Podcast Advertising: 5 Experts Reveal Their Secrets

Are you one of the 7.8 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 four to five podcasts per week.

The podcasting industry continues to grow YoY. In fact, Infinite Dial reports that, in 2021, 7 million more people were listening to podcasts than in 2020 alone.

That's why it's important to consider podcast advertising for your brand. 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 UX writer for Ahrefs, Bek was 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 advertisers with shows , gives 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: Former 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.

Measuring the success of your podcast campaigns is best done with a tool, like Casted, that gives you an overarching view of critical metrics. With the tool, you can access behavior metrics, demographic data, and traffic information that helps you understand your content's true value. 

You don't need to sponsor the biggest podcasts, you can reach the same people on smaller shows.

Sam Balter: Former 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 take less time. In addition, 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 than reach. Pick a podcasts where you can purchase three to five ads versus one on a large podcast.

Podcast Advertising Rates 2022

The amount you pay for podcast advertising will vary depending on the length and type of the ad.

It's essential to know that podcasts offer different pricing structures. Ads are 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 priced on a CPM model.

The current average cost of podcast advertising is a CPM of about $25.

AdvertiseCast notes that the average CPM for 30-second ads is $18, and the average CPM for 60-second ads is $25.

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Podcast Advertising Networks

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:

1. Midroll

Midroll, now part of SXM Media, is used by over 800 brands to buy ad spots on 300+ podcasts. With such a wide variety of shows, advertisers have the opportunity to use audience-based buying to ensure ads align with podcast topics most relevant to your brand, helping you accurately target relevant users and maximize reach.

Your ads can be pre-recorded or host read, the ladder being a valuable tool for generating brand trust as audiences trust hosts and see them as a valuable source of social proof. 

Midroll prices ads on a CPM model, so you pay based on the number of certified downloads each episode receives. Its website notes that prices can range from $18 to $50 CPM, with higher performing shows being more expensive. 

The advertiser portal also gives you an overview of campaign metrics, helping you see important data like forecasted downloads and ad placement cost per show. 

podcast advertising network: midroll

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2. Podcast One

Podcast One sees more than 2.1 billion annual downloads and 350 different episodes produced weekly, making it a high-impact platform for podcast advertisers. 

It offers pre-recorded and live host endorsements, and you can use its geo-targeting and copy-split capabilities to ensure you target the right audiences and pick placements for your ads that are most relevant to your business. 

With PodcastOne, you also have the unique ability to use visual integrations for your ads in the form of a sponsorship splash, an ad banner, or a forced video ad.

3. Megaphone

Megaphone offers powerful podcast advertising tools with the Spotify Audience Network, helping you target the most relevant listeners that are likely to drive the most impact across a wide variety of podcasts. 

With the service, you can:

  • Reach listeners according to their interests, purchase behavior, and things like apps, devices, and platforms that they use.
  • Get actionable campaign insights that help you understand performance to ensure you have the right strategy.
  • Use dynamic ad insertion to populate ads when downloaded so messaging is fresh and relevant.

Contact Megaphone to obtain pricing information.

4. AdvertiseCast

AdvertiseCast boasts 2,300+ podcasts, a 150,000,000+ monthly listener reach, and 4,200+ available ad spots to choose from, making it a valuable tool for podcast advertisers as you can select target audiences that are the best fit for your business. 

You also have three different podcast ad opportunities to choose from: 

  • Baked-in host-read ads (its most popular option), where podcast hosts read your ads within the episode. Pricing is based on length (60 seconds or 30 seconds) and whether you select mid-roll or pre-roll placement. 
  • Dynamically inserted ads, which are pre-produced, pre-recorded and scheduled to be inserted into podcast content. Pricing is based on the average number of downloads in the first 30 days. 
  • Custom podcast ad units where you can be as creative as you’d like, like a social media plug for your profiles, a 10-second shout out, or a 90-second baked-in mid-roll ad. 

AdvertiseCast also offers an end-to-end ad campaign platform that you can use to manage your ads and view detailed metrics that help you understand campaign performance. You can also make use of the full service solution, where AdvertiseCast manages the process for you.

Podcast Advertising Statistics 2022

1. There are around 2,000,000 podcast shows and over 48 million podcast episodes as of April 2021. (PodcastInsights, 2021)

2. 75% of the US population is familiar with the term “podcasting,” which is up 5% since 2019. (Infinite Dial, 2020)

3. Half of Podcast ads lasted longer in 30 seconds in length. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

4. A survey of 300,000 listeners found that 63% of people bought something a host had prompted on their show. (AdvertiseCast)

5. Cost per mille (CPM) or cost per 1,000 listeners is the most common pricing method for podcasts. (AdvertiseCast, 2021)

6. Dynamically-inserted ads increased the share of revenues from 48% to 67%. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

7. Streaming audio and podcasting is projected to be one of the channels with the largest growth in 2022, with a 17.8% increase. (Inside Radio, 2021)

8. Host-read and pre-product ads increased share of revenues from 27% to 35%. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

9. Local advertising for streaming audio and podcasting will outperform targeted banner advertising and broadcast TV. (Inside Radio, 2021)

10. U.S. Podcast Ad Revenue is set to exceed 2 Billion by 2023. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

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.

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