Direct Line Blog

Carolla podcast good test for ad effectiveness

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Shortly after I blogged on Adam Carolla's podcast launch earlier this year, he had a podcast expert on the show, discussing the various ways in which podcasts can be monetized. (The gentleman's name escapes me, and the show has since been taken down — please comment or write if you know who it was)

Two monetization models were discussed on the show: a subscription model and an ad model. The subscription model's pros were the assurance of artistic freedom (no advertiser complaining about content), with the con of potentially plummeting engagement (as, they suggested, happened to Ricky Gervais).

It seemed like Carolla was leaning toward the ad model in future installments; it was just a matter of finding a sponsor that wouldn't mind the sometimes... colorful language used by the hosts and guests. I — and now I wish I had done this publicly, perhaps even in this blog — thought an adult entertainment sponsor would be perfect, and it appears Carolla agreed: This week, Adam & Eve (link is to Wikipedia because there's no way I'm going to that site from work, [or ever, if my wife is reading this]) ads, read by Carolla, appear before the podcast starts. Podcast listeners who enter promo code "ACE" on the site receive 50% off nearly any item, three free DVDs, and an "extra gift so sensual [Carolla] can't mention it without being hit by lightning," according to the 55-second ad.

In addition, CBS has announced a partnership with its former host through which it will promote the podcast and handle ad sales for it going forward. "Pre-roll, in-stream audio and live reads are available for local and national clients looking to reach Adam's target audience of Men 18-49," the press release says.

This model is a slam dunk for direct marketers. Unlike radio, where ratings are never certain, the marketer knows exactly how many downloads the podcast receives, and can divide that number by the amount of people who enter the promo code on the site to get a rock-solid response rate. Kudos to Carolla for finding a sponsor who will allow him to keep providing the content that has led to so many downloads. Here's hoping CBS's reach will only expand the effectiveness of these ads and open up a new, highly measurable model for direct marketers.
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