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New Year, New Beginnings: Why you should diversify your channel mix to include podcast advertising

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
January 25, 2023

The new year - often all about change, right? It might be diet, lifestyle, career - or it might be more professionally-oriented. Human nature is proven to actually be resistant to change. In fact, in a nationwide study into British lifestyles and attitudes, it was found that more than half of Britons hate change, with 27% actually feeling panicked by it, and a quarter admitting they are scared to do something other than their usual routine.

It’s often the same story when it comes to looking at new channels for media buying.

When marketers are putting together their plans, diversifying their channel mix sometimes isn’t considered. Often they keep using a media mix that is perceived to be giving them the greatest return on their ad spend and goals, whether that be growing brand awareness, attracting new customers/customer acquisition, increasing sales or driving purchase consideration.

Interestingly, advertisers are becoming less confident in their marketing strategy, with Kantar identifying that 51% of advertisers are currently not confident they have the right marketing mix (up from 44% in 2019). And consider this; according to research from The Guardian, confidence levels increase from 45% to 63% when podcasts are added to the media mix.

We may be biased, but podcast advertising has a multitude of benefits when it comes to getting key messaging across to your target audience, on its own or in conjunction with different channels. As more and more users speak of ‘ad fatigue’ with complaints of too many ads being shown to them across the various different channels on offer, only 16% of marketers think there are too many ads on podcasts, down 2x from social media. Not only this, but even more podcast fans are listening to ads: 74% usually listen to the ads within their chosen podcasts, up 3% from 2021.

With attention becoming such a crucial metric in this media age, and so many channels vying for your target audience’s eyes and ears, podcasting makes a pretty compelling proposition. In research conducted by The Guardian, 65% of listeners paid more attention to podcast ads than those they saw on TV (39%) and those they heard on the radio (38%). Research from the BBC also noted that podcast listeners were 22% more likely to remember a brand mentioned in a podcast vs a TV ad, showing that the attention that is given to podcasts drives higher brand recall.

The current underinvestment in podcast advertising actually works to advertisers’ advantage in this case; 44% of podcast ad spend lands on the top 2.5% of podcasts, so there is opportunity for marketers to use untapped shows and communities to drive ROI and avoid advertising saturation via podcasts even as podcasting grows. And this improves effectiveness; according to Podsights’ Q1 2022 Benchmark Report, it was found that brands saw up to +33% improvement in conversion rate when they diversified their podcast advertising to more than one show.

So which combinations of channels will best help to diversify your media plan and optimize your performance? The Guardian conducted another recent study that looked into how podcasts can have a ‘multiplier effect’ when used in tandem with other advertising formats. Listeners were surveyed, and those saying ‘it tells me something new about the brand’ increased by 34% when messaging was on both radio and podcasts, showing the effectiveness of channel diversification even in its simplest form.

When it comes to the channel mix, consider some of these mediums in tandem when looking to diversify:

Podcasts and digital advertising

Display advertising has been a popular medium since the early days of the Internet, given its immense scale and targeting capabilities. But as the death of the cookie becomes imminent - with Google set to phase out third party cookies on Chrome by 2024 - marketers are having to ensure that their targeting remains intact without the need for this precious data collection.

In research conducted by our Acast Intelligence team, podcasts were identified as the best suited medium for the end of cookies.

Smart marketers are looking to diversify their channel mixes away from social media and streaming to podcasts in order to protect themselves from this monumental change in the industry. We’ve seen that combining display and podcast advertising increases a campaign’s memorability and trustworthiness. In fact, trust levels increase from 45% to 63% when combining the two mediums. This is an important consideration given the fact that users are able to divert their attention away from digital display ads that don’t interest them, but are less likely to do this during the middle of a podcast they are listening to. Research from Cumulus identified that podcast listeners are less likely to skip, block or tune out podcast ads vs any other medium, ranking last out of 10 when compared to traditional channels.

Podcast advertising can amplify your existing digital marketing channel mix, as podcast ads often encourage listeners to take action, such as visiting a website or using a code. Display advertising can be an efficient and effective means to drive reach with your target audience, but fewer and fewer users are likely to click through and make a purchase decision as a result of seeing a display ad. However, supplementing a display campaign with podcast ads can reinforce your brand recall and affinity and improve your overall CPA, given the highly engaged nature of the podcast listening experience.

