7 Steps to Find the Best Podcasts for Your Ad Campaign

Podcast advertising is among the most affordable, engaging and effective methods to tap into new audiences and build your brand.

As of April 2019, the podcast industry includes more than 700,000 podcasts that have produced more than 29 million episodes, according to Podcast Insights. A majority of the U.S. population has listened to at least one podcast, and unlike radio, online, or TV ads, 85 percent of users stay engaged throughout the whole podcast because the medium demands listeners’ attention and time. Plus, a study by Midroll shows that 72 percent of people who have listened to a podcast for four or more years have purchased a product advertised on that podcast.

2019 Podcast Statistics2019 Podcast Statistics


If you’re considering using podcasts for marketing and advertising, the most important choices you’ll make are what audience you want to target and which podcasts to advertise with. These are complicated decisions, but we’ve devised seven steps that will help you choose the best podcasts for your brand to partner with.

Step 1: Choose a Demographic to Target

The first step to choosing a podcast is deciding who you want to target with your ad campaign.

“Generally, advertisers will come to us with an outline of who they’d like to target, and then we can work with them on finding the right fit depending on who the brand is,” says Heather Gordon, the director of digital sales at the CBC, which publishes a wide slate of award-winning podcasts like “Love Me” and “Someone Knows Something.”

To create the outline Gordon mentions, ask yourself these four questions:

  • What am I trying to sell or accomplish?
  • Why do my current customers buy this product or trust my brand?
  • Who else would buy the product or be interested in my brand?
  • What do both groups of people care about?

If you have previous user research into your current customer base, such as personas, surveys, or focus-group testing, this opportunity is the perfect time to use those resources to answer the four questions and guide your podcast search.

The process gets more complex if you don’t have a clearly defined user base or if your target audience is too large.

In that scenario, your best option is to use a list of standard demographic labels, such as gender, income, education, and interests. Afterward, perform user research on that demographic or get in touch with podcast publishers that have multiple shows to further explore your options.

Step 2: Identify a Unique Proposition for the Podcast Demographic

Now that you have an ideal podcast demographic, the second step is deciding what you can offer podcast listeners that they can’t get elsewhere.

This task is important on two fronts. First, the unique offer entices listeners because the value of “too good to pass up.” Second, the unique offer makes tracking the campaign success and ROI more effective.

The offer itself needs to have a clear value proposition. The common method is giving podcast listeners a steep product discount or free trial if they visit a podcast-specific landing page on your website, engage with your brand on social media, or use a promotional code during checkout.

For example, the SEO tool Ahrefs recently experimented with podcast advertising. In a blog post about their experiment, the author, Rebekah Bek, discussed creating account giveaway contests for listeners who tweet at the podcast and Ahrefs about why they should win a free account.

“It’s a win‐win for everyone involved: the podcast host gets a great prize to boost audience engagement and some extra social shares,” Bek wrote. “We get extra attention to our message and a way to gauge if the ad resonated well with that show’s audience.”

Although this promotional method is the most common approach, it’s not the only option. Another unique proposition you can create for podcast listeners to compare price points or features among other competing products while describing benefits that make your product superior.

As an example, Target advertised its new affordable bra line, Auden, on the podcast “Science Vs.” In the ad, the host, Wendy Zukerman, introduces the brand and then begins chatting about buying bras with a coworker, Alice. Alice complained about buying a fancy, poorly fitting bra online that cost nearly $70. Zukerman countered that the Auden bra line costs less than $22 and has ample sizes for most women.

After determining the offer or unique proposition, consider if you’re able to provide the podcast host with your product beforehand.

“A lot of times brands will offer the talent a product to experience first hand if they aren’t aware of it; this lends authenticity to the way the talent can then speak about the product or service,” Gordon says. “Having that genuine experience means they can talk more convincingly when they do the commercial or speak about it in their live read.”

