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Podcast Guesting Pro founder Graham Brown joins podcast host Heather Osgood on "Podcast Advertising Playbook" podcast to discuss if companies need a branded podcast. The following is a transcript of their conversation. For more tips on podcast guesting success, go to our podcast guesting resources.

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Heather Osgood 00:04
You're listening to the Podcast Advertising Playbook, your resource to better understand and execute successful podcast ad campaigns. Hello and welcome to the podcast advertising playbook. I'm your host, Heather Osgood. And today I am joined by Graham Brown. Graham is the founder of Pikkal. He also has a podcast guesting company, as well as a couple of podcasts himself. So he is very well versed in the podcast industry. Welcome to the show. 

Graham Brown 00:35

Lovely to be here, Heather. It's great to be, I followed your show and I followed you for quite a while. So it's great to actually have this now face to face. 

Heather Osgood 00:43

Yeah. Graham, thank you so much. I really appreciate that. And it's so much fun. I think, to talk to someone who is so steeped in the podcast space. So I'm, I'm curious, how long have you been in podcasting and how did you get into the industry? 

Graham Brown 00:57

Hmm, as a business, four years. When I started the podcast agency Pikkal, which is a corporate podcast agency, but as a podcaster, many more, I mean, I've found podcasts that I've done from 2014. So that would be eight years as a podcaster doing more as hobbies. I don't think there was any money in it back then, anyway, but even before that, long before that doing audio interviews for business. I had a research company and even before the name podcasting was a thing, or even before you could get it onto Apple and like the Spotify wasn't even a thing then, but that's probably a good 10 years or more. So yeah. 

Heather Osgood 01:38

That is awesome. So one thing I have to bring up before we get too deep into our conversation is that when I was looking at your LinkedIn profile, I saw that you got a degree in AI in 1995. And I was like, Man, this guy was maybe just a little bit. This guy is old, ahead of the curve. no, it's, I feel like everyone is talking AI now, but you have been in the AI space for some time 

Graham Brown 02:06

too long. Yeah. Ahead of the curve, maybe ahead of isn't there a point where you're too ahead of the, when the curve doesn't even exist. I think that's where I was in 95. I could have been master of the universe. Now have I graduated with an AI degree, but back then it was not really a thing. So 95, when I graduated, they, the only job they could recommend me in the careers library of university was teach English in Japan. But the only qualification was that is, can you speak English? Yep. I can do that. Okay. Here's a job for you. So I took that, but in a way that's kind of, you know, that sort of brought those two worlds together. Obviously is, is, you know, front and center, a lot of business challenges now and storytelling as well is the other half of it. I'm glad that I'd started out like that as opposed to went deep into the world of AI. But yeah, it's a long time. It was actually last century. If you put it that way. 

Heather Osgood 03:03

Oh, gosh, that's so crazy. Yeah. I just, I think that, like you said, there is a point at wait, at which maybe you're ahead of the curve, but it sounds to me like it really maybe paved the path for you, in terms of how you're approaching things now. And I know there are many people in podcasting who certainly feel like, they perhaps got into it, but ahead of the curve as well, what led you to start a Pikkal? What about that was appealing? And it sounds like Pikkal is a company that is focused on corporate and governmental branded podcasts. 

