The 4 Best Paid Acquisition Channels To Grow Your Listenership

The 4 Best Paid Acquisition Channels To Grow Your Listenership
Audience
The 4 Best Paid Acquisition Channels To Grow Your Listenership
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Episode January 23, 2020 00:23:00

Hosted By

Matt Medeiros Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

In this episode of Audience we talk through the 4 most common advertising platforms you can use to grow your podcast.

While the quality of your content is, and likely will always be, King if you have the budget to amplify that already-awesome content with advertising it can be a really effective way to accelerate the growth of your show.

In this episode we talk about the following ad platforms for your podcast:

  • Facebook
  • Overcast
  • Quora and Reddit
  • Other podcasts

But fair warning, good advertising will never make up for a lack of good content. We spent a few previous episodes talking about how to craft an interesting story, and not to follow your own narrative, and now that we've got a good idea of what good content is we can look to start amplifying that with ads.

Resources Mentioned

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:06 Hello, when we'll come back to audience. I'm Craig Hewitt, your host from Castillo's. In this episode we're going to be talking all about a paid acquisition for your podcast. Uh, as we've talked about in previous episodes, there's really two sides of the growth coin when it comes to any kind of content and podcasting is no exception. One of them is creating really good content and the organic growth of your content just by word of mouth and social media and things like that that you put out there, people enjoy and share and your content grows organically. As a result of that, we covered a lot of this in talking about storytelling and finding your own voice and things like that and some of our earlier interviews and today we're going to be talking about the other side of that coin, which is amplifying or maybe accelerating that growth through the use of paid acquisition. Speaker 1 00:50 So paid acquisition typically refers to buying advertisements for your brand or for your message on different platforms that let people outside of your audience sphere, uh, get to know about you. Find something interesting, go check out your stuff. And hopefully in this case, subscribe to your podcast. And in this episode we're going to talk through the four main channels of paid acquisition that we are exploring and that we're going to test later on in the audience podcast to grow our audience. And those four channels are Facebook, the overcast podcast app Cora, and read it. And we put these two together because they're kind of similar and we'll go to, into detail on, on both those later. And then the last one is buying advertising spots on other people's podcasts. So let's dig in each of those. Speaker 1 01:40 Okay. So Facebook doesn't need much introduction, right? Everybody knows it is the largest social media platform on the planet. Uh, it is also the owner of both WhatsApp and Instagram. I think everybody knows Instagram. Uh, a lot of people maybe in the U S I've heard of WhatsApp, uh, for those outside the U S you're probably familiar with it as the tool that you use for text messaging. Uh, so anytime you want to send a text message in the U S you typically use the, the conventional SMS messaging most outside of the U S use WhatsApp because it has some kind of increased functionality for international, uh, messaging and groups and things like that. Um, it's really great if you get a chance to use it. So, so Facebook is Facebook, obviously Instagram and WhatsApp and their number of users is in the billions, uh, estimated, you know, roughly half the planet uses a Facebook product. Speaker 1 02:29 So if you want to get in front of potential podcast listeners for your show, uh, this is a pretty good place to start. I think most advertisers and marketers look at this as kind of the one stop shop. If you can kind of get this to work in quotes, then a, then you're set. You don't have to worry about the other channels. And that's why we put at first, cause it is the biggest, uh, maybe it's not the best. I that's, that's to be determined by kind of you and your show. But, uh, it certainly is the biggest, it has by far the most data around the things that you're interested in. And if you'll remember, Facebook had some questions around it a couple of years ago with the U S government about its practices of collecting data on you and your habits and what you're doing on the platform and off. Speaker 1 03:08 So, uh, Facebook is very advanced and collecting information about you and what you like and what you don't like and they use that to serve you the best content. And that's really what they do. They, they serve the best organic content. So your, your friend posting baby pictures but also advertisers posting at an advertisement for their podcasts maybe. So, uh, Facebook love them or hate them is a really advanced and fantastic tool. Uh, and is a place that you can buy advertisements for your podcast. And I think I should back up a step here and say the goal with, with all of these platforms and tools is, is basically the same. So you're going to buy an advertisement spot and the goal of that advertisement is to get somebody to come to your site or to