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Thomas Mancusi: Insights On Why Podcast Advertising Works

This guest column is by Thomas Mancusi, Vice President, Sales and Development, audioBoom. Mancusi will be featured at the RAIN Online Audio Advertising Summit, Feb. 28 in New York, moderating the Podcast Advertising 360 panel.


nyc feb THOMAS MANCUSI 300x300Smart brands are catching on to what used to be something of an industry secret: podcast advertising works remarkably well.

AdWeek declared that people prefer ads in podcasts over ads in any other digital medium. The claim came from research by ComScore — a U.S. study of 2,000 respondents aged 18-49 — in which two-thirds of podcast listeners reported responding to podcast ads by engaging in research and/or purchase-related behaviors. Respondents also indicated that podcasts create the highest improvement in perception and that podcast ads are considered the least intrusive of all forms of digital advertising.

As the on-demand audio space continues to see success, advertisers are taking note. According to Statista, U.S. advertising spending in podcasts is estimated to reach 256 million U.S. dollars in 2018, up from 133 million in 2015. That’s huge.

So, what makes podcast advertising so successful?

1) advertisers receive a remarkably high share of voice;
2) ads are delivered in an intimate, relationship-driven exchange to an engaged audience; and
3) when the ad is effective, both hosts and listeners benefit.

But don’t take my word for it.

I invited Collin Willardson, digital marketing manager at Mack Weldon, the men’s clothing brand, and Patty and Dave Newmark, co-founders of Newmark Ad Agency, to share their own experiences with podcast advertising.

On getting started with podcast advertising

At Mack Weldon, Collin remembers the idea to begin advertising with podcasts started with a revelation about radio. In a meeting about audience reach, Collin recalls: “We asked everyone in the room, ‘Who listens to the radio?’” No one raised their hand. With podcasting, though, the hands went up. That made the decision simple.

Patty and Dave Newmark came to podcast advertising by way of radio, too. “Using podcasts on our marketing campaigns is an extension of the specialty we created for radio years ago, endorsement advertising,” Patty and Dave explain. “The concept of leveraging the credibility of show hosts is similar.”

On a successful ad story

“I was very hesitant to do anything with true crime,” Collin recalls. When I got pitched one—Undisclosed, I was wary. My perception of a true crime audience doesn’t include a 25-year-old working on Wall Street — someone who would be interested in Mack Weldon. But I agreed to give it a try.”

The result? The show yielded threefold the response they were getting from other shows. “I was stunned,” Collin says. “It opened me up to a brand new podcasting genre.”

At Newmark, Dave and Patty recall an ad that did particularly well when a host said that not only did she love the product she was promoting, but her whole family did too — and she provided specific personal examples.

“We love this space for our clients,” Patty and Dave say. “It’s incredibly exciting to find shows and hosts who really get behind our clients’ products and services.”

On what makes podcast advertising work for them

For both Mack Weldon and Newmark, it comes back to creating that connection with your audience.

In podcasting, Collin says, “The audience is engaged and the host is respected. That lets you tap into a niche, loyal audience.” And, he adds, it’s a huge benefit that the results are cut and dry: “I spend x amount, and I get x amount of customers.”

“The rapid increase of unique and creative programming over the past few years and the way that it has been positively recognized by other mainstream media is great to see,” Patty and Dave point out. “Not only have more people discovered podcasts but they are quickly becoming ardent proponents of the medium, spreading the word to their friends, families and colleagues, who in turn discover their own personal favorites. It’s a powerful marketing medium.”

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