May 13, 2020 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Everyone “knows” that sponsoring podcasts is, quite often, one of the most effective and easiest ways to launch a modern startup and set it on a fast-growth trajectory. Although podcast audience numbers are down slightly during the pandemic, most industry observers predict they will bounce back up once the stay-at-home orders are rescinded and commutes resume.
Podcasting is especially attractive for advertisers, since it enables distribution of content when the audiences want it, wherever they want it and in whatever platform they choose to consume it.
When plans are laid to launch a modern marketing campaign, spending money on podcasts is almost certainly going to be strongly considered. According to Triton Digital, a provider of technology for the podcast industry, there are more than 800,000 active podcasts available, with 54 million episodes.
Taking those first few steps in this process can be simple: First, determine the audience profile that makes up your target market. Basic information to include their age range, gender, education, occupation, income level, family situation, geographic location, politics, hobbies and interests, etc. Then, identify the podcast distribution networks that represent which shows reach your target market, and work with those companies’ sales personnel to help figure out which specific shows reach the best audience profile within the desired spend or budget.
Verifying the legitimacy of a podcast is crucial. Have they worked with other well-known advertisers? Do they have known/legit guests, hosts, and/or a legit media brand associated with them?
According to Lex Friedman, CRO of Art19, a California-based independently owned podcast company, there are three common mistakes entrepreneurs make with podcast campaigns:
The first is trying to make a podcast ad sound like a radio ad. “Radio listeners instinctively hit the preset station button to avoid listening to ads. In fact, one of the reasons audiences continue to abandon radio for podcasts is to avoid the endless personal injury lawyer pitches and car dealership owners yelling at them,” says Friedman.
The second is sponsoring a podcast mainly based on the fact that the decision-maker likes the show, without spending the time and effort to determine whether the show’s audience profile is right for the brand and product. “The audience profile and your target market may overlap, but not closely enough, or you may just want to support some of your favorite podcasts,” says Friedman.
The last mistake is being too cautious with your budget. Despite its widespread growth, podcasting remains one of the best options for entrepreneurs with shoe-string budget DIY campaigns, but Friedman says, “Don’t try to ‘dip a toe’ in podcast advertising and expect to get any results … or even learn anything useful. If you only have a minimal amount — a few thousand dollars to invest — better to wait until you’re able to properly fund a campaign.”
According to a survey of 168,500 podcast listeners, the podcast advertising network Midroll found that “campaigns with ads on five or more episodes result in 39 percent more listener recall than those with just one spot. Running spots on just four episodes improves unaided brand recall by 27 percent compared to running a single ad.”
Speaking of spend, podcast ad deals “are not that complicated,” says Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM PR. “There are two fundamental numbers always to consider: the first is the audience number, which gets measured as downloads, the higher the podcast’s audience, the more an advertiser pays) The second number is CPM.” CPM stands for cost per 1,000, M being the Roman numeral for 1,000. For podcasts, the 1,000 refers to downloads. When a podcast and an advertiser broker an ad deal, CPM is the number they negotiate. According to Laermer, “generally, CPMs range from $25 to $40, and sometimes higher if the podcast is really hot or hits a niche audience.”
According to Midroll, 63% of podcast listeners have bought a product they heard advertised on a podcast. Whether the topic is daily news or sports, true-crime, career-booster professional development or obscure historical events, podcasts have become a part of our daily routines, making commutes easier and life more interesting, and represent a prime opportunity to change the way consumers respond to advertising in general.