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The Ultimate Quick-Start Guide To Podcast Advertising

The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider.

As more and more advertisers look to optimize their media mix against marketing channels they know will deliver measurable business impact, they are looking to explore new opportunities while mitigating any risk of decreased efficiency. Since podcast advertising yields leads with a conversion rate seven times higher than leads from regular website traffic (according to marketing consultant Hailey Friedman), many brands are looking to get moving quickly and want to know the best way to get started with podcast advertising.

So what does your brand need to do to get up and running quickly and successfully with podcast advertising?

This ultimate quick-start guide focuses on three important success factors:

Data-driven planning. As of March 2021, there are currently 1.9M podcasts and over 47M episodes, per “The Infinite Dial 2020” from Edison Research and Triton Digital. That is a lot of inventory!

It is critical to use both audience affinity data and historical performance data to select the shows that will be the most effective for your brand to lead its foray into podcast advertising. While it may seem the most turnkey to buy podcast advertising programmatically, it’s better to select a few high-indexing shows and do host live-read or “baked-in” ads. Live-read ads are considered to be far more memorable and persuasive than dynamic ad insertions.

Identify the top two to three affinities that index high with your audience and do a search for podcasts that focus on the lifestyles and passion points of your customers. Then vet those shows using their historical performance data and their propensity to drive your KPIs.

High-impact creative. As just discussed, you would start your advertising test-and-learn strategy with host live-read ads and ensure they incorporate key creative best practices. The power of persuasive podcast advertising is super-charged by the authentic and believable endorsement of the host. Therefore, it’s important to give hosts some creative freedom to deliver your brand’s messages in a way they believe will best resonate with their listeners.

Develop a comprehensive and adaptable messaging brief that includes your recommended messaging hierarchy, content do’s, don’ts and mandatories, and a list of the desired actions you would like the listeners to take after hearing your ads. This is the type of information hosts needs to craft effective baked-in ads -- delivered in their voice with cultural relevance.

Agile and scalable measurement. Measuring effectiveness is arguably the most important aspect of any media test and learn, and podcast advertising is no different. The two easiest measurement methods are vanity URLs and promo codes.

When structuring your podcast advertising campaign with a handful of shows, the simplest way to measure effectiveness is to provide each show a unique vanity URL or promo code. Not only will this help your brand track impact overall, but will also enable a show-by-show comparison. These results can inform future campaigns.

While there are more scalable measurement methods, namely those that are pixel-based, we recommend you reserve those for when you expand your efforts and move beyond the test-and learn-phase.

Start with informed planning, persuasive ad creative and attributable measurement, and you are well on your way to building an impactful podcast advertising operation.

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