Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know and How to Make It Work for You

Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know and How to Make It Work for You

An Introduction to Podcast Advertising

Research shows that the amount of time people spent listening to Podcasts has doubled in the last four years (Edison Research). From comedy to mysteries to sports and relationships, podcasts give listeners access to fresh content focused on the subjects that interest them most.

Typically, your advertisement is integrated into the program and voiced by the host, co-host or producer of the podcast. So, your brand gets instant credibility and trust among the listeners.

You can buy pre-produced spots at a lower rate, but you need to know you will lose the endorsement effect that has made podcast advertising a valuable and powerful source of new leads, customers and sales.

One of the most important aspects of podcast advertising is how convenient it is for listeners to consume the media. Once they subscribe, the fresh podcast is available automatically on their smartphone and they are alerted as new content is available. Since the talent of the program is reading your ads, there are no up-front production costs.

Here are some eye-opening podcast facts to consider:

  • Podcast audience has grown to 73 million listeners a month (Edison Research).
  • 81% of podcast listeners say they pay attention to podcast ads.
  • 60% of listeners have purchased something promoted in a podcast.
  • 93% of podcast listeners are active on Social Media.
  • Podcast hosts endorsements bring instant credibility to your brand.
  • Podcasts audiences are extremely loyal. They hand-pick the podcasts they want to consume.
  • Your brand gets a positive halo effect of the program you associate your brand with.

It’s important to note that even though you pay for a 30-second or 60-second spot on podcasts, many times your ads can run much longer. We have seen talent go on for three to four minutes about a client because they related a personal story to the sponsor.

You will get alerted the day that a show is available and get a link to how your spot ended up sounding. Be advised that even though you send the exact same script, the spot will sound different if the host is doing a “live” read. That’s because show topics change from program to program, and hosts usually try to bring relevant content to your spot.

This is one of the reasons that podcasts are so valuable in today’s distracted world. Because your target audience is extremely focused on what is being said in the program, they are engaged. And there are usually not many other sponsors right next to you like there can be in radio spot sets that last 5 to 7 minutes long.

Types of Podcast Advertising

Pre-roll spots are ads that air before the program actually begins—like the inside cover of a magazine. In this case you may have three to four sponsors in the pre-roll section of a podcast. It airs somewhere in the first minute or two of the show. The audience hears the introduction music and then the pre-roll spots air before the host begins talking about the show’s subject for the day. We suggest avoiding pre-roll.

We like to position clients in mid-roll. Mid-roll can be more expensive because it delivers more results and is in higher demand. Mid-roll is usually positioned in the middle of the podcast. The talent is heavily involved in the content of the program, and then your advertising is delivered and highlighted. Sometimes the show’s producer or co-host will read your copy. This normally happens in podcasts where the host is not allowed by contract to be seen or heard endorsing a product (for example, national news anchor such as Anderson Cooper). Since each podcast varies in length, it’s difficult to know exactly when the mid-roll spot will air. However, because your ads are embedded deep into the content of the show, it sounds like it’s actually part of the program versus just being a sponsor.

There is also post-roll, which comes at the end of the podcast. You will hear “this program has been brought you by” and then a list of sponsors. The show ends with the post roll sponsors.

In regard to production there are two types of podcast ads: pre-produced ads and host endorsements or “live” reads.

1. A pre-produced ad is voiced by a professional talent other than the host or producer.
2. The “live” reads or host endorsement ad is read by the host, co-host or producer.

Podcast Special Considerations

Because there are no strict guidelines on commercial lengths, spots can last from 30 seconds to five minutes. They are usually sold as 30-second or 60-second units, but that does not mean that’s exactly how long your ads will be. In fact, some of the best performing spots are ones where the host takes your basic script and adds his or her personality, personal experiences and input.

Podcasts are not restricted by typical broadcast standards. Which means you need to know in advance if the program’s hosts use language you are not comfortable associating with your brand. Both the topics and language can be considered NOT “family-friendly” very quickly in the program. The title of the podcast does not always reveal the actual content of the program. It’s wise to listen to several programs before sponsoring to make sure you are comfortable with the content of the show.

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on a Podcast?