If you consider this tactic, it’s important to be aware that not every podcast or publisher allows for hosts to give explicit endorsements or accept product trial arrangements. Public broadcast publishers are among the organizations that typically stay objective.

Step 3: Conduct User Research

Current and previous customers are among the most underused resources in podcast advertising. As we established, the podcast industry is flooded with more than 700,000 podcasts—stumbling on the perfect option without help is tough. But if you combine your brand’s user personas (and other demographic information) with surveys, you can quickly learn what podcasts your customers listen to.

This step works exceedingly well if your brand has an active presence on social media or a robust email newsletter. You can set up a free survey using tools like Google Forms and Survey Monkey. Below is an example.

Example of a podcast survey formExample of a podcast survey form


If you don’t have access to enough customers to create a survey, don’t fret. Online tools like Survey Monkey, Survey Planet and SoGoSurvey can recruit survey participants within targeted demographic parameters.

Step 4: Use the User Research to Find Podcasts

Now that you have a list of podcasts your current and previous customers listen to (or, users within their demographic), begin researching those podcasts to determine if they’re a good fit with your brand and the ad you’d like to create.

We recommend focusing your efforts first on the most frequently mentioned podcasts. If one podcast doesn’t stand out as a clear winner, look for themes that jump out, such as genres, hosts, topics, or podcast publishers. Afterward, dig into popular podcasts within those correlations to narrow down your options.

While you’re researching podcasts, ask yourself these three questions:

    • How do the podcast hosts blend audience interests with the ads or sponsorship mentions?
    • What level of expertise do the hosts appear to have with the products they advertise?
    • If you can find audience demographics, does that data align with your ideal demographic?

If you’re still unsure of what podcasts to target, consider evaluating podcast publishers instead, which can help choose for you.

“What we like to do is encourage clients to consider an audience approach,” says Kathy Callaghan, the executive director of sponsorship at WNYC, which publishes award-winning podcasts like Radiolab and Snap Judgement. “Rather than picking and choosing specific shows, think about the audience and scale you can get by signing a collection of shows.”

After learning what a client’s goals are, Callaghan says she and her team work closely with that brand to understand what shows are working the best. Afterward, advertisers get the opportunity to increase the flight of advertisements for shows that are working better than others.

Step 5: Choose Among Pre-roll, Mid-roll or Post-roll

One of the common questions podcast hosts or publishers ask is where do you want your ad to run: the beginning, middle or end of an episode?

Pre-roll and post-roll ads are often 15-30 seconds long and premiere before or after the episode, respectively. Mid-roll ads range from one to two minutes and serve as an intermission. Each option usually costs different amounts, with mid-roll being the most expensive, and some podcasts will book one type of ad placement months in advance. Knowing what your ideal placement is further narrows your choices.

Mid-roll ads are often the most effective choice because listeners are unlikely to try and skip the ad and potentially miss valuable content. Consequently, mid-roll is also the most popular option.

Step 6: Choose Your Advertisement Type: Baked-in vs. Dynamic

After you’ve determined where in the episode you’d ideally like your ad to run, the next choice is what type of advertisement you want the host or publisher to include. Usually, you have two ad options: baked-in and dynamically inserted.

A baked-in ad is read live by the podcast host and becomes part of the episode itself. Every user will hear the same advertisement, regardless of when they listen to the episode.

Contrarily, a dynamically inserted ad is included in the episode by an ad server after the podcast is recorded. Dynamic ads rotate throughout the year, letting publishers target specific podcast audience demographics. Ultimately, not every listener will hear the same ad.

Podcast publishers may not offer both options, so choose who you want to partner with carefully.

Step 7: Chat with the Podcast Host or Production Team

Now that you’re empowered with the knowledge of who you want to target, what you’ll offer that audience, what type of ad you’d like to serve and where it should live, you’re ready to begin chatting with the podcast hosts or publishers.

