Podcast Ads Drive Spectacular Brand Recall

It’s easy for direct response advertisers to measure the success of their podcast campaigns. They track with offer codes and vanity URLs. (And indeed, 61% of our listeners say they’ve bought something after hearing about it in a podcast ad.)

And now, we can show definitively that podcast ads are similarly effective for brand advertisers looking to build awareness. In fact, we can describe how well podcast ads work for brands in a single word: spectacular!

Here’s how we measured it: Two different national brand advertisers ran campaigns on Midroll shows in the last quarter of 2015. One was a fast-casual restaurant chain with ads on two shows in October. The other was a coffee and baked goods restaurant chain with ads on one show in December. In the post-roll of an episode of each show where an ad aired, the host asked listeners to fill out a short survey online, with no indication of what it was about — just that it would be short and would help the show.

Only four days after the fast-casual survey spot ran, we had received 1,002 responses from listeners who indicated they listened to the episode. An impressive 72% of these respondents said they heard an ad for the restaurant, with no prompting from us — truly unaided recall. And listeners overwhelmingly provided specific talking points from the ads, including menu items, the brand’s tagline, and more.

For the coffee and baked goods restaurant we received 2,427 responses from listeners of that episode, with an even more impressive 89% saying they heard the sponsor’s ad with unaided recall. 82% of respondents were able to recall at least one aspect of the restaurant’s rewards program that was the topic of the ad.

To understand how exceptional these recall rates are, it’s useful to compare them against other channels. A 2014 study by GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research found that the average ad recall rate from print and tablet-based magazines was 52%.

Podcast ads even outperform full-page takeover display ads. According to recent research from Undertone and Ipsos ASI those ads result in a 45% recall rate on mobile, and 35% on desktop.

So the podcasts delivered amazing recall, but we also wanted to find out how the ads influenced listeners.

We were blown away to discover that 56% of respondents said that after listening to the ads for the fast-casual chain they were somewhat or much more likely to eat at that restaurant, and 61% said the same thing about the coffee and bakery chain. 

We’re looking forward to more brands coming on board to benefit from the singular benefits of podcast advertising. We also will keep studying their impact, to ensure our shows continue performing for clients, and lead by conducting and sharing the kind of research that moves the podcast industry forward.

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