subscribe to your podcast, listen and, and continue consuming your content and increasing your listenership. Speaker 1 03:56 So the goal here is going to be the same. We're going to create ads on any of these platforms and then the ad will be, you know, descriptive talking about what our podcast is about and why people should listen. The what and the why and the and the who it's for is really important. And that gets into a whole nother conversation of of copywriting and writing, engaging stuff for these ads that make people want to click on them and check out your stuff. That whole experience from somebody seeing the ad to clicking it to what they see on the next page and how they can in our case then subscribe to your podcast. All that is super important. So the whole, this whole kind of journey of a potential new podcast listener from the first time they see an advertisement about your podcast, what that says, what the images look like, what the color is, where it's located, all the way to when they're on the page and what subscribing to your podcast, and then what that first episode they would get after that. Speaker 1 04:49 All that stuff is really important and you want that to be as consistent as possible because the worst thing for a potential new listener is to see a something that says, okay, this is Bob's podcast, this is Bob's podcast, and then you get subscribed and it's, this is Bob and Susie's podcast, and you say, well, what happened? I thought this was just Bob's podcast. That's a maybe a silly example, but that's something to think about that when you're talking about advertising, you have any kind and it's not any different for, for podcasting as you want the feel and the look and the experience for the person going through this process to be really consistent the whole time so that they know that they're still seeing and kind of investing their emotional energy and their podcasts, listening time in the same thing that they originally saw in that first ad. Speaker 1 05:32 And so with Facebook, the, the goal to, so, but you would buy an ad, uh, create, uh, some, some copies of a headline and description and have an image. And then the goal here is to have people click to go to your website and from there to listen and subscribe your podcast, right? Subscriptions we're finding, especially on the Apple platform, is kind of the big driver of rankings. But subscriptions obviously is the big driver of listenership too, right? If someone is subscribed, they automatically get every episode every week. You don't have to worry about driving them back to your site to listen to the next episode. If they're subscribed every Tuesday or Thursday, whatever day you release an episode, they automatically get it every week, no matter what. And the other thing to mention about Facebook, it is an interest based ad platform as opposed to think about Google, which is a, an intent based platform. Speaker 1 06:22 So, uh, what I mean by that is on Google, someone goes in there to search a true crime podcast, right? Uh, they might find your podcast by doing that. And if you had an ad on Google, you would, you would show up at the very top of that page and have it, have a little ad next to it. Um, and someone is coming there with the intent to find true crime podcasts as opposed to on Facebook. Uh, the ads are set up and delivered based on interests. So you would be able to say in the Facebook ads manager, I want to show my ad about my true crime podcasts to other people that are interested in true crime podcasts. Maybe they're a fan of some of these really big name true crime podcasts, or they're a fan of some of the hosts of those podcasts. Speaker 1 07:04 Maybe that would be a good way to target the interest of people that like podcasts similar to yours. So when you're, when you're thinking about advertising on Facebook, uh, just remember that is all interest based and you, uh, and you need to think about what similar interests people might have that would lead them to see your ad click on it and subscribe to your podcast. So I think the true crime example is a good one. So someone comes in and says, I like true crime. And so Facebook knows a lot about these people. They know that I like true crime podcasts. And so I might see an advertisement on Facebook next time they're about true crime podcasts because Facebook knows that I have read articles or seen other posts about true crime and I liked them, or something like that. So they know, Hey, Craig likes true crime podcast. Speaker 1 07:48 Next time we have an advertisement for a true crime show, let's show it to Craig. There's a good chance that he will click on it and then go and subscribe and have a good experience, you know, and the end there and subscribe to that show. So that's kind of the deal with, with Facebook is that it's interest based, not intent-based. And we'll get into some intent-based stuff later on when we're talking about Cora and Reddit. Okay. The next one is overcast. Overcast is a really popular, uh, Apple only or iOS only podcasting app or podcatcher. It's the podcasting app that I use when I listen to podcasts. It's really great. It has a lot of, uh, kind of discoverability and suggestions built into it so you can connect overcast to your social media accounts and then it will suggest podcasts that other people that you follow say on Twitter like as well. Speaker 1 08:32 