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NOTE: What follows is a guest post from Amir Shahzeidi on YouTube For Podcast Promotion – and while we at Polymash may not agree with all the points in this article, we agree with the power of YouTube for creating short native video content for your podcast growth. Here is Amir's article with a lot of insights and tips on how to make this work:

Your podcast is out there. You’ve consistently put in the hours to create amazing episodes to attract more listeners. But something’s amiss… You can’t seem to get any traction. You’re not generating the growth you need. Here’s the thing, building a business and brand today is less about selling and more about showing how you can add value to your audience’s lives.

And that’s probably one of the main reasons why you started your podcast.

Adding value, however, involves more than just creating great content. You need to promote it feverishly to capture the attention and hold the attention of your target audience.

The former, unfortunately, isn’t always the easiest for brands to accomplish. Most brands still believe in building content and hoping their ideal customers will stumble upon it.

That does not make for sound marketing practice or strategy.

Marketing needs to be consistent.

Take the rule of seven, it dictates that customers need to see or hear of you brand seven times before they become a customer. What’s more, with the increase in web content and social media posts produces each day, I’d argue that customers may need more than seven interactions.

So, how do you promote your podcast effectively?

Have you considered YouTube?

Consider using youtube for podcast promotion
Consider using YouTube for podcast promotion – Photographer: Sara Kurfeß | Source: Unsplash

It may seem almost counter-intuitive as an idea, but there’s a lot of logic behind using it as a marketing channel to grow your podcast.

For example, YouTube is still the 2nd largest search engine in the world. It receives 1 billion users each month (that’s almost a 3rd of the internet).

It's also great for reach. More than 70% of YouTube users watch content on mobile devices, making it the perfect platform to engage more people. In fact, today YouTube is available in 80 languages, making it accessible to 95% of the Internet population.

As you can see, you can leverage YouTube. In fact, you could grow your podcast with the help of a YouTube marketing funnel filled with content that attracts and helps convert viewers into subscribers and paying customers.

But can you really promote your podcast on YouTube?

Yes, and I'll show you four ways to do so.

What do the results look like? Here's a snapshot of the first five results for the search term podcast on YouTube:

YouTube For Podcast Promotion Examples

Take a look at the number of views that each podcast has received.

Pretty convincing, right?

Here are four ways to promote your podcast on YouTube:

1. Upload Your Podcast Audio

This is an easy action to take. Simply upload your podcasts to your YouTube channel. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to shoot video content to get views.

In the example below, CrypoWZRD shows that it’s possible to build an audience with a simple still image and podcast audio.

2. Create Shorter Videos

Another great way to promote your podcast is by creating a trailer or shorter videos from your material. This gives viewers a taste of what to expect, and if promoted using paid media, you should be able to generate a fair amount of reach, too.

Carrier created a trailer for their podcast that’s both captivating and has generated over 2,300 views.

3. Go Live

Live streaming isn’t limited to social media or special events. It’s also used for podcasts. RachelVlogs hosts a podcast called “All Things Internet.” She shows that it’s possible to live stream your podcast on YouTube, without a sophisticated studio or equipment.

4. Create Video Podcasts

Most podcasts are released as pre-recorded videos, and you should give this option a go. Video podcasts are intimate due to the ability to see the host and guest.

Because they are also pre-recorded, you’re able to edit your footage and include different camera shots and special effects to create a more engaging viewer experience.

Now that you have four ways to market your podcast, let’s take a look at how to make your content stand out on YouTube.

Four Tips on Generating Better Rankings When Using Youtube For Podcast Promotion

Here are four more tips to help you generate better rankings, more views, and subscribers.

Tip #1: Use YouTube SEO

Like Google, YouTube videos and content can also be optimized for search. In fact, when using YouTube for podcast promotion some of the same principles apply and can help you rank your podcast videos higher in search results and get more views on YouTube.

For example, you should be using keywords in video titles. Beyond the obvious benefit of viewer spotting search terms, YouTube will be able to return your podcast as a result.

Be sure to include your keywords in descriptions as well. YouTube sees descriptions as valuable, because, just like Google, YouTube wants to provide users with the best possible results for their searches.

Should you use tags?

The jury is still out on this feature. It appears to be available for a reason, so use them, but only add relevant tags to describe your video.

