How to get started with podcast advertising

Discover how podcast advertising can help you connect with customers, with simple steps to start your journey.
· 30 January 2024 · 6 minute read

Connect with a growing and engaged audience

The popularity of podcasting has piqued the interest of many businesses who’ve decided to start a podcast to help grow their brand reach. But even if you don’t want to start your own podcast, you can still tap into the growing base of podcast listeners via podcast advertising.

Read on to learn how podcast advertising can help you connect with customers in a new way. Here we share details on types of podcast advertising and simple tips to get you started.

Podcasts are increasingly popular across all age groups

Research from Roy Morgan shows the biggest group of podcast listeners are people born between 1976 and 2005. But podcasts are growing in popularity across all age groups.

Podcast listeners are an engaged audience with varied interests

YouGov reveal Australia's podcast listening statistics which show that a significant portion of podcast listeners listen to podcasts at least once a week, if not more frequently. And while music is the most popular podcast genre, listeners tune in to a wide range of categories and topics. We break down some popular podcast genres below.

  • News and politics
  • Comedy
  • Health and living
  • Sport
  • Science
  • Society
  • Culture.

This creates a wide range of opportunities to connect with consumers who may be interested in what you have to offer.

 

Synergies with other businesses

With many businesses already investing in recording their own podcast, you can partner with those that complement your brand. Podcast hosts who share real content and have a genuine personality can build trust and loyalty with their listeners.

By aligning with a podcast that corresponds to your business values and target market, you can help boost credibility. Building relationships with podcast hosts can help you explore advertising opportunities and pave the way for potential collaborations, interviews, or guest appearances.

 

How does podcast advertising work?

Different ad categories

There are different categories of podcast advertising you can use to help increase the reach of your campaign. Read on to explore some of these in more detail.

Standard ads

Businesses strike a deal with podcasters to insert their advertisements into episodes. Podcasting advertising rates are typically predetermined, based on factors like audience size and positioning within the episode.

Affiliate ads

Instead of a standard fee, podcasters earn a commission based on listener actions. For example, signing up on a website or making a purchase. Each ad features a unique link or code, ensuring conversions are tracked back to the podcast.

Branded podcasts

Branded podcasts are shows created by businesses themselves. They’re a blend of engaging content and subtle marketing, offering listeners value while gently promoting the brand. And helping increase visibility.

Ad insertion positions

Ads in podcasts aren't randomly sprinkled, they’re strategically positioned for maximum impact in one of three ways, which we unpack below.

Pre-roll

Positioned at the start of the podcast, these ads hit listeners when they're fresh and fully engaged. The benefit is immediate exposure, but businesses must make a strong, concise pitch to keep listeners tuned in.

Mid-roll

These are strategically placed during the main content, typically during a natural break in the episode. Since listeners are already engrossed in the content, mid-roll ads often see higher engagement. They provide a balance between listener retention and ad engagement.

Post-roll

Positioned at the end, post-roll ads target listeners committed to the entire episode. Listeners may act on the call to action because they're already invested in it.

 

Cost of podcast advertising

Different models cater to varied campaign goals and audience sizes. Below we detail common cost models for podcast advertising.

  • CPM (Cost per mille): Based on the number of impressions, businesses pay for every 1,000 listens of the ad. This is ideal for podcasts with vast audiences.
  • CPA (Cost per acquisition): This is a performance-driven model where businesses pay based on outcomes. For example, sign-ups, sales or user actions.
  • Flat Rate: A straightforward model where businesses pay a set amount irrespective of listens or conversions. This option is perfect for smaller podcasts or niche audiences where predictable costs are preferred.

 

Creating effective podcast ads

Podcast ad formats

Choosing the right format for your ad can make a world of difference in how listeners receive it. Below we explore two ad formats you may want to consider.

Fully produced/hybrid ads:

These are polished advertisements that are professionally created. They often use a mix of voiceovers, music, and sometimes sound effects. They can offer more consistent quality and branding. But you’ll need to consider how they’ll resonate as authentic with the audience.

Host-voiced/read ads:

These are advertisements read out by the podcast host. Their strength lies in the personal touch and authenticity they carry, as loyal listeners value the host's endorsement. It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the podcast hosts tone of voice and how they’re likely to deliver your ad.

Ad insertion methods

Ads may be inserted into a podcast in different ways. Below we explore two different ad insertion methods for you to consider.

Data-driven or dynamic ad insertion (DAI)

With DAI, ads are inserted into podcasts in real-time, based on data about the listener. This can allow for targeting ads based on things like the listener's location, device and more. You have the flexibility to update or switch out ads dynamically, without the podcast producer needing to republish the entire episode.

Baked-in ads

These advertisements are part of the podcast episode itself and stay there permanently. They can sound more organic than dynamically inserted ads as they’re produced to fit more naturally into the podcast episode. However, they aren’t targeted as the same ads are served to all listeners. And once the episode is published the ad can’t be changed or updated without republishing the entire episode with a new ad baked-in.

 

How to advertise on a podcast

Before diving into podcast advertising, develop a clear set of marketing objectives so you know what you’re trying to achieve. Below we offer some steps to follow to help you design your campaign.

  1. Be clear on your target market and understand who they are
  2. Research podcasts with a listener base that’s a good fit
  3. Evaluate podcast metrics – listener count, download numbers and audience demographics – a large audience isn’t always better if you have a niche target market
  4. Choose the right ad format
  5. Be clear on your call to action, i.e. what you want the listener to do
  6. Monitor performance so you can optimise future campaign activity.

 

Measuring podcast advertising success

Below we explore ways you can assess how effective your podcast advertising campaign is.

  • Tracking conversions: You can track the number of leads or sales generated directly from podcast ads using personalised links.
  • Unique coupon codes or URLs: Offering listeners a unique code or a specific URL not only incentivises them to act but also acts as a precise tracking tool to determine the direct impact of ads.
  • Dive into analytics: Many podcast platforms offer robust analytics, showing insights on download numbers and listener behaviour.

 

The power of podcast advertising

Podcast advertising is an accessible promotion strategy that can help you reach large but also targeted niche audiences. Flexibility in how you can approach podcast advertising can offer opportunities to connect with potential customers and boost your brand credibility.

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