At the start of your conversation, the podcast team will likely ask you about the following topics, most of which are centered on your campaign goals:

      • What are you trying to achieve?
      • What are your KPIs?
      • Who are you trying to connect with?
      • What sort of content do you want to be aligned with?

“It’s really about listening to our clients, and then based on our knowledge of our catalogue, working with them to find the best fit,” says Robin Neufeld, the director of content marketing at CBC. “Often the best fit is a number of podcasts over a flight, just to test out different creative, podcasts, [or] genres.”

While you’re chatting with brands and answering these questions, it’s important to remember the podcast industry is full of noise and podcasts with varying levels of quality and reach. Neufeld, Gordon, and Callaghan all emphasize you should choose to talk and partner with brands with enough audience trust, reach, and loyalty to achieve your goals.

“The ideal scenario is those instances where you have a partnership with a client and you agree that you’re going to learn together about what makes the most sense for their brand,” Callaghan says.

Discovering what makes sense for your brand and the podcasts you’re partnering with is crucial. That’s because podcasts are a powerful storytelling medium thanks to the intimate connection listeners have with the show hosts. When an ad pops up on a podcast, it’s closer to having a conversation with a good friend rather than hearing a blaring radio spot. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of this connection and include podcast advertising in your marketing strategy.

The post 7 Steps to Find the Best Podcasts for Your Ad Campaign appeared first on Portent.

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Content Curation Inspiration: Types, Examples, & Use Cases for B2B Marketers

Content Curation Inspiration for B2B Marketers

If you create and share content, curation is part of your B2B marketing strategy. From seasoning a blog post with key third-party statistics to sharing an interesting article from an industry publication or influencer across your social channels, you’re curating.

But content curation has a place beyond adding an insight or two to your content.

With large volumes of information available today and short attention spans, curation allows content marketers to create more convenient, valuable content experiences for their target audience, while growing thought leadership, bolstering their content calendar, and increasing production efficiency.

What types of curation exist? How are B2B brands doing curation? When does it make sense to do curation? Let’s dive in.

Types of Content Curation and B2B Examples

The Curation Kitchen Staples: Microcontent

Statistics. Quotes. Tips. Social media commentary. Third-party videos. Gifs. Memes. Curated microcontent is what gives your content its flavor—whether its used as seasoning in a long-form blog post or modularly in short-form social content. This is foundational curation, and it plays a role in all other types. And as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden once said:

“Snackable content can often be managed and repurposed like ingredients to create a main course. On their own, short-form content like quotes, tips, and statistics are useful for social network shares and as added credibility to blog posts, eBooks, and articles.”

See what I did there? Microcontent is simplistic and easy to integrate, helping you provide more depth and insight on a topic, infuse credibility, and highlight industry experts.

When microcontent curation makes sense: Always—if the content is relevant to the topic you’re discussing. Microcontent helps you provide proof points to bolster your narrative and build credibility with your audience.

The Curation Classics: Roundups, Listicles, and Resource Hubs

Collecting key bits of information and insights and organizing them into an easy to digest format is the quintessential content curation tactic. The premise is simple: You’re gathering interesting tidbits from multiple sources on a specific topic and placing them in one central location.

The underlying theme for this curation tactic (and any content tactic for that matter) is relevance and value. It needs to be topically relevant to your audience and it can’t be a lazy compilation; it needs to serve a purpose.

News roundups are perhaps the most popular of the curation classics. We’ve all seen them and likely have a few we go back to on a regular basis, so I won’t spend too much time here. (Shameless plug to check out our weekly digital marketing news roundup.)

But here’s an example of a roundup style piece from EHS and sustainability consulting firm *Antea Group that brings video content together to have a little fun and spark a connection with the audience.

The post showcases six workplace safety videos—all sourced and easily embedded from YouTube—with movie-critic-like commentary that make connections to the daily life and work of their target audience.