Graham Brown 03:36

Yes. So that's different from what a lot of people do a lot more exciting podcasts. I have to confess that would be great to do a true crime or a history podcast. Those are the ones with the big numbers, but there's a big group of people, who corporates, who have a big need, but don't want that they want their, their problems are not content problems. It's not really a content, you know, issue for them. It's more of a communications issue. Like, how do we speak in an authentic way? How do we communicate like humans, which I know sounds very obvious to humans, but like when you put it in the corporate context, a lot of that can be lost and obscured by the, you know, parameters of how companies traditionally communicate through white papers or through press releases or through, you know, the lens of coms, which tends to edit everything. So there is a big need and it's very simple in the fact that the, they don't want very deep narrative podcast. They just wanna be able to showcase their people. So the way I got into that was really through accident that I started my own podcast in the business space in 2017, when we were traveling the world and really started as a passion project, it's called Asia tech podcast. It was really an attempt for me to connect with people and I did 503 episodes of, because I had this sort of prolific run streak on it that people saw me on their feed constantly on LinkedIn or Twitter. And then they would reach out and say, Hey, how do I do this? Because I became that guy. You know, for example, when I think of advertising, I think of you. And so back then, when people thought of, how do I start a podcast, they thought of me, you, you have that kind of avatar in their consciousness. And what started as a hobby then became favors. Oh, yeah, I'll walk you through the microphone setups. And then it became more of a business opportunity, which is okay. Now we have a company who are interested in starting. Now we have, you know, a project which is gonna be more than just, how do we set up a mixer? It's more about, you know, how do we create thought leadership for our brand? So that really dragged me into it. I never sat out with this grand plan, Heather to start a corporate podcast agency, but we just fell into it. 

Heather Osgood 05:53 

Isn't that how most great businesses start 

Graham Brown 05:57 

like to think so. Yeah. I dunno about the, find your why thing. Haven't, I think I'll find it later on. Yeah. 

Heather Osgood 06:05 

Oh boy. Well, so one of the things you said that I think is really fascinating, that is different than I would've thought is that these companies aren't producing these shows because they want content, they're producing them because of communication and I think maybe coming from more of that small business arena, Content is king, right? Like how often do we hear that? Like content just produce the content and everything else will fall into place. But when you look at it from a governmental or a corporate structure, because they are institutions in and of themselves communications and breaking down, some of those barriers sounds like maybe that's their biggest challenge. Is that what you see? 

Graham Brown 06:54

Yeah, absolutely. A lot of it is to do with where it comes from inside the company as well. If you think from a company. So where you've got departments, let's say a company, not a small business. So a company that has departments, they're gonna initiate a podcast from one of two places, or maybe there's a third place, which we can talk about. The first one is marketing. So whereas a marketing driven podcast, it's a marketing buyer who will be looking for content. They're looking at podcast, this is more your kind of conversation. It's like, you know, it's a great way to create authentic advertising or, or it’s Real estate we can advertise on. So that's one, then there's the coms led podcast, which is, we need to do this as a thought leadership piece. So this will replace reports, events, analyst, brunches, those kind of things. And then, you know, increasingly we're seeing these kind of internal podcasts, which are L and D led initiatives. They can come from different places in the business, but they tend to be a better version of a newsletter if you like, or a better and more effective way of getting people together inside the company, rather than the offsite or the town halls that have been favored over the last few years. But those seem to be, it really depends on where it comes from in the business. Cause that really shapes the nature of the problem. And therefore, the kind of solution that you give them. 

Heather Osgood 08:16

Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that, that makes total sense. I am so fascinated by internal podcasts. And I also love, we were working with a hospital for a while and they did through a company called radio MD that specializes in creating hospital podcasts. But I knew the marketing person at that hospital and I knew that she had done these once a quarter, actually, I think they were monthly where they would do like an event and they would bring in a cardiologist to speak about heart issues, or they would bring in somebody to talk about diabetes. And they were meant to be like learning seminar type things. And she really struggled in advertising them. She had struggled in getting the doctors there to talk about it, and then she struggled to get attendees. But the hospital was saying, no, you have to do this. And so what she did was she took that and she transitioned it into a podcast and it's easy for the doctor to just call in on a phone and do a quick 20 minute conversation with someone who's interviewing him or her. And then the content, you know, gets distributed and it's so much simpler. And yet it's really facilitating the same kind of educational community outreach project that they were trying to do. And it sounds like what you're saying there are those internal podcasts. There are those maybe community outreach type projects. And then there, there are podcasts that are created for marketing. I'm curious from the types of shows you do, where do the percentages lie? Are you seeing more marketing podcasts? Are you seeing more of a certain type.

