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Podcast Advertising 101
Frank Daniels IV

Local & SEO Listings Expert

Podcast advertising may seem like a niche product, but podcasts themselves serve niche audiences. Every business makes decisions on where to allocate advertising dollars. When you take a broad view of avenues, the possibilities are endless: television, social media, websites, magazines, newspapers, radio, podcasts. I could go on. When you consider that this list only groups the channels into broad categories, you may begin to see the range of options a business can choose from. With over 2 million podcasts out there, choosing podcast advertising as a channel for your ad dollars may feel like a daunting task. Try not to feel overwhelmed, though. I’ll outline some of the questions to ask yourself when deciding which podcast to approach. First, let’s look at why you would even consider a podcast or podcaster as a viable advertising partner.

Listener Data

Podcasting is a growing entertainment medium. In 2006 less than a quarter of Americans were familiar with what a podcast is. That number has grown to 79% of the US familiar with podcasting this year. What matters for our purposes are the members of regular listeners, which can be broken into two categories: monthly or “light listeners” and weekly or “super listeners.”  26% of the population are weekly listeners, and 38% are monthly listeners1. These lighter listeners are a growing percentage of podcast listeners as a whole, as of last year, comprising 49% of all listeners2. Now, you may be saying to yourself: “So what? 70% of Americans use Facebook5.” This may be true, but I think we can agree that usage does not mean ad engagement and certainly not trust of advertising.

High Engagement

Whatever media you consume, take a moment to think about the engagement you show towards advertisements. Can you say that you’re actively engaged when they are playing? Listeners of spoken word audio, such as podcasts, are more likely to notice ads because they are actively engaged and feel more connected with the content. It is less likely that an ad will be ignored or garner negative association.

Listeners are least likely to say podcasts have too many advertisements, as opposed to streaming tv, websites, radio, etc. Podcast advertising is a trusted source for consumers. 56% of listeners say they are more likely to consider products or services based on podcast advertising. 65% of listeners have purchased a product or service based on an ad or sponsor-mention heard on a podcast3.

What Podcast Should You Choose?

When you begin to consider podcast advertising, what are the key factors to consider? As with any advertising, the first step is determining your market, but let’s assume you’re just looking at diversifying your ad spend using podcasts. As a broad market, the majority of listeners under age 55 are likely to listen to podcasts in the comedy genre, while listeners 55 and older are most likely listening to a news podcast. If you are trying to market specifically to women, data shows you should focus on true crime podcasts or those focused on children and/or family themes. When marketing to men, you’re better off focusing your ad spend on podcasts about tech or sports. There are options you can choose based on these factors alone, but you can target your dollars in other ways2.

Keep It Local

I don’t consider it as common now, but I have heard of a time when you could find a magazine for every interest. That’s the way podcasts are now. Niche content draws a very dedicated audience, and you can approach content creators for podcasts based on the subject matter. I would also recommend seeking podcasters with a local or regional audience. 70% of people now consider it important to shop local, and more than half of the population is more likely to take action based on an ad for a local business4. Finding a local audience will also guarantee your ad is being delivered to your market. 

Podcast Advertising Technical Details

Many podcasts run on a system that places ads into an episode. These are measured by downloads or listens and are sold on a cost per thousand/mille (CPM) impressions basis. For national properties or podcasts with larger audiences, that can translate into about a $25 CPM, but your audience won’t be as targeted. For that reason, a smaller podcast with a dedicated audience will likely have more expensive ad positions. There are a few different placements or ways advertisements appear in a podcast episode: sponsorships, pre-roll (before content), mid-roll (middle), and post-roll (at/close to the end of the episode).

Advertisement Type

In-content ads (not sponsorships) are produced in one of two ways: host-read or pre-produced. A host-read ad is much more effective. 36% of listeners say they pay more attention to host-read ads than either pre-produced or sponsorships3.

When discussing advertising agreements, be sure to clarify which type of ad the podcast runs. There is an opportunity to create what’s called a branded podcast, where the podcast is about your business, but that’s more of a marketing discussion than advertising.

Consider Your Followup

Make sure to consider the call to action for your advertisements and measure your KPIs accordingly. Podcast listeners are so engaged because of the experience. If you really want to capitalize on an ad spend, tailoring the next step on a potential conversion is crucial. Dedicated landing pages on your site or the podcaster’s website can heighten that experience and be invaluable for gathering campaign engagement data. Consumers are savvy and understand the connection between advertisement and media. 64% of listeners will have a better perception of your brand simply by advertising on a podcast that they like3.

In Short

So ultimately, my advice is to advertise your business on podcasts. If you have the opportunity, you should directly contact a niche content creator and work with them to produce the ads for you.

References:

1 – The Infinite Dial 2022 

2 – Podcasting Today

3 – Super Listeners 2021

4 – The Nielsen Total Audience Report

5 – Facebook Usage in the United States