07 October 2016
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Native advertising in podcasts proves highly effective

This week, egtabites heads into the relatively uncharted territory of podcast advertising, with a case that provides some answers to that often-asked question – how can we make the most of the advertising opportunities around podcasting’s growing audience?

Swedish broadcaster MTG Radio brought together a pair of influential podcasters with a forward-thinking advertiser to conduct a successful native audio advertising campaign.

The campaign

Podcasting is increasing its audience in a number of markets, especially in the US, but advertising around this medium remains underdeveloped. MTG has started to explore commercial relationships with a select few podcasters, and its campaign for the school recruiting company Lärarjouren (Teachers Pool) is one of the first that the broadcaster’s sales team has developed.

Lärarjouren was looking to recruit students aged 20-25 to work as teachers while at university. At the time the campaign was developed in November 2015, the restrictive licensing arrangements in Sweden made it difficult for private radio stations to reach this demographic, although this has since changed. Podcasting offered the client a new way to get in touch with these young people and deliver their message in a way that would really resonate with them.

Lärarjouren had a simple, performance-based KPI to assess the effectiveness of its campaign: the number of new students signing up to become part-time teachers.

The influencers – Hanna and Ellinor – are popular Swedish bloggers, with a big following on Instagram and YouTube. Their podcast, Måndagspepp, attracts about 50,000 listeners to each episode. The podcast is available through MTG's I LIKE RADIO audio platform.

Following a briefing from Lärarjouren, the girls discussed the topics central to the brand’s objectives in four podcast episodes, talking about the great opportunities for young people to work as teachers and reflecting on their own experiences, and they included a clear call-to-action from the advertiser.

The results

The campaign was a great success. Although the client has not released figures, Kim Svanström, Marketing Manager at Lärarjouren explained its impact: “We are very happy with the result from this campaign. It felt great to be a part of the creative process and we really saw a significant increase in the number of students signing up to work with us.”

The challenges of native advertising in podcasts

Weaving products into the narrative of a podcast is very different from the business of making radio spots. Both are forms of audio advertising, working on similar core principles – the personal, proximate messaging used in the Hanna and Ellinor podcasts has parallels with the frequently used technique of two-person conversations in radio spots – but the effort and resources to develop the former are far greater than those needed for the latter. Close cooperation between the hosts, the brand and the sales team are crucial for a successful outcome.

As a relatively unexplored technique, native podcast advertising is difficult to price. It is reasonable to assume that the strong connection between the hosts and the audience will increase effectiveness, but how much value does this actually bring? On what basis should the price be negotiated with the client? And will listeners respond to a call-to-action in a podcast?

Furthermore, as native podcast advertising lies beyond the mainstream, a sales house’s management has to be convinced that the greater effort – and smaller budgets – represents a worthwhile investment of time and energy.

However, this case demonstrates that, with the right approach from all parties, the personal, engaging environment of a podcast can be an excellent vehicle for driving an advertiser’s branding and performance objectives.

Why this matters for egta members

Podcasting is much discussed, but it arguably represents an under-exploited opportunity for radio broadcasters and their sales operations. While it undoubtedly comes with challenges – it does not fall into the standard radio measurement, relatively little empirical evidence exists as to its effectiveness, it is resource-heavy and difficult to scale – this case from MTG Radio shows that it can be a very effective advertising platform.

As attention shifts towards science in audio, particularly in the digital sphere, podcasting is a chance to focus back on the core ingredient of advertising through sound: the ability to create a real dialogue between a brand and its customer base in order to drive outcomes.

Target: Radio
Background info

Please click on the links below to access the relevant documents:

» MTG website (please click here)

» Lärarjouren website (please click here)

» Måndagspepp podcast (please click here)

Download in PDF

Please click here to download the PDF version of this egtabite.

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