Content Curation Example from Antea Group

When it comes to resource hubs, HubSpot is an “ultimate list” destination on a variety of subjects, most notably digital marketing statistics. Here’s a recent example featuring Instagram statistics.

Content Curation Example from HubSpot

For listicles, one of our recent BIGLIST editions featuring 50 of the top marketing blogs featuring martech brands is a solid example. Time was spent on researching and vetting, and the list provides a short and sweet description of each blog, as well as our favorite recent article to give readers a cue on what’s worth checking out first.

Content Curation Example from TopRank Marketing's Lee Odden

Finally, events can be great opportunities for curation. *Introhive, an enterprise relationship management (ERM) platform, regularly curates social and team member insights to compile post-event infographics with top takeaways.

Content Curation Example from Introhive

When classic curation makes sense: Classic curation is largely an awareness and engagement play. If you’re looking to provide your audience with a helpful resource that hits quick on the points, and showcase your brand as a thoughtful expert in the space, this type of curation can make it easy for your audience to find insight and inspiration—and minimize the amount of time they need to spend on the hunt.

The Next Level of Curation: Thought Leadership Mashups

Curation isn’t limited to assembling a robust, scannable list of information or resources, or seasoning original content with stats, quotes, or videos. Curation can fuel thought leadership.

Great examples of this kind of curation are trends-focused pieces. Taking a cue from the classic curation formats, this kind of content aims to identify one or more trend or pattern using curated bits of information, all tied together with your knowledge and expertise.

This could be small-scale or large-scale—meaning a single concept could provide the supporting content or tie-in, or it could be your take on a collection of related trends, facts, or insights. This piece from *SAP’s Digitalist Magazine is a great example.

Content Curation Example from Introhive

But this kind of curation doesn’t just lend itself to discussing trends. Many of our own blog posts use a mashup curation method to educate and engage marketers, and define our perspectives and approach to marketing.

This can be seen in a recent post from Nick Nelson on how to write clear, concise content. Using our words intentionally is a core belief, and Nick was able to illustrate that with his deep knowledge and some relevant insights from third parties.

Content Curation Example from TopRank Marketing's Nick Nelson

Also, when we say “curation,” we don’t just mean collecting insights from third-party sources. You can curate your own content—it’s just most often called repurposing.

Salesforce has a great example here. This recent post touches on a key trend in the marketplace (lack of consumer trust), leverages microcontent from Salesforce’s own research (the Trends in Consumer Trust research report), and then original content builds a narrative for a specific audience (retailers).

Content Curation Example from Salesforce

In addition, curating and repurposing influencer content is an especially big opportunity. More than likely, the insights that influencers share with you have implications and applications across other related topics.

When curation mashups make sense: If you want to build thought leadership on a subject, mashups should be in your content lineup. Mashups allow you to elevate an idea, perspective, challenge, or opportunity, while using existing content as a jumping off-point or as part of the foundation of your take.

Read: A Tasty, Strategic Addition to the Content Marketing Table: ‘Repurposed Content Cobbler’

Content Curation for the Win

Regardless of your editorial plan, you’re already doing some form of content curation. However, you can make curation a more deliberate and effective part of your overall B2B content marketing strategy.

Whether you create an ultimate list featuring statistics from multiple sources, provide high-level takeaways from an event or report, give your own content new life to build thought leadership, content curation can provide value and convenience for your audience and writing team.

Looking for content curation best practices, tools, and more examples? Check out our post on Content Curation 101.

*Disclosure: Antea Group, SAP, and Introhive are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Content Curation Inspiration: Types, Examples, & Use Cases for B2B Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Maximize Your Facebook Ads ROI with Automatic Placements

Facebook gives advertisers many possibilities to optimize and improve performance. It can be overwhelming at times, once you start thinking about the myriad of factors like campaign objective, targeting, ad delivery, ad unit type, ad copy, and budget—to name a few. There are a lot of considerations when advertising on Facebook, which is why advertisers are always looking for ways to improve performance and efficiency for their campaigns.

