In “Pod” We Trust

In “Pod” We Trust

1920 1081 Hunt Adkins

Imagine it’s 2009. “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” is #1 on the iTunes Charts. Mark Maron’s terrestrial radio show is cancelled and he joins the world of audioblogging, known to most people as podcasting today. Most of the US still isn’t familiar with what podcasting is and far fewer have taken the initial step to listen to one.

Fast forward to today. There are over 700,000 podcasts to choose from and listeners in the US averaged seven podcasts in the last week. To say podcasting has evolved is an understatement. Gone are the days of calling this medium “niche” and advertisers have embraced the opportunity to get in front of dedicated followers of programs with both large and small reaches.  As you can see from the chart below, familiarity and usage of this medium have significantly increased over the past decade:



The Evolution of Podcasting Bar Chart 2009 43% familiar with podcasting 2019 70% 2009 22% Ever listened to a podcast 2019 51% 2009 11% listened in last 30 days 2019 32%

Source: Infinite Dial Report, Edison Research, 2019



Isn’t Podcasting Just Streaming Talk Radio?

Not even close. Unless you are recording your favorite radio show, which you are probably not, you must follow a station’s program schedule (which can also include, news/weather/traffic updates, music, live callers, etc.). With podcasting, it’s on-demand and easily accessible.

Also, podcasting can be niche. Terrestrial radio has to have a mass-appeal strategy, which some of the content may not be of interest to all tuning in. If they don’t do this, they lose listeners, and therefore, advertising dollars. With podcasting, if you want to listen to specific topics such as dogs, brewing or hunting, there are several shows to choose from

Let’s say you are a history buff or you need dating advice. These types of podcasts have long shelf lives and are archived for your convenience. This type of content is evergreen and will not get outdated while radio stations must keep their subject matter ephemeral with fresh and up-to-date information to retain listenership.

There are also significant differences between podcast reads and endorsements spots on terrestrial audio. The main one being the flexibility involved. Most podcasts are not on a time restraint, meaning they can promote products as long as they please. We’ve heard ads for brands we promote go as long as three minutes on podcasts while radio stations must adhere to :30 or :60 second-slots. This allows listeners to hear more about the product in a native format where brands can be described and ads feel more native. In fact, 54% of podcast listeners said they are at least somewhat more likely to consider the brand advertised. Less than 10% have a negative reaction.


Best Practices

The barriers to entry in this medium are almost non-existent. However, executing and getting the most out of your campaign takes effort and some critical thinking. Here are some things to consider:

        • Define goals/objectives. Are you trying to generate awareness for your brand or drive demand? One of the great things about podcasting is it can do both. Only work with podcasts who are willing to offer third-party download/impression verification reports (or use independent measuring tools) so reach can be measured. To measure demand generation, make sure your site can support promotional codes or a trackable URL to monitor sales totals.
        • Define your target audience. Similar to podcasts, brands can have mass appeal or a niche audience. Know who you are trying to target.
        • Messaging. The production costs are extremely low for podcasting (vs. studio time, finding talent, endorsement fee for terrestrial radio). Provide multiple scripts and talking points depending on what podcast you decide to run reads on and what target audience is listening to this specific show.
        • Negotiate social media integration. Podcasts listeners are much more active on every social media channel (94% are active on at least one vs. 81% of the general population). Many podcasts are promoting themselves through social media and fans are following them on their as well. Any extra exposure is valuable and some will do an activation at no or little extra charge.
        • Test, test, test. If you are new into this realm, find podcasts that fit your needs by casting a wide net and execute a two-to-three episode test. That should be enough to help realize what is working and what is not. Also, don’t be afraid to test shows with both large reach and niche audiences.
        • Optimize. Do not “set and forget” these campaigns. There are many data points to evaluate with podcasting campaigns and being able to revise the campaign accordingly while it is currently running will help reach goals. For example, evaluating reach numbers vs. what was originally promised, the number of promo code redemptions or the average cart size of an e-sale from the promo code redemption can all be beneficial metrics. 


orange neon sign in a vinyl store that says you are what you listen to

Maslow would have placed podcasts at the top of his hierarchy of needs. Image Credit: Mohammad Metri, Unsplashed

Podcasting is no longer the future, it’s the present. Think of podcasts as today’s hot fireside chats. The interest-based formats attract highly-engaged audiences who create deep connections with the shows and often foster personal relationships with the influential hosts. On average, according to Midroll’s data, podcast listeners are making it through about 90 percent of a given episode, and relatively few are skipping through ads. With over 60 percent of listeners having purchased a product or service based on a podcast ad, podcasts’ potency delivers a direct impact on bottom lines.

This medium is an integral of many brands’ campaigns and when done correctly, can be a boon to return-on-investment (ROI) and brand exposure to an audience that doesn’t consume media traditionally. – MR

To read our case study or for more information on how podcasting can work for you specifically, please contact Matt Russell, Director of Connection Planning, at Hunt Adkins