In This Article
Are you a podcaster looking to better understand your listeners and maximize your podcast downloads? Look no further! Join us as we hear from Larry Rosin of Edison Research about the importance of choosing like-minded business partners and conducting listener surveys.
Larry shares valuable insights on using download data effectively to reach more listeners and receive accurate insights into demographics, topics, and more. Plus, he cautions against certain pitfalls of podcasting research – all with the goal of helping podcasters succeed!
Don’t miss out on this must-listen episode for anyone involved with podcasting – listen now!
About Our Guest
Larry Rosin is President of Edison Research, which he co-founded in 1994. Since then, he has been a primary force in building the company into one of the world’s most respected survey research companies, with a particular specialization in media and election polling. Edison is best known as the company that performs Exit Polls for all U.S. Elections for the National Election Pool. In addition, Edison is well known for its groundbreaking media research series “The Infinite Dial” which tracks developments in digital media, and “Share of Ear” which measures all audio usage in the U.S., among many other things.
Rosin is a graduate of Princeton University where he majored in Public and International Affairs, and he received an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Connect with Larry
Visit the Edison Research website: https://www.edisonresearch.com/
Edison Podcast Listener Survey: https://www.edisonresearch.com/edison-research-podcast-listener-survey/
Intro/Outro: You know what it is? That’s right. It’s time to talk money with your money nerd and financial coach. Now tighten those purse strings and open those ears. It’s the money talk with Tiff podcast.
Tiffany Grant: Hey everyone. I am so excited and honored to have our guests on the line today. We have Larry Rosen. Now, Larry is important because he is one of the co founders of Edison Research, which is a Super huge research firm that focuses, well, they mainly are known for the exit polling, but they do a lot of the podcast research, um, that is out there.
So, hey, Larry, how are you today? I’m
Larry Rosin: well, and I’m honored and excited to be. Talking with you today.
Tiffany Grant: Awesome. Awesome. Thank you. So Larry, let’s just hop right in. So when it comes to Edison research, because I just want to get just the basic background of it. Um, what is Edison research and why did you decide to jump into the research
Larry Rosin: industry?
Good question. Well, uh, Edison Research is a survey research market research polling firm. I co founded it with a fellow named Joe Lenski back in 1994. So next year, it’ll be 30 years. Believe it or not, we have two areas of specialization. Um, you mentioned both. Um, one is, uh, election, and the other is, uh, Surveys and research.
Um, we have, we do and have done the exit polls for a group called the National Election Pool, which consists of ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN since the 2004 election cycle. Um, and so when you’re watching TV on election night, any election night, really, all the data that is coming into those networks is coming from our company.
The, uh, they’ll talk about their exit polls, which is a survey we do, and then they’ll talk about things like, you know, with 22% of precincts reporting, here’s what the vote looks like right now, we’re providing both of those data streams to the networks. Uh, the other part of what we do is a specialization in anything to do with audio, as you mentioned.
Um, so we do a lot of work with radio, podcasting, streaming, and we do that all over the world. Um, how we got into it, uh, Joe and I worked together at a, um, small research company in Philadelphia. Uh, his background was in election research. My background was in media research. Uh, it was I who was ready to take the leap and start my own company.
And I spoke to Joe and said, I have an idea. Um, would you want to, um, come along? And he, um, was game for it. And so we started the business all those many years ago, just the two of us. And, um, it’s grown to the point where we’re currently plus or minus around 50 people. Oh, wow.
Tiffany Grant: Nice. That is an awesome story.
And actually it just gave me a couple of questions that I know my audience might be interested in. And one of those is. How do you find, how did you all find each other and say, you know what? Let’s just start a business together. Cause that’s a big undertaking. And so like, what are some tips around making sure that you have the right business partner?
Cause 30 years is nothing to, to scoff at.
Larry Rosin: Oh, no. And we’ve had a, an incredibly easy relationship, uh, all these years. Uh, I would say Joe and I are extremely like minded, uh, we kind of had the same vision for things, um, we’ve, we really, I mean, we’re very lucky. I mean, I can’t think of a real fight we’ve ever had.
Um, maybe, maybe mild disagreements over things, but certainly nothing that would even rise to a spat, let alone a fight. So I would guess if you, if you are considering starting a business with someone, it would be. An awful lot like a marriage. You, you want to check it, test it out. Maybe, you know, go on dates, um, the, uh, make sure you’re compatible.
Make sure you have a similar vision for thing. I wouldn’t be shocked. Uh, Tiff, if you, in your, um, money discussions with people talked about this, I, I’ve read that, um, disagreements about spending and money is one of the biggest problems that people can have in marriages. And Joe and I have been very like minded when it came to those kinds of issues.