Graham Brown 09:55

We do mostly corporate podcasts, which is, I mean, the, I break it down into three categories, B to C, B to B and B to E podcast. And to clarify for everybody, if you're listeners B to C and B to B doesn't mean,  B2C doesn't mean a podcast listened to by a consumer and B2B doesn't mean a podcast listened to by a business. It's not like a business sits around and listens to it. They're all listened to by individuals, but their functions are very different. So we don't do any B2C podcast just because we're not very good at it. I confess cuz it requires a different approach entirely, you know, you need a creative team. You need to have come from that world. You need to think about it as business, as a Content problem. So we don't do that. We've tried it, but it's not us. It's not our strength. And I think it's definitely a weakness. What we do is the, the B to B and the B2 E podcast, and B to B is most of what we do because a business to employee, the internal podcast, I don't think people know about them yet. That wonderful story of the hospital MD podcast, for example, the, the medical podcast, it just goes to show, but that, there could be millions of those examples that could happen out there, but people don't, they don't know that this is possible, but if somebody shared this story with them, they go like, think, the light goes on. So the vast majority of what we do is B to B. So it's always, how does a company speak to, it's network it's clients, it's partners, potential hires, the industry, all of that. So that's almost most of what we do. And then there are some B2E podcasts as well, which is a growing sector as well. 

Heather Osgood 11:36

yeah. Yeah. That's fascinating. So I, I think one of the questions that I always bring up. Is there an advertising element somewhere in all of this. And I'm curious as we are creating these B2B podcasts, are you finding that there's engagement with them? Do you track the listenership? Are there hurdles that, you know, have to be overcome? I know that people are so familiar with newsletters or they're so familiar with, oh, this company always did these kinds of updates, and now all of a sudden there's a podcast. My dad, the other day was visiting and he's like, this, this organization, he's part of, he's like the leader wants us to listen to a podcast and I have to tell you, I don't really like it. And I'm like, dad, just give it a try. But to him, it's just like this weird foreign thing. He would rather, they sent him something printed. So I guess I'm just curious, like what kind of adoption are you seeing in terms of actual listenership? 

Graham Brown 12:39

Yeah. In the B2B world, the adoption's gonna be lower because the market's smaller. That's one thing you gotta put it out there that you're not gonna get the serial style podcasts.  

Heather Osgood 12:51 

No, and that's not your intention, that's not your goal. 

Graham Brown 12:53 

No, no, not at all. I mean, if you can get a podcast, even with like hundreds of listeners, 200 listeners or 2000 listeners, but if those 200 listeners or 2000 listeners are Csuite or their buyers or whoever you want to talk to. In that context, if you think about, if you went and did a conference presentation in front of 200 people, and those people were ideal audience avatar for you, that's really valuable. And the beauty of it is with your hospital example is it's not just an event, which you do, which is then done. You know, you're creating this content, which could last like shared the idea Podcast. I did eight years ago. It's out there. And you think about, it's talking to people for years and years and it's gonna be discovered. So there's an SEO value in that as well. You put it out there. Somebody could find that in 10 years time and it's keyword rich content as well. So the numbers are, we've gotta view them differently to traditional marketing metrics. I feel with advertising and with any kind of podcast is because the engagement levels are completely are at different level. We're not talking seconds, we're talking 43 minutes on average engagement. That's the average length of a podcast. And most people listen to most of the podcast. So where do you get that kind of bandwidth with people? Where do you get that kind of top of funnel ability to influence people. There isn't anything else out there on that scale. The only equivalence is this it's like you and I are sitting over a cup of coffee and having a chat, but how can you do that to hundreds of people at a time at scale. So I think the engagement part is really interesting because we are, we are having to see it through a different paradigm entirely that is not simple comparison of rate cards between one and the other, cuz there's a different depth of engagement in podcasts, which does not exist anywhere else outside of the coffee conversation.