So it's really cool to say like, okay, I'll connect my Twitter account to overcast and then overcast will tell me, okay, of all the people that have done the same thing that use overcast and have connected their Twitter accounts, these are the shows that you have in common and this is the list that you're not subscribed to yet. So it's a really good way to kind of naturally expand the number of podcasts you listen to based on what other people kind of in your world and that are similar to you or that you follow on social media. Uh, subscribe to as well. Overcast also has a pretty extensive ad platform. And so this is kind of similar to Facebook where it's interest based, so it's broken down by categories, whereas with, with Facebook or Google or a Cora or Reddit, you pay by the click. Speaker 1 09:16 So every time somebody clicks your ad, you pay a couple cents or a dollar or whatever for them to go to your page. And hopefully they subscribe and some percentage of people will and they won't. But with, with overcast, it's a flat fee per month. So if you go to overcast.fm/ads and we'll have a link for this in the show notes, they have prices per month based on the category that you want your podcast ad to show up. And currently as of recording this, most of them are sold out for the next month, but you can get on a waiting list for, for some of these categories. The nice thing about this is I think two things. One is that everybody that sees this ad, uh, just by its nature of being in a podcasting app are already podcast listeners. You know, with podcast listenership still being a bit nascent, growing certainly, but nascent, uh, I think it's fair to say that a fair amount of your ad dollars on Facebook or Cora or Reddit would, would go to waste because people would see this ad that aren't podcast listeners. Speaker 1 10:11 And there's no really way to say like, Hey, only show this ad to podcast listeners say on Facebook, but on overcast there is because everybody's already listening to podcasts. So this is, this is a nice way to, uh, to ensure that you're only spending money to show an ad about your show to people who are already podcast listeners. And the range for these monthly, uh, prices is between a couple of hundred dollars up to for, for platform wide, so across all categories, about a thousand dollars a month. And then they give you estimates on the number of taps to go to have people subscribe to your show and then the ultimate subscriptions based on the category. And they range from anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand taps to go check out your show. And then subscriptions of organic, you know, maybe a hundred to a couple hundred new subscriptions a month. So overcast is, is probably the most simple because you just pick out a category that you want an ad for your show to appear in a write the ad and then they inject it in there and you're all set. Speaker 1 11:09 Uh, so this is probably the simplest way to get started. While it's also simple, it might have the lowest upside. So there's just not a lot you can do with it. You can only buy one spot. You could be in multiple categories maybe. So you could expand your reach that way. But this is pretty cut and dry. So that's good and bad. Maybe a good place to get started. But uh, but there's not a lot else you can do with it. I will say that overcast is probably the first place we will look to buy advertising spots for this show. So stay tuned. We'll definitely be reporting back on our, our performance, what we're investing in, how many new subscribers we're getting out from our investment in overcast here in a couple of months. Okay. The next one that we're going to be talking about, and I, I group these together and they're not exactly the same, but they are kind of as Cora and Reddit. Speaker 1 11:49 Uh, so Cora is a, a huge kind of question and answer site. So people come on there and ask questions that are really, really, really detailed and then other people on the platform come in and answer those. And then those answers are upvoted by the people that, that see the answers and say, Hey, this is a really good answer. This should be the top one. And kind of similarly, Reddit is a message board where you come in and post something, other people have responses and both of those can get upvoted. Both of these have a lot of weight they put on the, the quality of the responses. Uh, so your kind of social credit, uh, your street cred if you will, is uh, is really important here as a responder. If you, if you enter a bunch of kind of bogus and not very insightful responses on either coral or Reddit, uh, you will get down voted in. Speaker 1 12:36 That affects your ability to have a popular response next time. So in terms of organic kind of reach of core or Reddit, that's, that's it in a nutshell. But you could also buy ads on both of these platforms. And uh, both of these are, are interest based and a little bit behavioral based. And I'll talk specifically about Cora when, when I talk about the combination there. So Ancora you can buy ads for things that show up in a particular category. Kind of like we talked about with overcast so you can talk. I just want to buy ads from my podcast that show up in the health section. Generally from there you can dive down into, I want to talk about health and exercising and weightlifting and bodybuilding for women. That would get