By Josh Adley, Director of Commercial and Client Relations.

There’s not enough transparency in the podcast sector. Download numbers aren’t public and appearances don’t tell the full story.

Whilst branded podcasts are growing, it currently relies on ambitious marketing teams, an experienced production agency and a shared belief to green light a project.

The more we share results, our learnings and celebrate successes, the more marketing directors will see the value in originating a podcast as part of their content plans.

With that in mind, I wanted to dig into ‘Ry-Union’ – one of the branded shows we launched in late 2021 with Sky Bingo and YMU.

Between Listen and our Sky clients we ran significant research studies to uncover what worked, how we fared against our objectives, and what we can build on for the future.

The objectives

· Increase awareness of Sky Bingo.
· Deliver everyday excitement, alongside exciting talent.
· Increase brand sentiment.

The method

· Engaging podcast format: reuniting celebrities from the worlds of music, film, TV and entertainment.
· A passionate host who genuinely wanted to ‘own’ the content as his own, rather than seeing it as a branded gig for hire. Enter one of the UK’s most-loved entertainment presenters, Rylan.
· Strong guests and storytelling (unique stories that haven’t been told before).
· Dedicated PR throughout the series (Carver PR).
· Significant promotion plan (audio ads, talent posting, social ads).
· Bespoke social assets (videos).

The results

2 million video views across social.
+82% engagement rate (vs benchmark).
+50% uplift for brand awareness.
+8% brand favourability.
+9% brand trust.
~ 175,000 downloads in the first 3.5 months.
87% average consumption rate.
Consistently in the top 5 Apple Podcasts Society & Culture chart.
325 pieces of press coverage including TV appearance on ITV1’s Lorraine and a magazine cover of The Observer).

Stats came from research conducted by On Device and Nielsen (in partnership with Acast).

For a fairly short-run series (10 episodes), these results were incredibly pleasing. Our objectives were met, our promotion campaign proved effective, and the team finished energised about what is next for Ry-Union.

Editorially, research told us which episodes were received best. We also learned a lot about the views and behaviours of those who heard our audio ad (eg recall of podcast, association with brand and talent, brand awareness and crucially that >1 in 2 people would take an action after hearing the ad with circa 50% planning to listen to the podcast).

Summary

There’s nothing game-changing about the strategy on this one:
Strong talent + engaging content + strategic promotion plan = success.

Diverse and well-invested marketing in combination with a phenomenal PR job = effective.

Research studies provided valuable insight.

And most importantly…. sharing results is a positive thing for the industry.