PRX is shaping the future of audio by building technology, training talented producers, and connecting them with supportive listeners.
We worked closely with the PRX team in 2020 to help grow their engaged community of podcasters around the world through the Google Podcasts creator program, events, webinars, email sign-ups, and other online content.
Finding New Voices in Podcasting: An omni-channel recruitment campaign for the Google Podcasts creator program
The Google Podcasts creator program (GPcp) is a partnership between Google and PRX that trains, mentors, and provides resources to underrepresented voices in podcasting around the world. The accelerator program trains early-stage podcasters, and they were recruiting new participants for three new cohorts in 2020 and 2021. They had clear goals to reach creators in new regions internationally, particularly Latin America. Domestically, the GPcp wanted to increase the diversity of participants to support traditionally unheard voices in podcasting.
- Over 2,700 applications submitted to the GPcp — exceeding goals by 84%
- 90% of applicants were multi-racial or non-white
- 690% increased in email signups during recruitment
WHAT WE DID
Using data to build an effective recruitment strategy
To determine which targeting and platforms had the highest potential ROI, Whole Whale conducted an audit of the GPcp audience and previous recruitment strategies. Through a custom dashboard, Whole Whale illustrated where GPcp and PRX had engaged audiences, what marketing tactics were working best, and which platforms would be the most effective. Whole Whale then crafted an omni-channel recruitment campaign plan to achieve PRX’s goals that included email marketing, landing page optimization, social media advertising, partner promotion, and the Google Ad grant.
Leveraging PRX’s engaged network
From past accelerators and online trainings, GPcp had an expansive network of partners, alums, followers, subscribers, and site visitors. Based on previous recruitment campaigns, it was clear that word-of-mouth was a valuable tool for recruiting participants who were non-white or from new regions internationally. Whole Whale created a partner marketing guide to make sharing the program as easy as possible for Google, PRX, and their networks. The guide included email and social media templates for partners and alums from different regions, with campaign-tagged links so we could track where applicants came from. Whole Whale also created a robust email marketing plan for the GPcp to keep the program top-of-mind and remind subscribers to apply as deadlines approached. Whole Whale also made it easier for website visitors to click to share the application with their peers.
- 25% of applications came directly from partner promotions
- 18% of applications came directly from email marketing
- Over 620 email signups from partner promotions
Website Sessions During Recruitment
Reaching startup podcasters around the world with ads
To reach podcasters in high potential regions of the United States, Latin America, and the continent of Africa, Whole Whale ran advertising campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Search. Using a number of different lookalike, interest, and geographic-based targeting tactics, we reached thousands of relevant and interested podcasters around the world. Leveraging curated locally-relevant creative and retargeting engaged audiences with timely calls to action in the final days of the campaign resulted in the highest engagement and the lowest cost per conversion. In addition to direct recruitment, ads also drove a significant number of website sessions and email sign-ups.
- 10% of applications came from ads
- Over 30% increase in total website sessions with a 2x average session duration compared to previous recruitment period
Reporting on Success
Whole Whale set up Google Analytics tracking and goals so GPcp could measure key actions on site such as email signups and application submissions. Whole Whale also created a campaign-specific Data Studio dashboard to make reporting to their stakeholders easy.
Reaching Startup Podcasters through Virtual Events & Content Marketing
The Google Podcasts creator program also provides free resources and training to support startup podcasters, with a goal of serving under-represented voices and international audiences. In the fall of 2020, they hosted a 6-webinar series on podcast development and their first ever virtual conference, Audio Recess, a full day of online networking and panel discussions for creators to learn from each other. Whole Whale supported email marketing, website pop-ups, and advertising to drive event sign-ups and participation.
- 805 registrants per webinar on average, exceeding goal by over 2X
- 2,307 registrants for the virtual conference, exceeding goal
- 43% of the audience was international, representing 82 different countries
- 3,400 new email subscribers
WHAT WE DID
Strategic email marketing to drive registrations
Whole Whale began by analyzing the data from accelerator recruitment to identify what efforts were most impactful. It was clear that email marketing drove the most direct conversions of any channel. Looking at advertising specifically, Facebook was the most effective platform for driving traffic and conversions, especially when retargeting site visitors or email subscribers. Whole Whale used these insights to develop the events promotion campaign plan and calendar.
We knew email marketing would be a key driver for generating registrations and increasing attendance. However, it can be a high lift for a team to draft, build, review, and schedule multiple emails a week. Whole Whale and PRX developed an email marketing plan with an emphasis on event announcements followed by last call messaging to generate interest and increase urgency over time. These emails drove the most clicks to their events of any other marketing channel.
Advertising to engaged audiences
Having grown the GPcp website traffic and newsletter list during recruitment, we also increased the reach of their retargeting audience on Facebook. Whole Whale doubled-down on this audience for the webinar series with animated carousels and “last call” messaging to drive an average cost per click to the event registration page of ~$0.57. For the day-long live event, we retargeted site visitors as well as recent webinar registrants to continue nurturing these users towards the higher commitment event. These audiences had an average cost per click of $3.84 and $3.13 respectively, well below estimated benchmarks.
Growing the PRX podcasting network
In addition to driving online marketing efforts towards event registrations, Whole Whale also helped GPcp improve their lead generation strategy on the program’s landing page to grow their audience for the future. We worked with GPcp to set up pop-ups and add more forms on key pages of their website to build their events and general interest email lists, as well as to recruit more students for their Podcasting 101 email companion course. These efforts led to significantly more email sign-ups on the GPcp landing pages.
From the PRX Team
“Working with Whole Whale felt like a true partnership from the very beginning. We had big goals to reach diverse podcasters through our GPcp program, and they exceeded every one! Their work was always quality, always reliable, and always very impressive. Plus, it’s been so much fun to work with their team—so communicative and creative! We hope to work with them again very soon, and until we do, we’ve been trained by the best to do more data-driven marketing ourselves”
– Donna Hardwick, CMO