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Can you track podcasts using marketing attribution?

By March 2, 2023No Comments

Can you track podcasts with marketing attribution?

Yes… yes you can. Despite what some very loud voices on LinkedIn and Twitter will tell you… it is possible to track podcasts with marketing attribution.

“Podcasts can’t be tracked by marketing attribution,” is a very common refrain. But, it’s not the case. And this is the playbook for how to do it.

For this explanation, we’ll be focusing on a few tools that are commonly used that will be part of this solution; Marketo Measure (formerly Marketo Measure, for attribution), Marketo (marketing automation) and Salesforce (CRM). Since most other attribution platforms work similarly to Marketo Measure, the Marketo Measure aspects can correlate very easily over to the other attribution platforms in the marketplace. So, while we are designing this solution for Marketo Measure, you can certainly substitute your favorite marketing attribution platform, and it would work very well. Same concept for Marketo and Salesforce. This solution doesn’t require those platforms and is easily ported over to other platforms.

Creating Touchpoints Tied to Podcasts

With Marketo Measure, if you can create a touchpoint for something, you can measure it. So, for this solution to work, we need to start by figuring out how to generate touchpoints from podcasts.

Marketo Measure offers you five different methodologies for creating a touchpoint.

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

So, with these five 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 five buckets. Which it will.

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

You have an offer, right? Right?

One of the most basic tenets of marketing is to have an offer. Offer something to your prospects so that they will interact with you. And no, a free demo is not an offer. Having a podcast, or guesting on a podcast is no different. You should offer something to your listeners.

That offer should be hosted on a landing page.

I would advise that the landing page be hosted on a Marketo landing page. This way, it’s far more difficult, and nearly impossible, for someone to just stumble upon this landing page.

So, we’re going to set up a landing page for your podcast. You’re going to want to create a landing page something like, content.{your domain}.com/{podcast name} 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… we want to be able to track those as well, and we want to differentiate between them.

Once you have those landing pages created, you need to offer up some sort of content, or a special offer, 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. Or, offer up something more fun, like a free hat, or free socks… just give people something to engage with.

In Marketo Measure, 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. If you name these landing pages with the word, “podcast,” then it’ll be super easy to set this rule up to just simply look for a landing page URL that contains the word “podcast”. In your online channels rules, this should be very high up in the order of priority, because we really don’t care how they got to that page… just that they got to that page.

Once this is set up, the Marketo Measure javascript will automatically track people that land on these pages, and if you have a form, all of the form fills.

Marketo Programs are Going to Help

“What about if I don’t gate the content? Doesn’t Marketo Measure only track form fills?” Marketo measure doesn’t just track form fills… but that’s the primary trigger for creating online touchpoints. Marketo Measure 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.

Before we create any programs in Marketo, we need to create a Marketo Channel called “Podcast”. And, we’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/Responded status.

Once this is done, we 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 because this status isn’t doing any of the heavy lifting.

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.

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

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 Marketo Measure. Start by mapping your “Podcast” SFDC Campaign Type to the “Podcasts” Channel in Marketo Measure in the Offline Channels rule section.

From here, we recommend that you use the SFDC Campaign rules to create your touchpoints, because you probably already have that set up for other Campaigns. But, you can choose your weapon here between the SFDC Campaign rules or the MKTO Program rules.

Now, you may be noticing that there’s a slight gap in this strategy… and that is around people that engage with non-gated content. And, this is where the loud voices are right. You, and they, are 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… stick with us… there’s more coming.

How did you hear about us?

Your BDR’s are your first line of defense here. And they’re going to help us create touchpoints. When your BDRs reach out to new people, or field inbound calls, are they asking the question, “How 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, you should add this to their script or playbook.

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. Regardless of whether or not you’re creating activities/tasks, we’ve got a solution for you here, so again, pick your poison.

For this part of the solution to work, you need to have your BDRs ask this question, “How did you hear about us?” They also need to add that data to SFDC. If they’re logging tasks, there should be a field on the task called, “How 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 you can simply put this field on the Lead/Contact objects.

When the BDR selects “Podcast”, there should be a secondary field that asks, “Which podcast?” Your BDR has to ask this follow-up question, so again, add this to the script/playbook. This field should contain a picklist of podcasts you’ve either hosted, appeared in or sponsored. It could be a long list. And, you’ll have to curate this list as you appear in or sponsor additional podcasts. It’s going to be some effort to keep this up to date… but nothing worth doing is ever easy, right?

The final piece of this puzzle is a third field that checks for the date of the podcast. You can name it, “Podcast Date”. You also want a true/false field called, “Unknown Podcast Date.” Your BDRs need to ask the question as a follow-up… something like, “Oh cool, do you know, around when you listened to the podcast?” If the prospect gives you a date, put that in. If they don’t don’t remember, or they aren’t sure, then check the field “Unknown Podcast Date” as true and leave the “Podcast Date” field blank.

Automate the Rest

You’ve now captured the name of the podcast and, hopefully, the date the person listened. This is either on the Activity/Task, or on the Lead. It’s not quite usable for Marketo Measure yet though. We need a task/activity solely for the purpose of creating the Marketo Measure touchpoint for the podcast itself… not the phone call. This is where some automation will help us out.

This automation will need to be built in SFDC. And, 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 “Podcast Date” field. Or…
    • If they didn’t know the date and we selected “Unknown Podcast Date” as 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.
      1. This will need to be consistently updated as you air new podcasts or guest on new podcasts. So you need to have a process to manage the list of podcasts and original airing dates in SFDC as well.
    • 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 Marketo Measure touchpoint, but it’s good to have.

Per 1.i above, 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.

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 start with SFDC and then if that doesn’t work well for you, move to Marketo.

Once you have the Task/Activity created in #1 above, now it’s time to create your rule in Marketo Measure. In Marketo Measure, go to the “Activities” section and create your rule to create your touchpoints.

You’re now creating Marketo Measure 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 Marketo Measure 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. But, this is much more complex and difficult to manage. So, again, maybe grow into this.

So, can podcasts be tracked by marketing attribution?

Yes, they absolutely can. Clearly.

With the above strategy, you’re now able to create touchpoints for podcasts based on several different methods of input.

Is this strategy perfect? No… absolutely not. It’s dependent upon some human input such as your BDRs asking the questions, and the prospects remembering where they heard about you. But, this is still much better than not tracking them at all. Because it’s always better to have data and not need it, than to need data and not have it.

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

Hope this helps!!