When Fracture CMO Herb Jones first started testing podcast ads at the end of 2013, he found them hard to measure. “I come from more of a traditional digital marketing space,” he said, “so I was a chief amongst the skeptics–if it’s hard to measure, then it goes to the bottom of the channel priority list.”
Now, nearly a year and half after running his first podcast ads, he’s become a podcast believer. According to Herb, “What came to light is that podcasts work, and work well.”
Fracture creates a unique photo decor product, printing the customer’s photograph directly to glass. “Seeing your printed picture through the glass makes it pop,” Herb explained. “Many people with more modern and contemporary taste really like it”.
Herb said that after backing off with a limited buy for two quarters, “We did some things to improve our attribution which helped us measure the impact.” The first thing was to implement a coupon code for each podcast Fracture advertises on, tracking their usage carefully.
The next step was simple: “What we finally came up with is, on our order confirmation page of our web page–after somebody places an order–we just did a one-question ask: How did you hear about us?
“Podcasts were a surprisingly big winner in that post-order survey,” even though Fracture wasn’t running a lot of podcast ads at the time. As Herb increased the company’s podcast spend, he saw podcasts’ share of responses grow even more.
This year, “podcast were our number one marketing channel in April,” Herb said.
He feels that podcast listeners trust the opinion of their favorite hosts. So, he also believes that “a higher percentage of podcast listeners are going to respond. They understand inherently that podcasts are able to function without a cost to them because of advertisers, so they want the podcasters to get that attribution.”
Also, “we see more social media love from people listening to podcasts.”
Painting a Picture with Words
Herb makes sure that for every show they advertise with, that host has made and seen a Fracture. “I listen,” he said, “and they (hosts) do a great job talking about Fracture and helping people understand a product they’ve never seen before.”
That why, “I don’t want to feed them a bunch of copy and tell them exactly what to say… We want it to sound natural. We’ve all heard these radio reads. In the first three words out of their mouth, you know it’s a commercial.”
He wants podcasters to “use their own language and terminology. We feel that’s the best: a very soft, descriptive sell.”
Praise for Professional Processes
“We appreciate our partnership with Midroll,” Herb said.
He likes Midroll’s industry-first client-facing app. “Honestly, out of all the groups we work with, you guys put the most focus on internal systems and processes, links and web content. You’re very proactive.”
In particular, when he asks about opportunities, “I love how Lex (Friedman) immediately has a nice formal online proposal, versus just an email with a bunch of stuff scribbled into it. You guys are trying to do it the right way.”
From Attribution to Profit
Leading the pack in attribution is nice, but is he seeing a good return on investment with podcast ads?
“Oh Yeah,” Herb said. “I haven’t even taken it to a deeper level, where I’m looking at the people who respond from podcasts and then looking at their lifetime value. I suspect that podcast listeners also come back and purchase more frequently. I say that because I’ve seen ad hoc examples of repeat orders, people emailing us, or social mentions of them.”
And what about profit?
“In line with other channels” he confirmed. “Podcasts will continue to be part of our overall marketing strategy for a very long time.”