Tracking Podcasts with Marketing Attribution

Tracking Podcasts with Marketing Attribution

Podcasts are growing in popularity among brands. Brands are starting their own podcasts, making guest appearances (guesting) on other podcasts and/or sponsoring existing podcasts. And with all of these new investments in podcasts, marketing and business leaders are going to want to start understanding how podcasts are generating ROI. And therein, lies a problem.

“Podcasts can’t be tracked by marketing attribution”

Or, so say some of the “experts” on LinkedIn. Well, that’s just not true. It’s not easy to track podcasts using marketing attribution, but “not easy” is not equal to “impossible”. But, unlike these so-called “experts”, we’re going to put our money where our mouth is and actually show you a few ways that you can do this.

For this explanation, we’ll be focusing on a few tools that are commonly used that will be part of this solution; Bizible (attribution), Marketo (marketing automation) and Salesforce (CRM). Since most other attribution platforms work similarly to Bizible, the Bizible aspects can correlate very easily over to the other attribution platforms in the marketplace.

This solution will be designed around these tools, but conceptually, could be used across a host of other tools. So, if you don’t have one of these specific tools, focus more on the concepts than the granular details.

Generating Podcast Tracking Touchpoints

With Bizible, the standard unit of measurement is the Touchpoint. So, for this solution to work, we need to focus on generating touchpoints in relation to podcasts. If we can generate a touchpoint, we can measure it.

Bizible offers you four different methodologies for creating a touchpoint.

  • The Bizible Javascript
  • Salesforce Campaigns
  • Salesforce Activities/Tasks
  • Marketo Programs

So, with these four methodologies at our fingertips, we have a lot of options for how we generate a touchpoint to measure podcasts. The challenge is to get our podcast engagement to fall into one of these four buckets. Which it will.

We’ll start with the easiest version… the javascript.

You have an offer, right? Right?

Most people have a Field of Dreams type of strategy for Podcasts. “If you build it, they will come.” If you build a podcast, people will listen, and they will do business with you. But, just not necessarily the case. You still have to follow the fundamentals of marketing to cash in on your podcast engagement… and that means, you have to offer people something.

You should offer your listeners, and the listeners of the podcasts you’re guesting on and sponsoring, something to entice them to come to your website to learn more about you and what you do. That offer should be hosted on a landing page.

I would advise that the landing page be hosted on a Marketo landing page. This limits the amount of traffic that can come to the page without the link.

So, we’re going to set up a landing page for your own podcast. So, you’re going to want to create a landing page something like, content.leadmd.com/{insert podcast name here} for your own podcast. And, for podcasts that you’re sponsoring or guesting on, you would want to create a dedicated landing page for those as well. Why? Because you want to be able to track engagement from different podcasts, right? Of course you do.

Once you have those landing pages created, you need to offer up some sort of content on those pages for people to engage with. It should be something related to what you were talking about on that podcast, or the topic of that podcast generally. You may or may not gate this. Either way, this solution will have you covered.

In Bizible, you’re going to create a Channel called “Podcasts”. Then, in your Online Channel rules, you’re going to create a rule based on the landing page URL. And that landing page URL should be the URLs of the pages you created for each podcast. Once this is set up, the Bizible javascript will automatically track people that land on these pages, and if you have a form, all of the form fills.

Marketo Programs to the Rescue

“What about if I don’t gate the content? Doesn’t Bizible only track form fills?” Well, you know your Bizible. And, yes, Bizible mostly only tracks form fills. Bizible will track first-touch touchpoints that don’t include form fills, so you’re good there.

For the rest, we’re going to use Marketo programs… because we can create touchpoints from Marketo programs, remember?

So, each one of your landing pages is going to get its own program in Marketo. But first, I want you to create a Marketo Channel called “Podcast”. And, you’re going to create a SFDC Campaign Type with the same exact name. The statuses in this Channel should be, “Visited” and “Converted”, with the “Converted” status being your Success status.

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Once you have your Channel created, you need a Marketo program for each landing page. That program will need a smart campaign created for each of the two statuses. The campaign for the “Visited” status, will be triggered when someone lands on the landing page for that program. Honestly, you won’t get many here, because anonymous people can’t become members of a program. But, that’s okay.

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Your second campaign will be for the “Converted” channel, and this is where we’ll get the most members. If you gate your content, then the trigger for this campaign will be that they filled out the form to access the content. If you didn’t gate your content, then the trigger for this campaign will be that they clicked on the link to view the content. Then, in the flow, move them into the “Converted” status.

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Lastly, sync this program to a corresponding SFDC Campaign using the Marketo Campaign Sync feature.

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Now that you have a program for each landing page and you’re moving people into the “Converted” status, you can create your Offline Channel rule in Bizible. Start by mapping your “Podcast” SFDC Campaign Type to the “Podcasts” Channel in Bizible in the Offline Channels rule section.

