Feb. 25, 2021

Podcast Advertising Best Practices For Marketers

Podcast Advertising Best Practices For Marketers

In today's episode, I break down all the best practice tips I have for marketers looking to succeed with podcast ads.  I cover the following: Different ways to buy ads and their pros and cons. How to identify shows to advertise with. The best...

In today's episode, I break down all the best practice tips I have for marketers looking to succeed with podcast ads. 

I cover the following:

  • Different ways to buy ads and their pros and cons.
  • How to identify shows to advertise with.
  • The best ways to measure results for direct response campaigns.
  • Why testing is critical to success. 

Please subscribe and reach out to me with any other questions you have at True Native Media if you enjoy the content.


This transcript has not been edited. 


[00:00:29]Heather Osgood: [00:00:29] Hello, and welcome to the podcast to advertising playbook. I'm your host, Heather Osgood. And today I have a special solo episode for you. I am going to be talking with you all about how you can succeed with podcast advertising. We have several conversations going on right now with companies that are new to podcast advertising.

[00:00:51] And I get similar questions on a regular basis. And so I thought I would make this episode to really share with you some ideas about [00:01:00] how you can really succeed with podcast advertising. Kind of the overall framework of setting up your campaign and what that looks like.

[00:01:08] The first thing I'm going to talk about today is how you want to go about buying advertising. So there are several different ways that you can buy podcast advertising. So you do have to determine up front what is going to be the best vehicle for you. There are, like I said, a few different ways. So I'm going to cover those with you now.

[00:01:28] You can go direct to the podcast. So let's say you have decided that you really like a specific podcast. And you would like to buy advertising on that show. You can go directly to that podcast, via their social media, via their website and talk to them about how to buy ads on their show. There are lots of shows out there that sell direct and this can be a good way of going, but I would caution you that there are lots of other shows that maybe aren't set up [00:02:00] so well. So some podcasts are set up really well to sell direct. Others are not set up as well to do direct. So it really just depends on the type of podcast that you're going to be trying to work with. The smaller they are the more challenging it will probably be. However, the larger they get the less chance that there are selling on their own. They're most likely working with someone else. So if you're interested in going direct to the best direct podcast to work with our, that midsection of podcast, the podcast that  aren't too big and aren't too small.

[00:02:32]The next option for you. The next thing that you might decide to go down in terms of how to buy podcast ads is working with a podcast advertising agency. Now podcast advertising agencies are set up specifically to work with firms and companies that are interested in buying podcast ads.

[00:02:51] And they have relationships with many, many hundreds, if not thousands of different podcasts. So you can work with this agency. You [00:03:00] can tell them all about what your goals are and they can put together a campaign for you. That will be very successful because they have been doing it for many years. They've got great testing methods. They've got good strategies. So going with an agency can be a great way of going about buying podcast ads.

[00:03:16]However, if you're going to go with an agency, know that they are definitely going to have a minimum buy. I do not know for sure what the minimum buy is. Every agency is going to be a little different. But, by and large, most of these agencies are going to want you to make at least a hundred thousand dollar commitment to your ad campaign before they are going to take you on. So think about that.

[00:03:40] The benefits of going with an agency is that they know the industry inside and out. They can help you for sure, because they have so many relationships and they've got a really good proven method. Uh, the downside is, is that if you don't have a large budget, you're probably not going to get as much attention as some of the larger [00:04:00] clients. And there is that budget thing to contend with. So, so consider that.

[00:04:05] Um, next, you could go to a network of shows. So a network of shows is a group of shows, typically within a very similar genre. And you could deal with that network. Let's say you've decided you really want to advertise on home and garden podcast. You could find at home and garden podcast network, and they would have a selection of five to possibly 20 or more podcasts that would all be within the same genre and they can help you. And that can be a good opportunity for you.

[00:04:34]Next you can consider rep firms. Now, True Native Media is a representation agency. We work with about 70 different podcasts and our role is to connect them with advertisers. There are a handful of rep firms in the industry. I think at last count there were about, I don't know, 15, 16 of us out there. So if you are interested in working with a rep firm, there are lots of opportunities to do so. When you look for a rep [00:05:00] firm, you have to consider the podcast that they represent, because obviously those shows are going to be the shows that you are going to be advertising with. Some rep firms seem to specialize more in entertainment in comedy, celebrities, things of that nature. While other rep firms, maybe, you know, don't necessarily specialize in one thing in particular. So it just depends on that rep firm that you choose, but that certainly is an option.

[00:05:27] The next option is going to a marketplace. So there are a, uh, an increasing number of online marketplaces where you can go on to this company's website. You can decide which podcasts you want to advertise with, and you can upload your talking points and away we go. Now, the benefit of a marketplace is that you really do have a wide selection of podcasts to choose from the big downside of a marketplace is that there isn't going to be a lot of help along the [00:06:00] way.

