As more brands turn towards podcasting as a viable marketing tool for multiple stages of their funnel, calculating your podcast’s ROI (return on investment) is becoming an increasing necessity.
For brands, having the ability to grasp how your podcast is contributing towards your marketing goals is a dream… but not always easy to do in the audio landscape. When it comes to podcasting, there’s a shortage of tools that can help a brand to report on what they get out of a podcast compared to what they put in.
Why? Simply because the data is difficult to find.
Luckily, depending on what your goal of the podcast is and the marketing tactics you pursue, there are some avenues that you can take to find this data on your own.
Calculating your podcast’s ROI for awareness-based goals primarily consists of measuring your downloads and unique listeners. How many plays is your show getting? This contributes to how many listeners you’re reaching.
To calculate this metric, take your total number of downloads and divide that number by the amount that you have invested into your podcast and then multiply by 100. This gives you your ROI for downloads to investment.
For example say you have 6,000 downloads and have invested $10,000 into your podcast:
6,000 / 10,000 = 0.6
0.6 x 100 = 60%
Your awareness ROI would be 60%.
For unique downloads, follow the same calculation but rather than downloads, swap it for unique downloads.
When it comes to analyzing this metric, you can assign a cost to how much each of those downloads matter to you. If the goal of your podcast is to boost visibility and increase your brand's reach, then each of those downloads are highly valuable to you and your brand.
If the goal of your podcast is based on engagement rather than just awareness, there is one primary metric for you to be observing.
Your podcast’s average consumption rate metric is going to be your best friend.
Podcast’s are among the elite marketing mediums that can hold an audience's attention for longer periods of time (typically above 20 minutes). A study conducted by Wistia found that only 20% of audiences read full blog articles and that videos receive a 70% engagement rate at the 2-minute mark and then it drastically drops to 50% at the 6-minute mark and then below 50% exceeding 10 minutes.
Quill conducted a study for active client podcasts that receive full-service packages and on average, they receive a 69% consumption rate with an average of 29 minutes in length. That equates to an average of 20 minutes consumed of the podcast. That’s 10x the number of minutes consumed by video for nearly the same consumption rate.
For calculating your podcast ROI with engagement, you would take your average consumption rate in minutes (for example, say you have a 60% average consumption rate and that equates to an average of 20 minutes listened). And then you would multiply the minutes by the number of listeners for that episode or if you’re doing this for your overall series, it would be the average number of listeners per episode.
Once you have that number, you would then divide it by the amount you’ve invested into the podcast and multiply it by 100. For example, say you average at 20 minutes consumed per episode and have an average of 300 listeners per episode and you’ve spent $10,000 on your podcast:
20 x 300 = 6,000
6,000 / 10,000 = 0.6
0.6 x 100 = 60%
Your engagement ROI is 60%.
When it comes to lead generation or any sales related goals, your podcast ROI is calculated by looking at how many leads you’ve gained from the podcast and this is determined by you and what you identify as a lead.
Maybe it’s newsletter subscribers, form submissions, whitepaper downloads, webinar signups, partnership inquiries, the list can go on and on.
Whatever it may be, you need to use a mix of trackable links, dedicated landing pages, and asking the right questions.
For trackable links, set your UTM to having “podcast” as your campaign source. You can add information about the specific episode or the podcast that it’s coming from. Once you have this link going to wherever the desired location is on your website, you can link it in your shownotes and direct listeners there during your episode as a CTA (call-to-action).
Major listening apps like Spotify and Google allow you to hyperlink text but Apple does not so we recommend using a resource to condense your links such as bitly so it doesn’t look too spammy.
Doing this will help you to identify when listeners have clicked on the link in your shownotes and identify if they’ve completed any of your goals which we identified above. You can read this information in analytics platforms such as Google Analytics.
Another option is to create a dedicated podcast landing page that is only used for any podcast promotion purposes. If you’re promoting a resource download, an event, a free gift, or whatever it may be - create a landing page specifically for podcast listeners and share that in your shownotes.
If you see any actions taken on the landing page such as form submissions or newsletter signups, you’ll know it’s from your podcast audience.
And lastly, ask your users the right questions. A common one would be when users take an action on your website such as signing up for your newsletter, buying your product or service, filling out a form, etc. you can ask the question “how did you hear about us?”
Add your podcast as an option for users to check off. This gives you direct information around where this lead came from.
Once you’ve implemented one or multiple of these lead capturing options, now you need to calculate your ROI.
To do this, add up all of the leads you have confirmed were from your podcast. You then take this number and divide it by the amount that you’ve invested into the podcast and then multiply by 100.
For example, say you had 500 leads from your podcast and you invested $10,000.
500 / 10,000 = 0.05
0.05 x 100 = 5%
Your ROI is 5%.
Now say you’ve had leads convert, you can also calculate the ROI of that as well. For example, say 5 leads converted and each lead was worth $1,000. You then add up each lead to get $5,000 and divide that number by the amount you’ve invested into the podcast, so $10,000, and again, multiply by 100.
1,000 x 5 = 5,000
5,000 / 10,000 = 0.5
0.5 x 100 = 50%
Your ROI is 50%.
Calculating your podcast’s ROI can get tricky, but we hope you find some helpful resources and calculations for you to use for your own show.
Make sure to clearly define what your podcast goals are so you can accurately calculate your ROI and be able to present the correct data to your team and company.
We’d love to hear how you calculate your podcast ROI! Let us know here.
A passionate storyteller, Ali is Quill’s Director of Growth Marketing, previously the co-founder and CMO of the branded podcast agency, Origins Media Haus (acquired by Quill). She excels in merging creativity with data in order to successfully build and grow a brand.