For 1 euro invested, how much am I going to earn? Could you show me that the podcast generates more ROI than other media? How can I prove to my boss that launching a podcast is a good idea?

While talking to prospects and clients in the initial stage, these questions often are asked. Also, in any social setting, they tend to pop up just after the question: “what do you do for a living?”.

We thought long and hard about the return on investment of branded podcasts. Now comes the time to put an end to the confusion around this topic.

If you are a brand looking to:

  • Diversify your media presence,
  • Make better use of your marketing budget,
  • Launch a podcast soon…

Read on because we’re going to try to answer this million-dollar question: “How do I measure the success of my branded podcast in the short term?”

1/ How to measure the short-term return on investment of your podcast?

We will answer in a word… Ready?

Answer: it depends on your goals!

At the risk of disappointing you … Measuring the performance of a podcast is different from measuring a kilo of tomatoes (sounds silly but it had to be said… no disrespect to tomatoes).

Measuring the performance of your podcast starts with having a clear idea of your brand’s objectives :
And these goals are related to your brand, industry, and current priorities!

An established luxury brand such as Dior will not have the same goals as a newly created one even though they are part of the same sector.

First, ask yourself if your should educate your audience about:

  • your brand?
  • your products?
  • your services?

Every brand chooses to create a podcast for different reasons (I am sure you are not thinking about it “because everyone else is doing it!”… our readers are brighter than that!).

These reasons inherently affect which KPIs you are going to select and how they measure success.
And now you are going to say: “Yes, but how can I identify the KPIs for my branded podcast”?
And I will reply: “Without further ado, let’s get into the details of the KPIs that can help you assess the ROI of your branded podcast!”

2/ Star by defining your goals

Just like a delicious lasagna, the goals you can aim for with your branded podcasts have multiple layers. Let’s dissect them.

Here are a few examples (starters) to open your appetite before the main meal.

Position Short term issues
  • Marketing director or CMO
  • Increase revenue.
  • Brand manager
  • Increase awareness.
  • Account manager in an agency
  • With the help of your team, sell a disruptive idea to your client.
  • CEO of a non-profit organisation
  • Changing the public’s perception of the cause you are defending.


Do you hold one of these positions? Do you bear one of these responsibilities?

 If so, read on! We will help you make a strategic decision for your branded podcast (free of charge!)


1) Generate attention

The goal here would be to use your branded podcast as leverage to:

  • Capture the attention of your audience
    Ex: delivering an entertaining podcast allows your audience to smile and relax after a long day of work or during difficult times (i.e. the Covid pandemic).
  • Promote your brand values
    Ex: create an audio documentary on a topic at the heart of the brand’s values.
  • Strengthen the brand’s recognized expertise
    Ex: create a series of interviews with unique guests and experts on a specific topic.


To keep on follow up this objective of generating attention, two KPIs are recommended by our team:

1) The number of downloads / the number of unique plays

This metric is one of the most popular when it comes to measuring the failure or success of a branded podcast in terms of awareness.

Thanks to this indicator, you will learn more about:

  • The evolution of your podcast’s popularity,
  • The best performing episodes
  • The most attractive episode titles

The importance of this key metric grew during Covid19. A period when brands sought to stay in the minds of the consumer.

Warning: keep in mind that this metric gives you an indication of the listeners who have downloaded your podcast. You are therefore not able to define:

  • How many listeners listened to it after downloading
  • How long they have listened to an episode

2) The number of unique subscriptions

Listeners subscribe to a podcast channel to:

  • stay aware of the release of the next episode,
  • download the episodes,
  • Share, comment, or bookmark episodes.

Like Youtube channel subscribers, branded podcast subscribers are valuable… far more valuable than any other listener.

These subscribers can:

  • spread the word about your podcast,
  • give their opinions in the comment section,
  • visit your website,
  • (ultimately) potentially buy your products and services.

Therefore, it is essential to follow the evolution of subscriptions to your podcast over time. Have you noticed a peak in subscriptions? Is it related to a specific episode? These are a few of the elements to keep an eye on.

This KPI will give you a clear picture of your podcast’s popularity and track the progression of your brand awareness.

2) Engagement

As a result of lockdown, remote work, and travel restrictions, consumer attention increased in 2020. The podcast, an emerging media, was able to get a large part of this attention (we have covered this phenomenon in an article entitled “The podcast in France”).

This observation is supported by a recent study from the BBC. It shows that thanks to the greater commitment levels of a branded podcast, brands experienced a 16% increase in engagement.

Podcasts provide the highest levels of engagement of any marketing medium, across all marketing channels.

So, as competition intensifies in this medium, the engagement goal helps track whether or not your branded podcast stands out.

How to determine the engagement of your audience? Assume that a listener who comments, subscribes to your program, and shares it to his network is a convinced listener. This commitment deserves to be looked closely.
Pay close attention to the evolution of this engagement: over a given period, do you generate more shares of the podcast? Is the number of comments increasing?

