In a world with seemingly endless ways to advertise your business, there remains one medium that might not have crossed your mind: podcast advertising. Truthfully, unless you listen to podcasts yourself, you may be unaware of the popularity and untapped potential for growing your business.

So, you know you can advertise your business with podcasting, but where do you start? Before you dive in to purchasing an ad spot, you should know about how podcast ads work, how to find the right one for your business, and how to measure the success of your ad.

Learn how advertising your business on a podcast can make you look like a genius to your marketing team, and your boss!  

How Does Podcast Advertising Work?

Whether you listen to podcasts or not, you probably didn’t know that the shows have agencies that manage and produce them! This also means that the agencies manage the advertisements for each show, and help potential advertisers find the right shows to run ads on. A few of the more popular agencies include

  • Midroll
  • AdvertiseCast
  • RadioTail
  • iHeart Media

An agency like AdvertiseCast will help you research available podcasts and then manage your campaign for you. Using their platform, you can check the status of your ads, communicate with the podcast host, and check air dates. You might think these full-service agencies are pricy to work with, the truth is advertisers pay very little to work with the agency because the podcasts themselves are paying the agencies to fill their spots.

What are the Different Podcast Spot Positions?

If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, you know that there are specific times during the show that ads are read. Traditionally, there are three different spot positions that you can choose from when you advertise on an episode:

  • Pre-roll
  • Mid-roll
  • Post-roll

Pre-roll

Ads that are read at the beginning of the podcast. They are shorter reads, typically only 20-30 seconds.

Mid-roll

Ads that are read in the middle of the podcast. Mid-roll ads are the longest, running a minimum of 60 seconds and are integrated into the flow of the show. You’ll also pay the most for this spot.

Post-roll

Read at the very end of an episode. This spot is shorter in length compared to mid-rolls and more cost-effective. Advertisers can choose to add a post-roll spot in addition to a pre- or mid-roll to help reinforce their message or repeat an offer code.

You want to be as strategic as possible when choosing your spot position. For example, if you plan to include an offer code, consider a mid-roll spot. If you’re more focused on brand awareness, a pre-roll spot might be best. Each spot has benefits that another does not offer, which can make a huge difference in your campaign!

Podcast Terminology Explained

When you’re looking for a podcast to advertise your business with, you might come across terminology that you aren’t familiar with. You want to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk before you pitch this idea to your team, so we’ve got a vocabulary cheat-sheet.

Baked-in

Ads that are read live by the podcast host, so it becomes a permanent part of the episode.

CPA rate

Measurement of the “cost per acquisition,” or how much it costs to acquire one new customer from an advertisement.

CPM rate

An expense measurement for “cost per mille” (per thousand) listens of an episode.

Direct response

Advertising that can be measured and tracked via a URL or offer code.

Dynamic

Ads that are inserted using a server and can change after a certain amount of time or impressions have passed.

Native ads

Advertising that matches its delivery platform.

Offer code

A coupon code the host can give to listeners that offers discounts or freebies that businesses can also use to track the success of a campaign.

Podcatcher

A platform used to play a podcast.

Spot density

How many ads will be in each spot for each hour of a podcast.

You’ll be thankful to know several of these words, especially because their meanings can have a big impact on the way your advertising budget is spent. Knowing podcast jargon will help you when discussing your marketing goals to an agency, as well as pitching the idea to your internal department.

How to Measure the Success of a Podcast Ad Campaign

Podcast advertising involves more than paying for airtime, sending over your copy, and waiting for traffic and revenue to increase. You want to be able to track how many purchases are made or how many new visitors your site gained as a result of your ad investment.

If you’re investing some of your company’s marketing budget into podcast advertising, you want to know if it’s worth it, right? Nothing is worse than when an idea flops, but if you keep track of how much of a return you’ve made on your investment, you’ll have real numbers to present the success to your team.

Offer Codes

Include an offer code in the form of a word or short phrase for podcast listeners to enter at check out for a bonus or discount. You’ll be able to use the code track the number of orders that came from listeners of the podcast. Make sure your offer code is short and memorable so the listener will use it when they make a purchase.

Did you know? 80% of people listen to all or most of each podcast episode.

Custom URLs

The best way to make a custom URL effective is to pair it with some sort of deal. A custom URL (or vanity URL) is usually a condensed version of your domain name that can be easily remembered. You can use a custom URL to trigger a custom landing page or discount like an offer code would. A custom landing page tailored to podcast listeners to makes them feel exclusive and more inclined to make a purchase.

Did you know? 42 million Americans (or 15% of the population) listen to a podcast every week.

Online Survey

Your business can choose to use this method in addition to a custom URL, or by itself. All this entails is asking “Where did you hear about us?” at the end of a purchase or when a customer first arrives to your website. You can also use completing the survey as in incentive to get a discount. Consider mentioning the survey in your ad copy with a phrase like, “complete the online survey for a 10% off coupon!”

Did you know? 94% of podcast listeners are active on at least one social media channel.

Social Mentions

An overall increase in mentions across your social media platforms can be an indicator of the success of your ad campaign. This method may take a few weeks to gain steam, so if you don’t see results right away, continue to check for bumps in traffic in a few weeks.

It is important to track the success of your podcast advertisements because if you don’t, you won’t know if you are making money or increasing website traffic as a result of your advertising investment. If you don’t see the results you expected, consider trying refreshed ad copy or another show altogether.

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on a Podcast?

The truth is podcast advertising isn’t cheap. Before you toss the idea away, you should know that podcasts set rates differently. With hundreds of thousands of podcast shows you won’t have trouble finding one that fits your budget.

Some podcasts have a flat fee for their spots, while others may use a CPA rate. The most common method is a CPM rate, meaning that you pay per thousand impressions. This rate is determined by the audience size, and then calculating your cost per episode.

