Podcast Ads “Convert” PandoDaily’s Ad Tech Writer

My podcast listening friends sometimes like to tease me about the perceived ubiquity of certain products and brands in podcast ads. PandoDaily writer James Robinson recently riffed on that theme, observing, “Stamps.com advertises in a lot of podcasts. I listen to Marc Maron. Stamps.com is there.The BS Report. There too.” (Midroll booked those Marc Maron ads, by the way).

But the story doesn’t end there. The turnaround is that Robinson just became a Stamps.com customer.

He Kickstarted a book last November, and now he has to ship 279 of them around the world. “I was sitting at my desk last weekend, head in hands, thinking of making the world’s worst trip to the post office,” he lamented.

“And then, the ad came to me,” he said. “An ad I’d listened to blankly — probably that very week if I did an inventory — led me the way to a service that could be of great help.”

Of course, the obvious lesson here is that podcast ads do work. The Stamps.com ads certainly worked for Robinson. Those ad reads, delivered by talents hosts like Marc Maron, clearly explained the utility and value of the service so that when he finally had the need to ship hundreds of items easily and cost-effectively he knew where to go.

Robinson calls this advertising, “old fashion,” compared to “whizz bang” of new targeted advertising tech. That’s not meant to be a cut, but rather a recognition of the value of tried-and-true brand awareness. What he doesn’t mention is that one of the reasons podcast ads work is that they’re spoken by the hosts, in their own words.

In a way this is old fashioned, too, harkening back to a time when radio and television personalities did live advertisements during the show. Johnny Carson did this on the Tonight Show. Howard Stern made the practice his own when he ruled the morning drive time airwaves, helping catapult a little New York regional juice and iced tea company called Snapple to national consciousness.

The leads to another lesson: maybe a live, sincere and authentic ad read isn’t so old fashioned after all, especially when the newer tech is less personal and engaging. Instead, with podcasts the live ad read has been re-imagined and re-engineered for the digital era.

Robinson said, “I’ve never felt myself ‘got’ by advertising in such a way.”

We’re glad to hear about it, and glad he decided to share.

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