Director of Marketing

Beyond The Episode: Streaming Audio & Podcasting

The November episode of The Marketing Insider, a podcast for marketers focused on finding and targeting their ideal customers at scale, went live on November 30th. You can find the episode, here. During the recording, I had the chance to talk to Omer Jilani, VP of Sales at Claritas, and Sergei Peysakhov, Senior Director of Measurement and Insights at Entercom. We discussed the trends in streaming audio and podcast performance, plus how marketers can take advantage of these growing mediums to ensure their ad dollars are working their hardest. But, while you’ll hear all about those topics and more when you listen to the episode, 30 minutes just wasn’t enough to discuss everything. Because of this, we took some of the conversation offline and put it in this blog, so you can get the full story on Streaming Audio & Podcasting: Making Your Ad Dollars Work Harder.

Which Conversions Were The Direct Result Of A Campaign?

Today’s brands have so many choices when it comes to the tactics they employ to convert customers, and Omer emphasizes that it doesn’t make sense for them to invest in potentially new-to-them channels like podcasts or streaming audio, unless they know they can squeeze out incrementality from a conversion standpoint. In the past couple of years at Claritas, we’ve analyzed what kinds of growth companies can see in both the podcasting space and streaming audio, and as the returns grow, so do brand’s interests in diverting their media dollars to these channels. In fact, as you can see from the chart below, after analyzing over 158 podcast campaigns across industries, we’ve found lift rates in key industries are measuring upwards of 79%!

Let’s Talk Dollars And Cents

When you think about CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) for your podcast marketing efforts, Omer says it’s continually evolving. As consumption grows, supply grows, and bigger brands have taken notice of the success direct response brands – those early adopters of podcast marketing – have seen over the years. Currently, CPMs are around $18, which is less than TV and direct mail, comparable to traditional radio, and about double that of social media ads. That being said, as stated above, the lift rates more than compensate for the dollars invested, and if you are in the process of considering channels to invest in for your 2021 (and beyond) advertising, Omer strongly recommends adding podcast marketing to your mix.

The Rediscovery Of Audio

Streaming audio isn’t really considered a new channel anymore, but the average person may not recognize what it is exactly. To put it simply, when you listen to audio over the Internet – aka listening to Spotify or Pandora, for example, – you’re streaming audio. Even though commercial radio turns one hundred this year, Serge has noticed a lot of advertisers transitioning to audio in more digital and technology forward ways, like with streaming audio. He considers it to be “the theater of the mind” due to the strong connection between the speaker and the listener, but despite the fact that there’s a lot of value there, marketers are looking to companies like Claritas and Entercom to ensure proof of performance before they invest their ad dollars. When evaluating partners, Serge cautions against those that try to sell you on measurement methods like dropping cookies or using DCM (DoubleClick Campaign Manager) tags, because that simply won’t work in an audio environment. Ultimately, make sure you do your research and choose a partner that has compatible technology for the channels you’re advertising through.

The Roadmap To Success

Serge’s recommendations for success driven by data are simple, but crucial. He suggests starting small, running a test and then moving quickly from there. The best part of all is you don’t even need to have assets at the ready to do the testing. Companies like Entercom can actually help you create audio content. That way if you don’t have an audio ad sitting on the shelf, they can make it for you. Then, after you test the creative and receive results, you can start to think about how to integrate audio into your overall strategy in a more effective manner, with a partner who you can trust to guide you along the way.

What Does The Future Hold?

Now that publishers and measurement partners have capabilities to fully gauge the customer buying cycle and get credit for conversions at each touch point, where is there left to go? While the tools and techniques for measuring streaming audio and podcasting are already there, they’re not as widely known yet, but it should be noted that audio is now completely on par with any other digital channel that marketers need to be evaluating, it’s just more about scaling those solutions. According to Serge though, the next advancements will happen over the air through traditional broadcast/terrestrial radio.

Terrestrial radio has a lot of first party data, from people calling into stations, subscribing to emails, attending events, and more, those are all touch points where consumers are leaving information behind and essentially telling you that they’re engaging with their local stations. By gathering that information and digitizing the data, measurement companies can create really powerful audience and attribution tools. Going a step further, Serge also sees connected cars as another future advancement in measurement. He believes terrestrial radio will eventually cease to exist, as everything will be digitized, and your car will be just like your smartphone or your home speaker device. It will evolve to be a “computer” that will share even more data than is able to be gleaned today, making it possible to do some of the same things we can currently do with digital audio. Whatever the future holds though, it will be exciting to witness, and you can be sure that partners like Claritas and Entercom are on the forefront of measurement advancements to help continue making your ad dollars work both smarter and harder for your brand.

We hope November’s episode of The Marketing Insider has cleared up any questions you have on how to best incorporate streaming audio and podcasting into your marketing mix, and just what kind of returns you can expect when you do. If you’re interested in our co-authored whitepapers that provide insights on podcast and streaming audio, click on the links below.

Industry Trends in Streaming Audio & Podcast Performance

A Guide to Accurately Analyzing Podcast Advertising Campaign Conversion Rates

Podcast Attribution: Using Mixed Methodologies to Set The Stage for Future Success

Podcast Listener: One Size Definitely Doesn’t Fit All

Are you ready to know more?