Podcasts are priced based on the CPM basis. Most podcasts try to get $25 CPM, or $25 for every 1,000 people who download their podcast. So, for quick pricing a podcast that delivers 100,000 downloads is going to cost an advertiser $2,500 per sponsorship per show. If you want to try a pre-produced spot, you could test it for around $10 per thousand.

However, like with all other media, podcast advertising rates are negotiable. DX Media Direct has access to several well-known podcasts at 50% off what other advertisers pay. It’s wise to get a professional media buyer on your side who has tested these programs with other advertisers. They can guide you to safe harbors for best results. While some podcasts promote huge download statistics, we have seen some inaccuracies in the data and results. Be careful of podcasts that have packaged themselves together with other podcasts to boost their reported download numbers. It’s smart to measure the performance of each podcast as a stand-alone. In doing so, you’ll have better insight as to which host, program and content is driving the real results and sales. You can do this by giving a special offer code, using a dedicated tracking number for each show, or both.

DX Media Direct can help connect you to the right podcast audience. Here are some examples of rates and downloads. There are literally hundreds of programs available.

Program Topic# Of DownloadsMid-Roll Rate
60 Seconds
Host Endorsed
NBA Basketball79,000$1,100
National News78,000$1,100
Business News8,000$100
Conservative Talk250,000$2,205
Rock & Roll Music7,000$90
WWE Wrestling120,000$1,500
Celebrity Talk400,000$4,500
Crime & Mystery65,000$825
Financial Talk8,000$250
Comedy100,000$2,200
Conservative Host650000$10,500
Political Talk150000$2400
Wrestling Talk17500$350
Celebrity Interviews75000$1,050
Economic & Current Events20000$275
Comedy & Shock Jock30000$385
Serial Killer Crime65000$750
Web Technology show20000$700
Photography7000$250
Psychology & Philosophy200000$6,500
Work Life15000$550
Car Talk13000$450
News Anchor Podcast140000$1,400
Hot Button Issues550000$7,350
Unsolved Mysteries15000$250
College Basketball6200$95
Football Sports Talk8200$125

(Additional advertising costs can be found in our blog post titled, “How Much Does It Cost to Advertise?“)

How Do I Know It’s Working?

As you can see there are about as many podcasts as there are topics of interest. In fact, some podcast topics have several shows covering them weekly.

As an advertiser, you will want to know how long you should test a podcast before knowing if it will perform for you. We have an answer: within two weeks.

Believe it or not we have found that you get 90% of the results from the podcast within the first week that it airs. Remember that loyal fans are usually waiting for fresh content from the show’s producer. They love the program so much that they have subscribed so they consume the new content relatively quickly when it hits Apple Podcast ad, Google’s Play Music or another source. We have seen same-day results, call spikes, website visits and app downloads on most of the successful podcasts buys. Likewise, for underperforming podcasts, waiting several weeks for results to come in did not help. Time is not necessarily your friend. If results are poor on the first one, then buying 10 more will not help.

Additional Tips:

  • Establish a target goal for results with every podcast buy. If you need a cost per lead of $50 and the podcast costs you $1,000, then you should receive 18 to 22 responses within the first week.
  • Test two podcasts and watch the results for two weeks. Then renew if it performed or search for other opportunities if it does not achieve your goal. It’s not to say you won’t get results after the two weeks. Podcasts do have a nice shelf life. But the consumption behavior that we have observed has shown us to look at the results within the first two weeks of the release date and repurchase the podcast or stop the bleeding right away. There are so many opportunities still available to test, there is no use hanging around and hoping results get better.

If you need help creating a script for your podcast, then reach out to us here at DX Media Direct. We’ve written hundreds of scripts that have delivered millions of dollars in sales over the last 30 years. Put our podcast ad agency experience and expertise to work for your brand.

Creating More Effective Advertising Campaigns

Creating More Effective Advertising Campaigns

Three Steps to Measuring, Managing and Maximizing Your Advertising Performance

There is a saying in advertising that “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.”