From here, you can either use the Marketo program or the SFDC campaign to create your touchpoints. Either one will work just fine, because they contain the same data about the same people. I’m going to recommend that you use the SFDC Campaign rules, because you probably already have that set up for other Campaigns. But, you can choose your weapon here.

“There’s a gap here. This isn’t going to help with anonymous people that engaged with non-gated content. This is where attribution falls down.” You’re right… but this isn’t the whole solution. There’s more to the solution to fill this gap. This also doesn’t factor in people that just come to your website after hearing about you on the podcast. So… we still have to fill that gap too.

Where did you hear about us?

Whether you call them SDRs, BDRs or ADRs, this is the point where they become a critical piece of your attribution puzzle. And they’re going to help us create touchpoints. For simplicity, I’m going to refer to these folks as BDRs going forward.

When your BDRs reach out to new people, are they asking the question, “Where did you hear about us?” I hope so. It’s a super quick way to gather some intel on how someone heard about you, particularly if they came through the Contact Us form, or your general phone number. If not, I highly suggest you add this to their process, not just to track podcasts.

Also, when your BDRs reach out to new people, are they logging activities/tasks in SFDC? This is also a best practice. So, if not, again it’s highly recommended. But, this piece of the solution will include a task-based solution and a solution for folks that don’t use activities/tasks.

For this part of the solution to work, you need to have your BDRs ask this question. “Where did you hear about us?” And, they should add that data to SFDC. If they’re logging tasks, there should be a field on the task called, “Where did you hear about us,” with a picklist for the various places where someone could hear about you. One of those options should be “Podcast”. If they aren’t logging tasks, then put this field on the Lead/Contact objects.

Then, when the BDR selects “Podcast”, there should be a secondary field that asks, “Which podcast?” Yes, your BDR should ask this follow-up question. This field should contain a picklist of podcasts you’ve either hosted, appeared in or sponsored. It could be a long list.

Then, the final piece of this puzzle is a third field that asks, “Date of podcast”. Ask that question, “Do you know when you listened to that podcast”? If they give you a date, put that in. If they don’t give you a date, check the field “Podcast Date Unknown” as true and leave the “Date of podcast” field blank. Oh yeah, you have to create that field as well.

Automate All the Things!!

So, you now have either a task/activity with this podcast data on it, or you have this podcast data on a Lead/Contact record in SFDC. But, we don’t really have this in a nice consumable format for Bizible to create a touchpoint. Yes, if you have it in a task/activity, Bizible can use that to create the touchpoint. But, this task/activity should already be used to create a touchpoint related to the BDR’s activity. We can’t use it for both. So, we need a task/activity solely for the purpose of creating the Bizible touchpoint for the podcast. We need automation.

SFDC has a lot of options to create automation, so the specific method you use is up to you. But, what we need to do is two things.

  1. Create a SFDC Task/Activity with a Type of “Podcast”. The date of the Task/Activity should be either…
    • The date in the “Date of podcast” field. Or…
    • If they didn’t know the date and we selected “Podcast Date Unknown” to be true, then just set it as the original airing date of the podcast. You should know this. You only need it once to create this automation rule.
    • Put the name of the podcast from the “Which Podcast?” field into the subject line of the task.
  2. Add this person to a SFDC Campaign for this specific podcast, in a status of “Engaged”.
    • This won’t create the Bizible touchpoint, but it’s good to have.

This automation rule will need to be updated each time there is a new podcast that you appear in or produce. So, make sure the methodology you use is simple and scalable. You’ll be updating this automation rule regularly.

Another option here is that you could use Marketo to run these automation rules as well, through a data management campaign. It’s more scalable here, but it’s also more complicated. So, SFDC is probably the better route.

Once you have the Task/Activity created in #1 above, now it’s time to create your rule in Bizible. In Bizible, go to the “Activities” section of Bizible and create your rule. Your rule should look something like the below picture.

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You’re now creating Bizible Touchpoints for different podcasts through multiple different methodologies, and tying all of these interactions into the buyer’s journey.

If you really want to get granular, you can create a subchannel in Bizible for each of the podcasts you participate in and tie your rules to the landing pages, SFDC campaigns and task/activity subject lines. This allows you for super quick and easy segmentation of your reporting by the name of the podcast. Otherwise, you can just filter your reports by these different data points… but it’ll be a little more difficult.

Yes, Podcasts can be tracked by attribution

Once all of this is done, you’re now able to track podcasts using marketing attribution.

Was it easy? No…

Was it difficult? Not particularly…

Are there some holes? Yeah, there are a few holes, due to the manual data curation by your BDRs and the fact that we may not know the exact date that the person listened to the podcast. But, there are far fewer holes (and those holes are much smaller) than the holes in the argument that “Podcasts can’t be tracked by attribution”.

From here, you just need to create your reports and dashboards that show how the podcasts you’re hosting, guesting on and sponsoring are contributing to your buyers’ journeys. Hopefully, you’ll see strong results.

If you have any questions about this approach, or any of the other recommendations in this approach, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to address any of those.

Thanks for reading!!

Drew Smith

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