What’s More Important to an Advertiser: Sales Results or Industry Accepted Measurements?

Let’s, for once, look at Podcast Advertising strictly from the clients POV and not from the perspective of the IAB (Internet Architecture Board) or any other Agency that holds podcast measurement on a pedestal beyond any other digital medium.

As the IAB states in their Podcast Ad Metrics Guidelines,

“Podcast audiences represent a growing segment of effective marketable media but inherit challenges of legacy consumption platforms. This restricts the ability of advertisers to obtain the same data parity found in other digital mediums, limiting participation of some advertisers”.

Let’s be clear. It only restricts those advertisers that have failed to test the platform or lack the understanding of how podcast advertisers measure results.

A Complacent Digital Buying Community

Because the podcasting advertising industry has been adversely impacted by a digital buying community that has been complacent when it comes to understanding the value of the platform, many have accepted these limitations as defined by those that place podcast ads on the same ‘parity level’ found in other digital mediums.

By allowing others to define the podcast ad narrative, it’s no shock that we’ve accounted for less than 1/3 of 1 percent of digital advertising. Why have we allowed others to define this narrative? From a client’s POV, the most important derivative are sales results that justify an investment. Additionally, podcast advertising provides an opportunity to expose a brand to a new audience with years of brand loyalty to give.

Some Brands Have Figured It Out, per DigiDay

As I’ve previously pointed out, brands lick Mack Weldon have figured out the formula, a previously highlighted by 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.

The article in DigiDay also clearly stated:

“Podcast advertising also has a great potential for smaller advertisers who are looking for measurable ROI on their ad spend, because they can track each episode’s performance simply through promotional codes and vanity URLs told by the podcaster. Metrics aside, there’s a halo-effect around the advertised products and services that good content provides.”

Sales vs. Sexy Spreadsheets: What Matters More to Your Agency?

To the digital buying community, too often than not its the methodology and reporting unfortunately seem to trump sales. As long as they can provide a third-party spreadsheet that looks sexy, then the industry is doing its job. How often do you hear a 24 year-old digital buyer specifically inquire:

How many sales did you derive from this single campaign or what was your specific cost of acquisition?


I’m not sure if they even know how to ask these kind of questions…but they certainly have successfully mastered the art of providing pretty spreadsheets. Ultimately, if the sales results aren’t there, then reporting or methodology doesn’t much matter.

When it comes to digital advertising, the podcasting industry has allowed itself to be measured apples to apples, the same way the digital community measures VTC (video to completion rates), banner viewability, and/or CTR (click through-rates). If you didn’t get the sales results, how important is the measurement reporting? Show me the sales and I’ll show you a good report. And that’s where podcast advertising works.

Sales & Attribution: That’s All That Matters

No longer should the industry allow the narrative to be driven by an agency that calls out the medium for the lack of measurement. Yes, we absolutely need to drive technological advancements and demand that our industry is 100% unified in accepting and developing methodology for delivery. But the podcasting industry needs to amplify the fact that we hold ourselves accountable to what advertisers demand…actual sales results where true attribution…which can be measured in our industry by trackable promo codes and vanity urls.

The emotional connection podcasting advertising provides to its audience is unlike any other digital medium, let alone any other mainstream advertising platform. Its success can’t be defined by a third-party spreadsheet or convenient dashboard.

Together, through the power of advocacy and education, we can regain control and change the narrative. Yes, podcast advertising should now be a part of all integrated marketing conversations..and we must showcase it’s unique charm to drive sales.

Interested in advertising? Reach out to our powerful, agnostic PODCAST ADVERTISING NETWORK!