Brian Dean on video SEO when using YouTube For Podcast Promotion
Brian Dean on video SEO when using YouTube For Podcast Promotion

Tip #2: Design a Captivating Thumbnails

Want to make your content stand out? Here are four tips on designing a thumbnail that will grab attention:

Use Color

The human eye is drawn to color. While it can see 7,000,000 colors, creating a combination that’s attractive is really what will stop viewers from scrolling through their feeds.

When you use color, focus on contrasting complementary colors (colors further away from each other on the color wheel). Doing so will create the right amount of contrast between colors you use and help your content stand out.

Use of color when creating YouTube Thumbnails for podcast promotions
Use of color when creating YouTube Thumbnails for podcast promotions

Add Your Face

People are attracted to faces that show a certain emotion or appear to be communicating a message.

If you’re only uploading audio of your podcast, don’t add a clip of your face. This could be perceived as clickbait and might hurt your brand.

Using Faces when creating YoutTube Video Thumbnails for Podcasts
Using Faces when creating YoutTube Video Thumbnails for Podcasts

Brand Your Content

Building a brand is all about becoming recognizable for what you do. Don’t miss the opportunity to brand your thumbnail with your logo.

Branded content example when using YouTube for podcast growth
Branded content example when using YouTube for podcast growth

Create Interesting Titles

Get creative with your thumbnails by using different copy, but keep it related to your video title. This hack makes your content appear more interesting than using repetitive messaging.

Interesting titles are key when using Youtube for podcast marketing
Interesting titles are key when using Youtube for podcast marketing

Tip #3: Focus on Watch-Time

Watch-time is one of the most important ranking factors YouTube applies. Briggsby conducted a study that showed a correlation between watch-time and rankings. They found that the more watch-time a video receives, the higher it ranks in search. So how do you use this insight when using YouTube for podcast promotion?

Maximizing Watch Time for Youtube Analytics
Image: Briggsby

One of the most effective ways of increasing watch-time is by introducing pattern interrupts. These are ideas that are abruptly introduced to completely change the focus of your listeners.

And they’re effective! Buzzsumo used pattern interrupts to grow its channel by 59% in just 30 days.

Why do pattern interrupts work?

They force listeners to pay attention for longer. By asking a question or painting a picture, you automatically engage your audience.

If they’re paying attention for longer, you’ll be able to increase your watch-time and increase the likelihood of better rankings for your podcast.

Tip #4: Use a Call to Action

You’ve managed to attract new YouTube viewers, but what happens when they are done with your video?

While call to actions are a universal component in marketing, they’re often not allows applied.

Don’t be like other marketers.

Include call to actions at the end of each video you upload to ensure that you grow and retain your audience.

What kind call to actions should you use?

In the YouTube for podcast promotion example below, Tom Ferry uses a video suggestion and a link to his website where you can get show notes and also listen to other podcasts.

Show notes links are important

Ferry also takes advantage of the description section on YouTube. In addition to his brief write-up, he pushes viewers to other links that include the episode’s show notes, various platforms to listen to his podcast, and his social media accounts to connect with him directly.

Ferry also has his own branded website. If you plan on growing your podcast, with the prospect of developing a multimedia platform of your own, you could create a video website.

Everyone knows that YouTubers make money from ads (and some from endorsements), but few know that almost 96.5% of YouTube video creators don’t make enough to rise above the poverty line.

By creating your own platform, you’re able to generate revenue for your brand by selling your podcast and video content directly to your subscribers.

Tom Ferry Example

Conclusion

Podcasts, like all other marketing channels, can only grow if promoted. One of the most interesting ways is to expand your content with video and to use Youtube for podcast promotion. It’s a large platform with over a billion users, making it the perfect place to find your audience. It also affords podcasters the opportunity to promote their content in various ways, making is easier to attract and engage more viewers and turn them into subscribers.

About Our Guest Author Amir Shahzeidi:

Amir Shahzeidi
Amir Shahzeidi

Amir is the digital marketing manager at Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and live streaming platform that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.

Podcast Marketing With Social Contests And Give-Aways

Promoting a newly launched podcast with a Facebook contest used to be a very popular podcast marketing tactic. The idea was to launch a contest featuring a relevant give-away and to boost it with paid Facebook ads. To enter the contest, contestants were asked to subscribe to the show, leave an iTunes review, and then to email the iTunes ID name used for the review to the podcast host as proof. The podcast host would then enter the applicant into the contest drawing.