really specific when that happens. The more specific you get, typically you have a more targeted audience but that means that if they click on your ad there's a higher likelihood that they would then convert into a subscriber for you. Speaker 1 13:29 That's great. The downside is that that audience pool, the number of people there typically goes down a lot, so that's just something to think about is the more broad and mass market you go, the more people that will that will see your stuff. Maybe the cheaper it would be to get someone to click on your ad, but maybe the less likely they are to be exactly that right fit for your show. And talked about audience personas and like the first or second episode. And this is a really good example of knowing exactly who your audience is and what they like and they don't like. And they would be searching for an example of Cora or Reddit so that you can show them exactly the right ad and not, uh, not show your ad to a bunch of people that don't care because you still can get charged, you know, a small amount for those impressions even though people don't click. Speaker 1 14:14 The nice thing about, uh, both Cora and Reddit is the, the cost of advertising on these platforms is a lot less than a similar ad network, like Google ad words. So again, we talked about going in searching for true crime podcast in Google. An advertisement at the top of Google would cost dollars per per click probably, whereas on a platform like Quora or Reddit, it would cost some, you know, several cents. So, you know, it's, it's a bit of a different audience on these two platforms. But, um, I would say these are kind of surrogates for a platform like Google that everybody knows and understands specifically. Uh, going back to of how advertising works on Cora, you can have your advertisement show up based on categories and keywords and things like that. And you can also have it show up just on specific questions that people have asked before. Speaker 1 15:03 So if you go in and see that, Oh, a question about bodybuilding for women has shown up 5,000 times this month and you say, that's great, let's maybe just start right there because my podcast is about bodybuilding for women. That's a great fit. So you can buy advertisements to show up just on that ad. So that's super specific. And typically that's a really good place to start when it comes to paid advertising is to start really, really, really specific. Once you see it, that works, maybe you can experiment with kind of going out from there to more broad mass market. But I'll speak from personal experience. The way to get killed in terms of your budget with paid advertising is to start really mass market. And not really talking to anyone in particular, but just kind of saying, Hey, I have a podcast about bodybuilding for women. Speaker 1 15:45 And a whole bunch of people won't care about that, right? But if you target your, your message to only be shown to a very, very, very specific type of person, then the results you'll see and the costs you'll see from that are really going to be in line with what you're hoping for. I think. So that's a, that's a really kind of brief touch on Cora and Reddit. This is a really cool platform for people that, that participate in them in terms of paid acquisition for this show. We'll be buying ads on overcast first probably, and then be looking at either Facebook or Cora as a secondary ad platform to, to experiment with. And again, we'll report back all of our investments and results, uh, later on. And we'll be getting started with some of those here very shortly. In the last ad category that I'll talk about when it comes to to growing your podcast audience through through paid acquisition is buying ad spots on other people's podcasts. Speaker 1 16:37 So you know, podcast advertising is a, is kind of the most analogous to conventional radio advertising. Uh, you have a spot, it's 30 seconds. It's either at the beginning of the show in the middle or at the end. So pre-roll, mid-roll or post roll. And the thing with this is not everybody can buy these ad spots. So anybody can go buy an ad on Facebook or on Cora or on overcast. But when it comes to podcast advertising, for the most part, it is still a very relationship driven and manual process. So the good thing about this is you can pick exactly which podcast you want your podcast to be advertised on. The bad part is that it might take some time and it might take you actually knowing the person who is the host of that podcast. It might not, but, but that's probably the safest and most sure way to start. Speaker 1 17:22 The thing with advertising your podcast on someone else's podcast is if the, if that alignment between your message and the type of show you have is really tightly aligned with the podcast that you're advertising on, uh, it would be kind of a competitive situation. Again, we'll go back to our true crime example. If I want to advertise my true crime podcasts on another true crime podcasts, that is exactly the same essentially as mine, the, the owner, the host of that true crime podcasts that I want to advertise on might say, well, I don't know why I would want to have a, an advertisement for Craig's show on my show that would just take my listeners and have them go listen to his show maybe instead. So maybe it would be an example of an additive thing where I advertise on show a show a