How To Promote A Podcast Effectively Via Facebook Ads
The podcasting industry has grown immensely over the years, going from something with niche appeal to a major driver of personal branding and business growth. It’s entirely possible (though challenging, of course) to make a living doing nothing but podcasting by joining a monetised streaming service, featuring sponsors (78% of podcast listeners don’t mind ads, which is remarkable in the digital sphere), and selling custom merchandise.
Because of these widespread benefits, podcasting has become an entrepreneurial staple — and this popularity has led to an intimidating level of competition. When producing and distributing a podcast, you not only need to compete against other forms of digital media (blogs, news articles, ebooks, etc.) but also must battle it out against countless other podcasts.
If you just release your podcast and hope for the best, you’ll struggle to gain much momentum, so you need to promote your podcast. How should you approach this? Well, Facebook advertising is phenomenally powerful (drawing from the platform’s extreme reach and adjustable targeting), so it’s a great place to start.
Let’s take a look at some broad ideas for how you can most effectively use Facebook Ads to market your podcast to the most relevant people:
Allocate A Sensible Budget
Before you get underway, you need to set aside some funding, and it can’t be trivial. If you can’t start with at least $10 per day, you needn’t bother at all — you’re not going to get worthwhile results. How much you should spend depends on how much you can afford and what you’re trying to achieve with your promotion.
If your podcast is your primary focus, and you’re hoping to monetise it in a major way, then commit the largest budget you can (though don’t start spending it all immediately — get proof of ROI first, then scale up). If it’s a secondary concern — perhaps intended to raise your profile slightly — then it doesn’t matter so much.
Get The Podcast Link Right
Given how streaming services tend to work, it’s quite common for podcasters to have issues linking to specific podcasts. Imagine setting up an ad geared towards your latest episode, only for the link to lead to your general podcast page: not disastrous, exactly, but not great either. For instance, if you want to promote an iTunes podcast, this video guide can help you find the link:
In general, though, I’ll always recommend pushing people towards a link that you can completely control. Offering a podcast through your own site might be harder to manage than using something like Stitcher, but it gives you freedom to experiment with landing page optimisation, and to do more with analytics.
Focus On The Visual Elements
I was listening to Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics on the Marketing Speak podcast when a point he made stuck out to me: “80% of people are watching stuff with the sound off”, he noted. Whether a Facebook user happens upon your ad on their smartphone, desktop, or even tablet, it’s unlikely that they’re going to hear anything you’re playing.
Does this mean that you can’t get anywhere by making your ad an audio-centric video clip? Not exactly, but it does mean that you can’t assume people will hear you, so you need everything to be transcribed and set out through subtitles. You can also get somewhat creative with the styling: if you’ve picked a really notable podcast clip, it should have parts that warrant emphasis, so play with font sizes and colours to showcase the highlights.
See how the concept of heartbreak is conveyed through the inclusion of a broken heart shape, and the overlaid text makes it possible for the viewer to follow along with the clip.
Whether you use a video or just an image, though, have something eye-catching. Visuals are more impactful than text, and your ad might only get a fraction of a second of attention while someone is browsing through their social media feed — if it doesn’t catch their eye in that heartbeat, it won’t achieve anything.
Diversify The Ad Content
What’s the most basic way in which you can advertise a podcast? By concentrating entirely on the podcast itself, advancing nothing more than text, imagery, and maybe a clip. This can easily be worth doing, of course, but it shouldn’t be all you do. There are various other things you can offer to promote your podcast.
For instance, why not provide a downloadable ebook? It could include a range of actionable takeaways from your podcast, and do good work getting people sufficiently interested in what you have to say that they’d start listening to your podcast after reading it. Or perhaps you could choose a slideshow ad featuring the main talking points of the linked show.
Another option is to generate buzz around your podcast by providing related materials. You could document the production process to show how (and why) you do what you do, share behind-the-scenes photos (ideally featuring notable guests — see above for an example), or even highlight a glowing review from a big influencer (or a superb aggregate rating). The more content you can test, the more insight you’ll get about what works with your target audience, and the more finely you can optimise your campaign.
Narrow Your Target Audience
As ever, the key to making the most of Facebook Ads is using the exceptional targeting system with maximum efficacy, and there are various elements that are significant here, including:
- Profession. Your podcast no doubt has listeners from specific fields in mind, so focus on people in relevant professions (e.g. marketers, SEO professionals, etc.) — you can flag by a general industry, but you can also go by job title, so do some research to see how people represent themselves (LinkedIn is great for this, since job titles tend to get used across different networks).
- Interests. If someone has tagged their interest in economics, and you’re trying to promote an economics podcast, that’s about as obvious as a link as you can find. Just be mindful that you don’t expand the ad’s reach too much by selecting interests that are only somewhat relevant.
- Pages liked. You should already have some rivals in mind — podcasts that you’d like to outperform — and you can use them to find listeners for you to poach. For instance, target everyone who has liked a podcast similar to yours, since there’s an excellent chance that they’ll like yours as well.
- Device. iTunes is an Apple service, so when you’re promoting an iTunes link, focus on Apple devices. Each streaming service will favor one platform (at least slightly), so make the necessary adjustments to get the greatest impact.
The possibilities don’t end there, of course — WordStream has an outstanding infographic featuring Facebook’s myriad targeting options, so check it out for some more context. Remember that you’ll have plenty of time to make minor changes while you run your ads, so you don’t need to nail everything right away. It’s all about iterative improvement.
Facebook is a great promotional platform, and if you use it in the right way, you can build a good amount of interest in your podcast. Remember to prioritise the visuals, trial different types of content, and pay close attention to the analytics so you can make suitable tweaks — over time, you’ll get the results you’re looking for.