[00:06:00] When you work with a rep from for instance, or an agency, there is going to be a person there that is going to guide you through the process. That is going to use the knowledge the experience that they have and really create a campaign that they know is going to be successful.

[00:06:17] When you go to a marketplace. Yes, it is easy. And the way that you can go on there and you can have a buy up and running in a minimal amount of time. The bad part is that if you aren't experienced at podcast ad buying. You really don't know what you're doing. So you're not sure if you're selecting the right shows. You're not sure what kind of frequency you should be looking at. Maybe you don't even understand what all the terms mean and you're, you're kind of flying blind. So the benefit again is selection. The downside is that you don't have the help that you might want in really creating a successful campaign.  So really, if that's the direction you want to go down, I would recommend that you think about those things. If you already have [00:07:00] experience in podcast ad buying.

[00:07:03] Lastly, you can certainly go with programmatic ad buying. Now, all of the other options that I've listed so far. I would say by and large, 99% of those are going to be host read endorsement type ads. Where a programmatic ad is going to be an ad that is prerecorded more of a radio style ad. And you would not be buying specific podcast. You'd be buying a specific demographic or a specific geographic location for that listener. Now, the benefit of programmatic is that you can target a specific demographic and geographic location.

[00:07:39] When you have these other methods, there are definitely options to do geo-targeting, but it's not necessarily as easy as it is with programmatic ad buying. So if geography is a very important thing for you, if you were only looking to reach a small area than programmatic can be the way to go. The [00:08:00] downside of programmatic is it does not tap into the real strength of podcast advertising, which is that host read endorsement ad. That is the power of tapping into influencer marketing, which is what podcast advertising does. So programmatic can be a solution if it's something that fits within your goals.

[00:08:20] The next step in the process is that you are going to want to identify which shows you were interested in advertising on. So obviously, as I just mentioned, programmatic, you wouldn't be choosing the shows, but with all of the others, you would be choosing the shows. When you look to select podcasts, there are definitely some things that you want to consider.

[00:08:40] The first and most important consideration, I think is the audience. As an advertiser, you know who your target core customer is. You want to reach those buyers. And in order to do that, you have to make sure that you are reaching the right audience, the right demographic. That is so, so [00:09:00] important. I realized that if you were in marketing, that is certainly an ABC, but it sometimes can be difficult in podcast to determine who exactly is listening to the podcast. Because while we do have a bit of data, we don't have as much listener data in podcasting as some other digital marketing forms. So really consider that.

[00:09:21]When you're thinking about trying to determine who an audience is. I highly recommend that you ask the host or the agency or rep firm that you're working with. Have they done a listener survey? Do they know who is listening to that podcast? Because oftentimes they know who's listening. You just have to make sure that you're asking who is listening to this podcast, because it's such an important part of creating a successful campaign. You have to have that alignment. Next I really would look at the topic or the genre of the podcast. Often I see that there is a lot of matchy matchy that happens in the podcast space [00:10:00] and folks, you know, feel like, gosh, I am a vitamin company. I need to advertise on health shows because that's where the healthy people are that are going to use my vitamin products.

[00:10:10] And I am not discouraging you from doing that. If you've got a product and you know, that it aligns very well with a similar industry podcasts, then go for it. But you have to realize that just because you are selling vitamins doesn't mean that only healthy people listen to health podcast. Healthy people listen to all kinds of different shows. So the topic, the genre of the podcast is important and you should consider that. But more importantly, again, is that audience piece.

[00:10:43] The other consideration though, is the content that you are partnering with. If you do not want explicit content, then you have to be very aware of the shows that you're partnering with. If you are concerned about [00:11:00] specific things, being out there and associated with your brand, you really do have to look at the content. Believe it or not, I was talking with, uh, an industry partner the other day. And they mentioned that an advertiser was very upset that a host had talked about their divorce. And I think that in this day and age, that doesn't feel like a very shocking thing to talk about a divorce. But that particular advertiser did feel like it was a big thing. They didn't like that that was the content that was being discussed or the topic that was being discussed in the show. So if you feel like, as you're thinking about getting a campaign started, that you're going to be very sensitive about the content or the topics being discussed in your show. You're going to want to do some work and investigate. What other kinds of topics or content has this specific show put together because you are really relying on that influencer piece. You're relying on these hosts to [00:12:00] be ambassadors for your product. And you want to make sure that you choose an ambassador that's going to be in alignment with your brand. Very, very important.

[00:12:09] Next, you're going to want to look at measuring results. We've got this campaign that is set up. How are you going to know if the campaign has been successful? Now of course you, hopefully, have determined what your goals are for the campaign. Why are you running the campaign? What are you trying to get out of the campaign? Are you running a brand campaign? Are you running a direct response campaign? Of course, those are important things to determine first, but when you have that determined, you're going to want to decide how are you going to be measuring success? And if you're running a brand campaign and you've identified that, that this influencer, this podcaster is a good alignment with you. You want them to be a spokesperson for your product. Then that might be all that you need to do is just check the ad reads. Make sure the ad reads are coming off well. That the host is doing a good job with the ad reads. Cause that can make a big difference [00:13:00] in performance. But that might be it. That might be all you need to track is just making sure that that ad is being delivered to the best of its ability and is really resonating with your audience or your target demographic.

