HACKABLE? An Original Podcast from McAfee has been a huge hit!
We launched the very first episode of Hackable? over two years ago, on July 18, 2017. It truly was an overnight success story. Our first season had 10 episodes that released every other week, and was supported with a strong integrated marketing plan across paid, earned, owned and internal channels. We surpassed our listenership goals by more than 3x. Not to mention the positive lift in brand sentiment, creating new brand advocates that we never thought possible.
We launched Season 2 on March 5, 2018. The season consisted of 7 episodes that released every other week. Due to the high number of subscribers accumulated in Season 1, the show did just fine, even with minimal promotion budget. But we weren't satisfied with just "fine." Knowing that dollars would be tight going forward, we had to get creative driving listenership to this incredible, highly entertaining content.
Season 3 (Episodes 18 - 24) & 4 (Episodes 25 - 30)
With industry leading retention rates of over 85%, the Hackable? format and episode content is rock solid. For anyone that listens, they quickly realize that Hackable? truly is a gift of entertainment and education that McAfee provides at no cost to the listener. We highly recommend you take a listen to Episode 23 (part of Season 3), "Remote Control", it's a "laugh out loud" show. Our challenge in Season 3 & 4 was to figure out how to do more with less.
Here's what we did:
- LEVERAGED IN-PRODUCT MESSAGING. The McAfee consumer marketing team aligned with the mobile (MMS) product team to test pushing “Hackable?” messages to their Android MMS users. We sent traffic to Radio Public to test out the concept and optimize the messaging. Then, on June 19, 2018 Google announced a new standalone podcast app for Android, Google Podcasts. This happen to be in between our seasons 2 and 3. We continued to test and tweak to understand which messages (series vs. episode, episode vs. episode, etc.) drove more clicks and listens on both Radio Public and Google Podcasts. The really cool thing is that we could see the tests working, as downloads on both Radio Public and Google Podcasts climbed with each push. We ended up getting feature placement during Season 3 on both apps which gave Hackable? a great deal of additional, free exposure driving up listenership. Here's a graph showing the performance:
- IN-EPISODE CROSS PROMOTION. While it really doesn't make any sense to sell advertising space on a branded podcast, we realized with our reach, that swapping promotional content with other like-minded podcasts might work. So, we reached out to other Tech podcasts that have similar content to “Hackable?” and presented an in-kind offer. We suggested that we would run a :60 authentic endorsement for their podcast in Hackable? in return for the same in their show, with an equal and agreed to number of downloads for each. We ended up swapping promotional endorsements with both “Zig Zag” and “Endless Thread.” This gave us exposure to their audiences and them to ours. It worked because they were not executed like “promotions” and more like endorsed content that our listeners might enjoy.
- IN-FEED EPISODE SWAP. One of the most successful, out of the box, ideas we had was to do an episode swap with another hacker podcast. We put an episode of “Darknet Diaries” in the “Hackable?” feed and vice versa. Dan Misener from Pacific Content wrote a great article about how this worked and why it was effective. It’s a must read, as it shares some great insights including the data Jack Rhysider complied and analyzed to see if it was effective…. and it was to the tune of 100,000 in one month. The interesting thing is that the swap was just as effective from our perspective, with over 100,000 incremental downloads:
In addition to the above, here are a few more "wins" we had with Hackable? in each season:
- Received feature placement on Apple Podcasts Canada
- Was featured in Podcast News Daily
- Drove so much traffic to Google Podcasts, Hackable? began trending in Google Podcasts
- Drove .5% increase in Hackable? downloads with a small in-podcast advertising budget (under $10k)
- Negotiated pickup of the entire season by SiriusXM on the “Insights” channel
- Submitted new artwork to Apple Podcasts for the Hackable? page, which was accepted by Apple