Are you one of the 150 million Americans who commute to work every day? If so, I'm guessing you've listened to a podcast or two. You're not alone. According to Infinite Dial, U.S. podcast audiences listen to an average of seven podcasts per week.
The podcasting industry has continuously grown since 2013. In fact, Infinite Dial reports that in 2019, 20 million more people were listening to podcasts than in 2018.
That's why it's important to consider podcast advertising for your brand.
Podcast ads have produced excellent results for sponsors. According to Midroll, 61% of podcast listeners say they bought something after hearing an ad, and podcast ads drive two to three times more engagement than radio ads.
Here, you'll learn everything you need to know about podcast advertising — from top podcast advertising strategies to advertising rates and networks.
Podcast Expert Advertising Strategies
Before you get started with podcast advertising, consider this advice from the experts.
Use podcasting for brand awareness, not lead generation
Rebekah Bek: As a writer for Ahrefs, Bek was recently put in charge of podcast sponsorships. She writes her advice for podcast advertising strategies in this Medium post. Here are the key takeaways:
Rather than being a tool for lead generation, podcast advertising is a tool for gaining exposure and brand awareness.
It's not always about measurable ROI.
Organic, not scripted, mentions perform best.
Understand your audience may have eclectic tastes
Midroll: Midroll, a company that matches podcasters with advertisers, writes about their advice to advertisers. Here is the key takeaway:
It's wise not to adhere too strictly to a category. Don't assume that comedy audiences aren't also entrepreneurs or that listeners to a sports podcast aren't interested in a comedy special. You may be surprised at how broad and eclectic your audience tastes and needs are.
Ads read by the host perform better than third-party ads
Jason Hoch: Chief Content Officer at HowStuffWorks, Hoch revealed what type of ads work best for their brand in an interview with DigiDay. Here are the key takeaways:
Ads read by the host perform better than scripted, third-party ads placed in the podcast.
Listeners feel like they are being shouted at with third-party ads.
Consider producing organic mentions for better results.
Test and measure the success of your campaigns
Kurt Kaufer: Partner and CMO at Ad Results Media, a podcast advertising agency, Kaufer wrote a survival guide for podcast advertising in this Forbes post. Here are the key takeaways:
Measurement is the key to determining success in a podcast advertising campaign. Use promo codes, custom links, and post-checkout surveys to track success.
Be comfortable knowing not every ad will work at first and that a breadth of shows will need to be tested to figure out what works and what doesn't.
You don't need to sponsor the biggest podcasts, you can reach the same people on smaller shows
Sam Balter: A podcast marketer at HubSpot, Balter wrote about his podcast advertising learnings in this post. Plus, I spoke with him about his top podcast advertising strategies. Here are the key takeaways:
Pre- and post-roll ad spots are generally cheaper than mid-roll and tend to take less time. Most ads have some sort of call-to-action that prompts listeners to go to a specific URL or use a discount code to get a discount.
Podcast popularity and listenership will only continue to rise and so will the opportunity to connect with people in a new and novel way.
When sponsoring podcasts, trust the host to deliver a message in their own voice.
It's better to go for frequency over reach. Pick a podcasts where you can purchase three to five ads versus one ad on a large podcast.
Podcast listeners are millennials, well educated, and more affluent. You don't need to sponsor the biggest podcasts, you can reach the same people on smaller podcasts.
Podcast Advertising Rates
The amount you pay for podcast advertising will vary depending on the length and type of the ad.
It's also important to take into consideration that podcasts offer different pricing structures. Ads can be sold on a cost per mille (CPM) or cost per acquisition (CPA) rate. CPM is the cost you'll pay per 1,000 impressions or downloads. CPA is the cost you'll pay to acquire a customer. Most ads are sold on a CPM model.
During my research for this piece, I found the current average cost of podcast advertising rates is a CPM of about $25.
For example, according to AdvertiseCast, the average CPM for 30-second ads is $18, and the average CPM for 60-second ads is $25.
On the other hand, Balter concludes the CPM generally ranges from $20 to $50.
Kaufer reports CPM prices typically range from $15 to $25.
A podcast advertising network is an agency that connects companies or brands with respected podcasts on which to advertise. The goal is to take away the friction in podcast advertising by helping brands promote their products on podcasts and helping podcasters monetize their projects. A few examples include:
Midroll can connect advertisers with 300+ shows downloaded more than 150 million times a month. In their advertisers portal, you have access to your campaign's metrics and airchecks (demonstrated recordings) 24/7. For pricing information, you can contact them through their contact page.
Podcast One sees more than 2.1 billion downloads annually across 350 episodes produced weekly. They provide data on how many people hear your ad and how many times the podcast is downloaded. Raw data is downloaded from Edgecast, quantitative and qualitative data from Edison Research, and digital ad injection and verification by WideOrbit. For pricing information, you can fill out the contact form at the bottom of their about page.
AdvertiseCast boasts 1,500 podcast listens, a 30,000,000 monthly listener reach, and 7,500 available ad spots. They also offer an end-to-end service where they can manage your campaigns for you. In their advertising portal, you can research the shows you want to sponsor, manage your ad campaigns, and access your reporting metrics. For pricing information, you can contact them through their podcast advertising form.
5. Host-read ads continue to be the preferred ad type, representing a little less than two-thirds of ad types in 2018. Announcer-read/pre-produced ads make up most of the other one-third. (source: Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC, 2019)
Podcast advertising is a marketing tactic that is continuing to grow. As a majority of people have listened to a podcast, and engagement rates are increasing, brands can no longer ignore podcast advertising.