To take it even further … You can measure what we like to call “the level of deep engagement”. This type of engagement will tell you more about the success of your podcast. To do this, we leave you with a few KPIs to “take away” (yes, this is another foodie reference).


KPIs recommended by Calliopé’s team to measure high-quality engagement:

Look at each episode’s engagement levels.

We invite you to use these KPIs:

  • Listening time per episode: have you noticed that some episodes have a higher completion rate than average? Try to understand why.
  • Audience Retention: How many of your audience listen to certain parts of the episode? Do they mostly listen to 1, 5, or 10 episodes of your podcast? Try to understand why.
  • The Dropout Rate: During which part of the episode do you lose the most listeners? Try to understand why.

3) Generate brand awareness

+ 89%!

It is the increased rate in brand awareness of organizations that have launched branded podcasts.

(Source BBC Audio: Activated)

Are you surprised by this figure? We are far from the first podcasts that started in some garage!

Therefore if your branded podcast provides the audience with:

  • rich and compelling content regularly,
  • and the opportunity to connect and interact with your brand (and its missions, values, culture, etc)

…you should be on the right path to increase your brand awareness.


The branded podcast is not a long advertisement!

Forget the 30-minute of commercials before the movie starts at the cinema. Off-topic ads in the middle of a youtube video are no longer relevant. All of these ads are annoying, don’t you agree?

So when it comes to your podcast, avoid crudely mentioning your brand in the content. Trust us: you are more likely to truly connect with your audience if you choose to do it in an authentic, human and natural way. It is also the best chance to reach your goals.

As an example:

La Mutuelle des Etudiants and its fiction “The Dreamers”.
To address taboo subjects (harassment, mental health, revenge porn, alcoholism, etc.) affecting young adults from 18 to 25 years olds. LMDE has launched an audio fiction podcast perfectly suited to its target, with characters who look like the listeners (a similar approach to the Netflix hit-show “Thirteen Reasons Why”).

The brand is briefly mentioned in the introduction and the outro. Nowhere else during the program. No product or services are promoted.

The spotlight is 100% put on the story. These choices make the program relatable for the audience.


4) Be seen as an authority figure

Be seen as an authority figure and a reference by the audience generates confidence and trust in your brand. That could result in revenue.

However, it is not easy for a brand to be seen as an authority in its field… the podcast can help you do so.

It has the unique ability to :

  • capture the attention of listeners for a significant amount of time (some episodes last up to 2 hours).
  • limit external distractions (listen to them while jogging, washing dishes, or when traveling).
  • be listened to in an intimate setting (usually alone with headphones on).
  • speak directly to the listener (a host can address the listener and create a feeling of familiarity).

… Shall we continue?

Audio content creates an authentic connection between listeners (potential prospects) and the podcast host (a brand ambassador).
Listeners end up identifying the podcast’s host and the guests as true experts on the topic they are interested in.

Hermès can attest to that. The brand’s podcast named “Le Faubourg des Rêves”.takes us behind the scenes of the historic Faubourg Saint-Honoré store in Paris.

In 9 episodes, Hermès gives the floor to:

  • Its craftsmen,
  • Its stylists,
  • Its sales assistants

Through unheard stories and staff anecdotes, this podcast contributes to the humanization of the brand and, reinforces the position of Hermes as a fashion expert.

Before choosing this route, ask yourself this question:

Do I want my brand to become an authority figure? What expertise would I like to highlight?

A common one:

  • DIY?
  • Travel?
  • Fitness?

More of a niche theme with less competition:

  • DIY projects in tech?
  • Luxury travel?
  • Post-pregnancy fitness?

If you are pursuing this goal, keep in mind that your podcast should be used as:

  • A key resource capable of answering questions on a topic.
  • An educational tool (when they want to delve deeper into a subject)
  • A strategic tool that answers the “frequently asked questions” of a topic (take the opportunity to explore the subjects in depth)


Transform your brand into an authority figure

Focus on reviews (at all costs!)

Whether for a movie (via Rotten Tomatoes), a product (via Amazon), or even a hotel for a future trip (via booking.com), the modern consumer pays a lot of attention to reviews.
Podcast listeners have the same habit. So, the more positive reviews you get… the more chances you have to make your podcast a reference.

For each episode, through a call to action, encourage your audience to leave a positive review.

You will create a chain reaction:

  • Podcast platform algorithms (Apple, Spotify, Audible, etc.) will more likely bring up your program in the search engine.
  • Potential listeners will be reassured and will think: “I can invest my time in this podcast rather than another one. This one seems legit”.
  • Your expertise will be valued. That will positively impact the level of trust given to your products and services.

Are you convinced that the podcast can bring you a lot in the short-term? Still hesitating? Don’t you worry, a podcast can also generate long-term results. Check out our dedicated article: What ROI to expect in the long term?

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