Which is absolutely true. The power of refining your advertising campaign’s performance relies on your ability to find underperforming media outlets and renegotiate, refine or remove them. They key is making sure that you are measuring what matters, managing what you can change and maximizing the performance of each campaign, so you can fix broken elements sooner than later.

Step 1: Measure What’s Important to Your Sales Cycle

The first step to maximizing campaign performance is to decide what you will be measuring, how you will measure it and what data you need to make change. There are several key items to consider. If you start with what you know then you can build a baseline for a solid measurement strategy.

“Where do I start?” In today’s digital world it’s easy to get so granular in your data that you end up being impressed with the wrong data or giving parts of your information more weight than you should. So, start with the end in mind. Start with what makes the cash register ring.

It’s also known as your conversion ratio. Begin by answering these key questions:

  • How many opportunities do you need to create a sale? This can look different depending on how your business operates.
  • If you sell your products or service online, then install Google Analytics and look at how many unique visitors per day, week or month it takes to generate a sale.
  • If you are in retail, how many customers must visit your location for you to create a sale?
  • If you sell direct, then how many prospects must you talk to on average to create a sale?

This number is your current conversion ratio. Finding your conversion ratio is the first building block to understanding what it takes for your campaign to be successful. Once you have your conversion ratio, then you can place benchmarks on the cost or investment you can afford to make in your marketing to create opportunities.

Now that you have your conversion ratio in place, ask yourself this question: “Is there any way to improve conversions or conversion ratio before I invest more money in advertising or marketing?”

If you need some resources to look at industry standards or competitor information, you can easily find benchmark information online. For Facebook statistics, for example, check out these benchmarks. Online advertising pro Larry Kim wrote in his eye-opening article “Everything You Know About Conversion Rate Optimization is Wrong” that you may be surprised at how low your conversion ratio is compared to the top performers in your industry.

Larry Kim writes:

“If you’re already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you’re going to go? But what is a good conversion rate? Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10% — these are the landing pages with conversion rates of 11.45% or higher.

We recently analyzed thousands of AdWords accounts with a combined $3 billion in annual spend and discovered that some advertisers are converting at rates two or three times the average. Do you want to be average, or do you want your account to perform exponentially better than others in your industry? So what is a good conversion rate? About 1/4 of all accounts have less than 1% conversion rates. The median was 2.35%, but the top 25% of accounts have twice that – 5.31% – or greater. Remember, this isn’t for individual landing pages – these advertisers are accomplishing 11.45% conversion and higher across their entire account.

Clearly, this isn’t some anomaly; this is perfectly attainable. If you’re currently getting 5% conversion rates, you’re outperforming 75% of advertisers … but you still have a ton of room to grow!”

This gives you some insight into online conversion ratios.

What about offline? If you have a retail location, keep track of weekday foot traffic and weekend foot traffic. Measure the number of sales by location by day, accounting for seasonality, bad weather days or any redirection of traffic. For direct sales or if you have an in-house sales team, you can track the number of inquiries each salesperson receives and how many they convert on average into a sale.

Campaigns that we have seen achieve the most success over the years have maintained anywhere between a 6% and 16% conversion ratio. It is rare for an offline campaign to succeed long term if you are able to speak to prospective customers (either face to face or by phone) but experience a 3% or less conversion ratio. The cost per response is simply too high. If your current team can convert at 6% to 20% you have a solid foundation for moving forward with your campaign.

Ok. You’ve established your conversion ratio. You have measurement in place to know daily or weekly how many responses or opportunities it takes to create a sale. You feel good about where you are in your current sale system to maximize every opportunity.

Step 2: Refine What You Can Control

Your second step is to refine the elements of your campaign that you can control. Here is what you can control in your campaign:

  • The media mix
  • The creative
  • The frequency
  • The audience you need to reach
  • The rate you pay to reach that audience

In regard to the media mix, determine whether the media mix you are using fits the way your company sells. Your company is unique. You have a culture, a system and process for how you sell best. You want to make sure the media you use plays to these strengths. For example:

