39] And some of those shows are the best. We just had a show, have a viral episode that 40 X'd our ROAS on that episode, it was amazing. It blew up our store for the weekend and put our fulfillment behind four days or something. It was amazing because of a viral episode. And we had been advertising on that show with decent results for the past six months.
[00:28:58] It just happened one day and it was like, [00:29:00] whoa. So that's kind of the long-term game. You just want one of those a month or you wish they happen more often, but when you get them, you really enjoyed them. Yeah.
[00:29:08] Heather Osgood: [00:29:08] Yeah, for sure. Um, that's awesome. That is great to hear. So, how are you tracking the results of your campaign?
[00:29:16] So, I mean, you're not doing it for brand awareness. You definitely seem like you're doing it for that direct response. So how, how do you know what kind of return you're getting?
[00:29:25] Adam McNeil: [00:29:25] So we use a couple of different tools. The number one tool, I think that most brands will use is a discount code. Uh, the simplest way to track a direct conversion is to know whether or not they use their coupon code to buy.
[00:29:35]But as you know, and as I know not every customer is going to remember that code and they're just going to go by anyways or what, whatever it is, or they'll come back three weeks later, forget the code even existed and purchased. So the other tool that we'll use is a UTM link. We use a platform called Gribbin.
[00:29:50] It's like influencer marketing software. Uh, but we use that for our podcast as well. And we create UTM links that have their distinct code attached with like a 30 day cookie time or whatever it is. Uh, so that's [00:30:00] kinda the second tool. And then the third tool we use Google Analytics or Google Ads to measure our branded campaigns.
[00:30:08] So when people are just Google searching for Füm or Breathe Füm or whatever it is that the podcast host mentioned that wooden cigarette like the thing to quit smoking. Whatever people want to call it. We kind of look at the subset of ads that we title our branded ads. And if that is scaling and growing, that's probably primarily influenced through podcast advertising.
[00:30:30] So we kind of use that as a third measure to look at.
[00:30:34] Heather Osgood: [00:30:34] Okay. Great. Great. That's terrific. Um, and have you found that any kind of specific calls to action that worked better than others? Um, you know, obviously you are a direct-to-consumer company, and so I feel like the free shipping gets thrown around a lot or, you know, maybe a 10% off, but like what kind of really pulls and works for you?
[00:30:57] Adam McNeil: [00:30:57] That's something we're looking at testing here in the next quarter. [00:31:00] Uh, we have been pretty re like generally we try pretty stubborn with their price. Uh, we don't want to devalue our product a whole lot. And, um, and which makes it tough for advertising because you could just slap a 50% off sale on and increase your conversion rates, whatever you want to do.
[00:31:14] But we cap out at 10% off and, and that's the way we've kind of always done it for any of our discounts anywhere. And we don't really do much for offers outside of that. Hardly at all. And we try to let our brand speak for itself. We try to let our product speak for itself and let the host speak for themselves on behalf of our product.
[00:31:32] So we don't actually create that highly incentivized offers. Uh, but it still works because we have great hosts that advocate well.
[00:31:42] Heather Osgood: [00:31:42] Yeah, that's awesome. Well, Adam, I, you know, I know we need to start wrapping it up here. I really appreciate you coming on and sharing all of this wisdom. I'm curious if you could give a brand considering podcast advertising advice on how they might [00:32:00] approach, you know, just putting together a campaign, what kind of advice would you give them?
[00:32:05] Adam McNeil: [00:32:05] Well, we started with less than three grand, for, I think, six episodes on two shows. Uh, and I would say with three grand, you can probably get on 10 shows that are pretty small and start testing and finding out what kind of copy works. What kind of scripting, all that kind of stuff. And start small. Connect with someone like Heather and jump on an agency.
[00:32:26]You can try the whole direct approach by reaching out to individual podcasters. And we did that. It can be really draining and it can be really time intensive, but sometimes it's just easier to get that testing of faster, and working with a network or an agency is really helpful for that. And start small.
[00:32:41] We got real. I would say we got really lucky with our first two podcasts being profitable because we found about two out of 10 or three out of 10. And if we're, if, if I'm having a really good week, four to 10 shows do well. So I would say start wide and start small and begin scaling. Find the [00:33:00] demographic, find the audience, and grow with them. Invest in them and watch their shows. Become a friend of theirs. I think that's half the fun is I know the hosts. I chat with them. I'm in their comments, sections of their YouTube videos chatting with them.
[00:33:16]Heather Osgood: [00:33:16] I do feel like it gets back to, and you've said this several times now, but it's really, it is about creating that relationship with the influencer and the more, and I know that takes more time, but if you can really cultivate those relationships with the host, I think it, I think ultimately it can really pay off and it sounds like you've experienced that.
[00:33:36] Adam McNeil: [00:33:36] It definitely can. And we've hit some pretty crazy organic reach from being mentioned on the world's largest podcast, organically to just what we're doing.
[00:33:45] It. It's just really a cool platform with a really unique audience demographic.
[00:33:52] Heather Osgood: [00:33:52] Awesome Adam. Well, thank you so much for being on this show. If people are interested in potentially trying the product out or connecting with you, where can they go to find you?
[00:34:00] [00:34:00] Adam McNeil: [00:34:00] They can head to breathefum.com. And we are in the process of updating all of our homepages that we have at the time of recording this, our new website is up for testing, so you can check. But if this is coming out a little bit later, it should all be live by the time you're there. And you can dive through our plant database and check out all the work that we're doing. It's a lot of fun. So check it out. And if you know someone or you yourself are looking to quit smoking highly recommend using Füm. It has helped so many people and it is one of the easiest and safest tools to do it with.
[00:34:28] Heather Osgood: [00:34:28] Awesome. Well, thanks for being on their show. And thanks for listening. I appreciate you guys being here and we will be back again with a new episode talking all about how we can make podcast advertising effective. And if you want more information about podcast advertising, don't hesitate to head on over to truenativemedia.com.
[00:34:48] Thanks so much and have a great day.
Online Marketing and PR Manager
Adam is an online marketing nerd, coffee enthusiast, and everything podcast junkie with a knack for human-first marketing that drives ROI. From building a ground-up podcast advertising program at Füm, a natural smoking cessation brand, to running a chart-ranking podcast in the hobbies category, Adam knows the ins and outs of podcast advertising as both a creator and advertiser.