And look, we’ve been lucky in the sense that the business took off very quickly. Um, so we’ve never. You know, never once in all these years has our payables outstripped our receivables. We’ve not had to borrow money. We’ve not endured a lot of stress financially. So that of course will. Make things just generally easier.
I fully acknowledge that. Um, but those are the things that come to mind is just find someone who’s temperament and attitude about spending are at least, um, somewhat aligned with yours. If you’re going to have a business partner. Um, that’s not to say that sometimes, you know, Having two different points of view, which I think Joe and I do have on say strategy or, uh, you know, leadership things, um, that can be really valuable.
Obviously you don’t want to be one in the same, but I think when it comes to spending money and the use of money, uh, you do want to be aligned with that.
Tiffany Grant: Those are actually some really good tips about just money management with someone in general. Um, because like you said, that is very true that a lot of, um, marital or even long term partner disagreements come from money.
Um, and it’s usually a matter of not being able to talk about it or, you know, You know, someone hiding something or so on and so forth. And so for you all to have that type of relationship and, uh, be able to run this business for 30 years now, uh, that says something to the tips that you’re saying. So thank you so much for dropping those gems.
Now I did want to kind of. Transition a little bit, um, particularly the podcast research because as a podcaster, you know, I subscribe to a lot of different newsletters and stuff. And I’m always seeing Edison research says a study according to Edison research, you know, so you all are very, uh, well out there.
So one question, because I also asked some podcast friends, you know, what questions did they have? And one question, which I thought was very interesting is how much should we trust these download statistics? Like, are they really accurate or, you know, what are your thoughts around
Larry Rosin: that? Yeah, it’s, it’s hard for me to speak to that fully because there’s so many different sources of information when it comes to downloads, uh, there is.
As many of your listeners probably are aware, a group called the IAB, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, I think is what it stands for, and they have attempted to create standards for counting downloads, and so if the partner you’re using with regard to providing you with download data Is IAB certified?
I think you can have a higher level of confidence in the data you’re getting or the data that you’re seeing from others as compared to people who have not gone through those steps. All that said, You know, downloads, you have to remember what downloads are. Um, there’s, you know, the fact that someone, that a file was downloaded, uh, does not necessarily mean that the show was listened to.
Um, you know, the, uh, someone could intentionally download and just never get around to listening to a show. Someone could have a download sort of pushed through their player because they’ve subscribed or things of that nature on top of which. Download statistics can be manipulated in different ways. The way a lot of digital data can be, whether through straight up, uh, you know, Inappropriate activities like bots and hiring these, uh, download these farms that, you know, they’re called click farms on the display world and, um, other forms of just sort of cheating the system.
And then I would say there are ways to, um. Play the system that aren’t necessarily cheating, but you know, wherever there’s, uh, strategies, there’s, you know, wherever there’s counting, there’s ways to sort of manipulate that count. So, um, the, uh, I would say in general, you can take download data. Especially for an individual show, uh, you know, if it’s being tracked over time by the same host or same counter, you can feel pretty good about that because you’re comparing like to like in most cases, but comparing across can be complicated.
You know, comparing this show to that show, or rankers across different shows or different networks, it certainly can be complicated.
Tiffany Grant: Gotcha, gotcha. And I didn’t even know that they had bots, like, just making listens. Like, that’s crazy. Um, and so… Another question that I received is besides asking our audience, how can we know more about them?
And I know for me, this has become very important, which I was actually going to put together a listener survey. But how else can we do this and collect data on our listeners? Because as podcasters, you know, I’m just talking to my computer and then I upload it and then I don’t know who is listening on the other end.
Larry Rosin: Right. So for a smaller show, and you know, the overwhelming majority of podcasts are, are smaller, obviously, I mean, it’s a, it’s a world with, you know, what they call long tail distribution, you know, hits at the top that can do things that are a little different. And then the huge world of shows, you know, with, with relatively small audiences, I think what you’re describing is The best way for sure, which is to reach out directly to your audience and, and engage in some kind of listener survey, um, the, you can, in many cases, the listeners to a podcast are very invested in that show.
They feel like they have a relationship with a host or hosts in the mirror request. Hey, it would really help us out. If you took a survey, um, and helped us understand who our audience is, what they like, what they dislike, et cetera, you can often get really good results for that. And. You know, sometimes you could add a little, um, incentive to it, whether it’s some sort of, you know, cash incentive.
