OMD’s Katy Eng: Podcast investment, best ad formats and power of the host

Katy Eng speaks to Mediaweek sharing insights into the state of on-demand audio as we fast forward into 2021

During the Covid-19 lockdown audiences turned to podcasts. The challenge for the podcast sector is to maintain that momentum, keep the new audience and build on it.

One important part of the podcast puzzle is commercialising the audio sector. People like OMD director of content marketing Katy Eng and her agency counterparts play a critical role. Eng is a podcast advocate and sees the opportunities they present to her clients.

Here Eng speaks to Mediaweek sharing some insights into the state of on-demand audio as we fast forward into 2021.

“In content marketing, podcasts are always on the consideration list from the very beginning,” Eng told Mediaweek. “Every channel and medium is on that list which we scrutinise and run through our filters. We consider podcasting to be mainstream now and it is growing in importance.”

OMD director of content marketing Katy Eng

Brand created podcasts

It would be rare for me to recommend something like that for a brand. It is a huge investment, you start from an audience of zero, it takes time to build the audience and you need a very good marketing strategy to get the awareness out there for them.

What ads work?

The OMD Soundscape research found mid-roll host reads the most influential with podcast listeners. A great host read on a successful, established podcast with a popular host who has relevance with your brand is very strong. It isn’t too hard to do or too high cost and is something I would be recommending for clients.

Programmatic buying

It can be a good awareness-building move as you can get high frequency and target shows that are contextually perfect for the audience. That is really for a frequency awareness play. When we want to get deeper with messaging or influence people more, I like to add in-show integration.

Naming rights

A ‘brought to you by’ is nice to have if the brand has a real role to play in the content. If the host was an ambassador for the brand and could speak on its behalf it would make more sense. As something on its own I would not put a lot of value on it unless it comes with a bigger strategy.

Audience data, better, not perfect

We were not happy originally with how we were being presented with podcast audience data. We are still a bit light on audience data in podcasting compared to other types of media. One thing I like doing with clients is to integrate something into the podcast like a unique offer. It might be an offer code or a unique URL which allows us to very directly track how many people were inspired to take an action after listening to the integration.

We are doing that more with some of our Estée Lauder clients. It’s nice because it personalises it for the podcast audience as they feel they are getting a code only for them. We can track redemption and see the amount of dollars driven by the integration which becomes a real measure of success.

Ad rates and value

There can be good value if you negotiate it well. I am happy to integrate and partner with a podcast with 5,000 downloads a week if it is priced right. I will pay more for a podcast partnership if the numbers are there and I can also do an extension of the podcast with the host. Maybe a video and a written article and the host becomes a broader ambassador for the podcast and the advertiser.

Mamamia’s You Beauty podcast

Don’t underestimate the power of the host

At the beginning of podcasting people underestimated the influence of the host and the fact they eventually become the brand ambassador for you. A lot of people listening to podcasts feel very strongly about the personality. As long as they are relevant for your brand, that personality can be a real connection point for the brand.

A good example of that is the Mamamia podcast You Beauty where Leigh Campbell was the main host originally. She is a big fan of one of our clients, Estée Lauder, and she uses one of their products. We know she is a fan and most of the popularity for that podcast was her influence which was backed up by the Mamamia network. She did a host read for us where she was trialling a new formulation of a product. She did posts on Instagram about using the new product and then revealed the result in a podcast read.

Audio opportunities

We are getting a healthy amount of podcasts and ideas being pitched to us. Because we have such a great relationship with all of our partners, they know when we have a brief that would be perfect for podcasting and a valuable channel for the audience. They know we will come to them when we have something perfect for the podcast world. We hear regularly about new shows and new talent. It seems to be a very healthy, thriving space at present.

See also: Podcast Week
Katy Eng on what advertisers want, Adam Shand’s DNA mystery, Gold’s Patsy
Courtney and Vanity at Nova, Keeping Calm with Meshel Laurie, Neil Finn
Listening highlight with Joe Lunn, Wil Anderson with Chris Walker

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