The “Lean In” Listening Experience Makes Podcasting Ads Uniquely Different

The “Lean In” Listening Experience Makes Podcasting Ads Uniquely Different

Everyday, decision makers are faced with driving sales and justifying ROI. Measuring attribution is one of the more painful tasks marketers face every day. Additionally, the vast choices they have as to where to allocate their advertising dollars is daunting.

Their in-box fills up weekly with dozens of emails from digital companies saying that they can provide better solutions to drive sales. The decisions that these seasoned marketers typically make are often bias towards vendors and suppliers that they are comfortable with. And it’s this complacent attitude that can hold companies back from exploring new channels to drive growth.

Complacency Within The Digital Buying Community

Yes, many agencies have become complacent using the same digital tactics that have turned to massive profits via ‘behind-the-curtain’ relationships they have with the third party providers.  Complacency is holding back brands and agencies from exploring the podcast medium.

I disagree with the story on Ad Exchanger last week that highlighted three issues keeping brands from going ‘all-in’ on Podcast Advertising, highlight the lack of measurement? I call B.S.

It’s Not Because of a Lack of Measurement

I frankly don’t buy the ‘lack of measurement’ as an excuse. It has more to do with the ‘lack of education’ and abundance of ‘complacency’ in the marketplace…and the fact that the digital buying community has been more or less complicit in maintaining a status-quo with their clients.

Additionally, their clients get comfortable reviewing ‘pretty’ spreadsheets and attractive dashboards, reviewing the same tactics used year-over-year (click-through-rates, video-to-completion rates, justifying reach and targeting). Granted, determining attribution can be challenging…and is typically the most important element in measuring ROI. And I agree, that’s why measurement is critical.

Mack Weldon Figured It Out Two Years Ago

Has the broader digital buying community failed to notice the brands that have successfully dived in, like Mack Weldon, have figured out a powerful way of determining attribution with podcast advertising? So what’s all this about the lack of measurement mentioned in the story last week on Ad Exchanger?

Back in 2016 (yes, two years ago friends), Mac Weldon told DigiDay how podcast advertising has doubled underwear sales.

Collin Willardson, of Mack Weldon told DigiDay:

Podcast advertising now represents 25 percent of Mack Weldon’s overall ad budget per month, 100 times more than a year ago. The medium has become more effective than display ads for the company, because when people listen to podcasts, they are fully engaged and they can continue listening while making a purchase.We paid for native and display ads on online publications before, but we found that readers could easily get distracted by 48 things on the homepage,” said Willardson.

You can’t tell me that Mack Weldon is not measuring their key performance indicators? You can’t tell me that the lack of an industry accepted standard measurement has hurt them? Let’s just say that they’ve left many brands in their wake…and they’ve been advertising in the space for over two years.

Time To Go Beyond Pretty Spreadsheets & Cute Dashboards

But it’s time to digital marketers to look beyond a spreadsheet. It’s time to test new platforms, like podcast advertising, that utilize different tactics that many digital buyers still don’t understand.

So let me give you a three facts as to WHY advertisers should consider and ‘all-in’ strategy to podcast advertising, or at the very least, start to conduct test campaigns to measure uplift…and yes, you can measure attribution in a granular way!

So, for those of you that are considering placing your first buy, I’ll give you three facts you need to know:

1. Opt-In Listening Makes Podcasting Uniquely Different – The Purest form of Native Advertising

First and foremost, the on-demand audio experience is one where the listener ‘opts-in’, so they are welcoming you to deliver your brand message to them…and typically, they listen and engage with it. But activation typically depends on how you deliver the message…and who is delivering it.

So determining the right show and the right personality is so important to an advertisers success when it comes to a podcasting campaign. That’s where the experts at TopPodcast come in, assessing multiple publishers, networks, shows and hosts that make sense for your brand. 

What’s so compelling about podcast advertising? 

Brands are discovering that there’s a substantial difference in ad delivery when you are able to ‘capture your consumer’s mind’, especially when they aren’t distracted by multiple screens.

Despite the fact that many people multi-task when listening to a podcast (driving, flying, making dinner, running, exercising, gardening, etc), there is an undeniable connection created between the show and the listener…unlike any other advertising medium available because the narrative is being driven in one’s head.

As a good friend of mine once said:

You don’t listen to a podcast at a barbecue

The unique charm of a podcast advertisement, particularly when it is host read, is the fact that it’s the purest form of native advertising a brand could have. 

2. The Ultimate Referral: Messages Organically Embedded in a Show Sound Natural 

The kinship that a listener feels with a host can’t be underestimated. As a product becomes embedded in the fabric of a show, the audience develops a unique connection to the brand. When a host has the opportunity to taste, touch, feel or use the product the host-read ad comes across as the ULTIMATE REFERRAL. What more could a brand want? How about an ad that comes from the ‘whole-wide-world’.

An Ad That Comes from the World

Something that Ad Week covered way back in the summer of 2016 caught my attention, when speaking with Matt Lieber, co-founder and president of Gimlet Media:

When we think about how ads sound on Gimlet, we want them to feel like they come from the world of the show,” said Matt Lieber, co-founder and president of Gimlet Media

He also said:

Branded podcasts “require a brand or a marketer that’s confident enough to tell an interesting story that’s relevant to their audience”

Brands, as they enter the unique podcasting realm, must understand that a relationship is built with the audience over time. Consistency is key, and a podcast listener has the choice to engage or not. Hearing ads in a podcast sound different, and I could not have described it better than Mr. Lieber, in one simple sentence.

Bottom line, innovative companies have jumped in to the podcast medium…and they are staying because they know how their message is capturing the desired audience.

3. Listeners Feel Compelled to Support Brands…So The Show Won’t Disappear

I attended the RAIN Online Advertising summit (last year – 2017), and one of my most inspiring takeaways was hearing an executive producer of a podcast say:

Listeners (of podcasts) have a different respect for podcasters instead of radio hosts. If it weren’t for sponsors, podcasts wouldn’t operate. And many listeners feel if they don’t support the brands, then they feel the podcast may go away

The kinship and connection the audience has with a host is unprecedented. Over two-thirds of those that hear a product in a podcast research or buy. Podcast listeners have years of brand loyalty to give to brands. It’s time for us to become educated on the power of a podcast ad…and the influence hosts have to compel their audience to act.

So What’s All This Stuff About Lack of Measurement?

Yeah, you can tell I’m passionate about facing the headwinds our industry faces. I see the success brands are having in the space and I just keep patiently waiting for the tipping point to happen within the digital buying community. I do feel it coming, so I’m happy swimming in the podcast pool…and I don’t intend on going anywhere.

My simple one-sentence take:

Bottom line, the “lean-in” listening experience is unparalleled to any other digital or traditional medium…so it’s time to for brands to take the leap…just ask Mac Weldon.

Check out our Agnostic Podcast Advertising Network – Powered by

As I’ve said before, an organic host-read endorsement within a podcast is the purest form of native advertising. It’s time for brands and complacent agencies to move towards an ‘all-in’ strategy…or at least testing the power of a podcast ad!

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