Pixels & Podcasts - a Perfect Match
Tracking your podcast ads's success - how can we do it in an accurate, user-friendly way? Enter pixels. Read on to find out how to maximise your campaign's tracking and profitability.
For a very long time, a pixel could not be used in podcasting as it has in other forms of marketing due to the limitations in how podcasting has traditionally been delivered: an MP3 download to a hard drive. Because of this, it was impossible to tell how long an episode was listened to, how many times an ad is heard, or even if it was heard at all. This made podcast marketing rely on just two metrics to judge the success of a campaign. These, of course, are custom URLs and coupon codes.
What if the intended audience heard the custom URL or coupon code, but didn’t use either when visiting the website or making their purchase? Well, then we couldn’t attribute these customers to the podcast campaign. Even then, customers that use the unique URLs or coupon codes are niche customers, because even if they remembered the phrasing of either, they are then also willing to give credit to the marketing channel that directed them to the site. These lost attributions made measuring the success of a podcast campaign difficult. You could apply a one answer survey post-purchase like a “How did you hear about us?”, but adding surveys detract from the user experience.
All of this has now changed for podcasting. Podcasts are shifting to becoming “internet native” which is to say, they live and are streamed online on services like Spotify, instead of direct download. The Edison Research Study "The Infinate Dial" has revealed that “Spotify has solidified its spot as the largest single-source for online audio, and has played a role in the growth of podcasting (especially with younger listeners).”
This allows us to measure how long people are listening to podcasts, how many times, where, when, and other useful information to deliver the best user experience for the audience. It also allows us to place a pixel both within the podcast and at different contact points throughout the campaign to measure its success. The pixel enables podcast marketing to measure the effectiveness of a campaign without relying on the consumer to remember a unique URL or coupon code at checkout.
If you’ve gotten this far in the piece and are flummoxed by my incessant use of the word pixel and you’ve just sat there nodding your head while smiling politely, thinking pixels made up a computer’s resolution, but now feel the lingo has passed you by, well I’m here to tell you, both are true.
What is a Pixel?
As its name suggests, a pixel is tiny, 1x1 square to be exact, and is used as a tracking and information gathering tool for marketing purposes. They are often invisible to the naked eye and added into the webpage. It’s mainly used to find out how effective a campaign was in achieving the desired outcome and in gathering and segmenting audience data.
There are two types of pixels, retargeting pixels and conversions pixels. Retargeting pixels are hard at work when you read one article about shoes, or maybe you search what professional basketball players’ feet look like (don’t look that up, you’ve been warned!), and then you open up your phone, and all you get is ads for basketball shoes. Conversion pixels are outcome-based. Did this customer fill out this form? After reading this email, did they go to our website? And in our case, after listening to that very popular Ranieri & Co. exclusive podcast™©, did they make a purchase?
How does it work?
For the sake of simplicity, I will be focusing on conversion pixels, and as a bonus for entertainment value, I will pretend to own a shoe company called Two Left Feet Co.
I want Two Left Feet Co. to do an e-mail marketing campaign trying to sell my audience two left shoes. Before I send out my outgoing marketing e-mail, I would place a pixel in my outgoing email and one pixel in the thank you email, after someone has purchased. These pixels allow me to know whether the same person to whom I sent the email also bought a pair of shoes within a designated time frame. This allows me, owner of the wildly successful Two Left Feet Co. to know whether my campaign was effective or not. I could place a pixel at other touchpoints of a campaign as well. For instance, if I wanted to know if this campaign spilled over to my other business, the less successful bathing suit line Two Left Cheeks Co. the pixels act as data points to know the behaviour of the audience.
Performance analytics platforms with the help of the pixel can match IP and MAC addresses (where you are internetting from i.e. home or work, and what device you are internetting with i.e. phone or tablet). This means even if the Two Left Shoes Co.’s marketing email was read on their phone but purchased from their laptop days or weeks later, the addresses can be matched ensuring that your campaign is an accurate representation of attribution.
For a long time, savvy marketers have known that podcast marketing has a higher conversion rate compared to traditional mediums (it’s true, just ask!). Now we have a quantifiable measure for effectiveness. The pixel combined with custom URLs and coupon codes paints a fuller and more detailed picture on your campaigns to help turn your company into a success story just like Two Left Feet Co. (or maybe even better!)
In podcasting, marketers now have access to insights they have come to rely on in other areas of performance marketing like impressions, CPM, average order value, customer acquisition cost, total sales, total site visits and that list should only improve as the technology adapts and improves. By combining the benefits of authentic storytelling with new-age analytics and insights, investing in podcasting is a no-brainer. Podcasts drive meaningful engagement with their audience, and it’s time you find out for yourself.
Want to get in touch? E-mail Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org