Facebook has slowly made adjustments to its ad platform to help advertisers improve their results much faster. The development that stands out the most is maximizing “placement” performance with automatic placements.

Facebook has established automatic placements in an effort to help advertisers get the best results available across all default placements. This allows Facebook to choose results from the broadest range possible, which implies that automatic placements are typically the most efficient use of the advertiser’s budget because they help control costs.

Do Advertisers Need to use Facebook Automatic Placements to Improve ROI?

The short answer, yes.

In past years it was wise to break out your ad sets individually for each placement, to have more control and easily decrease or increase ad spend based on results. However, Facebook’s ad technology has gotten to the point where it will likely negatively impact performance in most cases if you use the same tactic and not have all placements enabled in one ad set.

Let’s explore why.

Facebook always has the advertiser’s best interest in mind when it comes to delivering results. The automatic placement option will optimize your ads in real-time to get your ad unit in front of users who are more likely to take action based on the campaign objective.

Facebook had shared in the past a fantastic explanation and visual of how automatic placements work and why it’s so powerful. It’s easy to digest and understand, no matter your advertising skill level.

Example of Facebook automatic placement with InstagramExample of Facebook automatic placement with Instagram

Facebook’s example graphic above presents 11 opportunities to show an ad: three on Facebook, three on Instagram, and five on Audience Network. For reference, in the past, those three placements would have been broken into three separate ad sets.

The red circle around any of these icons (placements) means the ad was shown in that placement and got the optimization event.

When selecting all three placements and letting Facebook optimize dynamically, your report would highlight that Facebook placements have an average cost per optimization event of $3, Instagram placements have an average cost per optimization event of $5, and Audience Network placements have an average cost per optimization event of $1. If your budget were $27, you’d get nine total optimization events at an average cost of $3 each.

The first instinct of a digital marketer would be to turn off the Instagram placement due to the higher cost to focus on the lower-cost Facebook and Audience Network placements. If that happened, then the below graphic highlights the new outcome.

Example of Facebook automatic placement without InstagramExample of Facebook automatic placement without Instagram

The majority of the placements would still deliver the same result, but eliminating Instagram would drive up the average cost per optimization event of Audience Network placements from $1 to $3.40. The increased cost without Instagram placement is due to less audience inventory. The more placements enabled, the more inventory and less competition amongst advertisers. Instead of nine total optimization events, you’d only receive eight optimization events for your $27 budget due to the higher overall cost.

Not all placements are created equal in performance, but trying to outsmart the Facebook Algorithm can lead to underperforming results.

What are the Different Types of Facebook Placements?

There are currently a total of 14 placements to run ads, and we anticipate that number to grow as Facebook expands to more of their network of apps (we expect to see What’s App appear as a placement soon).

Below is a complete list of the placements currently available.


  • Facebook Feed
  • Instagram Feed
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Facebook Suggested Videos
  • Facebook Right Column


  • Facebook Stories
  • Instagram Stories
  • Messenger Stories


  • Facebook In-Stream Videos

Inbox and Messages

  • Messenger Inboxes
  • Messenger Sponsored Messages

Contextual Spaces

  • Facebook Instant Articles

More Apps and Sites

  • Audience Network Native, Banner, and Interstitial
  • Audience Network Rewarded Videos
  • Audience Network In-Stream Videos

How to Enable All Placements

As you can see, Facebook offers a lot of placements to run your ads, and it can be overwhelming. That’s why automatic placements are beneficial; you can let Facebook do all of the heavy lifting and optimize for the lowest cost.

Below are instructions on how to turn on automatic placements on Facebook.

  1. Go to your Facebook Ads Manager to create a new campaign or edit an existing one. Be sure you’ve selected the Ad Sets tab (1) and then select the ad set you want to edit (2).Enabling Automatic Placements Step 1Enabling Automatic Placements Step 1
  2. Once your ad set is open, scroll down until you reach the Placement section. Be sure the “Automatic Placements” box (1) is selected.Enabling Automatic Placements Step 2Enabling Automatic Placements Step 2

And that’s it!