In today's episode we examine:

  • The reasons why this is not as popular launch strategy anymore
  • But also why this podcast marketing strategy is still a good idea today
  • Prize selection tips and why they are key for this podcast marketing strategy
  • Contest Structure
  • We will cover some of the best paid and free contest platforms
  • Tips for setting up and running such contests
  • Need some help for your own contest launch?

iTunes Focused Launches Have Changed

Podcast marketing no longer focuses on iTunes alone
Podcast marketing no longer focuses on iTunes alone

The reason this was a successful strategy a few years ago was that the "New and Noteworthy" algorithm within iTunes was driven by the number of reviews a podcast would receive in the initial weeks after launch. And contests were a great way to get lots of reviews in a short amount of time.

Since then, the algorithm to rise to the top of iTunes has changed. It is no longer driven by the number of reviews. Instead, at the time of this writing, the number of new subscribers have the most impact, followed by the number of episode downloads. Therefore the number of reviews no longer contribute to being at the top of the “New and Noteworthy” section.

As I have said elsewhere:

I feel that podcasters needlessly obsess about getting into the "New and Noteworthy" section.

The reality is that over the last two years iTunes has become a highly competitive space, given that major popular radio stations have shifted their energies from terrestrial and satellite radio to podcasts as a way to create a digital presence.

And there has been evidence that being featured in "New and Noteworthy" typically yields only a few hundred additional subscribers.

Podcast marketing through “Launch Contest” is less common now

The main reason is that N&N is no longer as influenced my the number of reviews a podcast gets. Besides no longer being as effective, setting up a launch contest usually takes a good deal of time to set up. You need landing pages, marketing automation capability and time. Or money to spend on contest platforms.

But if you have the passion, time and effort to spare, a launch contest will still give your podcast launch a great boost, for some of the below reasons:

But iTunes Reviews Are Still Important

Reviews are still important and should not be ignored. They lend credibility and social proof to a podcast. Seeing that dozens of people are leaving great reviews for a podcast you might enjoy might tip the scale for you to take action and subscribe. On the other hand, seeing a podcast on iTunes with no reviews at all also tells you something.

Why a Launch Contest is Still A Good Idea

Getting reviews and testimonials is as hard as it ever was. We've seen this play out countless times. People are happy to offer leaving a review, but iTunes doesn't make this process very straight-forward. So when it comes down to it, even your friends and relatives somehow don't get around to it without repeat reminders.

Contest Prize Selection

Prize selection matters in podcast marketing with contests
Prize selection matters in podcast marketing with contests

Adding the right prizes and incentives is key. The selected giveaways don’t have to be expensive. It is more important that they be relevant, and related to the podcast topic or context.

So for example, for a customer experience podcast you might have a contest to win free tickets to the biggest yearly Customer Experience conference. That beats offering an iPad as a prize, simply because your subscriber and contest participants are much more likely to actually care about your podcast and topic, instead of just trying to win an iPad.

Another example might be a podcast about podcasting, podcast growth and promotions such as my own show. If I were to run a contest for the Podcast Growth Show, I would choose to give away a premium microphone or podcasting gear package as the grand prize.

Why Choose Multiple Prizes?

But one prize is not enough. By giving away multiple prizes, you increase the desirability and success of your contest simply because there are better odds and many more ways to win.

The most successful contests offer a single grand prize, and then a number of secondary prizes in decreasing value.

In fact, you should give away a free resource for everyone entering your contest. This could be a simple lead magnet PDF, as long as it is related to your podcast's topic and focus.

Podcast Marketing Contest Example Prizes

For the Podcast Growth Show, here is how I would plan to structure my own podcast contest. My goal would be to attract new podcasters. So my prize selection would focus on thinking about what would be relevant for new podcasters.

Pretty much every podcaster I know tried to save money during their initial studio setup. And the thing they most likely tried to save money on is their microphone boom arm. A cheap version of this can be highly frustrating to use, and a more professional model with greater reach and a more solid feel is a pleasure to use. Believe me, podcasters will appreciate the difference.

  • 1st Prize: Premium RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm (a $109 value)
  • 2nd Prize: A Great Dynamic Podcast XLR and USB Microphone – The Audio Technica AT2005 (a $79 value)
  • 3rd Prize: 15 copies of our "Podcast Marketing & SEO Online Course" – (a $97 value)
  • 9th-25 Prize: Our Podcast Marketing Bible Ebook (a $9.97 value)
  • Prize for all contest entrants: "How To Market Your Podcast" ebook and access to our online "Podcasting Resources Guide"

Contest Structure

Podcast promotion contest structure
There are many facets to consider when launching a podcast promotion contest

As I previously mentioned, the launch contests of yesteryear focused on getting iTunes reviews. But that should no longer be the only focus now. For me, it is much more important to attract the right listeners to join my email list and to subscribe to my podcast through email notifications.