Heather Osgood 14:47

yeah, yeah, absolutely. I talk about a lot. The reason that it is such a deep conversation is because when you are literally in someone's ears and you are talking directly to them, they're creating all of these mental pictures of that conversation. And that is reinforced at such a deeper level than it is. If, even in my opinion, if they're watching video, I haven't done any real research on that but when I, I think it's very similar to reading a book, right? When you read a book, you are creating the picture and that's why it's so much more stimulating to your brain than when you're watching TV. And I think with audio, it's very similar that there is, there is that I think almost neurological connection that happens that is so different than other types of communication. 

Graham Brown 15:39

You're absolutely right. There has been a lot of research done on that from, not in the context of podcast, but just in the context of language and audio, that is the main line to human emotion and connection. A lot of, if you look at our language and we had a good chat about languages before we went on air, but look at how language shapes relationships. If, if  I’m talking to my wife and I'm being rude or not as a good husband as I should be. Well, she will say to me, you're not listening. Sorry, what, you know, I'm being obnoxious maybe, but she won't say to, when you think about it, she won't say you're not looking at me. And so like listening is the root of our relationships with people. And increasingly we understand in the world of marketing, how important relationships and connecting at an emotional level is with people. You think about it that in recent years, we've talked about the voice of the customer, or if somebody says, you know, they feel heard, it means that you feel that somebody understood you. If you said he heard me out, it means to understand you, it means to get you. It means almost like, feel your problem. It's different to like he saw me could be anything. And so you think about that and how important audio is to our language. And we just accept it in the day to day but when you step back from it, you realize actually, It's so fundamental in human relationships and the clues are there in language. Look at the word audio. So. If you do a little bit of research, there's a group of words which all have the same route, audio, authenticity, audience, authority, you know, all the things that people struggle for. Now, everybody wants to be authentic. It's the age of authenticity, right? And everybody wants to be an authority. Everybody wants to be an influencer and audience. Everybody wants to grow an audience and they all share the same root of the word audio, which actually, if you go back to ancient Greek, there is a word where they all come from, the AU word, which literally there's no direct translation in English, but the nearest translation that we have in English for AU means to feel, is to feel or perceive. And so there's a reason why all of these words sit in the same mind space it’s because that's how we sense people and feel them. And that is really the root of connection with people. And if you're gonna talk about marketing, that's the base of it. 

Heather Osgood 18:10 

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Wow. Graham, that is awesome. I really appreciate that insight and I absolutely agree with you. It's so powerful and there is such a depth to it that it really doesn't compete with anything else. And as you mentioned, and as I'm sure, you can hear in, in listening to Graham speak, he is actually from, you're from the UK, right. And where are you currently? Singapore, Singapore. Okay. And you also mentioned that you had traveled the world. So you have been in a lot of different, I would say cultural environments and different context with different languages. And I know you and I had, as you mentioned a really great conversation just around language before, before we, we started recording here and you not only are approaching podcasts from the, you know the knowledge side of the connection piece and understanding the communication, but you're also really approaching podcasting from a very global perspective. And I think, I know, oftentimes on the show we talk, I think from a very US centric perspective, which is of course is a very American thing to do, but I'm really curious what you are seeing, just kind of internationally. How are you seeing the podcast industry kind of play out around the globe? 