Enabling the automatic placement feature is the easy part. Understanding how automatic placements work and why they are beneficial to your overall advertising strategy empowers you as an advertiser to maximize your ROI and drive the best results for your campaigns.

The post Maximize Your Facebook Ads ROI with Automatic Placements appeared first on Portent.

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Tips for measuring marketing impact to prove ROI

Nowadays, data is almost everywhere. It is found from ordinary site visitors to the most peculiar netizens. Management sometimes mixed up their plans and leads to confusion as to how overwhelming marketing analytics affects the Return on Investment (ROI). Planning for short-term or long-term goals is just the first step when it comes to improving your profits and the proper distribution of resources.

Executing a trial and error method sometimes does not merit a single attempt. Due to fast modernization, marketers always want to keep up or even topmost the marketplace. They can also struggle just to attest the worth of their programs even when there is no actual purchase and direct response from the consumers. More often business to business (B2B) marketers’ concentration is centered on the top generation programs with severe, prolonged, and multipart sales cycles to prove capabilities. Using the information given, how do you think marketers still can assess the impact of their marketing programs with this kind of pressure?

This is by incorporating the following tips.

  • Plan for ROI
To achieve your objectives, creating a specific strategy to have progress along the process is essential. Know the perfect timing when you should measure, what you should measure and used the best method to measure.  
Make an outline and track your plan. If you plotted monitoring strategy ahead of time, it would provide you ease when
  • Thinking about and weighing the most valuable occasions
  • Ensuring team cooperation, that each member has the vital and critical information needed at a given period
  • Forecasting events to make your data structure more adaptable to any circumstances
  • Creating a timeline for iteration periods or development stages
Be straightforward and clear about your initial outline. Consider past data and latest events to come up from an initial template into a more general pattern. Think about how you can corroborate your ideas and analytical abilities into the existing process, like automating marketing emails and introducing new products. 
Practice skepticism. Do not settle with the old methods. There is always room for improvement. Design and search for ways to measure effectiveness in your organization. Using this marketing management and ROI monitoring will be accomplished without having a wrong turn.
  • Understand marketing objectives
Each marketer has different goals which influence the kind of strategy they designed. Traditionally, resources are diversified to various programs and channels to accomplish the following:
  • Brand awareness and market positioning.
  • Lead generation.
  • Lead nurture and sales enablement.
  • Target account acquisition
  • Customer loyalty and growth.
You should know the impact level of each subject and assess which ones provide more benefit to the organization.
  • Identify Vanity Metrics
This one is essential too. Avoid vanity metrics that may confuse your team from the business goal. Marketing metrics like Facebook fans and press release shares may amaze netizens, but often don’t result in increased revenue. Metrics like blog shares, having an engagement thru chats having a material count of active users is better than having thousands of likes and views. Interaction between you and the customer will have a significant impact on the organization.
  • Generate more sales
Buyers purchase products based on reviews of other consumers using blogs and other social networks. Try to cope up with their demand and translate its impact on your investment. Every move they make is essential information that needs further analysis and examination.
Use data to increase sales by:
  • Anchoring analytics on a strategy, not the previous year’s budget.
  • Understanding the consumer’s decision journey to purchasing your product or service, the what, when, where and how of a buyer.
  • Discussing ROI with the entire organization, not just the marketing and sales teams but all of the departments must be included.

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Prioritizing Your #CX Improvement Initiatives

Image courtesy of Pixabay

I originally wrote today’s post for CallidusCloud. It appeared on their blog on April 13, 2018.

How do you prioritize your CX improvement initiatives?

You’ve listened to customers. You’ve mapped their journeys. And you’ve identified a lot of improvement areas that would make the experience light years better for your customers.

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