Join Jeff, aka Podcast Father on his journey as the Indie Podcaster!
March 3, 2022

What ads should I buy for my podcast?

This is a conversation from episode #47 of Indie Podcaster.

Greg from Indie Drop-In explains when a podcaster is ready to buy ads and gives suggestions on what ads to buy to promote your content.

Greg
What happens when you spend money, your focus shifts a little bit, you start saying, okay, there's real stakes here, and I need to figure out what's broken. Like if your car is broken down and you can't get to work, you're real serious about finding out what's wrong with your car. You're real serious about that. That's how I think I treated podcasting and podcast ads. So, what happened is I started focusing on audience retention, which I am convinced is the key metric to podcast growth. Nothing else matters. At least it doesn't to me. What I found was when I can get my audience retention above 65%, 70%, my show grows on its own. People like it, and they talk to people about it. It's always a big joke, like, oh, word of mouth is the way to grow your show. Well, I can't compel people to tell other people about my show. What can I possibly do with word of mouth? I'll tell you what to do. Get your retention above 70%. If you can do that, your show will grow organically because it's good. And if half of the people who listen to your show hang up before it's over, your show sucks, it's no good. And I see that in Indie Drop-In. I look at my retention across episodes, and I had a show with 100% retention. Obscure History submitted a show for true crime. I forget the name of it. It was about American serial killer, and the sucker did 14,000 downloads and 100% retention on both Apple and Spotify.

Jeff
It's a good podcast.

Greg
Yeah. And it's one of the only shows there have been other ones to get in the high 90s, but I've never seen one be 100 and, on both platforms, which is really incredible. You can go down my retention list and all of the ones that are above 70 if I send a little Twitter message to the creator and go, hey, how's your retention? They always have some wild story like, oh, my God, you doubled my listens. I had 500, now I have 1000 or I had 200, and now I have 2000 or something. I heard Gary mentioned something similar on your show, right, that it makes a huge impact. I encourage anybody to listen to that episode from yours. Because Still is a good show and it has high retention on my platform, and it got very good referrals. So, the retention, to me, is the absolute most important thing you can do. You shouldn't do anything else other than that. That should be your one metric. And when you hit 70% buy ads, you have a spark. It needs fuel.

Jeff
Yeah, that's a great point. So, we're going to say 70%. It sounds very fair and reasonable, but here's the part that people don't always see as reasonable, actually spending money on ads. Let's just try to think of a reasonable number, because I think there are reasonable numbers that people could use, right? So, let's just walk through a scenario where I'm going to spend $500. That's reasonable. Maybe not for everybody, but if you have a podcast that's getting a decent number of downloads, you're getting that retention rate and you want to save up $500 to spend what would be a good approach, in your opinion?

Greg
Are you ever going to spend any other money or is this $500 kind of like the Hail Mary?

Jeff
This $500 is kind of a Hail Mary in the sense that I need it to go well for me to continue to spend more down the road.

Greg
Okay. So let me give you a couple of things you can do that are not gambling that are 100% effective. You can buy in app ads that are nearly 100% effective. If you buy an Overcast ad, which is now very hard to buy one for under $500. But if you bought an Overcast ad and it says you're going to get 70 subscribers, you're going to get 70 in almost every case. Podcast Attic has that. Podcast Republic has that. There's a number of them Castos, there's a bunch of them. And that's a for sure bet. But, if you're going to throw a Hail Mary, I would say maybe you shouldn't spend $500.

Jeff
Let me ask you this, Greg. When you're seeing ads on these apps, what do you mean by that exactly?

Greg
Yeah. So, let's just take Overcast as an example, because the most well-known. But there are other apps that do it. When you go to Overcast, you can click ads on their website. You put in your podcast, and you can pick if you want to run an ad on True Crime, you want to run an ad in Comedy, that you can buy an ad in the category. And what happens is, it puts your podcast at the top of the list in that category, and it says Featured. It complies with all the US and legal ramifications and all that. But it puts it at the top of the list and people click it and it just shows how being at the top of a search result list is powerful. Because that's all it does on Overcast. It just floats you to the top and you get 70 subs out of it.

Jeff
I wanted to make sure I bring that up because it's not just like the damn ads that pop up on my kid's games that they play on my phone. When we're talking ads, there's a lot of different meanings to it. In this case, it's like a featured spot, for example, like you're saying.

Greg
Exactly. If you're listening to this in the next two months and you go to Podcast Republic, you'll see true crime is right on the front. That is a featured slot that I have purchased on that app and website. And by the way, that's $400 a month for anybody listening. People loan me their content, so I'll be honest and tell them what I'm spending. That's maybe the best deal on the Internet right now. But those slots, I'm never given that up. You have to pry that slot out of my cold, dead hands. That's how a lot of people are. Like, I have waited a year to get that slot, but there are slots there that are coming up all the time that are like $100 and $200. So, if I had $500, I would probably buy an Overcast ad or a Podcast Addict ad and a Podcast Republic ad. I would figure out a way where I could buy two ads and you might have to skip Overcast for that. But you would get a featured slot on two apps where you know everyone looking at the app is interested in podcasts. You know, it's going to be in your category. So, it's like a feed drop, except it's just an ad.  It's just your show filtered at the top of the category. It's kind of what I do in a way. We pinpoint the listener, pinpoint the category, and then encourage the listener to click on the creator.

Jeff
Podspike who sponsors this podcast, we have this agreement where they're doing some of that stuff for this podcast. I'm featured on the Podcast Guru.

Greg
Yeah, Podcast Guru. There's another one.

Jeff
It took like the first week I was like, I'm just not seeing anything. But since then, I've started to see them come in on it.  In that case, it could be as simple as, every time they get on their app, they might choose to ignore it for several times.  They might see my podcast and I say, oh, I'm going to go find what I want to listen to. But when it continues to be there, because most people probably going to listen every day to something, it's there. And what you really want is that one time they're going to click on it. That's your opportunity to try to make it where they're going to continue to listen to your podcast moving forward.

Greg
Yeah. Now, there also is an alternate strategy that I definitely want to talk about. Let's say you have $150 a month. Like, you can just set aside $150 a month forever.

Jeff
That's reasonable for a lot of people. Just think about what you're spending $150 on elsewhere. If you're just hanging out with your friends or whatever, that's one thing. But if you want to really look into your finance and figure out how to get $150 a month. Sorry, I'm setting the stage for you, Greg.

Greg
No, that's perfect. I think $150 is impossible for some people, but if you can do it, what I would do is I would craft your skills at running Google, Twitter or Facebook ads. There's a lot of heat in the podcasting space about how those ads don't work. I promise you they work. They absolutely work but it's not for the faint of heart, it's a skill. You have to write the right copy, you have to use the right images, you have to make videos, you have to make images of all different sizes, you have to make alternate images, you have to really spend a lot of effort maximizing your $150. So, the first month if you feel like you're going to just put it on there and get 150 listeners, you're not, you're going to have to really work at it. It took me a very long time but now my cost per click is down around $0.10, which took me at least six months to get there and I've filtered out all of the clicks I don't want. Believe it or not when someone searches for "best podcast" I don't want my ad to come up, I want my ad to come up with someone who searches "best true crime podcast" or "true crime podcast in Minnesota" or "true crime podcast by a girl" or "true crime podcast by a team." I want keywords where I can highly target a show that this person on Google is looking for.

Jeff
Makes sense once you kind of understand it a little bit. You have to learn as you go.

Greg
Yeah, and learning is expensive, school is expensive, but learning with money is also very expensive.

 

If you're interested in listening to the whole episode.