How is a Podcast Audience Size Determined?

When it comes to audience size, a good rule of thumb to know is that the more listeners a podcast has, the higher the CPM rate will be. Agencies will calculate audience size different ways. For example, AdvertiseCast calculates audience size by the average number of downloads a single episode receives in a 30-day period.

How to Calculate Your Cost per Episode

The industry average CPM rate for a 30-second ad spot is $18, and $25 for a 60-second spot. In order to calculate your cost per episode, you would divide the audience size by 1000 and multiply by the CPM rate.

Once you know your cost per episode, you’ll have a better idea of an estimated cost for your campaign. It is important to note that while it is the most common, this is just one way of calculating cost per episode. Depending on the podcast’s popularity and agency you choose, your calculated cost can change.

Is Podcast Advertising Effective?

Podcasts can’t be effective without their audiences. Podcasts are uniquely able to reach a wider audience because listeners can tune anywhere on a smart device. In order to understand how effective podcast advertising can be, you should know more about who is listening to them.

Podcast Listeners Make up a Wide Audience

The average podcast listener is in the 18-54 age bracket. Of this group, 45% have a household income of $75K or more, and over 63% are employed full time. This means that the average listener is capable of affording what you might be advertising on a podcast!

“The people who listen to podcasts tend to be passionate and have an abiding attachment to what they listen to. The opportunity for brand awareness is tremendous.” -Lain Shakespeare, MailChimp

Podcast Listeners are Loyal

Something special about podcast listeners is their loyalty. Often, listeners will build attachments to shows and hosts like they would a T.V. series. 16 million people in the United States identify themselves as “avid podcast fans”, listening to an average of 7 shows per week.

“Younger groups are slightly more likely to listen on the move, whereas over (the age of) 45 are twice as likely to listen in the home.” -Nic Newman, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Listeners Tune in at Home and On-the-Go

Loyal listeners take advantage of tuning in to their favorite podcasts pretty much whenever they aren’t working. 49% of listeners are tuning in from at home, and 22% listen while driving.

It’s obvious that advertising on a podcast is worth it for your brand. Pairing strong ad copy and a good spot position, your podcast ads can generate sales and new customers for your business.

Quality Logo Products’ Podcast Advertising Experience

Our marketing team decided to delve in to podcast advertising this year to test the waters for possible benefits. We purchased mostly mid-roll ad space for the Science Rules podcast with Bill Nye. Our ads ran on the weekly episodes for approximately 12 weeks.

We were able to measure the success of our campaign using the coupon code we provided and through tracking the number of listeners per episode with our ad.

Here is one of our ads being read by the podcast host, Bill Nye:

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BillNyeAd.mp3
stitcher.com

Key Takeaway: We found that the greatest success of podcast advertising was creating brand awareness. Many listeners utilized the coupons and completed orders; however, it was not as profitable as other forms of digital advertising for our company. Over the course of our running ads, hundreds of thousands of listeners tuned in, and even if they didn’t make a purchase right away, they are now aware of our business for the future. If profit is your number one goal, you should consider the type of business you have, the listenership of the podcast you choose, and the type of offers you extend to obtain orders.

Tips to Get Started on Your Podcast Ad Campaign

After learning about the ins-and-outs of podcast advertising, you’re probably considering starting your own campaign for your business. You’ll need a plan of attack to present the idea to your boss, especially when it includes a large investment. Whether you think podcast advertising will help make your brand a household name or increase sales, you can’t go in blind. Follow these tips to get a head start on your newest marketing channel

Determine Your Budget

Before you decide which show you want to partner with, you should have an estimated budget in mind. Knowing how much coin your company can put toward this campaign will also narrow down which shows are within your budget.

Start with a Longer Campaign

A study done by Midroll found that campaigns with ads on at least 5 episodes resulted in 39% more listener recall. Get a ballpark idea of how many episodes you want to advertise on and factor that into your budget.  

Work with an Agency

A single agency can work with hundreds of podcasts. Browse through popular agencies to see which shows they represent, and then reach out to the one that hosts a couple shows you’re interested in. From there, the agency will help you decide which show works best for your budget and your business!

A winning advertising strategy doesn’t come to fruition overnight. Following these steps will help you get closer to your end goal. Remember to be patient when it comes to seeing results, and what started as an idea will come full circle before you know it!

Despite the popularity of podcasts, not many businesses have gotten in on using them to advertise. Jumping in on this opportunity is a clever way to get ahead of the competition in your industry and help your brand become a household name.

Resources

Midroll. (2019). Midroll’s Definitive Guide to Podcast Ads. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from http://www.midroll.com/midrolls-definitive-guide-to-podcast-advertising/section08/


Midroll. (2019). Frequently Asked Questions About Podcast Advertising. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from http://www.midroll.com/faq-podcast-advertising/#7


Smith, Brad. (2018, June 19). Podcast Advertising 101: 4 Tips to Get You Started. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/06/05/podcast-advertising


Kupferman, Jessica. (2018). The Benefits of Podcast Advertising Over Other Mediums. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from http://www.truenativemedia.com/benefits/


AdvertiseCast. (2019). Podcast Advertising Rates 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.advertisecast.com/podcast-advertising-rates


Siu, Eric. (2019). Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.singlegrain.com/blog-posts/content-marketing/podcast-advertising-what-you-need-to-know/

Winn, Ross. (2019, June 1). 2019 Podcast Stats and Facts. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.podcastinsights.com/podcast-statistics/

About the author

Gianna Petan

Meet Gianna - no stranger to all things promo products. Her background in research-based writing, linguistics, and advertising gives her an edge in blogging about the marketing industry.