Podcasts offer a unique marketing opportunity that has helped many companies explode.
- 67% of podcast listeners enjoy ads.
- Podcasts overall have 62 million listeners each week.
- Podcast advertising yields leads with a conversion rate seven times higher than leads from regular website traffic.
If you're an avid podcast listener, you've likely encountered advertisements for brands you hadn't heard of before but are now familiar with. Blue Apron, Squarespace, Loot Crate, Audible and dozens of other brands don't regularly advertise on traditional media, but we've grown accustomed to hearing our favorite podcasters tout these products and services.
Most of these companies were mere startups when they began advertising on podcasts, and they've since exploded into popularity. According to the Global Ad Trends report by WARC, podcast advertising is projected to be worth $1.6 billion by 2022, as more and more marketers pour money into advertising with podcasts. [Read related article: The 10 Best Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs]
According to data from Edison Research and Triton Digital, over 62 million people listen to podcasts each week. That's a huge jump from the 19 million who were listening in 2013. With those numbers, it's hard to deny that podcasts are on the rise and can have a huge influence on consumers' choices.
On top of the mobility of podcasts (since they're primarily accessed on smartphones), WhyPodcasts.org says that ads on a podcast are likely on those episodes permanently and will be heard by any listeners replaying those episodes or bingeing the series.
Benefits of podcast advertising
A great benefit of advertising with a podcast is that there is such a wide variety of shows and content that it would be easy to find one that's compatible with your company and products. Podcasting is easy, but it isn't free, especially if showrunners maintain costs of hosting and upgrading equipment. The larger the following, the more expenses a show has, like hiring editors or renting studio time.
Another advantage is the unique type of advertising available on podcasting. An IAB study found that listeners are more responsive to ads read by the podcast hosts than pre-produced ones, much like any type of endorsement. Listeners trust their favorite podcast hosts and appreciate their personal takes and banter on a product or service. It's become customary for brands to send the hosts a sample or example of the product or service they're advertising so they can talk in depth about it and their experience with it. Consumers are more likely to respond to sincere and authentic conversations about a product than to prewritten copy and talking points.
It's also common to provide listeners of that specific podcast with an exclusive discount in the form of a code. This is a great way to both incentivize listeners to consider your company and gauge the effectiveness of your ad on that podcast, as it allows you to see the number of conversions with that specific code. In the IAB study, about 67% of listeners could recall an actual product feature or promotion mentioned in a podcast ad.
Podcast advertising provides friendly or warm leads. This makes them more likely to purchase your product or service. These leads are similar to those of affiliate marketing or word-of-mouth advertising. According to marketing expert Hailey Friedman, podcast leads' conversion rate is seven times higher than the rate of standard website traffic leads.
Podcast advertising is a quickly growing market. According to the WARC report, the podcast advertising industry is currently worth $855 million, expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2022. That's still small compared to digital advertising's worth of nearly $130 billion, but this allows those who do advertise on podcasts to stand out. You're less likely to be drowned out by a multitude of competitors.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of podcast ads is that listeners enjoy them. Edison Research found that 67% of podcast listeners enjoy hearing the ads, compared with just 6% for TV and radio audiences. The WARC report said that 78% of listeners are comfortable with hearing ads on podcasts to support free content. They tend to be memorable and enjoyable, which can give the consumer a more positive feeling about the company.
Getting started with podcast advertising
Fortunately, it's not hard to start advertising on podcasts. You can make a pre-produced ad for the podcast to insert at the beginning, middle, or end, or you can leave it up to the podcast hosts themselves to advertise your company, providing only a few major talking points you'd like them to mention.
As for finding a podcast to advertise with, several services connect advertisers and podcasters. One of the largest is Midroll, which works with big advertisers like Squarespace, Allstate, and HBO and popular podcasts like WTF with Marc Maron, Nerdist, and My Favorite Murder. Many popular podcasts are part of larger networks such as Earwolf, NPR and Carolla Digital, so you can also contact these parent companies for advertising purposes.
If you're interested in advertising on a smaller podcast that isn't part of a network, look for the contact info on its website or social media page. You'll need to draw up and agree on a contract for the advertisement, detailing how long you want to advertise for, what the ads need to cover, and how much you'll pay. Advertising prices on podcasts are generally quite affordable.
Cost of podcast advertising
Podcast ad network AdvertiseCast has different payment tiers depending on the length and placement of the ad as well as the podcast's number of listeners. For example, a 30-second pre-roll ad costs $29 for every 1,000 listeners the podcast attracts. The rate is discounted for more listeners, but nonetheless, you'll end up paying more for more popular podcasts.
Podcasting is a marketing opportunity that's been overlooked since its inception but is finally catching on. As the medium grows, so will the advertising industry that surrounds it. You can capture a dedicated audience through popular podcasters and unique marketing.