Podcasts are more popular than ever, and that trend is only set to continue. Data cited by Buzzsprout predicts that podcast ads will exceed $1 billion in revenue by the end of 2021, and that:
- 78% of podcast listeners don’t mind hearing ads
- 62% would consider buying products featured in the ads
- 67% remember the ads they hear on podcasts
All of this means that brands stand to gain a lot through podcast advertising. But what are your options, and where should you start? Keep reading to learn how podcast ads work, plus tips for getting in on the action.
How does podcast advertising work?
Before we dive into why podcast advertising is so effective, it helps break down how to podcast advertisements work. Though there are some similarities between podcast ads and traditional radio and TV ads, podcast ads have some unique features that give them an advantage.
One example is the host-read ad. More traditional ads are becoming more common, particularly in shows on major networks with very large audiences; the host-read ad is still a hallmark of podcasts. This type of ad is traditionally broadcast in the middle of the podcast and – as the name suggests – read by one of the podcast hosts.
The host-read ad comes with several advantages. For one, listeners are more engaged if an ad is worked seamlessly into the episode’s flow. An ad read by a host also makes the experience more personal and natural-feeling; in fact, audiences prefer this type of ad. This is part of the reason that host-read ads tend to be more expensive than pre-recorded segments that play during breaks in the show.
In the podcast world, traditional (i.e., not host-read) ads are increasingly placed via dynamic ad insertion (DAI) through algorithmic ad servers. These can be cheaper, and the distribution method is highly efficient, so brands with smaller advertising budgets may still get a lot out of them.
However, it’s also important to consider how and where the podcast’s audience will be listening. For example, platforms like Spotify Premium allow listeners to skip through DAI ads, which may significantly reduce exposure to the ads you worked hard to produce (and buy space for).
Finally, understand the options for ad placements, which can be either host-read or DAI:
- Pre-roll ads play at the beginning of the podcast before the show starts.
- Mid-roll ads play in the middle of the show during breaks.
- Finally, post-roll ads play at the end of the show.
Each ad placement option comes with advantages and disadvantages in terms of your possible exposure. For example, listeners are likely to be most engaged (i.e., actually hear and remember your ad) during mid-roll ads rather than pre-roll or post-roll. Therefore, pricing for ad space tends to reflect these differences.
The benefits of podcast advertising
So, podcasts offer a range of options depending on your advertising goals and budget. They also offer the unique opportunity to present host-read ads that listeners find more authentic and, thus, more effective. But what are some of the other benefits of podcast advertising?
One of the most significant advantages is that podcasts have a highly engaged, highly targeted listenership. So through podcast advertising, you’re not only expanding your audience but also catching high-value leads – that is, if you buy the suitable ad space with the right podcast. In other words, the people hearing your ads are likely more primed to convert after hearing your ads than with TV or radio advertising.
Why is this? Part of the reason is that podcasts are so popular. Millennials listen to podcasts in droves and consistently attest to not minding podcasts ads compared to TV or radio ads. Another reason is that placing an ad with a particular podcast in a specific vertical let you target your ads much more precisely than TV or radio spots.
Finally, with the near-ubiquity of ad blockers ensuring that a large number of digital display ads never get seen at all, podcast advertising boasts much more opportunities for effective advertising.
Who does podcast advertising work for?
These days, there truly is a podcast for everyone and everything – so the potential for reaching the right audience is limitless. Podcast advertising can work well for brands and startups, writers and artists, influencers and entertainers, and even other podcasters boosting their shows.
How to start advertising on podcasts
First, do your research to ensure the podcasts you’re considering have listeners in your target audience. Then, if competitors in your vertical are advertising on podcasts, seek out similar shows with sizable audiences.
Next, consider the types of ads that will be most effective for your marketing goals: i.e., host-read vs. DAI and mid-roll, pre-roll, or post-roll. Your options here will depend somewhat on the podcasts you ultimately partner with, as well as your budget.
Finally, reach out to potential podcasts. You can either contact podcasts directly or work with a podcast network. The former option will likely lead to more host-read ads and very targeted listenership, while the latter option can be more efficient if you’re looking to run an extensive campaign. You may also consider working with an ad-buying agency that can leverage its connections and experience to buy ad space quickly at affordable rates.
Other ways to use podcasts for marketing
Podcast marketing can take on more forms than just buying ad space. You can also act as a guest speaker on a podcast with a listenership in your target audience or start your own branded podcast. The latter option takes a lot of work, time, and money, as you’ll need to build an audience and content from the ground up. However, brands with enough resources may benefit significantly from this strategy.
Whatever option you choose, the good news is that podcast advertising has something for everyone – and it’s not going away any time soon.