To successfully advertise on podcasts, you need to adopt new approaches. Find out what types of ads will resonate with your target audience and how to use podcasts to build brand engagement.

how do I advertise on podcasts

With massive audiences and generous growth expected over the next few years, podcasts offer ample opportunities for brands to get their products in front of engaged listeners.

How quickly are podcasts growing in popularity? In 2015, only 49 per cent of people surveyed by Edison Research had heard of podcasting. By 2020, that number had swelled to 75 per cent. Nielson reports the U.S. podcast audience has been growing at a compound average growth rate of 20 per cent.

Podcast advertising is big business. According to IAB’s U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study, podcast advertising will grow as much in the next two years as it did in the past decade. The study notes that revenues from podcast advertising hit US$842 million in 2020, up almost 19 per cent from the year before.

With that in mind, you can see why this is a channel you can’t afford to ignore. But you’re probably asking yourself, how do I advertise on podcasts? Where do I start?

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How to advertise on podcasts

  1. Choose podcasts that are relevant to your business and target audience
  2. Define your budget and assess costs
  3. Assess the podcast’s audience and engagement metrics
  4. Employ different ad types
  5. Create a relevant ad
  6. Determine your ad spot
  7. Test frequency of ads

How does advertising on podcasts work

Knowing how to advertise on podcasts isn’t always intuitive for marketers accustomed to reaching audiences via traditional channels. To effectively use podcast advertising, you’ll need to understand which podcasters reach the right demographics for your brand, then target your messaging and ads carefully to that audience.

Understanding audiences is the key to success with podcast advertising. For example, it doesn’t matter if a podcast attracts millions of listeners if the audience is full of men over 45 and your brand targets women under 25.

You’ll also need to understand how ad placements work, how to calculate rates and where to invest your advertising budget to gain the attention of the right audiences.

Let’s walk through the steps you that will get you there.

1. Make a list of podcasts relevant to your brand

There are so many podcasts that choosing ones which fit your business might seem challenging. However, many podcasts have a niche or specific angle that will help you assess if they are a good or poor fit for any products you want to promote.

Review podcast demographics to learn about their audience and see if they align with your target audience and ideal customer. You’ll also need to understand the listener well enough to create relevant ads that feel targeted.

2. Connect with your selected podcasts

Once make your choice, you’ll need to reach out to the hosts, production company or whoever manages the podcast to see if they’re interested in partnering with you. Be sure to check if the podcast you want to advertise on has openings that suit your promotion timeline. They may have ads booked well in advance.

3. Assess costs and define your budget

Gather all relevant information regarding cost, impressions and, if possible, the return on investment experienced by other advertisers on this podcast. The podcast will likely offer the number of downloads, a figure used to measure impressions or listens, of their show.

Most podcast ad pricing is standardized and structured based on the same basic formula. This standardization makes it relatively easy to compare costs between different podcasts. Ask about their CPM (or cost per mille) rate. The CPM represents a flat standard rate advertisers pay for every 1,000 impressions.

4. Vet the podcasts on your list

Vet the success metrics provided to you by each podcast you’re evaluating. You’ll need to assess the value of the podcast audience, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can analyze the numbers the podcast gives you for audience size and reach. Then do some research of your own.

For instance, check which platforms host the podcast. Stable, well-known platforms are a good sign the podcast you’re considering is legitimate. They also may provide numbers you can compare to the ones offered by the podcast to see if they match. Finally, check out the podcast’s audience and engagement on social media.

5. Learn about the different ad types

Compare the types of ads and choose one which best suits your product, your advertising budget and the podcast listeners:

  • Sponsored content
  • Native ad
  • Paid interview
  • Product placement
  • Direct response ads
  • Host-read ad
  • Live-read ad
  • Programmatic ad

6. Create your ad

Creating a relevant ad means considering the audience, what they care about and what motivates them. It may mean coming up with an offer or promotion just for that audience. You’ll want a solid call to action to encourage people to take the next step with your company.

7. Choose your ad spot

Decide where you want your ad to appear in the podcast episode. Typically, you’ll find ad spots labelled as follows:

  • Pre-roll ads are heard at the beginning of a podcast episode.
  • Mid-roll ads are heard near the middle of a podcast episode.
  • Post-roll ads are heard at the end of a podcast episode.

8. Test frequency of ads compared to reach

It’s often better to purchase multiple ads on smaller podcasts than pay more for a single ad on a podcast with a massive audience. Look for podcasts that focus on related topics and try a few; then compare results. After a while, you’ll be able to analyze which ones are performing well for you. Stop using those that don’t do well and try something else – or invest more in the ones that perform well.

9. Don’t overlook the back catalogue

Consider buying ad space in a podcast’s back catalogue or past episodes. If the content is evergreen and your ad is as well, this can be a way to capture listeners who are catching up on episodes they’ve missed or are new to a show and going back into the archives.

10. Measure and repeat successes

Look for ways to repeat the tactics that work and shift away from those that don’t. This may mean trying different podcasts, ad types or platforms.

How to write a compelling podcast ad

Your ad needs to stand out from the podcast content yet sound natural, so the audience stays receptive to hearing the message. Here are a few tips to help your messaging land (and stick) with listeners:

  • Keep it brief. People are usually multitasking while listening to podcasts, and their attention may be partially on the activity in which they are engaged. So, keep ads short and make your messaging clear.
  • Don’t go for the hard sell. People are typically not buying when listening to a podcast. They might be driving, out for a walk or busy cooking dinner. You want to introduce your brand and its value or benefits, not ask people to buy. Aim instead to spark curiosity and inspiration. Emotional connection with audiences goes a long way.
  • Repeat important information. Remember that people listening while they’re busy with other tasks can’t write down detailed information. Repeat your website URL multiple times. If you offer a promo code, make it something that is easy to remember, like the host’s name or part of the podcast name.
  • Offer a clear CTA. Your ad should have a clear call to action that benefits the listener, possibly with a callout to your website, complete with a promotional code or introductory offer. Make it simple and easy to remember. Repeat it at least twice and always at the end of the ad.

What’s next for podcast advertising

As the industry matures, advertisers will be looking for better measurement tools to analyze campaign performance. They’ll also come to expect better targeting capabilities.

The content and creativity levels will also need to evolve with time. While live ad reading may be common now, monetizing via podcast ads will demand new efforts to make prerecorded ads sound engaging and personal so advertisers can scale up their campaigns.

Podcast advertising is a fast-growing type of audio advertising, and brands are seeing the potential of the audience size and engagement levels. Book a consultation with our experts to understand how your company can get started with podcast advertising, what kinds of ads will resonate and how to see the best results.