One lucky, uh, person who takes the survey will get a 50 Amazon gift card or something like that. I think you shouldn’t discount. The value of your own power. In other words, uh, someone like you, Tiff, you know, could say one lucky person who takes the survey will receive, um, you know, uh, free consultation about, uh, money strategies or things like that.
I think that might be very powerful for people. And, um, the, so You know, the only real practical way for smaller shows is to do exactly what you describe, and that is reach out to your listeners. Now, you have to understand that even if you do that, only a small fraction of your actual listener base will likely respond.
Um, and that group that will respond will tend to be the most, um, the most loyal, the most connected. So you’re going to have to… Engage in some level of discounting the results and just reminding yourself that this, the people who would choose to reply are going to be the most avid listeners to your show.
But once you sort of control for that in your mind, as you look at the results, you really can get a very good sense of what you’re delivering. And then if you’re trying to sell ads or trying to partner with, with different organizations, et cetera, you do have a data set to lean on. Um, there are other.
Elements that you can look at. There’s, um, different databases. Like if you’re in your case, you know, your show about personal finance, you can find other data about who is interested in personal finance, who is interested in, you know, who is looking at blogs, looking at Google, looking, et cetera. And you can find sort of inferred statistics.
And that’s another strategy you can take. Although one that’s, um, going to be less precise than, than a listener survey. Gotcha, gotcha.
Tiffany Grant: So as we’re embarking on, you know, because people listening to me, there’s a lot of podcasters actually listen to me too. So as we’re embarking on trying to find out more about our audience and building the survey, um, are there any recommendations on like what to use, how to go about it?
Larry Rosin: Well, You know, there’s different tutorials online. I mean, if you can afford it, you could work with a research company like ours, but I don’t think you really have to. There’s definitely templates available. I think if you just Google for what you might want to put into a listener survey, you know, writing a survey takes some skill.
And so I would not just try to do it on your own, at least without finding some template to work with. Um, but the basic statistics you’re looking for are, you know, straight up. We would call demographic items, you know, the age of the listener, maybe the geographic location. At some level, you know, the state they live in, um, for someone like you who’s talking about personal finance, you’d obviously want to know the employment status of that person, the income level of that person.
Um, you know, those may or may not be relevant to all podcasters, but in a case like yours, I think they would be really, really important. Um, obviously the gender, I don’t think I mentioned, you know, are they men or women? Um, and then. You know, typically you’re, so in other words, you want to get a profile of your audience, so you get a sense of who’s listening, and then you’d want to get into the content on some level, you know, which topics are more interesting to you or less so, what recommend, you know, can you think of an individual, individual episode that you really liked?
You know, here’s a list of things we might be, Looking to talk about in the future or here’s spinoff podcast we’re considering, you know There’s all kinds of things you can do once you get them I will also caution your you and your listeners to keep it short, you know I’m keep it to the key data that you feel you need Um, could you are asking people for a favor so you don’t want to abuse it?
Tiffany Grant: Those are really good points and questions to ask and I didn’t even think about cuz I recently, like a few days ago, had a spinoff idea for my podcast and I didn’t even think, Oh, let me ask my audience. So you just saying that right there, I’m like, Oh, I can just add it to the survey that I’m trying to create, um, and see if people would even have an appetite for what I’m thinking about.
Um, so that I’m actually taking notes over here, y’all, um, that was good information. Now, one last question I wanted to ask you from. Um, other podcasters, when I feel that these questions is there are some hosts where they don’t allow third party analytics. So, you know, there’s different aggregators, like listen notes and charitable and things like that.
And. They don’t allow the data to be handed over to third party What would be the reason that they would do that if you know, um, I know this is kind of really specific But what would be some reasons why? They wouldn’t allow that data out.
Larry Rosin: Um, I don’t know in every case Uh, I would assume it has something to do with the business strategy of these different organizations and um You know, so somehow they have determined that the value is created by them, you know, by what they do give out versus what they don’t give out.
And they can use the parts that they keep for themselves as part of their business strategy. Um, but to your point, or to what I assume is the point of whoever asked you to ask this question, um, you know, it’s your content, it’s your business, if you will, that your podcast. And so in theory, you want to work with partners who.
Are helping you, you know, there’s only so much value in helping someone else. Um, and yes, you want to expose your show in as many ways as you can of sort of your, the, the side of the bargain is that you. Get information about your show. Um, so I think, you know, podcasters should keep that in mind as they work with hosting companies or other partners who, who are there in theory to help them.
Remember, that’s, you know, they’re here, they’re to help you if you, especially if you’re paying them. And so you don’t want to, um, you, you want to remember sort of that power dynamic. If you’re paying them, they should be serving
Tiffany Grant: you. That’s a really good point. Cause I feel like as podcasters, like we get really sticky to whoever we’re with.