Graham Brown 19:26

It's a really interesting question. It's really changed in the last two years, Heather and I, I feel a big part of it has been the groundwork that the US, and then later countries like UK or Australia and some non-English speaking countries in Europe for example, have made in the podcast. Well, because they really blazed a trail for others to follow. They put out their serial Joe Rogan. They gave people playbooks to look at, love them or hate them, but they gave people an understanding of what it could be. And then you've got Spotify and Apple have done so much to really bring this industry, you know, into a more professional outfit that it is now. Now what's happened is these other markets. So we've got this market called Asia, for example, and maybe you only take two of those markets, India and China. You've got a third of the world's population already there and a very young population. Let's just take India as an example, you've got 1.2 billion people and a big chunk of that population, we're talking 75% of that population are below 40 years old. Really, so, you know. Yeah. So you think about that, that now you've got this very young population who are digital first, right? They've all got mobile phones and there's a lot of digital talent in India. Obviously. There's a lot of developers there, a lot of, less of the creative side, so much and more of people who've got the skills and got access. So you've got that, obviously English is a major language in India. So they've been, they've sort of imported a lot of this content. And now what's happening is that over the last couple of years, it's been really localized. So I've seen, for example, in India alone, India is, will become if it won't be by the end of this year, but next year, the, the largest podcast market in the world, just in terms of sheer numbers, because you have potentially 200 million people, 200 million listeners there, and people don't even think about India as a market. Now, the interesting thing about India is that, it's not just one language. So India alone has 200 odd languages, English, Hindi, we probably know, but you're seeing, for example, I looked at the data even like Bengali, which is a province, it's out there. It's like, you know, New Hampshire or something. The equivalence of geography of, you know, India. It's, it's a remote province. You've got 60 million people there. As a market that's bigger than California, right? So, you think about that as a market, a localized market. So we're seeing this really niche localization of content. Initially it's, I'll adopt, you know, I'll become the Joe Rogan in Bengali. So you get all that kind of thing. Like you see every, everybody wants to be the Joe Rogan, all the , whoever the equivalents are. 

Heather Osgood 22:16

That's so funny. Yeah. Which I, and they hear they're all good. So I'm sure there are people that can do that. There's gonna be a leader in that country. 

Graham Brown 22:23

Well, they take the playbook and they're run with it. Cuz they'll get away with it. They can be that version of it, but then people would, you know, they'll start developing their own. So you're seeing a lot of comedy, for example, in these markets, which is really interesting. Interesting. You're seeing more true crime. Yeah, the big, like, it's probably one of the biggest growth markets, comedy. wow. You know, it's fascinating if you listen to it, you wouldn't understand it, cuz there's a language because comedy is a great way to address social issues in a non direct way. And it's a great way to a non-political way. In these markets where these, where a lot of people haven't had a voice for a generation is now giving them a voice so they can talk about issues. You're seeing a lot of women podcasters in these markets, like India's exploding the number of female podcasters. So you, you see all these very positive signs. It's a real, like a real flourishing it's like, you know, let's go back to the, you know, the middle ages when the, the printing press was made. And then it just gave everybody a voice to speak up for the first time. And I'm seeing that in these markets, we've just talked about India. There's hundreds of markets where people are for the first time creating local content and building local audiences. And that's fascinating cuz there's a very strong connection. They've got very, they've got these curated communities, which they've curated with love and they've talked, they've built audiences around these talking points and they're off the radar of most people.

Heather Osgood 23:44

Right. They're, they're off the radar of most people, I would say probably in the podcast industry. Like if we were to classify the podcast industry, I know that we certainly talk a lot about diversity. I know Spanish speaking podcasts certainly have increased in listenership at least in some of the Edison research reports, we're seeing that. So I definitely know in Mexico, in particular, you know, I think that listenership has increased significantly, but it is such a global industry as most industries are now. And one of the nice things about Spotify is that because they're not an American based company, I do think that it's possible that they perhaps take maybe a more global approach. And I know that when we're talking about where the dollars are, they still currently are in the US, but if we're looking to project or we're looking to grow as an industry, where are those opportunities? And I do believe that those opportunities are, they are in many different countries around the world. And I, your observation of India is so spot on, right? Because you've got a, a population there that's not only large, but has adopted technology. And,  perhaps has access to technology in a greater way than maybe other countries. So what would you say you feel are maybe some of the challenges that the podcast industry is facing right now?