So my focus would be to get contest entrants to

  1. Subscribe to my show via email
  2. Subscribe to my show's YouTube channel, because I feature lots of cool "how to" and demo videos there
  3. Like my podcast's Facebook page
  4. Join our Facebook podcast marketing group
  5. Leave an iTunes review

Multiple Actions to Enter The Contest

These are multiple actions to take, and people might think this is a lot to ask just to enter a contest. And that is right, except:

Each action completed creates additional chances to win the prize

So the logic is this: You must subscribe to my email list, that part is required because otherwise I cannot communicate with you and send you the prize. But if you complete the other additional steps, each completed tasks enters you in the contest additional times, greatly increasing your chances of winning one or more prizes.

And, each action is weighed differently: For example, subscribing to my Youtube channel is worth an additional 5 entries, but leaving an iTunes review is worth 25 additional entries.

The genius of this approach for podcast reviews is that it makes it a no-brainer for a contest entrant to do the hardest thing: Leave you an iTunes review.

Later in the podcast I explore the differences between a DIY approach versus utilizing one of the contest platforms out there. This approach of multiple contest entries for multiple actions is only possible by using proper contest management platforms like.

An example of multiple actions to increase your chances

In our video we feature a great example of this in a contest currently underway. The company is Syrp, and they are giving away some photo gear. Click below to start the video at 10:44 seconds:

At 10:44 – an example of multiple ways to enter a contest

Is it necessary to validate iTunes Reviews?

Unfortunately I don't know of any platform that integrates with iTunes directly to validate if someone actually left an iTunes review. But in my mind, most people will do so if asked, because they are afraid of missing out and being found out. What if you were to ask them for the iTunes name they left a review under before sending them their prize?

  • Note that with the Gleam.io platform, there are several easy ways to enter a contest by answering a question or by leaving a comment – and here you can simply ask the user to enter the iTunes name under which the review was left.

Creating Contest Landing Pages

If you want to create a contest, you will want to set up a contest landing page. A contest landing page is a distraction free website or page where you can send ad traffic to, and where people can learn about and sign up for your contest.

You can build such pages manually, but you may not need to when using the contest platforms we will discuss a bit later. They handle the creation of and simplify the design of landing pages, and some even allow you to create multiple versions of these pages and conduct A/B tests to see which ones perform best.

Q: Do you need to A/B test pages? A: It depends. There are people out there that have tested their contest pages. Here are some links to these tests and their outcomes. Why not learn from their tests and model your landing page on their winners? This will save you time and effort.

Generally speaking, it seems that contest landing pages with video perform better.

The Facebook Ad Campaign

Once you have a landing page, it's time to set up a Facebook campaign to boost your contest landing page. Facebook marketing is too big a topic to tackle in this episode, but here are a few tips to make this work:

Setting Up And Using Facebook Ads Manager

Creating A Facebook Ad

There are many easy ways in which you can create a Facebook ad. You shoot a quick video or FB live post, create one or more images about your contest, and come up with some fun language to use for a Facebook post.

We use the AIDA method when creating Facebook ads and landing pages for contests:

  • A =Attention – Ask a provocative question or make a statement that earns the attention of your audience
  • I=Interest – Expand on attention grabbing line with something that will peak their interest and explain.
  • D=Desire – What's in it for them to enter your contest. Duh, that's easy, right?
  • A=Action – This is the call to action, what you want them to do

Finding The Right Audience

The key in making Facebook ads effective and affordable is to show your contest ads to only your very best, most relevant audience. In Facebook parlance this is called "audience targeting". If you have never done Facebook ads before, this can be a bit tricky. Basically you are trying to limit the number of people who see your ads to only those interested in your primary topic.

Targeting Podcast Listeners

But that is not all: You also want to make sure the audience your Facebook ads are shown to are likely podcast listeners, and that part is much harder.

podcast marketing with Facebook Ads
The 5 Step Process to Advertise To Podcast Listeners On Facebook

We have a 5 step process to target likely podcast listeners on Facebook. It walks you through our method on Facebook Ads manager, and you will learn how to target people generally interested in your podcast's topic, but who also are likely podcast listeners.

