An overview of Volvo’s successful podcast advertising strategy

Volvo has placed podcasting at the top of its strategy and is seeing positive results. The automaker recently partnered with SXM Media and its media agency Mindshare to drive impact across a variety of its brand attributes. The results? Volvo’s podcast ads built brand affinity, increased intent to seek more information, and increased recommendation intent among podcast listeners.

Here’s why the ads were such a hit: First, the partnership – which included original ads embedded in popular shows such as Freakonomics, Ologies and Hidden Brain – leveraged the influential nature of those shows’ hosts and the natural storytelling environment of a podcast. Volvo was able to resonate with a highly engaged audience that was strongly connected to brand themes such as safety, innovation and sustainability. Let’s take a closer look at what the campaign achieved.

Multi-layer messaging

The selected podcasts were chosen for their ability to reach Volvo’s intended audience and for their genuine alignment with Volvo’s sustainability brand value proposition.

When the right message is delivered to the right audience, the positive results are not surprising, but a second valuable learning from this campaign was the success of additional attributes, such as technology, which seem to suggest that the podcast environment is well suitable for multilayers. Messaging. In this case, with the addition of a technology message, Freakonomics listeners were more likely to say that Volvo is a brand known for technological innovation.

“We have developed an authentic connection with our smart, data-driven listeners. We felt that Volvo’s commitment to safety, electrification and sustainability would resonate with them,” said Freakonomics Radio host Stephen Dubner.

And he did. The Volvo Podcast commercials were incredibly memorable by Stitcher standards, surpassing Nielsen unaided and aided recall standards. Following the campaign, these podcast listeners wanted to know more. With the top four ad descriptors translating to “natural,” “believable,” “interesting,” and “authentic,” it’s easy to see why.

“We saw a unique opportunity to connect with highly engaged listeners and spark their curiosity about Volvo,” said Leigh Moynihan, Marketing Manager, Volvo Car USA. “At the same time, we wanted to provide inspiration to stimulate research interest. The results show that we put Volvo at the top of the list for innovation, safety and sustainability.

Contextual targeting for more relevance

Podcasting is one of the fastest growing audio platforms with more than half of the US population, or 57% of Americans, listening to an average of just over five podcast shows per week. As brands begin to reach these audiences through advertising and original content partnerships, tuning in to themes that listeners value is critical to success.

While the Volvo campaign has used the voice of hosts to align with listeners’ lifestyle interests, new audience innovations, like transcription targeting, can also offer contextual alignment.

Transcription targeting uses voice-to-text technology that delves into the overall context of the entire episode. Available through the SXM Media podcast network, this targeting helps brands maximize their scale in moments that align with relevant audiences rather than broad lifestyle categories. The ability to exclude unwanted content at an episode level without having to avoid entire lifestyle categories also prioritizes brand appropriateness needs.

Balancing brand and retail needs

Automotive marketers face many challenges today, with the current supply chain crisis proving difficult to balance brand and retail needs. Podcasts provide an environment where multiple messages can and do resonate.

While the Volvo campaign focused on brand attributes, the advertisements proved to be very effective with one-year automotive intentions. According to Nielsen, Volvo has seen increases in brand awareness and purchase intent among people in the market to buy/lease a new vehicle over the next year, which has not been observed in all respondents.

As inventory constraints continue to influence creative messaging, podcast ads can provide a comprehensive experience that helps brands maintain relevance and stay on the shortlist of car buyers.