Monthly Archives May 2020

Evaluating Digital Audio Ad Platforms & Options

While traditional radio ads may be declining, there’s no doubt we’re still tuning in to listen–it’s just moved online and on our phones. With millions of people listening to music platforms like Spotify and Pandora, and even more joining through podcasts. From 2019 to 2020, the amount of people who have listened to a podcast jumped 51%, which is a massive growth. And Pandora alone has over 118 million subscribers. 

Here’s a rundown of a few of platforms that have the best ROI for advertisers:

  1. Spotify

This is a music platform everyone knows, and their advertising game is set up pretty well for most companies to utilize. You can target by age and demographic, as well as music preferences or podcast themes. While it may have a lot of the pluses for targeting the audience you’re looking for, it does cost more to advertise here.

  1. Pandora

For about the same cost and targeting abilities as Spotify, Pandora is another popular platform for businesses to advertise on. One thing it does focus on is small to medium businesses, which is something to consider for your brand.

  1. National Public Media

Less music, more news might be a good way to describe this platform. Instead of one user, like Spotify or Pandora, this platform enables your ads to reach audiences that listen to multiple channels. Ads are placed, according to targets, on podcasts and radio shows.

  1. Placement Services

Not one specific site, but if the larger platforms aren’t within scope or need there are other options that partner to place your ad on specific podcasts or shows that meet the audience criteria you are looking for. Some of these options, like MidRoll, help find places to partner with. While others like AudioGo work more like a self-service platform so that you have more control of what goes on. The benefit to working with services like this has a lot to do with budget, business size and ability to control needs.

This is just a sample of the platforms available. Within each platform can come other useful advertising options or partnerships as well. For example, Spotify audio ads can be paired with graphic banners or videos that play at the same time. Other platforms may offer banner placement in separate contexts, like on a podcast website. 

The options and variables can feel numerous and overwhelming, but that is where good strategy and organization come into play. Start with a strategy of who you’re talking to, where you can find them, and what you have to communicate–this gets the ball rolling for which platforms will work best to meet your goals. 

After you narrow down potential platforms you can weigh the pros and cons of each one. Does it target exactly how you need for your business objectives? Would advertising within this platform give you the ROI you’re expecting? Which platforms best meet your needs and budget concerns?

A Strong Strategy for Digital Customer Service

Marketing may be having some ups and downs during the pandemic, but one thing we have seen stay strong is the need for robust digital and online customer support strategies. This is beyond having a “contact us” button on your website, or a chatbot on your home page. And it’s more than sending an email with Coronavirus updates from your CEO. We’re not saying these things aren’t important ways to communicate; they definitely have their place. But at a time when news can change hourly, having a team in place that quickly answers online or social media concerns is really important to your future relationship with them.

Our digital agency has worked with a number of brands to offer customer service strategy and support across a variety of industries. Through these last couple of months we’ve seen customer inquiries rise up to 30% for some companies – specially CPG brands. This large increase of work became a proving ground for how strong strategy can help navigate unexpected spikes in consumer needs. Here are the takeaways from our years working with clients, and these past months of disruption to the status quo:

Organized Action Plan

Having an action plan for ebbs and flows is key. Not only does that mean knowing what to do when an influx comes, but also managing expectations for the highs and the lows. A good action plan organizes customer response scenarios into levels of escalation. Some questions are asked often and can be easily answered by a customer service representative. Other questions may need approval from a member of the leadership team before proceeding. 

Knowing which questions should be escalated, and who can be counted on for a quick response, provides customers with answers in a timely manner. Creating hard rules for response is important to this process. An example of this would be: Questions will be answered during work days within 12 hours, weekends within 24 hours. If a question is escalated it will receive a response within 24 hours from management. 

Ready to Respond

Whether questions lend themselves to a quick answer or escalation period, a response should always be given as soon as possible. This means that even if an answer may need a 24 hour window for your company’s management to think about, a customer service person should still respond so your customer knows they’ve been heard. 

It’s important to understand the question or comment before you respond, but in some cases something as simple as, “We’ve escalated your question, and will get back to you shortly.” Other cases, like public forums or social media, requesting the customer to contact you directly gives an opportunity for a more in-depth and personal conversation. 

Identify Repeat Inquires 

Another very helpful part of ongoing strategy is to identify repeat questions or comments. Doing this can help efficiencies within customer service, and speed up response time.

Every common question should have a canned response. This doesn’t mean a response has to be written verbatim each time, but it does mean that a very similar response can be given to very similar questions. Identifying and tracking common questions and canned responses is especially helpful in times like we find ourselves now, when unique customer inquiries may spike, but the uniqueness of the inquiry has not. 


In times when things are uncertain, our advice to stay nimble applies to customer service as well. This may mean shortening or expanding response times that were set forth in the original plan, adding additional canned responses, or preparing for more escalated comments than normal. Connecting with your customers in a time of crisis can help strengthen a relationship and prove real interest in your customers needs.