Win Big With Big Text on Screen Video Ads

You want to start a podcast, or you may have already started one. Getting listeners and getting loads of them fast is of the essence. If you don't get more than your two super-devoted employees or your mom and aunt listening to the show, you're going to shut it down. A lack of podcast listens is enough to put your podcast in the graveyard of failed or underperforming shows.

If that sounds grim, don't worry. There's a way to get listeners to a podcast fast without breaking the bank. This way is text-on-screen video ads, a method that we'll prove the case for in the following paragraphs.


Headspace: A Case Study

Headspace is an online service that specializes in mediation, sleep improvement, and mindfulness. The company has tons of helpful information to share with audiences worldwide. Much of this knowledge is a product of clinical trials and other research of which Headspace is a part.

Apart from the Headspace Guide to Meditation appearing on Netflix, the company has a podcast it hopes to build up from its current listenership.

The method chosen to promote the podcast and bring in new listeners is video ads on social media. The podcast regularly gets 40-50,000 listens while some of the more successful episodes reach 80,000. The goal of the video campaign is to add 100,000 listens per episode, a lofty but attainable goal with the proper strategy.

What We Did

Measurability is the key to success for any marketing campaign. If you can determine the cost per conversion, in this case, click-throughs and added listens, you can adjust your budget and expectations accordingly.

  • Step 1: Choose a Keystone Episode
  • Step 2: Design the Assets
  • Step 3: Test Ad Sets
  • Step 4: Optimize Based on Findings

Derisking the client's investment is a top priority and we achieve this by running a tight ship. With over 15 years of experience running and testing ad campaigns, we recommend testing five assets in a campaign like this. Testing five versions provides for just the right diversification while allowing each ad set to run long enough to give us the data we need.


Campaign Findings

There are two major findings from running the ads that offer valuable insights that you can implement in your campaigns.

1. Big Text Stops Thumbs

Facebook users spend an average of 34 minutes per day on the app while 80% do so exclusively on mobile. As per Ogilvy, users scroll 300 feet per day on average during their stay on the platform. This means that users are rummaging through content at breakneck speeds. For your ad to hit the mark, you need to be able to stop them in their tracks. Big text does this well.


2. Facebook Algorithm Beats Lookalike Audiences

You would expect Facebook's lookalike audiences to be efficient in finding ideal users that convert best in response to your ads. As you can clearly see from our results, Facebook's algorithm beat out the lookalike audience feature.

This isn't to say that lookalike audiences will always underperform the algorithm. For example, if you don't have a list of at least 1,000 people who have previously interacted with your website, lookalike audiences won't be able to pinpoint the profile of your customer avatar.

However, even if you have a larger list, testing different audience types will help you arrive at the most efficient targeting. In our experience, Facebook's algorithm is very efficient at finding users for your podcast.

3. Static Text and Cover Art Versions Performed Best

Updated 2021 data puts average Facebook Ads clickthrough rate at 0.90% with a CTR of 1.60% for the top-performing niche (legal).

With a 1.54% clickthrough rate for Cover Art and 2.21% for Static Text, it's safe to say that our creative outgunned the best efforts on Facebook. However, even if Headspace were to go with one of the other three versions, they would still achieve a CTR of over 1.20%, easily beating the platform's average.

Let's look at the two best performing ads:

Static Text

minimal icon animation.png

Cover Art Animation


Mark Zuckerberg's 2016 prediction that Facebook would be mostly video by 2021 has mostly come true. With one in five videos on the platform being a live broadcast and with video content being funneled through Facebook from across the web, a case can be made that video is king.

With the visual stimulation creating overload, the minimal icon animation successfully halts the viewer in their tracks. It sinks in the hook of the video tagline ("Have you felt your feelings?"), and continues to deliver digestible information that becomes welcome to the user's eye.

Start Growth Hacking Your Podcast Promotion

With video consumption increasing by 55% from February 2020 to a year later in 2021, choosing to boost your podcast audience with video ads is an essential strategy for creators. Our focus is on achieving results for our clients in a space where the low barrier to entry translates to over 2 million podcasts and 48 million episodes. Of this sea of shows, the vast majority barely make it past the seventh episode.

With millions of dollars in ad spend managed, Papi Digital is an innovator in podcast marketing. We help clients get their podcasts off the ground. Alternatively, creators that currently run a podcast can work with us to boost their listenership to levels that will put their show into orbit.