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How to prove the impact of a podcast advertising campaign

From targeting and creative development to measurement, we offer the most advanced solutions to make your podcast campaign a success.

Global Senior B2B Marketing Manager - Carla Travers Cleaver
March 29, 2023

We don’t need to tell you again that podcast advertising is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the podcast advertising market surpassed $1B in 2021. And since then, revenues have been forecasted to exceed $2B this year and almost triple by 2024 to over $4B, according to Emarketer, showing the invested faith in this media channel.

Edison Research’s Infinite Dial research for 2023 has identified that podcasting awareness has now hit the 80% threshold, meaning it should be a must-have on any media plan. The average person now listens to 9 podcasts a week, showing the appetite and hunger has not died down post-pandemic.

The increased listenership is supplemented by improvements in the ad tech capabilities, including targeting, attribution and measurement. In this article, you’ll be taken through how advertisers can measure the effectiveness of their podcast advertising campaigns and why it delivers a 60% higher ROI than any other channel.

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and the power of promo codes

Return on Ad Spend is a critical metric that measures the amount of revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. ROAS is calculated by dividing the total revenue generated by the cost of the advertising campaign. For example, if a company spends $10,000 on a podcast advertising campaign and generates $50,000 in revenue as a result, the ROAS would be 5:1. That means for every $1 spent on the campaign, the company generated $5 in revenue.

One way direct sales can be measured from your podcast campaign is through the use of a unique promo code. These are usually quoted directly by the podcast host as a part of a host read. By providing podcast listeners with a unique code to input at checkout, advertisers can directly see how many conversions or how much revenue was generated off the back of that campaign, proving its effectiveness and your return on investment.

Signed, sealed, delivered: your ad campaign

It’s also very important that an advertiser has a breakdown of the ad campaign’s performance in terms of delivery. Our self-serve platform allows anyone to book a campaign swiftly and easily, and automatically provides users with a post-campaign analysis report (PCA) which includes: impressions, unique impressions, frequency, device breakdown, impressions by day and impressions by show:

(Example of a mock post-campaign analysis from the self-serve platform)

This allows marketers to feel confident in their marketing strategy, as they can receive recommendations to optimize their next campaign based on this analysis, such as tweaking which formats performed best, which ad placements yielded the strongest results, and which creative was the most effective if there was more than one option that was being A/B tested. Not every podcast marketplace provides this same level of transparency and some will bundle both podcast inventory with streaming audio, so be wary of this if you want to experience the true power of podcast advertising. 

Engagement = effectiveness

Businesses can also look at a range of metrics that are directly linked to podcast listeners taking action following an audio ad. This helps to track immediate conversations or generate more broad-based consideration and engagement can measure their success using vanity tracking URLs. This tried-and-true direct response measurement tactic is just as relevant today for podcasting as it has historically been for DRTV (direct response television) as a way to encourage a call to action that usually results in a purchase. One way to create a more seamless transition and “warm handoff” when using vanity URLs is to create custom landing pages that mention the referring content, offer or podcast. These will reaffirm to the consumer that they are in the right place and generate a little goodwill by reminding them that your brand is supporting their favorite podcasts with your advertising. 

Our case study with The Week showcases a strategy like this. Acast and The Week ran host-read sponsorships on a collection of political podcasts including The Rest is Politics, Reasons to be Cheerful and The Political Party, using the trusted voices heard on those shows to convince listeners to subscribe. 

Each podcast had a dedicated landing page at, with a shortened URL read out in the ad., for example, redirected to, for ease of discovery. For ease of redemption, landing pages also allowed visitors to input the promo code directly, rather than needing to navigate to another location.

Since the campaign started running, there was a significant rise in subscriptions — above and beyond the expected campaign goals. Perhaps even more impressively for The Week, the cost per acquisition (CPA) was reduced by 96%.

The campaign also had a significant impact on other channels, with a clear uplift in website traffic and on paid search activity as a result of the podcast campaign. This allowed The Week to identify that host-read ads seemed to resonate the most with their target audience, giving them insights for their next campaign.

Don’t forget about pixel-based attribution

Similar to making sure your technical infrastructure supports unique promo codes, the same rules apply to vanity URLs. This can also be done by setting up pixels that track a listener’s movements online, such as clicking through a link on social media. Pixel based attribution is another way of measuring when someone takes action having heard a podcast ad, and the action is visiting a website. This is done by installing a piece of code on the brand site that allows users to be tracked for their actions, such as purchasing, adding something to cart or becoming a lead. This can be extremely useful to an advertiser who is looking to see user behavior following a podcast ad campaign.

Brand lift studies are key

Another important way a podcast advertising campaign can be measured is through brand lift studies. These are usually undertaken following a campaign, by a third party and an in-house team (such as our Acast Intelligence team) with exposed and control listeners (identified as respondents in most cases) to identify whether they feel more favorably about a brand after being exposed to the podcast ad.

For example, a brand lift study proved in our case study with HSBC that there was an 18% increase in brand favorability, which helped them inform future podcast advertising campaigns and what could be optimized for next time.

So there you have it: you can prove the impact of podcast advertising campaigns, provided you have the right platform and the right measurement in place to analyze your post-campaign performance. Whether it’s growing brand awareness, reaching a new demographic through the highly-engaged and diverse podcast audience, we help thousands of advertisers achieve these goals daily. So if you’re curious, get started with your podcast campaign today.

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