If you're an avid podcast listener, then you've likely heard 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 started advertising on podcasts, and they've since exploded into popularity. A study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) forecasted podcasting revenues to reach more than $220 million by the end of 2017, which shows that more marketers are pouring money into advertising with podcasts. [Read related story: 5 Best Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs]
IAB has subsequently released the Podcast Playbook, which states that about 24 percent of U.S. consumers listen to podcasts on a monthly basis and, on average, subscribe to at least six podcasts per week. 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 heard through smartphones, WhyPodcasts.org says that advertisements on a podcast are likely on those episodes permanently and will be heard by any listeners replaying those episodes or bingeing the series.
A great benefit to advertising with a podcast is that there is such a wide variety of shows and content that it would be a simple manner to find one that's compatible with your company and products. Podcasting is easy, but it isn't free, especially if showrunners need to maintain costs of hosting and upgrading equipment. The larger the following, the higher the need for more expenses like hiring editors or renting studio time.
Another advantage is the unique type of advertising available on podcasting. IAB's 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 podcast hosts and appreciate personal takes and banter on the product or service. It's become customary 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 commonplace to provide listeners of that specific podcast with an exclusive discount in the form of a code. This is a great way to both further incentivize listeners to consider your company and gauge how effective your ad is on that podcast by measuring the number of conversions with that specific code. In the IAB study, about 67 percent of listeners could recall an actual product feature or promotion mentioned in a podcast ad.
Fortunately, it's not hard to start advertising with podcasts. You can choose to 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 itself to advertise your company, providing only a few major talking points you'd like it to mention.
As far as finding a podcast to advertise with, there are several services that connect advertisers and podcasters. One of the largest is Midroll, which works with large 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, you can reach out to one through contact info it provides 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.
Podcast ad network AdvertiseCast has different payment tiers depending on the length and placement of the ad as well as the number of listeners the podcast has. For example, a 30-second pre-roll ad costs $29 for every 1,000 listeners the podcast attracts. The rate gets 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 itself grows, so will the advertising industry that surrounds it. Capture a dedicated audience through popular podcasters and unique marketing.