What Should My Branded Podcast’s KPIs Be? Depends.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

KPI #1: Immediate Sales

For competitive reasons, most brands do not publicly report their measured results against those KPIs, but here’s one recent exception about a podcast that we were proud to produce on behalf of iHeart’s Ruby Studios:

Article: Branded Podcast Drives In-Store Sales (adweek.com)

This is the first study we’ve seen that tracked a correlation to sales increases, and we had mixed feelings about conducting it. But there’s no question that the findings were phenomenal.

KPI #2: Brand Awareness & Affinity

The researchers at Signal Hill Insights conduct numerous “brand lift” studies of branded podcasts. Brand attributes are measured among two groups – one that hasn’t heard the podcast and another that has. They recently issued a deck showing the average results on some commonly asked questions:

Study: Benchmark Measurements – Average Brand Lift from Branded Podcasts 

Signal Hill’s work is excellent and competitively priced. Other respected companies that offer similar studies (average cost of about $14k) include Nielsen, Coleman Insights, and Edison Research. We have worked with all. Sometimes we like the results better than others, but that’s because it’s valid 3rd-party research. Generally though, as demonstrated by Signal Hill’s averages, the results are encouraging and useful.

Depending on marketing goals, brand studies can measure and track other KPIs and brand qualities also – such as trust, authority, internal staff morale, and brand knowledge.

Article: 8 ways branded podcasts help brands get results (yourstory.com)

Article: Podcasts & Other Strategies to Build Brand Awareness (Entrepreneur)

As a less expensive way to detect brand lift, Sound That BRANDS® is experienced at administering and moderating online focus groups and would only ask for reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs (recruiting and incentives). Responses by participants can be captured on video and shared with senior leadership.

KPI #3: Attention & Engagement

With time and attention being a finite resource, many thought leaders espouse the philosophy that ours is an “attention economy.” That’s why podcast marketing agencies recommend tracking the amount of time that listeners spend with a branded podcast.

Blog: 3 ways to use Listen Time to measure your podcast audience’s attention

Cutting through marketing clutter is quite a challenge these days. This British neuroscience study (yes, they measured brain waves) showed stronger brand engagement and resulting awareness from branded podcasts compared to traditional broadcast advertising. Makes sense when you consider the natural human tendency to mentally “tune out” ads.

Article: Branded Podcasts Provide Stronger Brand Engagement Than Ads (BBC)

Data is available to compile and track Listen Time for podcasts. We could measure how much time the average listener spends with each episode or with all episodes. Or we could add up how much time all listeners have spent with the podcast series. It would easily total over 20,000 hours. If customers were to spend as much “quality time” visiting with the staff at a company’s office, service center, or via the website, it’s sure to be celebrated.

KPI #4: Earned Media

In addition to being the most-listened-to-branded podcast, the one produced for Trader Joe’s also generates the most earned media. Just about every Inside Trader Joe’s podcast episode generates content for national news and lifestyle media channels within the first 3 days following its release. Important to note this happens with zero supporting PR effort. 

Article: Trader Joe’s President Addresses Rumors About Flirting Employees (People.com) 

Article: Sneak Peek at All The Best New Trader Joe’s Products Coming This Summer

By coordinating with a company’s public relations team, a measurable KPI for the podcast to generate media coverage also could be set. Although national coverage might not always result, it’s expected that local media would report the stories told by their residents that are told on the podcast. Local earned media about individual podcast episodes would have the additional benefit of demonstrating to locals that the company is committed to promoting, supporting, and being part of their communities.

Other Articles of Interest:

Branded podcasts: How marketers can cash in (Press Gazette)

Measuring the Success of Branded Podcasts (Signal Hill Insights)

CPG Companies Using Branded Podcasts to Create Engagement (backtracks-blog.com)

Why Your Marketing Campaigns Must Center on Content (The Hour)

Why Every Brand Needs to Consider a Podcast (Medium.com)

How a Podcast Can Benefit Your Marketing Efforts (American Marketing Association)

Why the Biggest Brands Are Investing in Sound (fastcompany.com)