Already an effective marketing medium, brands who have embraced their own podcast are seeing a high ROI compared to other forms of content.
We are more connected than ever, but at the same time we’ve never been further apart. So many of us are working from home (with many permanently) and planning to keep our travel to short distances. During, and post-COVID, pushing out content (for content-sake) can be damaging to your audience versus authentic engagement.
Enter the podcast.
Podcast listenership has returned to its pre-COVID numbers, and the time spent listening has increased. While commuter numbers continue to be down, podcast listeners are still looking to a podcast to engage, learn from or escape with.
This is the power of a branded podcast. It’s such an intimate medium. It’s just you and the listener… the message is literally being whispered in their ear.
So let’s talk about podcast ROI.
If you are a brand who wants to offer your audience a podcast, post-COVID, there are a number of ways to measure the show’s success and ensure you are getting the best return for your marketing dollars.
Key Brand Metrics
In a study conducted by the BBC, organizations with branded podcasts saw:
89% higher awareness
57% higher brand consideration
24% higher brand favourability
14% higher purchase intent
12% higher memory encoding than other forms of content
16% higher engagement (which we will dig into further below)
Downloads / Listeners
This metric comes up most frequently when we first engage with clients, as its what most think about when rating the success of a podcast. But it is only part of the equation. As Jay Acunzo so aptly put in his Medium post titled Beyond Downloads: How to Measure the ROI of Your Brand’s Podcast, the Doctor Strange Way:
We’ve become measurement extremists. The very shape of the funnel causes us to bifurcate how we measure our marketing into two groups, top and bottom. Something must either be built for broad reach, and so we look to measure “more,” or it must generate a lead or sale in the near-term, at the bottom of the funnel. Approaching our work with this mentality, we lose a ton of crucial nuances in between, and this kills off a lot of potentially powerful work, including many podcasts.
While we always strive to grow the audience of our shows, and a high listenership will positively impact the reach and likelihood of engaging with a brand’s audience (as podcasts are an effective way to increase awareness) a download only measures how many people listened, not how long. This is even more important for a brand during (and after) the pandemic as they can win by providing authentic, meaningful content.
Which is why we give equal weight to engagement.
With more people working from home and commuting less, the pandemic has seen an increase in audience attention – something all marketers care about. Podcasts provide some of the highest engagement levels of any marketing medium. In fact, JAR Audio’s client podcasts see an average listen-through rate of 90%. That number is staggering compared to video, for example. But with such a high level of engagement, coming at such a challenging time, it makes the marketer’s role to deliver relevant, genuine and impactful content to listeners. If you can put out a high value show that garners a long listen-through rate (ie. quality engagement) then you will see a high return on investment.
In a world where we grocery shop on Amazon, book our travel on Expedia and choose our movies on Netflix, social proof plays a significant role in all corners of business. Podcasting is no different. The overall rating, number and quality of the reviews can signal to listeners that this show is worth investing their time in. And just like other marketing content that gets a boost through positive ratings (a thumbs up on Youtube, a re-tweet on Twitter or an applause on Medium) a good podcast gets positively reviewed and shared, thus increasing your ROI.
A podcast with a solid storytelling foundation – even if it doesn’t focus on a brand’s product or campaign – can still generate lots of potential sales ROI. The key is measuring the impact on the brand’s other properties, such as website and email.
Some of our clients look deep into their website analytics for any traffic that has come from the podcast, either through links in the show notes or they monitor for spike in traffics on the days that the podcast peaks in listens. Observe this traffic, as those listeners may behave differently on the website than the others. Could a podcast lead new visitors on the site, a new demographic, or even more purchases? Absolutely.
What does your site analytics tell you about the podcast? You can track a variety of metrics to better understand how your podcast is influencing conversions:
What was your site traffic/conversions before launching your podcast compared to your traffic/conversions after launching?
How much traffic are the individual podcast posts/pages receiving?
How much traffic are specific URLs referenced in the podcast receiving (this could be ad-sponsored links or internally promoted links)?
If your site traffic and/or conversions are high, this metric could even outweigh other metrics like total listeners. Again, it depends on your brand..
Podcasts offer value to existing and loyal customers by exposing them to a new medium of education and entertainment. One of JAR Audio’s clients, Saje Natural Wellness, offered in-store listening stations for their podcast Well Now, which garnered lots of positive feedback from customers and gave their in-store staff a further opportunity to engage. Also, some of our B2B clients want to build more targeted, intimate relationships with some of their very small (but incredibly important) niche audiences.
Audiences have more options than ever before. And we’re learning that people like to consume content in unique ways. While some read newspapers and blog posts, others prefer to view videos. But the medium we are seeing more and more of is audio. Audio is permeating the media world at a fast rate (beyond just podcasting). Take, for example, The New York Time’s recent purchase of Audm, an app that turns long form audio into narrated audio. The New York Times, along with NPR and other media sources, are now giving their subscribers the option to listen to an article vs. read it.
This works especially well with blog posts. JAR is currently working on an audio blogging product, which we are excited to release soon. Imagine taking all that awesome, rich, written content from your blog and give your audience the option to listen on their own time, in their own way. The opportunities are endless and it immediately gives you a new way to give extended reach to your content.
No brands are the same.
Some brands measure ROI in overall awareness and share of voice. Some have a mandate to increase a certain brand (for example, “helpfulness”). The ROI for your brand’s podcast will be unique to you depending on your goals and objective. We encourage all brands to think about the potential to capture new audiences and captivate their existing audiences through a podcast and we’d be happy to assist you in uncovering the desired ROI for your podcast. Don’t hesitate to reach out.