Free vs Paid Contest Platforms

Are paid contest marketing platforms worth it?

Should you use a paid contest platform like the ones we outlined above? Or is there a way to build this all for free?

Advantages of Paid Contest Platforms

Paid contest platforms are the way to go. For a relatively low monthly fee they offer a range of distinct advantages over a DIY approach.

They integrate with social networks. This means they validate that someone actually shared a post, liked your Facebook Page or Youtube channel. All of this before they are entered in the contest.

Most paid platforms offer pre-built contest landing pages for you. You get up and running much more quickly, and don't have to invest in fancy landing page builders.

They send out custom email reminders. This saves you from having to create your own email funnels, saving a lot of time.

Some have A/B testing built in. This means you get to test out multiple landing pages to see which perform better.

Here are some of my favorite contest platforms to consider:

Rafflecopter

  • Rafflecopter – One of the most affordable platforms out there. Rafflecopter offers a free plan, trials for the more advanced plans starting at $13 a month at the time of this writing. While an easy platform to start with, it is basic.
  • It lacks some of the more innovative features features found on higher priced platforms.

Gleam.io

  • Gleam.io – I really like Gleam.io. It is a smart and flexible contest platform. It rewards people to take multiple actions to promote you while entering your contest. This increases the viral potential of your podcast marketing or launch contest. After having reviewed about 10 different contest management platforms, Gleam has emerged as my favorite. It is, however, not the least expensive, the Pro plan being $45 a month.

Upviral

  • Upviral – a good alternative to Gleam if the expense of that platform is a hurdle. By automatically emailing reminders, setting goals and providing incentives/rewards, your contest entrants stay on track and deliver. They get rewarded, you get new subscribers and everyone’s happy! Upviral has an example case study on their site of their own podcast launch contest which resulted in 7000 contest site visitors, 450 leads and 50+ reviews on iTunes.

Contest Domination

  • Contest Domination – a flexible platform that offers 7 day trial and a per contest payment option for $100 for a month. The benefit of their approach is that you get access to all features, where some of the other popular platform restrict their features for the basic plans.

To summarize these contest platforms, I feel that Gleam is the most innovative platform to try, and you can expect to spend perhaps $90 for a pro plan for a 2 months campaign. The major spend for podcast launch campaigns comes from Facebook ads anyhow, I would expect to spend between $20-$50 a day for the duration of the campaign. Be sure to check out Episode 3 of our podcast on Paid Podcast Advertising – A Look Behind The Scenes [S1E03]

Free Contest Platform Options

If you want to run your podcast launch contest with absolutely no additional expense, here are some ways to do it as well as some things to keep in mind:

  • To save money on prizes, you can give away content and prizes that don't cost you anything, like courseware, or eBooks or other premium content you have previously developed
  • You can use your own email list software like Mailchimp or Constant contact or even free Gmail automation tools like YAMM (we covered YAMM for Podcast Guesting Outreach in episode XX of our podcast)
  • You will need to develop your own landing pages on your podcast or blogging site.
  • Rely on your social network for free promotion and awareness of your contest, with a big enough following you can save on promoting your contest with paid ads
  • You can use tools like GoViral – a free platform from Growth Tools which ensures and validates social sharing. It is great to use as an add-on for thank you pages.
  • Try out GiveawayTools – a new contest design platform that's currently still in beta, but is free and integrates with several social platforms.

So it can theoretically be done for free, but it will require a large investment of time on your part.

My own view is that a zero cost and DIY approach is not likely to succeed

And the question you should ask yourself is about the relationship between time spent and likely effectiveness of the contest campaign you are setting up.

Need a guide to help with your own contest launch?

I've just published a resource for folks wanting to set up their own contest. This is published in "Open PDF" format, meaning the entire guide is provided on-line with no sign-up required, but you can download it guide as an option if you want.

Podcast Marketing with Launch Contests
Podcast Marketing with Launch Contests

I also offer some ways to collaborate around setting up your own launch contest, from low cost "DIY" sanity checks all the way to "Done for you" contest setup and management.

Conclusion

Apart from getting iTunes reviews, a podcast marketing contest with the right prizes and incentives can quickly add a ton of visibility and email subscribers to your podcast.

While it may not reliably get you into the "New and Noteworthy" section of the iTunes podcast directory any more, having some great reviews still lends social proof and credibility to your podcast. And email subscribers to your show are a permanent asset.

If you decide to run a podcast marketing contest, I recommend using a paid contest platform, as this will save you a ton of time and effort.