Like for instance, I’ve been with Lipsyn since I started. So I’m like, Oh, I’ll just stay with Lipsyn. Um, but also I’m not having this issue with Lipsyn, you know, I don’t know. What I would do if I couldn’t use like chartable and things like that, cause I use it all the time. So I definitely agree with you.
Like when you’re looking at vendors, these are people that you’re paying to help you and not the other way around. I think as podcasters, we kind of get that confused because we’re looking at, okay, well they distribute my podcast out. They’re helping me, you know, they’re helping me more, but you know, honestly, they need, if, if, if they’re not feeling fulfilling your needs, there’s a lot of options out there.
I think that’s the point that I’m trying to get.
Larry Rosin: Yeah, and I’ll back up your point, which is, and it’s a point that I think is more generalizable to your listeners who are coming for money talk, which is. That, you know, in this world, there’s what they call switching costs. You know, um, if you have cable, you know, when you feel like you’re spending too much, yeah, you could switch to direct TV, but there’s, you know, hassle and you have to learn the new numbers for the different channels and the new remote control.
Um, and, and, or if, for instance, if you do online banking, you know, you’ve set it all up with one bank and the thought of starting that over with another bank is daunting. And so, you know, switching costs are a. Big part of business strategy. They want to make it really hard for you to switch, but you have to do that analysis.
Where’s the point where the hassle is worth it, right? Where, you know, you’re going to save enough money or save enough effort or, you know, just get more value from the relationship that even though it’s a pain, you have to make the change. And I think that’s an important lesson with regard to podcast hosts or pretty much any business relationship that That you might have
Tiffany Grant: awesome.
Awesome. Yes. I totally agree with that. And you know what, Larry, you dropped so many gems today from how to pick the right business partner to IAB certified downloads are a little more accurate to, um, you know, making sure that you are picking the right provider for your needs and so on and so forth. So I think you dropped enough gems for us today.
And if people are more interested in more of This podcast research and data. How could they find Edison research or you and how could they dig in?
Larry Rosin: Yeah, I’m happy to, uh, hear from anybody. Uh, our company website is Edison, like Thomas Edison, edisonresearch. com all one word. And, uh, if anyone wants to get to me, uh, they can just email it info at edisonresearch.
com and I, or someone at the company will absolutely get back, uh, with a reply.
Tiffany Grant: Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Larry, for coming on the show today and sharing all of this wonderful information with us. I know personally I’m over here taking notes and I’m going to construct this survey here soon.
Uh, so I appreciate you because you are one of the Kings of Research. And I am honored that you were here. So thank you so much. And I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your day. Thank
Larry Rosin: you for
Intro/Outro: listening, joining, and being a part of the money talk with TIFF podcast this week. You can check TIFF out every Thursday for a new money talk podcast, but if you just can’t wait until next week, you can listen to previous podcast episodes at moneytalkwitht.
com or follow TIFF on all social media platforms at moneytalkwitht. Until next time, spin wide. By spending less than you make a word to the moneywise is always sufficient.
Understanding your podcast listeners is crucial for maximizing downloads and achieving success. In this insightful episode of Money Talk With Tiff, Larry Rosin, co-founder of Edison Research, shares expert advice on how to conduct effective podcast research, use data wisely, and avoid pitfalls. If you’re a podcaster looking to up your game, read on for some valuable takeaways.
Partnering up with a like-minded business partner
- Larry stresses the importance of choosing a like-minded business partner, citing his partnership with Joe Lenski.
- A strong partnership can provide new perspectives and ideas, propelling your business to the next level.
Edison Research: Election and audio surveys
- Edison Research specializes in two areas: election and audio surveys.
- Their data is highly reputable and used by major networks during election cycles.
The crucial role of listener surveys
- Larry highlights the importance of conducting listener surveys to gain valuable insights into your audience.
- Tips for effective surveys:
- Keep them short and specific.
- Focus on demographics, favorite topics, and potential future content.
Caution with download data
- Not all downloads translate to actual listens.
- Larry advises podcasters to partner with Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) certified entities for accurate download data.
Evaluating business relationships and switching costs
- Always evaluate the value you receive from a business partner or service provider.
- Consider any switching costs and weigh the pros and cons of changing providers.
Don’t forget to listen to the full episode of Money Talk With Tiff for more insights from Larry Rosin!
If you found this post helpful, be sure to share it with fellow podcasters and subscribe to Money Talk With Tiff for more valuable insights and tips. Happy podcasting!