Ad Spend: Podcast or YouTube?
Written by Sean Joseph
In the world of digital brand partnerships, there are two giants: Podcast and YouTube. 

But as a partnerships manager, where do you decide where to channel your ad spend to: 1) achieve high ROI and 2) build long-term partnerships? 

The answer: YouTube

Why? Let’s break it down together....

Podcast Ads: downloads 

The Pros: 

Listening Experience - you enjoy the host; topics discussed; questions asked
Sensory Appeal - focuses on what you hear vs. what you see 
Content Depth - listeners prefer longer episodes (commutes; workouts; breaks) 
Ad Delivery - hosts deliver with personal touch / vocal emphasis 

The Cons: 

Extra Cooks - 50+ podcast hosts, each with a different method for data / analytics  
Unclear Data - ‘downloads’ don’t equal ‘listens’

Ex. Pod XYZ has “25k downloads” 

Default Downloads - if you’re subscribed to a XYZpodcast and get a new episode on your phone - that counts as a ‘download’ regardless if you actually listen - this causes data problems

Repeat Listens - some podcast hosts count 2+ listens from same device as separate downloads - this causes more problems 

Harder Conversions - listeners have to 1) listen to an ad offer, then 2) remember the website and code, and then 3) type in URL separately at different time 

Listening Depth - unclear what % of true audience listens and how far they listen into each episode - depending on your ad placement, it may not get heard

The Result: 

Unclear Gamble - you don’t know the audience you’re getting; in reality host doesn’t truly know audience size 

Audience Work - you’re asking the audience to take more steps to redeem an offer 

YouTube: views 

The Pros: 

Sole Source - all of YouTube execution / data stems from parent company: Google
Watching Experience - you enjoy the creativity; content covered; unique formats / ideas 
Sensory Appeal - favors what you see vs. what you hear 
Content Efficiency - captures the imagination of viewers in short time frame (<10mins) 
Ad Delivery - customer sees your brand / product and is one-click away from offer 
Data Clarity - internal traffic; external traffic; age; gender; geography; views; audience retention

The Cons: 

Busy Platform - other videos; banner ads; distractions to steal attention from viewer 
Content Trends - videos are getting shorter over time which will decrease ad length 

The Result: 

Better Predictability - exact measure on audience size; historical view data; 
Creative Ads - YouTube is creator-centric, encouraging creators to make a visually memorable ad to influence customers quickly (skits; product interaction; etc.)
Immediate Action - if customer is influenced by ad, they can click, immediately 

Final Call: If we have $10k+ a month ad spend, we’re finding the best YouTube creators we can find, negotiating great value, and going all in! 

Sean Joseph


Sean Joseph helps companies grow through YouTube partnerships. He is an expert at YouTube research and making things super simple to understand. If you're interested in harnessing the power of YouTube for your business then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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