What’s Wrong with Podcasting?

Metrics! I remember the day I first looked at online banner tracking. Metaphorically speaking, two dozen doves broke heaven-ward from my computer screen, angels singing in the background, and the Holy Grail revealed itself to me.

I knew which ads worked, which didn’t. I could test to see if it was the creative, the promotional offer or the medium that failed. As a marketer I could finally see what I was doing.

Intuition is useful, but it’s a lot easier to find your way with a map.

Hey, who turned off the lights! Podcasting takes me back to those dark days of yore. Will the slang evolve into “eardrums” instead of “eyeballs”? What kind of an impression does an impression make?

How many eardrums experienced that 10-second sponsorship identification line at the end of the 42nd episode? The producer tells me that 1,400 fingers subscribed to it. He fails to mention that the ears got bored and tuned-out when he got dull somewhere around episode 36.

Why am I paying for fingers, when it’s hearts and minds I’m hoping for?

What’s the best indication that I’m not the only one stressed about podcasting ROI? I offer you the launch of a pay-per-call model by Ingenio, distributed through PodBridge.

PodBridge attempts to track its audience by asking them to install software to make the tracking possible. I think of it like those shows where the celebrities invite the Insider to come video tape their house — they do it as long as everything’s clean and cool.

And so I’m wondering if everyone’s so eager to install, do you really need the pay-per-call option? I suspect installation evasion prevails.

Is the pay-per-call method a way of calming my reservations as a marketer? I’m uncomfortable already trying a new-to-me medium. I’m also suspicious of some self-proclaimed experts as producer/ hosts. Who are the audiences of these pundits?

Pay-per-call is sort of like a risk-free guarantee, pay only if it works. Seems reasonable. Might even be fair. If I don’t get any calls, no metric to say, “successful!”, so no money out of pocket. And still no data. I still don’t know if anyone heard the messages.

What if someone does hear my message, but uses a search engine to find me later? How will I know that the podcast is a good place for my branding? The producer, who doesn’t get diddly for my branding successes that pay off on other media, may go broke and disappear. I lose a valuable conduit to my audience.

Seems like we’ve got a ways to go before podcasting tracking is resolved.