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The easiest way to measure the ROI of your branded podcast with Dave Zohrob

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Episode Summary

Podcasts used to be treated just like radio and they’re not radio. By saying this, Dave Zohrob, today’s guest of Recorded Content, shows his love and dedication to the podcast medium. In fact, this love inspired him to start developing a platform called Chartable: Podcast Analytics & Attribution.

In this episode of Recorded Content, Dave, the CEO, and co-founder of the company, talks about how Chartable can help individuals and businesses measure the impact of their branded podcast.

Dave points out that global changes such as the recent pandemic haven’t destroyed the podcast market and predicts a bright future with continued growth. He reports that many businesses started creating podcasts during the pandemic and that this trend will continue in the future. This megatrend, as Dave calls it, has created the best environment for creating an online analytics tool to help you better understand your audience.

Guest Profile

Name: Dave Zohrob

What he does: Dave is co-founder and CEO of Chartable: Podcast Analytics & Attribution.

Company: Chartable

Noteworthy: Dave has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and has a lot of experience as a Software Design Engineer.

Key Insights

  • Fast recovery after the pandemic: Last year was very specific since people got to stay at their homes and every part of the industry waited to see what will happen next. Luckily, there weren’t many changes when it comes to podcasts and there’s data to prove that claim. It isn’t the same as how many hours are you listening in the car versus on a train versus at home. What we had was a natural experiment where commuting went to almost zero. What we saw was that consumption drops in that very immediate term right around mid-March. It all recovered pretty fast; we saw full recovery by the end of May, early June, which is pretty fast considering how we were still in the throes of the pandemic.
  • Podcasts may provide a look into how we measure ads in the future: Podcast culture emerged from radio culture, but those can’t be compared and nobody should say they are the same. This way of communicating with the audience still evolves and we’ll see its final form in years to come. Podcasts used to be treated just like radio and they’re not radio; they’re digital. They have less data than a Facebook ad, but they certainly have more data than a subway poster or a radio ad. There’ll be changes over time, but I think that more stuff will end up looking like podcasting rather than podcasting getting worse. I think that’s how it’s gonna play out at least in the next couple of years.
  • We are collecting knowledge before establishing the price: Chartable is a service dedicated to podcast creators, both individuals and businesses. It still develops its features and Dave thinks that asking for money should come after learning everything about users’ needs. We designed it for folks who want to measure the ROI of their podcast’s activity and it costs us money to do this stuff. Therefore, we have to charge our users. We also hope that we’re delivering something super valuable and the folks that are using it so far have been happy.

Episode Highlights

We see a megatrend of companies starting podcasts

Businesses increasingly are going to look to build their audience versus renting it from someone else and renting an audience can be fantastic. The entire podcast advertising business is built on that. It’s going to be a billion-dollar business this year and a 2 billion business within another couple of years. That’s great. And for a lot of companies, that’s going to be a huge part of their strategy even if they do their show. We see folks looking to build audiences on their own.

Podcasting has a number of advantages compared to other media

You’re not listening to multiple podcasts at the same time. Distribution is owned entirely by the publisher. You get to choose which platforms you want it to be on, how often you release, and whether or not you have ads and all this control that you don’t have with other channels.

Chartable’s analytics can boost a business

We’ve got a number of things we offer. The first is basic analytics to supplement what you might get depending on how you host your show. We’ve recently started offering demographics for folks on our paid plans. For folks with a big enough US audience, and this would exclude some branded shows, we’ll give you a household-level demographic of who’s listening. So you can see who you’re reaching.

For the businesses, there’s a couple of features that are super-specific for B2B. One of them is firmographic enrichment. We just look at the download data and through a partnership with Clearbit, we enrich the download data and say, “Hey, here are the companies of the people who are listening to your show,” and we can’t do that for everyone. The quality of the data is great. We tested a bunch of different vendors for this before we ended up building it.

Chartable assisting B2B with branded podcasts

We built this full attribution product that’s used by all kinds of DTC advertisers, mobile app advertisers who buy podcast ads at a scale of millions of impressions. We have the tech to help them figure out if those ads work. We’ve reconfigured that same tech to apply to the B2B use case where instead of saying, “Okay, these people heard an ad for the mattress. Did they go buy the mattress?” We say, “These people downloaded your branded podcasts. Do they come to visit your website? Did they fill out a lead form or did they make a purchase?” It’s the same tech at a different scale.

Utilizing business website and download data

There are two streams of data that are important here. The first stream is the download data. The second stream is the business website data. The podcast downloads data we collect directly from the user who’s downloaded the show and we do that by inserting RSS feeds. RSS feed is a list of URLs of MP3 and it says, “Hey, here’s the latest episode. Here’s where to go find the audio file for it. Go download it.”

When you integrate Chartable into your feed, instead of going and downloading your MP3 from wherever it is, the user’s podcast app hits our server. Then we redirect to where the actual MP3 lives and the listener doesn’t notice anything. It’ll take like 20 milliseconds for that to happen. We get to log the IP address and user agent, which is just the name of the app, maybe a version number or maybe a language, some small amount of information but nothing crazy. And then they go on and download the show.

The other stream of data that’s super important for lead tracking is business website data. So that works by the business sticking a piece of JavaScript on their website that sends information to us about who’s visiting. We don’t know who’s visiting, but about the people who are visiting, we get IP address, what browser they’re using, stuff like that. We set a cookie and then we link up those two data streams with some very fancy technology.

The cookie-less future is now

There are all kinds of changes with regard to privacy both at a regulatory level and the state level, federal level in the US. Europe has had a strong regulatory stance on privacy for a long time. And in addition to the regulatory stuff, platforms like Apple and Google are making changes to their browsers, making changes to their operating systems. So everything is in flux right now.

What we think is going to happen is that rather than podcasts advertising data getting worse, it’s going to be that other digital ads are going to end up looking more like podcast ads. We already have to deal with a pretty limited set of data. It might get slightly more limited in the near future. We’ll see as the cookie changes. But everyone else, if you’re buying Facebook ads, you’re going to get way fewer data over time for sure.

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