By Terry McDermott
Omnicom’s commitment to purchase £14 million worth of podcast ads with Spotify by the end of 2020 confirms the streaming platform’s investment in Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), a new, proprietary podcast ad technology that delivers Spotify’s full digital suite of planning, reporting and measurement capabilities. The technology offers more precise measurement of impressions and may be a key development in bringing large brands into the podcast advertising sphere. But even without the measurement technology, podcasts have worked and will continue to work for advertisers seeking leads.
For example, after Fearne Cotton talks about her comfortable loungewear to her ‘Happy Place’ podcast audience, she tells them they can save 20% on all purchases when they go to stripeandstare.com and use the code ‘Happy 20’. Comedian Joe Rogan explains to his podcast audience the MasterClass product offering, he then tells his audience they can save 15% when they type masterclass.com/Rogan. And HelloFresh.com/officeladies80 is the URL to which Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey of Office Ladies direct their listeners. Again, to receive a discount.
Advertisers track traffic and conversions at those URLs like nobody’s business, producing ROI reports in the blink of an eye. Their continued presence advertising with podcasters helps prove podcasts can be effective for lead generation.
Moving away from the direct-to-consumer advertisers, using podcasts to generate leads requires some additional work. For years, print ads promoted /XYZ after a URL with uneven impact. It turns out even the most “memorable” URLs were difficult to remember. But podcasts visitors can simply hit the rewind button or replay an episode. And podcasters themselves use free podcasts to promote premium services.
With a clear definition of a lead, advertisers can use podcasts to generate leads and connect those leads to sales. In the US, retailers such as Trader Joe’s, have advertised their own podcasts on National Public Radio’s podcast network. It is easy to imagine how a retailer can track the confluence of podcast listeners and shoppers by highlighting exclusive offers on their own podcasts.
The absence of real-time conversion data is where the art of media buying and the science of media measurement collide – an advertiser that wants leads can seek the demographic data of the listeners of a specific podcast and match that with the topics typically discussed. If it seems Giovanna Fletcher’s ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby’ podcast has the right audience discussing the right things, an audio ad for baby clothes by, let’s call it brand X, makes sense. But, beyond simply making sense, the advertiser can check to see the total traffic to brandx.com/happymumhappybaby. Those are the leads easily tracked back to the ad on the podcast.
For B2B advertisers, where the definition of a lead may require explicit contact information added to a CRM database, similar techniques can be used. SquareSpace.com/StarTalk is the key for listeners of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s podcast to unlock a discount. Garyvee.com/marketingforthenow is how the entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk advertised his content webinar series via his podcast. Register for the webinar – voila, you are a lead.
A more typical path in B2B will follow the example set out by Adobe in its Experience Essentials series. The series itself burnishes Adobe’s reputation as a thought leader in customer experience, and assists marketers in understanding how multi-channel marketing can boost performance. But Adobe also uses its podcast to drive traffic to https://www.adobe.com/experience-cloud/role/marketer.html
From there, live chat, the contact us button and the ability to register for free virtual events or download analyst reports turn podcast traffic into actionable leads. It may not be certain the lead came from a podcast – yet, if the podcast performs a different role, adding a lead gen component is an easy way to squeeze even more value out of the tactic.
Thus, whether explicitly to deliver leads or serve another purpose, our advice to marketers producing podcasts is simple: create and promote a unique URL extension to which you will direct podcast listeners. From there, promote the same offers that are available to traffic from other sources (paid search, re-marketing banners, trade eNewsletters). Existing tracking can then be used to understand which leads are attributable to the podcast, and marketers have another channel they can measure, optimise and compute ROI on their way to filling the sales pipe. Improvements in ad measurement have arrived, and more may come. But there is no reason to wait.
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Terry McDermott is a digital evangelist with expertise in turning objectives into strategic plans and developing, executing, and measuring demand generation programs. He leverages his background in direct response techniques, including CRM marketing, to develop insights that build lead gen and customer acquisition campaigns. He also creates account-based marketing programs for key prospects, selecting targets via predictive modelling and creating marketing automation campaigns to nurture and score leads. Additionally, McDermott advocates for investments in emerging digital products, technologies and channels, while building and managing teams to generate leads, boost sales and increase awareness.