Graham Brown 25:10 

So many, I mean, you, you've mentioned one, for example, isn't a comfort zone at the moment. obviously, we're all aware of these sort of podcast conferences that claim to be global and yet only speak to a certain audience. But that, I mean, that's understandable, isn't it it's. If, if these people are knocking on your door, you don't know it's out there, but that will change I think in time. So that's one, but the thing that's a small one, that's just a sort of a step we need to make in the right direction. The, probably the biggest one is data or lack of data. I mean, we do have data and we need to remember that Spotify and Apple, who are the two biggest players in this market, they're not advertisers and we're not dealing with Google who makes it their job to democratize the data. And if you go on paper click, you can see exactly what's going on. You can see you've got comparatives. You can see all your other advertising competitors as well. For Spotify and apple. It's a bit different. It's a bit of a black box. It doesn't mean that they won't go down that route and make the data better. And I think they're taking steps, but obviously I guess this is a struggle for advertisers as well. We don't have what we're used to in the web in the advertising world of podcasts. So there's still a lot of steps that need to happen. And yet I think there are really interesting things happening in data. And we're seeing like the acquisition of certain data platforms. We're seeing the development of public benchmarks of data, like for example, rankings, which I think is, something we need to develop more in terms of just accuracy, I think is a good thing, but that's helped people benchmark, you know, A versus B when it comes to choosing between inventory as well and getting an idea of what audience this podcast talking to, but I, I also think one of the really interesting areas is audio data. Because if you think about a, your average 30 minute podcast, it generates about 5,000 words of content, that contains a lot of information about you. And I don't think we've yet realized how valuable that is, but to put it into context and I'm going away from your question a little bit, but it's like I'm staying on the data point is that, I saw some data. I think it was from USC, but I have to, you know, some, hopefully one of your listeners might pull me up on this is that, there's a project called the ear project E-A-R, which is all about the, how much of our time, how much of our life we spend talking. And they found that the average person spends 5% of their day on social media. Give or take, but the average person also spends 20% of their day in conversation with other people. Now that's really interesting because your Facebook and all those guys are investing billions in that 5%, yet there's a lot of information in that other part. When you and I talk, we can learn a lot about each other, like where you're from, like what you talk about, what your key messages are, what you believe, the kind of language you use and so on. And that leaves a trace. Every conversation you have, if it's on a podcast has a trace, I feel that that's a next generation of data that will get into, but that's a bit of a way away, but, you know, go, go back to the beginning. I still think data is a challenge. 

Heather Osgood 28:21

Interesting. Interesting. So I guess just to piggyback on that, you would think from those statistics that a platform like clubhouse or fireside would've really taken off because it is trying to be that, but it seemed like those really petered out. And for me, the reason I didn't get super into clubhouse is because I listen to audio. I listen to a lot of audio books and I listen to a lot of podcast, but I fit it into my life. So I listen to it in chunks when I have the time to do it. And with clubhouse. I felt like it was more like appointment listening that I had to be there at a certain time, or I had to listen live. And when things, maybe conversations were happening, they didn't, the conversations didn't fit into my life. And that's why for me, it didn't work well. But I guess I'm curious, like, what is your thought process around? Why something like that maybe didn't work. I mean, and I'm not saying that clubhouse is dead, but I definitely think it didn't work the way they

Graham Brown 29:26

Yeah. It's not clubhouse, go back 18 months clubhouse when it was everything. And there have been a few others as well. I mean, fireside, that was Mark Cuban's gig. Wasn't it? That hasn't really gone anywhere. Yeah. I, Spotify have got, I'm looking at what Spotify is doing because they're, they've just recently repositioned green room. It's a part, their front and they put it front and center with the live thing. I think that sounds a better 

Heather Osgood 29:49

I haven’t been following that really, but okay.

Graham Brown 29:52 

I guess Heather, it's gonna come through the back door. It's gonna be like, okay, we'll just ignore this thing now, it's gonna go away. And then it will come back and I think Spotify, obviously, because they can easily just add it on to their existing offer. And if it doesn't work, they'll just park it somewhere and nobody will know about it. So that's interesting. 