Podcast Advertising – a look behind the scenes of the top 3 platforms

Podcast Advertising, especially with paid ads, might not be something most podcasters consider in promoting their show and growing their subscriber base. Lots of questions arise:

  • How effective are paid podcast advertising strategies, and do they work for podcasters trying to promote their show?
  • Which ad platforms are the most effective? And which are the most affordable?

We take a look behind the scenes of 3 platforms, Google AdWords, Facebook and Podcast Ad Networks.

Using Paid Podcast Advertising Strategies

Using paid ads for promoting a podcast may not be for everyone. A lot of casual podcasters are in it just for the fun. If their show grows organically, fine. But spending money on ads is not something they'd consider.

However, when podcasting is part of a business content strategy, then paid promotions seem to make more sense.

Still, here are some common questions and objections:

  1. It is an expensive way of getting new subscribers?
  2. Measuring the effectiveness of paid ads is difficult?
  3. Your ads may not even be reaching podcast listeners?

A Podcast's Business Purpose

I find that podcasting for business is more inbound than outbound. Successful business podcasts should offer solutions, solve a prospects problems or provide training and education. Thus they are extremely effective in building a brand's authority.

But Podcasts are not effective for direct response selling to cold traffic.

If you are a business getting into podcasting as a way to sell something, stop. You might be better off advertising on existing podcasts in your niche. We cover this later in this episode.

On the other hand, if a business has a good inbound content marketing funnel, podcasts can serve as a great entry vehicle. As a business podcaster you get to talk to your ideal and relevant audience when they are in a receptive mode. Think about what people are doing when listening to their favorite podcast, the one you are appearing on. They are likely commuting, working out, going for a walk.

This listening modality is very different from interrupting an audience in the middle of browsing through their Facebook feed. So the "getting to know, like and trust" factor is huge in podcasting. And this is why Podcast Listeners are such a lucrative audience. You get to offer solutions, entertainment, education – and present your core ideas to them. But this takes the vision to invest in a longer term "inbound" strategy.

High Ad Awareness

Podcasts result in exceptionally high awareness levels for ads.

Among those who listen to or watch podcasts, just over two-thirds (67%) say they’re aware of ads in podcasts. While not an apples-to-apples comparison, the number far exceeds the 26% of smartphone users who recalled seeing an ad in a Facebook newsfeed in the last 30 days, or banner ad on the mobile web (22%)

Podcast Advertising Stats
Podcast Advertising Response Rates (source: Magid Study)

I'd like to compare several podcast advertising platforms in this episode, and point out the differences between them. Not all ad platforms are created equal.

So here’s my take on 3 platforms.

  1. Google AdWords
  2. Facebook Paid Ads
  3. Podcast Ad Networks

Podcast Advertising With Google Adwords

Podcast Advertising With Google Adwords
Google AdWords is the 800 lbs gorilla. Can it work for podcasters?

Generally speaking AdWords is expensive. So the question you’ll want to ask yourself is this: Can I afford driving traffic to my podcast at $5-$20 per click? How do you even know if your ads are reaching podcast listeners? On AdWords you cannot target podcast audiences easily.

My own view is that you need measurable results for AdWords to make sense.

For most businesses this means sending traffic to a good podcast landing page with a compelling reason to subscribe to their podcast.

Often such landing pages features an incentive for subscribing to the podcast via email, for example a guide, gift, contest or give-away. At least these landing pages should collect email addresses. Using Google Ads to send cold traffic to iTunes and hoping that people subscribe is difficult to measure, and not worth it in my opinion.

So we don’t use it except for certain corporate podcasts or non-profit podcasts in search of PR (as we are producing several). Some organizations have a PR budget, and promoting their show on AdWords seems appropriate for them.

For example, we have a non-profit organization with a podcast that has a grant from Google. We should all be so lucky! Podcast advertising using AdWords makes sense when the cost is reduced by such a grant. Plus, in their case Google stipulates that the grant money be spent this way:)

When is AdWords Appropriate?

If you are promoting high ticket products, services or programs costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, then running a podcast advertising campaign costing $5-$20 per click may appear to make sense.

But assuming that you can convert 3% of these clicks into podcast podcast listeners and subscribers, your cost per subscriber would be between $170 and $670. If you think that's expensive, so do I.

One example where AdWords could make sense is a Financial Investment and Trading Podcast. A client signing up to such a podcast and becoming a client later is worth many thousands of dollars.

