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5 Reasons to Invest in Podcast Advertising (Yes, Even in ‘This Economy’)


February 10, 2023


February 10, 2023

Right Side Up’s Krystina Rubino, GM of our offline marketing practice, recently started a conversation on LinkedIn about why advertisers should invest in podcast advertising today, despite the questionable macroeconomic outlook. She broke down her reasoning into a series of five posts and we’ve summarized them for you below.

There’s an anxious chatter that the sky could fall in podcasting any day now. But Right Side Up has worked with more than 100 brands to invest over $150M in podcast advertising campaigns over the past five years, and based on that experience, we can confidently say, chill out, Chicken Little. 

There are many reasons that it makes more sense than ever for brands—especially direct response- and growth-oriented advertisers—to invest in podcast advertising for new customer acquisition and business building. Here are our top five points to make the case for investing in offline advertising today:

There are many reasons to invest in podcast advertising, including pricing, performance, audience connection, creative insights, and improved tech.

1. Pricing is finally adjusting to advertiser demand, capacity, and reality. 

In a medium where average CPMs have held in the $20s for the better part of the last decade, the combination of impression-based buying, lack of technological implementation to facilitate said buying, and an increasing focus on efficiency from advertisers, we’ll see the average CPMs in the medium fall. That's even before factoring in the current and forecasted economic climate.

More colloquially, you know that “name your price” tool from Progressive? Fire it up. The smartest publishers and networks in the space are willing to meet advertisers where they are, to establish a solid plan for testing. Monetizing direct means inventory won't go unsold or to an exchange, where it'll clear for pennies on the dollar.

And, it means that opportunistic advertisers will take this opportunity to test into inventory we may have left on the table previously, to create partnerships that will last long after any downturn—all in a medium that has helped growth marketers build successful acquisition programs at many companies in the last decade. See the first post of the series and join the conversation on LinkedIn here.

2. Podcast advertising will continue to perform, even in the face of cookie deprecation and data degradation.

Even though growth marketers have adjusted to the diminished efficacy of Meta's algorithmic audience-based buying and Google is holding off on cookie deprecation until 2024, there's no denying that pixel- and cookie-based advertising isn't as effective as it was even 12–24 months ago. It won't get any easier or more effective from here either, and in fact, the inverse is more likely to be true.

Mediums like podcasting, television, radio, etc. are resilient and will continue to be so, even in the face of further data degradation. Over-reliance on Meta or AdWords early in a brand's paid media journey makes a ton of sense because of inherent measurability of those platforms' ROAS, but it's more important now than ever for growth marketers to diversify their media mix earlier than later. If 80% of your paid media investment as a growth or customer acquisition brand is still Meta/Instagram, the sustainability of your program is likely at risk. (But don’t worry, we can help! Contact us at growth@rightsideup.co to get started.) See the second post and join the discussion on LinkedIn here.

3. Podcasts offer a unique opportunity for brands to meaningfully connect with potentially high-LTV consumers.

Audio advertising, and specifically endorsement-based ads like those most common to podcast advertising, gives brands an opportunity to have a trusted, influential host explain their product in more depth than can be conveyed in a social or search ad. Host-read ads allow consumers to get a better understanding of your product and how it differs from competitors in the space. The long-form nature of podcast reads provides a near-unparalleled opportunity for hosts to talk about your company and the benefits of your products and/or services.

Not only that, but podcast consumers are often hard to reach via other media channels (think: cord cutters and people who haven’t clicked on a banner ad since Aol was relevant). The combination of authentic, long-form ad format and favorable audience demographics in podcast advertising is tough to beat. See the third post and join the conversation on LinkedIn here.

4. Podcast ad reads will give you creative insights, hooks, and treatments that you might otherwise not have landed on, or overlooked.

When it comes to produced audio creative, before you pay (too much for) creative agencies to position your brand and restate your USPs, or dedicate (too many) internal resources to creating a spot, hold that thought.

Often, podcast advertising is the first channel in which a brand is marketing via audio only, without visuals, for the first time. It’s often a channel we recommend to brands who aren’t quite sure what to say about their brand without a visual component.

You’ll get a fresh perspective on how to market your brand with no corresponding visuals, from influential humans (podcast hosts) who understand the way their audiences want to be engaged with and will be motivated to action. From there, it’s easy to use those ads to inform how you talk about your brand in other channels and contexts. See the fourth post and join the discussion on LinkedIn here.

5. Tech in the offline space is (finally) getting interesting and compelling.

We often have to explain that, despite digital delivery, podcast advertising is treated as an offline channel, because of how the media is consumed, purchased, optimized, and measured. RSS feeds haven’t advanced much in the last 20 years and the medium isn’t as inherently trackable or as easy to buy as its streaming audio counterparts, let alone paid search/social or display.

However, the last 3–4 years in particular have brought a ton of new companies to the space. Pixel and server side attribution from companies like Podsights has grown in prominence and usefulness, making it easier for brands to draw correlations to existing channels. Competitive intelligence, airchecking, and impression verification from companies like Magellan and Podscribe have made it easier than ever to manage campaigns, which is huge, given most podcast ads of quality are still purchased from networks or publishers.

Last, even though we can’t ignore the detriments of the current state of programmatic in the industry compared to the results that can be attained with a more partner direct approach, the fact that we’re inching closer to an open inventory exchange is exciting. Impression based, programmatic buying will (eventually) offer a compelling, complementary opportunity—not a panacea or a one-size-fits-all tactic—for advertisers to supplement existing buys and increase reach and frequency of their messages in the medium. See the final post of this series and join the conversation on LinkedIn here.

Want to invest in podcast advertising or refresh your offline strategy? Drop us a line at growth@rightsideup.co to learn what we can do for you.

Krystina Rubino joined Right Side Up to start its offline marketing practice when she realized too many brands leave offline channels on the table, favoring digital channels past diminishing returns. She has been obsessed with all forms of media for as long as she can remember; she’s an agency and marketing leader with deep experience in building brands and meeting growth goals, for companies of all stages and sizes. She’s spent her career helping companies and brands like Advil, DoorDash, P&G, Lyft, and StitchFix, develop profitable digital and offline media campaigns, often as vanguards in their category and the medium. Her favorite question to ask is “What’s next?” when helping grow a business or scale a customer acquisition campaign.

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