Heather Osgood 30:12

They can usher it away very quietly. No 

Graham Brown 30:14

Yeah, It never happens' like Google plus or something. Exactly. We don't remember that and then maybe the other ones are like, Twitter spaces is interesting, that seems to be, you know, they're not hyping it 

Heather Osgood 30:24 

As long as Elon Musk doesn't just take over the whole. So we'll see what happened to that. 

Graham Brown 30:30

Anything can happen. What is this space? Things can happen. There was a lot of hype around the clubhouse and that sort of made it hard for them to sustain that growth. So that was the problem. Yeah. But I don't think the idea of social audio is gonna go away. I think that's really interesting. You know, every podcaster will tell you that the number one problem is building an audience in a community. Yeah. You know, how do we do that? How do we go beyond, because it's so easy now to produce a podcast, isn't it like now because of the economics of that, it's getting harder to promote. So that you're going back to this idea. It's almost like radio. You think about what radio has been really. I mean, radio's been around a hundred years. It should have gone away. Everybody said it was a sunset industry, the end of radio, but it's still going, right. The end's been coming for really long. Yeah. A hundred years. The reason why radio still goes is because what radio does really well is community. Even if you think about a radio DJ, they'll be going to the hospital and talking to people in the hospital and doing interviews, or they'll be going out to the community, cuz there's a local event and here's the local report from what's going on down at the local Walmart, whatever. They were really good at that. And they had like listeners phone in, in the old days or they still do the mail bag is all community. We've gotta learn a lot from these techniques that kept radio going, cuz it wasn't about the content, it was about creating community around these conversations. So I think, but that's bringing it back is that's what people are looking for is how do we build a community around this content? And some people are getting it right. Some people are discovering it just through sheer trial and error. Yeah. And they're building communities around their podcast and that's keeping them. 

Heather Osgood 32:08

Yeah, absolutely. And I, I definitely think even from an advertising perspective that we have seen advertising on a podcast is great, but if we can advertise on a podcast and support it with social or with YouTube or with these other outlets, I, I really do think that podcasts are so wonderful for so many reasons which we've already talked about, but what they lack most is they lack, like you had mentioned that ability to have a two-way conversation, right? Podcasts are very much a one way. Listen, listen, but where is that feedback loop? And that, that piece has to exist in order to create community. And I think that's why the social element is really important. Getting back to data. I feel like we talk so much about the lack of data or that we need more data, from your perspective, which like which what data is actually lacking, because that is such a broad term. And, and I think, especially in light of all of the privacy issues, of course digital marketing has been amazing for advertisers, because back in the day, when you had all the offline advertising happening, which you still do, but there isn't any, there is no data and so that's why I think marketers like digital so well, and, and truthfully, not even that, I think it maybe even works so much better. It's just that the marketers like, oh, I've got all of this data to prove that it worked or, you know, I've got a report. So yeah. What kind of data is missing? 