But for casual podcasts with a small budget I think Adwords are hardly ever worth pursuing.

Facebook Advertising For Podcasts

Facebook Ads For Podcasts
Podcast Advertising With Facebook

Facebook is one of the most affordable paid choices for promoting a podcast. It may seem easy to simply “boost” an episode specific post on your podcast site, and then hope people listen and subscribe.

But I would not recommend this approach when first starting out. Instead, I would recommend sending traffic to your main podcast landing page that features an incentive for signing up.

Where to Send Facebook Traffic?

When you're first starting with Facebook ads, you should send these ads to your podcast home page, not your episode pages. Do not simply boost your episode shared post on Facebook. This is because boosting an individual episode show notes post seems like a quick solution but rarely converts as well as a carefully crafted visual leading to a conversion optimized page. And your ad should be designed to specifically outline the listener benefit and value proposition of your overall podcast.

Some podcasters promote on Facebook by sending traffic straight to their iTunes page. This makes no sense to me, since iTunes makes for a very poor landing page. By sending your valuable ad traffic to iTunes, you miss the opportunity to present the benefits of signing up for your podcast, and to capture an email subscriber in the process. Plus, from an SEO perspective, iTunes doesn't need traffic or social signals, but your own site does.

So let's assume you are sending ad traffic to your own podcast homepage. You therefore want to ensure your podcast home page is optimized for conversion. We have a huge guide on podcast design patterns for conversion, I suggest you check it out.

There is an exception to this rule.

If you have a lead magnet or give-away specifically for each episode, Facebook can be a great way to take advantage of that. Your visual for the Facebook ad can focus on the lead magnet give away, instead of on static or boring podcast art. Your Facebook episode specific ads should make it clear that there is a "must have" lead magnet associated with the ad.

The more your "lead magnet" is aligned with the topic of the episode, the better the conversion rates will be.

Targeting Podcast Listeners On Facebook

As I mentioned, targeting podcast listeners on Facebook can be tricky. Here is our 5 step process for creating custom Facebook audiences that are more likely to be podcast listeners. You can use this to drive Facebook traffic to your podcast's home page. By the way this is an example of an episode specific lead magnet:

Podcast Advertising and targeting on Facebook

Using Facebook Paid Ads For Contests

A popular and effective way to gain podcast subscribers is by running a contest or give-away on Facebook. This used to be a popular podcast launch strategy. Contests were typically set up to ask for an iTunes review in exchange for entering the contest. However, the iTunes algorithms have changed since then. Reviews no longer play as much of a role in driving a podcast into the New and Noteworthy section.

That said, contests can work for subscriber growth even after the initial launch period. The benefit here is that people entering your contest are providing their email address, and you can make it clear that by entering the contest your listeners are signing up for email notifications when new episodes launch.

The prize for a contest does not need to be anything super expensive.

But it should be aligned with the topic of the show. It is much more important that the prize is relevant. Take a Customer Experience podcast for example. Rather than giving away an iPad or some other expensive gadget, consider giving away tickets to the premiere Customer Experience Conference that year. If you were to give away an iPad you would get tons of meaningless content entries of people just fishing for an electronic gadget. But it you are giving away conference tickets, you can be sure that people entering your contest are interested in your topic, and thus ideal podcast subscribers.

Here are some good Facebook Contest Resources.

  • Heyo – Beautiful and easy to set up, including a free trial and affordable monthly rate after that.
  • Wishpond – Lots of contest templates to choose from. Also includes a free trial.
  • Shortstack – A platform for contests and quizzes. More options and a greater learning curve.
  • Agora Pulse – Most affordable platform, and ROI focused.

For a more complete review of Facebook Contest platforms, check out this in-depth review by Venture Harbor.

Additional Ways To Use Facebook for Podcast Advertising

While Facebook advertising is affordable and effective, it is also a pretty vast topic, requiring lots of expertise. We will do a deep dive into this in a future episode. Here are just some additional ideas on utilizing the Facebook ads platform.

  • Facebook Messenger bots to invite people to subscribe or leave a review. These messenger bots result in you acquiring leads with emails.
  • Installing Facebook Pixels on your site and re-targeting your site visitors to subscribe.
  • Running Facebook ads to social share gates, using our favorite social share gate tool called "GoViral". This saves you from having to create a landing page, and still results in people sharing your podcast pages with their Facebook audience in order to "unlock" your lead magnet offer.

