If you’re an avid podcast listener, you’ve likely encountered advertisements for brands you hadn’t heard of before but now know well. Blue Apron, Squarespace, Casper, Audible and dozens of other brands that needed to generate leads on a budget have become household names thanks to successful podcast advertising.
Most of these companies were startups when they began advertising on podcasts, and they’ve since exploded into popularity.
If you don’t have the money for traditional advertising and marketing campaigns yet, podcast advertising may be the solution. We’ll examine why podcast advertising is effective and share tips on how to get started.
If you’re starting your own podcast, ways to get your podcast heard include sticking to a defined niche, sharing information about it on social media, and implementing SEO best practices for your podcast.
Why you should advertise on podcasts
According to IAB’s U.S. Podcast Revenue study, podcast advertising is projected to be worth more than $4 billion by 2024 as more marketers — including behemoths like Amazon, Macy’s and Capital One — pour money into podcast advertising.
Additionally, according to data from Statista, 26 percent of U.S. adults listened to podcasts in the week leading up to the survey. This is a slight dip from the 28 percent who were listening to podcasts weekly in 2021 during the height of the pandemic. However, it’s still a massive jump from the 19 million who were listening in 2013 when podcasts were new. With those numbers, it’s hard to deny that podcasts are on the rise and can significantly impact consumer choices.
If you’re considering getting into podcast advertising, weigh the following benefits.
1. Podcasts cover a wide variety of subjects.
Podcast advertisers can choose from a wide variety of shows and content to find podcasts compatible with their companies and products. For example, if you have a nursery or sell gardening products, you could advertise on a gardening podcast. If you’re in the tech field, you could advertise your new software on a technology podcast. A business services company might want to advertise on a podcast for entrepreneurs or one of the best business podcasts.
According to Nielsen’s Podcasting Today report, the number of podcast titles and episodes has increased by almost 200 percent in the past two years. This explosion makes podcasts an example of technology changing online advertising.
2. Podcasts provide a high degree of listener trust.
Another advantage is the unique type of advertising available on podcasts. The IAB study revealed that listeners respond better to ads podcast hosts read than pre-produced ads, much like any type of endorsement. Host-read ads are responsible for 55 percent of generated revenue.
Listeners tend to trust familiar podcast hosts and welcome 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 their experience. Consumers are more likely to respond to sincere and authentic conversations about a product than prewritten copy and talking points.
Provide podcast listeners with exclusive promo codes and discount offers. This incentivizes listeners to take action and gauge your podcast ad’s effectiveness.
3. Podcast advertising is memorable.
Podcast listeners are highly engaged with podcast content. For this reason, your ad will be memorable, especially if it falls in the middle of the broadcast. The Nielsen Podcast Ad Effectiveness study found that podcast ads had a 71 percent aided recall rate.
Additionally, podcast listeners usually tune in while they are doing something else, such as driving, cleaning or walking, so they are unlikely to skip over ads.
4. Podcast advertising is effective.
Podcast advertising can help you generate more sales leads that are friendly or warm. Warmer leads are more likely to purchase your product or service.
Podcast leads are similar to those of affiliate marketing or word-of-mouth advertising. According to Podsights data, podcast lead conversion rates are better or on par with other channels, and average purchase conversion rates increased by 19 percent in 2022. There was also an increase in visitors who purchased from an advertiser’s website after hearing a podcast ad.
5. Podcasts offer extended reach and repetition.
When you pay for an ad on a podcast episode, it’s usually a one-time charge. However, you’re likely to get more for your money because podcast ads are on episodes permanently and will be heard by any listeners replaying those episodes or binging the series in the future.
6. Podcasts present less competition.
There are thousands of podcasts out there, and they are all competing for advertising dollars. This can lower the advertising rate and allow those who advertise on podcasts to stand out from the competition. You’re less likely to be drowned out by a multitude of competitors.
7. Listeners don’t mind podcast ads.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of podcast ads is that listeners don’t mind them and may even enjoy them. A report from Voices found that 80 percent of podcast listeners didn’t think podcast ads negatively affected their experience, and the most well-received ads were those the podcast had thoughtfully chosen. Furthermore, three-quarters of respondents purchased or considered purchasing something advertised on their favorite podcasts. This means they’re more likely to see the offering as memorable or enjoyable.
Podcasts often have corresponding business newsletters listeners can sign up for via email to learn more about the subject or delve deeper into an episode.
How to get started with podcast advertising
Fortunately, getting started with podcast advertising is straightforward. Here’s how it works.
- Think about what you want to advertise. Advertising an exclusive deal for podcast listeners will make your ad more effective, especially if you’re a relatively unknown company.
- Create an ad. 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 host to advertise your company. In this case, provide a few major talking points you’d like them to mention.
- Find a podcast. Several services connect advertisers and podcasters. One of the largest is SXM Media (formerly Midroll), which works with big advertisers and popular podcasts. 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.
- Decide where in the podcast you want your ad to be. Pre-roll ads appear before the podcast, mid-roll ads in the middle and post-roll ads at the end. Mid-roll ads garner the most attention because listeners are already engaged in the content, but they are more expensive.
- Book your ad. Draw up and agree on a contract for the advertisement, detailing how long you want to advertise, what the ads need to cover, and how much you’ll pay. Advertising prices on podcasts are generally quite affordable.
- Track your results. If you use a unique promo code, it’s easy to identify the new business resulting from your podcast advertising. Calculate your ROI to determine if you want to continue advertising on that podcast.
Cost of podcast advertising
Podcast ad networks charge varying fees depending on podcast popularity, ad length, who’s reading the ad, the number of spots you’ve purchased, the campaign length, where the ad will be placed, and more. Most will charge a fixed fee or use the cost per 1,000 listeners, which is known as cost per mile, or CPM. You may spend as little as $15 to $18 for a 30-second spot or as much as $40 for a 60-second spot, depending on various factors.
Podcast ad network AdvertiseCast offers an example of various payment tiers that depend on an ad’s length and placement and the podcast’s number of listeners. For example, a 30-second pre-roll ad might cost $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.
The industry average podcast advertising cost is $18 per 1,000 people reached for a 30-second ad and $25 per 1,000 people reached for a 60-second ad.
Access an engaged audience with podcast advertising
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. By adding podcast advertising to your marketing plan, you can capture a dedicated audience through popular podcasters and unique marketing tactics.