“Magic + math(s)* in marketing to podcasters” or “7 things we’ve learned in 7 months of testing creative”

“Magic + math(s)* in marketing to podcasters” or “7 things we’ve learned in 7 months of testing creative”

Written by Lizzy PollottSVP Marketing Communications & Brand2022.09.06

I’ve A/B tested two headlines for you there (sort of), to reflect the theme of this post.

In our quest to bring all the world’s podcasters to join the Acast stable, this year we’ve upped our performance marketing strategies across multiple channels — including social media and, of course, our own podcast ad network. We truly believe we give podcasters the best opportunities and tools to find listeners and make money, and we want to do that for as many as possible within the beautiful, open podcasting ecosystem.

So we’re spreading the word. And, as an advertising platform ourselves, we live by our own rules. Just as we tell all our own advertisers who spend in our marketplace: great targeting will get you a long, long way, but great creative matters just as much. 

It’s working. Just shy of 20,000 new podcasts joined Acast in Q2 — creators either moving from a competitor platform, or starting a new show entirely.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far. (And, yes, you may question if I’m giving away all our secrets, but our ads are out there for all to see, and we believe in an open, free-flowing, dialogue-heavy podcast ecosystem.)

  1. The creative fatigue is real

Podcasters or would-be podcasters are human like the rest of us (who knew?) and suffer ad-pathy (I just made that up) if served the same creative too many times over. To combat this we’ve been gradually testing then rolling out revised ad creative on a weekly basis. 

Revised creative doesn’t mean a whole new look and feel each iteration, but small tweaks — updated imagery, refined hero copy. It worked — CTRs (click-through rates) increased.

  1. Massage the message

We all know you only get a second or two to grab attention in this time-poor, click-heavy online ad environment called “2022”. So bold, clear messaging is key. 

We’ve tested several routes over the year so far — from “rise above the noise”, “podcasts grow faster/make more money on Acast” and “make it now”, to “you have a voice, you are a podcaster”. 

The last line was by far and away the most consistently successful creative we’ve tried. Accompanied by a simple call-to-action (“start now”), directness wins — in fact, all of our concise, clearly messaged creatives outperformed more esoteric versions. 

Our research has shown that many people want to start a podcast but worry they won’t have interesting enough things to say; couldn’t be a “true” podcaster. Our winning line was designed to help them realize that everyone has a valid story to tell.

  1. UGC is A-OK

User-generated content (UGC) really connects in this environment. Ads that included footage of real people performed noticeably better than others (again, podcasters are people too). Even more impressive was TikTok’s performance in driving would-be creators to sign up and start a podcast — with this more organic, UGC-driven creative at the heart. 

Who knew? (I think we all probably did.)

If you’ve got this far then 1) thank you. I’ve done the team (as well as our brilliant partners at Weirdo) a massive disservice — there is much more to the work and thought that went into these successful campaigns — but, as I said, we’re in a time-poor environment and I’m sure you have podcasts waiting to be listened to. And 2) you may have spotted three, not seven points in this listicle. But hey, I reeled you in with a bold hero message, right?

*I’m English, OK?

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