If you have not done so before, getting started properly with Facebook ads can be intimidating, so consider taking a Facebook ads course or hiring someone experienced to help you get started.

Podcast Ad Networks

Podcast Ad Networks

With both AdWords and Facebook you will mostly be advertising to non-podcast listeners. It is difficult to target podcast listeners only on Facebook, and next to impossible on Google.

In-podcast advertising networks are so effective because by default, your entire audience consists of podcast listeners.

One great way to get new listeners is to advertise on other existing podcasts in your niche. Most podcasters only think of podcast advertising networks as something to help them monetize their own show. But placing an ad inside one of the most popular podcasts in your niche can be super effective. According to Midroll, 61% of podcast listeners have taken action and purchased or signed up for something from such podcast ads.

The real benefit of this approach is the fact that you are advertising on your medium. If people are listening to your ads, that means they are podcast subscribers already. It is much easier to convince them to check out your show, than to show your Facebook or AdWords content to people who may not even listen to podcasts at all.

So how much does this cost?

Here is some information from Midroll, by far the best known podcast advertising network.

All Midroll podcast ads are priced on a cost-per-thousand downloads model, or CPM. For instance, with a $25 CPM, a spot on a show with 10,000 downloads per episode costs $250; with 100,000 downloads, it’s $2500.

So let’s do the math. If your ad is highly relevant to the audience of the podcast you place your ad into, and assuming 3% of listeners take action and subscribe to your show, your cost per new listener would be $0.83. If only 1% of listeners take action, then it would be $2.50 per subscriber.

On the surface, these numbers compare very favorably to advertising on Facebook or AdWords. However, there is a rub: Podcast networks charge per download, and the number of downloads do not equal the number of listens. And in order for your in-podcast midroll ads to work, you need people to listen, right? How many downloads are actually listened to depends greatly on the type of podcast. A daily news podcast might have a much lower download to listen ration vs. a podcast with a loyal fan base. Just something to keep in mind.

Midroll

  • Midroll is the largest player in this field, with an inventory of over 300 podcasts, and a focus of matching podcasters with
  • Here is a link to Midroll’s metrics, demographics and pricing, everything you need to know to advertise your own show on one of the best known podcast ad networks.

Authentic

Archer Avenue

  • Archer Avenue works with you to ensure your ads are placed only on the shows you are interested in. They can also help you design an audio ad matching the style of the show you would be advertising on.

Advertise Cast

  • Advertise Cast has an interesting tool to help you find podcasts to advertise on, as well as predict the total spend of your campaign. Look for the "filter" tool in the left sidebar of their site. You can set the Cost Per Thousand (CPM) downloads to display podcasts that match your budget, and then proceed to select shows that would be a good fit.

Podgrid

  • Podgrid focuses on small to medium sized shows, and go the extra mile to match you with the best podcasts to advertise on.
  • Because they are small, they work to match your budget. Thus I think they are a good choice if you want to experiment with a limited budget.

Podcast One

  • Podcast One is a large network with 200 shows and "400 million impressions" according to their page.
  • They claim to be able to offer metrics on spots actually being heard, instead of using downloads. This is done through "3rd party verification". I do no know to what extent this increases their pricing, something you might wish to ask when reaching out to them,

How To Get Started With Advertising on Podcast Ad Networks

If placing ads on podcast networks seems intimidating, there is a good article on Adopter Media explaining podcast advertising rates and how they work. It answers the most common questions about how costs are determined and common pricing approaches.

In order to figure out if this will work for your podcast and your budget, I would suggest the following: Study each podcast network website listed above. Remember that the best outcome results from being aligned with the show you are advertising on.

  • Make a list of podcasts that would suit your niche and messaging.
  • Set a budget you would be comfortable with for 1/2 year.
  • Contact each network through their online form and describe what you are looking for.
  • If your budget is limited, try the Podgrid network first.

All of the podcast networks are very customer friendly. They offer consulting sessions to help you get started, and I'd suggest phone or Zoom meetings with each one to get a sense of how they work and how well aligned you are with their stable of available podcasts.

Conclusion

All in all, I think I can summarize it like this.

  1. Google Adwords is appropriate only in rare circumstances. If your podcast is associated with a "big ticket item" business, or if you have a grant:)
  2. Facebook is the most versatile podcast advertising platform simply because it's targeting flexibility and relative affordability.
  3. Podcast Ad Networks are the most effective way to get to existing podcast listeners, but require a decent budget.