Companies looking to reach the growing podcast audience have been creating their own shows, known as branded podcasts. These company-produced podcasts have proven to be an excellent method for growing brand awareness.
Just like in the 2000s when every company needed to start a blog, now every brand’s head is spinning about starting a podcast. More and more brands are looking to audio to get their attention. But as a relatively new medium, it can be difficult to see the long-term strategy behind podcast content. The true value of branded podcasts may come from the one thing branded podcasts don’t actually need: ads.
But should branded podcasts even have ads?
Some might say it’s the dream to podcast without worrying about getting paid. How many independent producers have quickly put away their microphones when the sponsorships failed to roll in? For those producing work backed by a brand, that’s not a concern.
If you’re making a great podcast, most likely listeners won’t even know what brand is behind the show they listen to every week as soon as it comes out. But just because you don’t need advertising to finance a podcast as a brand doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use ad real estate to reinforce a brand message, highlight a product or service or use it to reinforce your company’s role in creating great audio content.
Midroll, a podcast advertising network, found that podcast listeners on average make it through approximately 90% of an episode, and a relative few skip ads. On what other platform can your brand find this type of attention?
Branded podcasts can be a great move for brands, and if you insert an ad into a branded podcast, it is highly likely to be consumed. The next logical questions are around using the ad space and making it scalable.
Promote next week’s episode every episode
One very simple use for ads is to promote an upcoming episode across every episode.
This simple yet effective tactic is employed by a few podcasts. It helps to convert one-time listeners into subscribers by using the end of the episode to tease content for next week, making it more likely someone will subscribe and keep listening.
To make this type of ad scalable, some podcasts use dynamic ad insertion, which allows for the swapping of ads across multiple episodes. This way, you can simply switch out one promotion for another and continue to drive people to the next episode.
Promote your products
Using podcast ad space to promote your brand’s products or services is a great way to drive awareness and provide a path to convert listeners into business value.
To increase your conversion rate, include the link you are directing listeners to within the show description. Create a unique URL so you can track the source of leads. Highly engaged listeners will want to find out more about your brand if the content is high-quality and entertaining.
Many companies work closely with partners that provide complementary services or products. Giving partners ad space on your branded podcast is a great way to strengthen the relationship between two brands but also expose your customers to services will make them more successful. Using podcast ads to promote integration partners is a great method to boost the visibility of the ecosystem of products and services that surround your company.
Drive attendance to an event
If you have ever listened to a podcast with a comedian, you have surely heard hosts promote their upcoming comedy shows. Brands also have their own events that can benefit from audio advertising.
To avoid an outdated ad simply mark what time the ad starts and stops, then remove it once the event is over and replace it with a new ad. Dynamic ad insertion technology has the potential to swap ads based on geographic location. As this capability becomes more common in podcast hosting platforms, brands will begin to target promotions for events to specific regions.
Give it away to your customers
Yes, you read that right. Give the ad space away.
Very few companies have the budgets, time or know-how to manage podcast sponsorships, which can be a confusing and manual process. By giving away our mid-roll ad slots to customers, brands can highlight interesting stories from customers, help find a new audience and showcase to listeners the types of companies it can help.
Podcasts have a proven ability to attract a loyal audience, one that spends multiple minutes and hours with your brand each week or month. Compare this to many organic content or paid advertising channels where less than 30 or 10 seconds is seen as a success.
And with more advancements in dynamic ad insertion and continuing adoption of voice technology, podcasts can become the next big advertising channel for brands. Not only will the brand own the audience and the channel, but they can also take advantage of their ad space inventory to drive higher demand and consideration, build partnerships and even showcase their commitment to their customers. In turn, the ability to show a connection between a company’s podcast and actual business results can mean additional funding and resources to scale the program.
If and how you use ad space is unique to each company, but the opportunity is the same. Don’t think of creating podcasts as just a content marketing investment. Consider how you can build in new advertising channels and revenue streams with branded shows.