Graham Brown 33:39

Clients will ask a lot of questions about their numbers. How do we know who these people are or right. You know, what, how do we know if this person's listened to three or four episodes? Which if you think about it in Google analytics, you get equivalents. Like you can see if somebody with attribution has gone from one page to another page, for example, and then signed up yet Apple and Spotify only give you very vague assumptions about generic demographics. For example, we won't tell you who these people are, but maybe I suppose we could ask that in a different way. Say what can we do with these numbers, given what we have, and I've found, looking at audience numbers alone gives you a one dimensional picture of what's going on in the podcast. Yes, you can see from that, whether or not an episode worked over another episode or this subject's interesting and that one isn't, you can look at maybe longitudinal numbers. You could see, for example, like we do like a launch map, which would see the first 30 days of audience numbers compared to the baseline average for the podcast. And you'll see a, like a line it'll be a curve. And does it go above or below the curve? It'll give you an idea of whether or not the launch strategy for each episode is working. So there's basic stuff. But what I find is quite interesting is actually if you cross correlate audience with engagement, because then you can map, like, if you can imagine like a quadrant with two axes and one you've got audience, one you've got engagement, you can turn that data into stories. And this is where it gets really interesting because what you find, it's not just a case of everything has to be in the top quadrant. Everything has to have really high audience and really high engagement, cuz that's not the reality. What you find is that you may have an episode with high end audience, but low engagement, or high engagement and low audience, for example, and you get these outliers and you get these pictures emerge. And if you look at the data in this way, you can see, for example, like something that has really high engagement, but low audience is like a niche subject. So in one client that we worked with is that they had that happening on a number of podcasts, they were doing about very niche subjects. Like for example, precious matter, it was very, it spoke to a few people, but those that are into it were really into it. And then you can look at that, those numbers and you, and from that, you can extrapolate that and say, is there a Subseries there in the podcast? If you lump all this stuff together, the risk is that you make everything to everybody. But if you split that out, what you could then find is that maybe you've got this sort of major series. And then you've got these sort of sub series, which you can run separately, which talk to a different audience. So you can use your numbers in that way. You can use what we have already to get a better idea of what your audience is interested in and how you can use that data to drive decisions about content and a very tangible example of that is with one client. We found that doing that same engagement mapping, that we were able to use the data to then go and launch two separate language podcasts. Yeah. They had like a Mandarin one and then they did a German one. So they have an English one. And if you mix them all together because their audience is global, then all the engagement numbers go down. But if you split them off, then you see all the numbers go up and that's where you can use your numbers to really drive decisions about content. So I, I think we've got some enough to make basic strategic decisions about what kind of content works with people and then you can see where the drop offs are and so on, but it's still, you know, if you were to compare that to Google, you can have far deeper analytic data on Google, but at the end of the day, Google will happy. You take a lot of your money and spend your credit card to the max every month. And you could be no better off to sometimes it might be simpler or is better.

Heather Osgood 37:26 

Yeah, no, it's true. So I'm curious, how are you tracking engagement? Are you just looking at that through Apple and like the listen through length or yeah. 

Graham Brown 37:36

Yeah. One of the, yeah, we, we have a metric called podcast market fit, which is basically as a guide, 75% of the audience listened to 75% of the episode. So that's good podcast market fit. You can get that data from apple. You know what the drop off point is, what percentage of your audience will listen to X percent of the episode and that gives you an idea. So it tells you whether or not it's engaging and that's variable. We could have 75%, 66%, whatever. Right. You can use your own numbers there, but that's a good starting point.

Heather Osgood 38:13

Okay. Interesting Graham. I know we need to start wrapping it up. It's been a real pleasure to have you on the show today. If folks wanna connect with you or learn more about your services, where can they go? 

Graham Brown 38:24

Go to my personal website. It's a jumping off point. If you go there, you can get details about, you know, if you want to get onto other people's podcasts, the podcast guesting service, or if you want to find out more about the agency, Pikkal. So go to Graham D brown, it's gotta have a D in it cuz is a wallpaper company. It's not,

Heather Osgood 38:45

I actually found that this morning. I was like

Graham Brown 38:47

That's my side hustle. So Graham D for David, you gotta have that in there. It's a completely different outlook and you can, you know, contact me from there, find all my socials and so on.

Heather Osgood 38:56

Okay. Perfect. Thanks so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate it. And thank you for listening. If you are interested in learning more about podcast advertising, head on over to Thanks so much. And we'll talk to you next week. 

Heather Osgood 39:11

Thank you for listening to the Podcast Advertising Playbook, your source to a better understanding of the podcast advertising industry.


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About The Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Podcast Guesting Pro. Graham is a published author on the subject of Digital Communication and Personal Branding (Amazon titles include "Brand Love: How to Build a Brand Worth Talking About" and "Mobile Youth: Voices of the Connected Generation). He has produced, project managed and guested on over 2,000 podcast episodes.