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Industry trends in streaming audio and podcast performance

by Cort Irish

July 12, 2021

How do you define success in streaming & podcasting, and does it differ industry-by-industry? In our new eBook, co-authored with our partner Audacy (formerly Entercom), you'll find tactical strategies for campaign goal setting, measurement methodologies, and optimization. In addition, we share benchmarks across key industries to guide you, so you can plan, execute and measure the success of your next audio marketing campaign.

Recent advances in streaming audio and podcasts now allow publishers and measurement partners to understand the dynamic nature of the customer journey by using attribution methodologies. The goal of attribution is to credit any media-driven conversions, even if that exposure and impact occur before the final purchase stage. For instance, pixel-based measurement allows advertisers to capture 100% of conversions driven from a media campaign, compared with less than 20% that’s typically picked up from vanity URLs.

Here's how to evaluate which metrics are most critical to your business

Step 1: Define what success looks like

The first step in measuring your audio campaign is to match your business goal to the right conversion metric. Do you want to increase web applications and leads, boost online sales conversions or improve in-store walk-ins? Here we will share benchmark cost per conversion goals by industry so you can configure your campaigns and attribution tools to deliver the insights your brand needs.

Step 2: Pick the right metrics

Best-practice approaches and popular KPIs are tailored to every industry. Here are some fundamental metrics that have proven valuable for analyzing ad effectiveness.

Web and app conversions
A website conversion happens when someone completes a desired action on a brand website, such as visiting the site, completing an online form, creating a new account, or making an online purchase.

Membership-based industries, such as online gambling typically measure account registrations and first-time deposits, or FTDs as key metrics. FTDs represent the first time a user funds an account. The value of the FTD is a strong indication of the customer’s potential lifetime value.

Revenue and financial metrics
A sales conversion occurs when a customer completes a purchase.

Cost per conversion, or CPC, represents what it costs an advertiser to convert one customer to take an action such as making a purchase, filling out a web form, or visiting a store. It’s calculated as the total cost of the ad campaign divided by the total number of conversions, and it’s one of the most reliable quantitative metrics to compare brand performance across industries.

Incremental lift is the percentage increase in conversions that can be directly tied to a particular campaign by comparing a control group (no ad exposure) to an exposed group (ad exposure). Lift studies help marketers understand the number of incremental conversions that directly resulted from a podcast or streaming audio campaign. Incremental lift can be applied to any attribution metric, including sales conversions, web conversions and in-store visits.

ROI and return on ad spend (ROAS):
Return on ad spend, or ROAS, shows the revenue generated for each $1
spent on an advertising campaign. It’s calculated as the total campaign revenue divided by the total campaign cost.

Step 3: Understand your industry's benchmarks to guide your KPI goals

Audacy and Claritas analyzed 85 streaming audio and podcast advertising campaigns from and other publishers, to answer key questions about digital audio campaign effectiveness - delivering quantifiable attribution results.

Streaming Audio Conversions

eCommerce brands see some of the strongest results from audio directly driving sales conversions. eCommerce and direct-to-consumer brands are keenly focused on sales acquisition, so their conversion metric of choice will likely always be “purchase” or sales conversion. For brands running synchronous marketing efforts in multiple channels, lift measurement is also popular to determine incremental campaign impact.

With a longer sales cycle, life insurance providers typically want to expand measurement to include web conversions. The goal is often to drive ad-exposed audiences to complete a website form, such as a request for a quote.

Universities, trade programs, and online schools command high tuition fees, making every web visit, lead, and application critically valuable. Clients’ education campaign goals are frequently tied to web conversions such as information request form completions and online applications.

Subscription sales
Subscription purchases are increasingly popular for everything from deliveries of meals, outfits, crafts, and razors, to access to apps and streaming services. The recurring nature leads to a higher customer lifetime value compared with standard eCommerce purchases. Audio ad campaigns can measure a core set of KPIs critical for subscription brands, including sales conversion, incremental lift, and return on ad spend.

Gambling, lottery, and sports betting clients target a unique set of metrics. These campaigns have a specific two-part call to action for potential customers: 1. Download the app or register online, and 2. Fund your account. The second goal frequently garners the most attention as a critical success metric.

Podcast conversions

The pandemic continues to significantly shift consumer media behaviors and preferences online. Brands are allocating significant resources to ensuring their eCommerce framework can accommodate this influx in demand. Podcast platforms and publishers are expanding content and improving technology to cater to more and more consumers tuning in daily, and marketers are integrating podcast advertising into their media mix – and accurate, transparent measurement is key to success.

Financial services
The financial services industry represents 16% of total podcast advertising revenue1. With an increasing number of consumers looking for advice following the impact of the pandemic, financial content is in demand. Financial services marketers are providing content around mortgage refinancing and the impact of COVID-19. Calls-to-action are typically to drive ad-exposed audiences to their website.

Whether it’s watching your favorite sporting events, movies, or drama series, or the abundance of gaming options, U.S. consumers are spending more time engaging in entertainment. With the continued growth in podcast listenership, entertainment advertisers are seizing the opportunity to reach this growing audience base across targeted and relevant content. In addition, with the same device typically being used to both engage with entertainment and listen to the podcast, the path to conversion is made that much easier.

To download the report and see specific metrics, please click here


podcast advertising
streaming radio