Podcasts and social media

There is also an opportunity with podcast advertising to opt for a multi-channel marketing approach with social media as they are ideally suited for cross-promotion with YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. Recent research shows that podcast users are far more involved with social media than the average individual, with 94% being active on at least one social network compared to 81% of the entire population.

With significant overlap of audience, especially amongst Gen Z/Millennials, you may be able to maximize reach with this demographic who are often reluctant to engage with traditional media. Our research found that Gen Z over-index on discovering new brands and products via podcasts (117%), much more than radio (87%). And with our self-serve platform, you can target quickly and easily by demographic so that you can test reaching this audience with podcast advertising.

TikTok is another channel that is putting audio at the forefront of its product. TikTok has the ethos to ‘make TikToks, not ads’, which they give as a recommendation to brands starting out on the platform to ensure authenticity and that users give it their attention. Similar tactics are often employed in podcast advertising, as often podcast hosts are asked to create their own script or let the conversation flow naturally about a product or brand, to give the ad a more authentic feel without interrupting the listener’s experience.

These two channels can also complement each other effectively given the star quality of some podcast hosts. Often podcast creators use TikTok to reach an incremental target audience, widening their reach and increasing engagement. So, if a marketer has briefed in an audio ad on the podcast, they could create an additional ad that can run on TikTok with a similar theme to re-engage the same audiences and fans, giving them two opportunities to take action or hear from the brand. Recently, Greggs wanted to raise awareness of its app and loyalty scheme with the goal of driving app downloads and usage. A hero partnership with the podcast, Help! I Sexted My Boss (on our network) meant that as well as sponsoring a selection of our top lifestyle and comedy podcasts, a branded content campaign included a whole episode and a series of videos created for TikTok and Instagram to document hosts William and Jordan working a shift at a Greggs store. With an 84% retention rate on the branded episode, as well as millions of views on TikTok, it was a partnership that utilized both channels in a way so that they were able to compliment each other. If you want to read more about our successful case studies, click our 'Success Stories' tab.

Podcasts and influencers

On the topic of social media, another important partnership for advertisers to consider is the power of influencers. Known for their pull on social platforms or across their own social channels, influencers have become the ultimate persuasion tool for marketers aiming to drive sales or purchase consideration. Their evolution has allowed them to create connections across multiple platforms, and this in recent years has included podcast advertising. It also has great returns; according to Deloitte, the average return on spend for influencer marketing is $5.20 compared to $2.63 for digital advertising.

Working with an influencer on a multi-channelled approach to an advertising campaign, spanning their social media and their own podcast, allows a brand to capitalize on the crossover audience, which creates more awareness and extended reach. Influencers who have popular podcasts have gained followings by being open and relatable, giving their fans direct access to their lives and experiences. This then makes for a great opportunity for brands to benefit from that bond and enable the influencer to build a more authentic connection that doesn’t feel like an ad, compared to some of the tighter regulations put in place around sponsored posts on social media.

It also creates a more meaningful connection with the listener if it’s coming from someone the audience trusts (the host themselves). According to data from Nielsen, host-read ads drive 71% in terms of brand recall, as well as stronger lift metrics: +33% familiarity, +67% affinity, +60% info seek intent, +50% purchase intent, +50% recommendation intent, so using an influencer to speak on their own podcast endorsing a product or brand will definitely help to achieve your business goals.

Making ROAS a priority

When it comes to the bottom line, it seems that often marketers still place too much spend into offline channels, even when it’s not necessarily giving the best return on investment. In 2019, data from Cross Media identified 79% of ad spend going to offline channels, but only delivered 59% share of contribution to brand metrics. When looking at podcast advertising’s ROAS, it bears more fruit than the tried and true channels that marketers have been using time and time again. In a study run by Acast, Omnicom Media Group and Spotify, podcast advertising has the strongest return on ad spend both in the short and long term; for short term, it was 4 (1.6x better than the average media) and for the long term it was 6.2, which was 44% higher than the average media.

Source: Acast, Omnicom & Spotify

When asked in a recent survey, 65% of marketers cited that their marketing spend on podcast advertising will increase year-on-year. For marketers that had bought against podcasts before, 83% expected that spend on podcasts will increase year-on-year. This shows that marketers that invest in the medium are won over once they do, and expect to increase their spend once they have initially tested its effectiveness. If you want to test podcast advertising with us, you can start with as little as $250 via our self-serve platform. Click here to get started. 

Interested in learning more about how podcast advertising can achieve your objectives? Submit your contact information here and we’ll be in touch.

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