[00:13:13] However, if you are putting together a direct response campaign, you might determine that you want to know exactly what kind of results this campaign is bringing in terms of conversions and sales. Now a very traditional way of tracking results in the industry has been with that unique URL and or the promo code so that we can see who is using this specific shows information to make a purchasing decision.

[00:13:40] I always encourage folks to do that. So if you have an advertising campaign going on, you are looking to do direct response. Please go ahead and put those elements in place because it's not a lot of work to do. The other thing that you have to consider is what is your offer? Are you putting out a compelling offer [00:14:00] to make folks, make people, make listeners really want to respond to that offer?

[00:14:06] If you are putting free shipping up there, and the minute I go on your website, I see that you deliver free shipping for everyone that is not much of an incentive. You have to come up with something that is going to interest people in taking the step to go to that specific URL and or enter that promo code. So those are very important pieces to consider.

[00:14:28] Next it is important for you to look at the fact that while there is going to be a percentage of people who are going to use that promo code and they are going to use that unique URL, the vast majority of people will not be using that. So you have to put some sort of a multiple in place because if you don't, then your results really are going to be kind of skewed. So I highly recommend that.

[00:14:52] There is another option in this space as well, which is pixel tracking. And pixel tracking and attribution tracking has been around for a little while [00:15:00] now. And I really do encourage you to go down that Avenue. Um, with these software products we're able to see who has listened to a podcast, and then who makes a purchasing decision.

[00:15:12] So companies that do attribution tracking our Podsights, Chartable, Barometric, um, and Claritas, or the kind of the same company. But yeah, so those are options for you. If you want to go ahead and use that pixel tracking and I encourage you to do that. Put both of those measurement tools in place, because when you put both of those in place, then you will, at the end, have the results that you're looking for. So, so really make sure that you are measuring your results.

[00:15:46] As you're putting your campaign together. I want to encourage you to think about a test period. If I were speaking to a marketer and a marketer was going to start a new Facebook ad campaign. [00:16:00] Maybe they had never done Facebook advertising at this company before. They would put a test period into place. They would test the headline. They would test the call to action. They would test the image. They would test all of these different variables to see which one is going to pull best.

[00:16:19] I think that it's kind of ironic because in advertising people never question whether or not social media advertising works or maybe they do, but I don't feel like to the extent that they should, people just assume social media advertising is going to work at it's going to be super successful. And so they put test periods in because they know in order to reach that result, they're going to have to test things. They're going to have to monitor the results.

[00:16:45] Um, and change things and really create some success and momentum. But for some reason, I find when new advertisers into the podcast space, it is not uncommon for these people to expect results [00:17:00] right out the gate. We work with companies all the time and they feel like, gosh, I ran one campaign and it should have been super successful. And it wasn't. And since this one campaign I ran, wasn't super successful. I'm not going to do it again.

[00:17:14] And I really, really encourage you to approach podcast advertising with the mindset that isn't going to work. Of course, it's going to work. We've had lots and lots of success in the industry. Is it going to work and give you a positive ROI? The very first time you try it, probably not like it's gonna take some tweaking. It's going to take some refining. It's going to take some trial and error. We know the medium is successful and it can be successful. And of course, as a company, you have to monitor that risk and you can't just throw money into a campaign that is not succeeding, but you do have to realize that all podcasts are slightly.

[00:17:54] different. If you were doing these host read endorsement ads, sometimes [00:18:00] that product is going to resonate with the host so much, and they're going to like it so much that they're going to do incredible ad reads and it's going to get great results. Sometimes that audience is going to be really primed for buying your product. And they're going to go out and make a purchasing decision.

[00:18:14] And sometimes it's not right. And sometimes it takes trial and error. It takes, Hey, which show worked, which show didn't. And then you have to go through and you have to refine your ad buy So you set forth a test period. You try specific calls to action. Do you try certain talking points? You try specific shows and then you see the results and then you take all of the successes, all of the learning that you had from that campaign.

[00:18:41] And you apply it to a next campaign and you, you just refine and you refine until you get a pool of shows and you get talking points and you get calls to action that, you know, are really gonna resonate with podcast listeners. And that truly is how you can accomplish advertising [00:19:00] success with podcast advertising.

[00:19:02] I hope that today's episode has been helpful for you. And if you are a business and you're interested in talking about podcast advertising, we would love to connect with you. We have years of experience in the podcast industry in advertising in particular, and we know how to create campaigns that are really gonna move the needle for you. So please feel free to reach out to us. You can go to true native media.com. We would love to schedule a time to chat with you further.

[00:19:30] I hope that you guys have a terrific day and we will see you again next week. Take care.