How Blinkist Used Podcast Marketing for Audible Growth

We spoke to Bobby Richardson of Blinkist about podcast marketing

How Blinkist Used Podcast Marketing for Audible Growth

The world of podcast and influencer marketing has shown great growth in recent years. Case in point: our recent LinkedIn poll results showed that marketers are placing great emphasis on these channels in 2021.

During a big ol’ heatwave in Europe, we dove into this topic for our latest SCALEup webinar. Our Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager Eric Vissers spoke to Bobby Richardson, the Head of Offline Marketing at Blinkist, the book-summarising subscription service based in Berlin. And while Blinkist is well-known for its own podcast Simplify, they’ve also launched podcasts as a marketing channel over the last couple of years to great success.

Marketers: take note. Here’s what we found out about the hotter-than-hot channel, including about the techniques Blinkist have utilised to get the word out there, plus some nuggets about the future of the podcast world.

The podcast marketing world is becoming more like the TV one

TV is quite similar to podcasts

Both Bobby and our moderator Eric come from the land of linear TV. And Bobby explained how this experience came in handy when venturing into podcasts. “It was a little bit of a wild wild west at the start but later on we saw the beginnings of a traditional offline structure with networks and agencies,” said Bobby. Imagine it like this: the podcasts are TV stations, the networks are sales houses and there are agencies connecting everybody together. But that’s not all: Bobby noted how it was possible to optimise this channel just like they do with performance TV, something we will get to later.

It was a little bit of a wild wild west at the start but later on we saw the beginnings of a traditional offline structure with networks and agencies.”

But some things are much, much different…

While the structure of podcast marketing has with time developed in a similar way to linear TV, it’s undeniably its own beast. First off, finding out the impressions. “You don’t have Nielsen for impressions here, we are reliant on podcasters to tell us their results,” he says.

For TV, frequency is king. But for podcasts it’s not so important. “Some of our ad reads are two minutes long, so we don’t need so much frequency,” Bobby explains. After all, two minutes is a good amount of time to explain a product to the consumer, in comparison to the average 30 second TVC. And the time of year doesn’t matter so much either. The summer slump and winter highs in TV prices and viewing figures aren’t so apparent with podcasting.

What about budgeting? “With TV, the argument is that you need a certain budget and reach to see results,” Bobby explains. But what’s nice is that you can start quite small with podcasts. With podcasts and influencers, you can see an impact on an individual basis.” 

Landing pages beat codes at Blinkist

According to Bobby, there are two main ways to get people from the podcast ad to your site: codes and landing page links. And for Blinkist, landing pages have worked out best for measurement.

“Incentives or codes do have an impact with podcasts,” says Bobby. “But with adding a snappy landing page, things become much easier to track. Our focus is on landing pages with discount codes, as it works the best for us.” 

So how do the traffic proportions stack up? “We see about 50% of the direct impact through landing pages, with the other 50% coming from other sources,“ says Bobby.

Branding and performance shouldn’t be siloed

We love brandformance here at DCMN – and it turns out Blinkist does too! “I don’t subscribe to this simplification of branding versus performance,” says Bobby. “For a business like Blinkist, when we try to build our brand it’s not so we can tell my mum it’s famous. It’s for business reasons.” 

At the end of day, acquiring customers is just as crucial as branding for long-term growth. And you know what? “In podcast and influencer, we get a bit of both,” says Bobby.

What’s coming next?

Shortcasts by Blinkist are Bobby's hot tips for the future

If you’re a stickler for measurability in marketing (aren’t we all?), get excited. “I’m expecting to see big improvements in tracking and attribution for podcasts,” says Bobby. But that’s not it. “Oh and one Blinkist plug,” smiles Bobby. “Shortcasts (a condensed version of a podcast episode focused on its key ideas) is the next big thing in audio.”


Bobby’s podcast marketing highlights
  • No Such Thing As A Fish (“This one is made by some researchers from the show QI in the UK, which I really like,” says Bobby)
  • Pod Save America (“One of our spots on here was a bit of a ‘pride and joy’, from a marketing perspective, as we were placed right next to an interview with Barack Obama,” smiles Bobby). 

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