In Webinar Series, 4As Embrace Ad Power Of Podcasts.

Podcasting continues to gain stature as a primary media platform for the masses, both in pop culture and in the advertising space. While advertisers are increasingly curious, they often lack knowledge about how it works or the benefits it can bring to a brand. A new webinar series aims to help.

The series, launched Wednesday by 4A’s, is a three-part program primarily meant to help brands and podcasters understand just how much impact the platform can foster.

The 4A’s, which represents U.S. advertising agencies, is also targeting marketers with tips and strategies to help sell the medium.

The first webinar, “Powerful Influence, Powerful Partners,” aired July 26 and was led by Jessica Kupferman, a digital media strategist with 15-plus years of experience working in the internet marketing space, and also CEO of j/k media agency.

As a primary reference point for those searching to help advertisers recognize the reach of podcasting, Kupferman pointed to the invaluable stats about podcasting provided in the annual Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital, covered by Inside Radio in April. As was revealed in 2017, 40% of respondents have tuned in to a podcast—up from 36% in 2016 and 11% in 2006—which equates to 112 million consumers. As has also been discussed, podcast listeners are better educated, more affluent and more gainfully employed than the U.S. population as a whole.

Kupferman also rounded up research particularly pertinent to the topic at hand: Those who listen to podcasts find its advertising the least intrusive over any other medium; and a robust 60% of people who listen to podcasts say they have tried a product or attended an event as a result of a podcast ad.

“There is so much opportunity in the podcasting space and so many players,” she told participants. “It’s time that we see more brands get started in this medium.”

Among the strongest points in the presentation was just how ideal endorsements from podcast hosts are for advertisers utilizing the medium—as opposed to typical pre-produced spots. “If your brand avatar is something very specific, whether it’s a fisherman in the North Seas or a mom to special needs kids, there is a shot for advertisers,” according to Kupferman. “You are much more invested in the topic and by association, the products and services being advertised.”

She points to what is perhaps the consummate example of listener loyalty positively impacting a brand endorsement: Howard Stern. “The host uses their enormous influence to stand behind a product sine the audience is already a huge fan.” Kupferman notes, “I’d say 90% of my clients understand the value of the host influence and they don’t want to mess with that.”

She adds, “When listeners feel like they have a relationship with the person who is discussing Attention Deficit Disorder on a podcast, when they’re discussing their own life, their own experiences, that has a huge influence factor. [It’s] more than an ad from Kellogg’s from Tony the Tiger.”

Numbers Back Up Podcast Claims

According to Kupferman, stats show that about 30% of podcast listeners say they never skip ads when listening to podcasts: “This is because the ads are mostly host-read, and unlike other types of advertising, the listener is so engaged with the program that they often don’t notice when the conversation has shifted to an advertisement.”

And as with most media, Kupferman recommends multiple mentions in a podcast. “With one [ad], if a listener is jogging or if they’ve got the dishwasher running at that particular moment, you don’t know that you missed them, so it’s better to hit them a few times and then you can say, ‘that did work for us,’” she said.

Typically, she believes that return can be determined after a six-week run. She also recommends that instead of blowing an advertising budget on the biggest podcast around, use it on a more niche podcast that truly fits the product.

She also cautions agencies about employing a similar strategy: “There are a lot that will do a 1-2 test, advertising on a show in August and then saying they’ll decide if they’ll buy in September,” she added. “I don’t know how they can tell if it’s been effective or not. As a podcaster and a podcast listener and someone that tracks campaigns, I know that they get the best lift in sales and traffic after week five.”

Outlining clear-cut goals and expectations for products and services is certainly a fundamental element in the quest of linking appropriate podcasts with those brands. There are four ways to do this, Kupferman explained. First is to increase awareness. This can be done via broader reach for a brand or service, obtaining a larger audience, measuring opt-in, and/or creating an experiential campaign and then measuring its specific participation.

Second is the more obvious benefit of increasing sales. This can best be accomplished by “applying a direct response strategy with something measurable, like a voucher, coupon code or landing page specific to a podcast,” she said. Next, podcast ads can be utilized to grow market share: by being placed on like-minded podcasts where a brand’s specific “subject” is being talked about.

And fourth, podcasts are an ideal vehicle to help a company launch something new. As Kupferman put it, “Create an experience where the host can share, recommend or endorse the product or service to listeners, and illustrate why it’s better or different.”

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