listeners come listen to my podcast as well. Speaker 1 18:13 That's possible. Um, but I think a lot of times we see that a podcast listenership is a bit of a zero sum game. People only have their drive to work or their time at the gym or their time walking the dog to listen to podcasts. And that's two, four, six, 10 hours a week. There is a time where that time is saturated with podcasts and people say, I can't listen to any more podcasts. So if if they saw an ad for your show on someone else's show, they might say, Oh go check this one out. If it's better, maybe they would pick your show and ditch that one that you advertise on originally. And if I'm the host of that show that advertised your podcast originally, I wouldn't be too thrilled about losing my listeners to another show just for some advertising dollars. So, so this is uh, maybe a bit in the weeds and a bit of minutia, but I think it's really worth considering is if you're going to advertise your podcast on another podcast, you want to pick something that's tightly aligned, but maybe just tangential just next to the topic and the audience and the interest that your show is about. Speaker 1 19:15 And that way I think you would avoid some of this competitiveness. This is maybe the one touchy aspect of, of advertising for your podcast on other podcasts is podcasting to some extent. And for some people it's kind of a zero sum game where they only have a certain number of hours in the week. If, uh, if somebody likes your show better than the one where they heard your advertisement, they might stop listening to that original show. So just something to consider and really makes the selection of if you're going to do this, which podcast you advertise on. Super important. So you want to have that alignment. Again, talking about like women's bodybuilding, you would want to have your ad be on some kind of, you know, women's fitness or bodybuilding podcast, but not so tightly aligned that it's exactly like yours. So, so just something to think about there. Speaker 1 19:59 And this is a bit of a, a bit of a dance, but that's, that's definitely something I would think about if I was buying an advertisement on someone else's podcast for my show. The last thing I'll mention about podcast advertising, and this is no secret to Tony buddy in industry, is the, the effectiveness. And the tracking of this is very difficult to quantify. So if you're a big data person and say, I want to know exactly how many people see my ad, and then click on it and then subscribe, you're going to be very disappointed with what you get from podcast advertising. Traditionally, the best thing kind of top Mark that we see is a number of lessons and that's great, but anybody that knows podcast analytics knows that that means that they, they started streaming, maybe they listened to it on the Apple podcast app and then turn it off 10 seconds or they downloaded it but never played it. Speaker 1 20:49 Or they downloaded it and played it six months later. You don't know. So a podcast advertising just by its nature leaves a lot to be desired. The, the technology and kind of the whole idea of podcasting is not intuitively built for analytics. And that's fine. I think we do good enough for, for what we have. But if you're an advertiser, the analytics of of your investment and that return on your investment is really important to you because you're investing, you know, hundreds or thousands of dollars. You want to know exactly where that money is going and what kind of return you're getting back on it. And that that's just tough with, with advertising on someone else's podcast as opposed to the data you get on say Facebook will blow your mind. The number of data points that you get on a single ad and Facebook is amazing and that that's kind of the detriment of, of a platform like Facebook is. Speaker 1 21:33 It's really easy to get lost in the data of it all. So these are just some things that to think about as you're looking at advertising for your podcast. We definitely are going to be exploring all of these for the audience podcasts. That's kind of the whole point of the show here is we're building a podcast to explore what growing audience audiences like. And we're doing that again, both through the organic channels. So creating good content, having an interesting guests, and all of us learning a lot about what a good podcast is, but also then amplifying and accelerating that growth of the podcast through things like paid acquisition. And these four channels I think are the really big ones to think about. So again, just to recap, talked about Facebook, talked about overcast, talked about Cora, and read it as a kind of question and answer interest based social media platforms and then talked about advertising your podcast on other people's podcasts. So I hope this is helpful and interesting and insightful. And again, we'll be diving into each of these as we go through the audience podcast here in the next couple of weeks and months. So stay tuned and if you're enjoying the show, please share this episode with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. If you have a friend or a colleague who's looking to start advertising for their podcast, please send this along. Have them subscribe so they get every episode and can follow along on our journey as we grow our audience.

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