  • If you have a great system for selling online, following your customer from interest to search to checkout but don’t do a great job with inbound calls, then make sure your media mix directs your customers to your online experience. (It’s been said “People want to buy–they just don’t want to be sold.”) If you are strong online, then make sure your site is fast, easy to use, mobile friendly and your advertising cost effectively drives them to that online experience. Your media mix can support your ability to sell and improve your cost per sale. Look at the time of day and days of week you generate the most sales. Advertise then. If you are a digital powerhouse, then of course digital is going to be a great vehicle. However, you may also find that offline media like radio, TV, or outdoor also does a good job for creating that interest to interact with you online.
  • Traditional sales processes: Drive interested prospects to your best sales people. Use the power of the media to create inbound leads so your seasoned professionals can spend time doing what they do best. Are you open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm? Then consider radio as an option if your product or service does not require a visual demonstration. Radio is effective for reaching prospects close to the time of purchase. If your product is visual, then use video or television to show how effective it is.
  • Creating quality creative: In regard to your creative, make sure you are visually and audibly speaking in terms your customer understands and in simple ways the customer can easily see what’s in it for them. Have you ever watched a television spot and asked yourself “what that was about?” or seen the ad and questioned “who is this for?” Or worse, have you ever just tuned it out, clicked away or turned it off because you were immediately NOT INTERESTED. These are all signs of bad creative. Don’t fall prey to lazy writing, poor design and feature-focused ads. If you want to see how other companies execute creative, go to www.moat.com for web advertising ideas or www.ispot.tv Make note of ads that motivate you, interest you or capture your attention. Ask yourself why. What about this ad made you want to act or do what the ad was instructing you? What enticed you?

Step 3: Maximizing Campaign Performance

The third step is to make sure you are getting a good value for your advertising. This relates to how much you are paying to reach your target audience with enough frequency to take your prospect from interest to awareness to action. If the advertising campaign you are running is not producing a measurable ROI, then look hard at letting a professional media buyer help you navigate the options you have to make it more effective. There may be several other media options you have simply not discovered yet that could take a losing campaign and turn it into a winner.

Reach out to DX Media Direct if you’d like to learn more about creating more effective advertising campaigns.

Three Best Types of Video to Build Your Brand Online

Three Best Types of Video to Build Your Brand Online

In a recent interview with Buzzfeed’s Chief Revenue Officer, Lee Brown AdWeek asked “What types of videos work best for branded content?” His answers are both insightful and actionable. Why should we listen to Buzzfeed? Because they generated over $100 million dollars last year in revenue. So here goes. Here is what he says works.

1.) Identity. The video connects with the viewer and says “This is so me.” Have you ever seen a post that you identified with? Then that’s a video built to connect with you because it makes you feel like someone understands.

2.) The Emotional Gift.  This is a video Lee Brown says makes you laugh out loud and want to share with your friends and family.

3.) Informational. These are research-driven or how-to videos that give the user information they can use. These videos get attention. They can also help you build your brand by helping your target customers learn something that makes their life better.

There you have it. Thinking about producing a video for online attention? Craft it to meet one of these categories and it should deliver.

Increase Your Online Response by 62%

Increase Your Online Response by 62%

Research shows that websites with videos enjoy a 62% increase in response rates. Now the question is how to make an effective video.

1.) Create a script that grabs attention and keeps it. This starts by keeping the viewer in mind. Make the video benefit-oriented.

2.) Give your video social impact by making it social worthy. Spend the time to craft a video worth sharing.

3.) Keep it short. You will need about 160 words for every minute of video. Also don’t hold on a photo or shot longer than 5 seconds. You will bore the viewer.

Let us know if DX Media Direct can help you create a video to use on your site, in TV ads or for corporate training. We can script, shoot and fully produce everything you need.

The 5 Worst Performing Words to Use in Your Email Marketing

The 5 Worst Performing Words to Use in Your Email Marketing

Which words will decrease your open rates in your email marketing? Alchemy Worx used the Touchstone platform to analyze 21 billion emails from 2,500 brands. The words that had the most negative impact were as follows:

1.) Miss

2.) Deals!

3.) Groovy

4.) Conditions

5.) Friday

Author Ayaz Nanji reported this in Marketing Profs Newsletter.

Stay away. Stay far, far away from these words to improve your email marketing performance.

Buddy Vaughn