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Podcast Advertising: 5 Must-Dos

Date Posted: August 8, 2019Reading time: 6 minutes

By Matthew McGlashan


What is a podcast?

If you’re reading this or any of our other blog posts, chances are you have some idea of what a podcast is. This is because the majority of podcast consumers probably fit within your demographic. This demographic is individuals aged 18–34, who have some form of post-secondary education and earn $100k+ per year. No, seriously. Few podcast listeners fall outside of this demographic. So, what can podcasts do for your business? And how can you ensure that you’re getting good value when engaging in podcast advertising? In this blog, you’ll learn about the power of a quality podcast ad and what makes podcast advertising work. Plus, a few helpful tips on how to ensure you get the most out of the medium.

1) Remember–Podcasts are a premium ad format

Before we get too far into the thick of what makes a good or bad podcast ad, I feel it’s my duty as a part-time podcaster and full-time advertiser to remind you that podcasts are a premium advertising medium. They are solely supported by ads, meaning podcast ad placements usually carry a higher cost per impression (the cost per 1000 views of a particular ad) than other digital formats. I would regard them on a similar level to the cinema or programmatic ad placements. While their cost can be high, they offer the advantage of dedicated listeners who are highly engaged throughout the show–even during commercial breaks.

The podcast is a growing and developing medium. Even with an estimated 197 million Americans being familiar with the word ‘podcast’, just 22% of those individuals have listened to one in the past week. But, that’s still an estimated market size of 43 million people listening weekly, and usually listening to several. So, what about podcasts is bringing these people back? And what can advertisers do to reach this eager audience?

2) Consistency is key in podcast advertising

The best thing you can do to ensure your message has an impact is to make an agreement with the podcaster or network you are advertising on to run the ad for a number of weeks. If your budget allows it, running an ad for a month or longer is ideal. This will ensure familiarity with your brand among show listeners. Podcast listeners are likely to stay alert through the ads you have running on a podcast, so you don’t need a ton of exposure. One “mid-roll” placement per episode or a “pre-roll” and “post-roll” placement are often enough when used through multiple episodes. This drives 4x stronger brand recognition than other digital formats like display and video.

Wondering about the quotations around mid-roll, pre-roll, and post-roll? Hosts typically deliver ads organically within the episode. This personal and familiar voice engages the audience more than pre-recorded spots. Since listeners have already built a relationship with the host, their recommendations carry greater weight as if they were from a friend or family member.

3) collaborate with podcast Hosts

It’s important to work with podcasters when developing ads. Providing hosts with canned scripts can actually work against you. Instead, create bulleted lists of key points that hosts can deliver naturally, to engage audiences in a way that feels authentic. This helps ensure ads feel connected to the shows they’re running on.

Keep ads fresh and relevant to the show to mitigate listener burnout over multiple episodes. This can mean going back and forth with a podcaster at first, asking for revisions to ensure an episode’s content fits with your overall brand. Remember, don’t be afraid to take advice from the podcaster. They’ve built their audiences from the ground up (often times over years) and will understand how their audience will react to certain messages.

Hosts can help you to understand who their audience is, whether they match with your product, and will ultimately help you reach them in a way that feels authentic.

4) want results? Give it time

We live in an age of instant results and feedback. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t check my ads’ performance within the first hour of their launch. As marketers, we love to see when things are working and hate uncertainty. Unique to podcast ads is their delayed benefit, as people listen in the days after its release, or listen to back-catalogues when discovering a new show they like. More on back-catalogue listeners later.

One of the biggest appeals of podcasts is the ability for listeners to tune-in on their own time. By subscribing to a show on iTunes, Spotify, or another major podcast provider, they gain access to episodes immediately upon release. These downloads make up the number podcasters will quote you when they talk about a show’s performance. Downloads are the best indicator of ad delivery in podcasts at the moment.

A great majority of these downloads will happen in the hours post-release. But there’s no way to check when a podcast is listened to, and many people delay streaming a show for several days. This means you may see some initial traffic to your site from podcasts on the day of release and then a steady amount in the days, and sometimes weeks, following an episode’s release.

5) Don’t forget about Back-Catalogue Listeners

Back to those back-catalogue listeners I teased above. As new listeners discover podcasts, the majority will listen to at least some past shows to learn more. While listening to historical episodes, they’ll hear weeks or months worth of content over a short period of time.

By developing ads with the podcaster, you prevent ad over-exposure among these listeners. You can instead encourage audiences to listen through to see what else hosts have to say about the product as your story with them progresses. With consistency, you’ll be able to reach these people multiple times in rapid succession. Stats show that over 60% of podcast listeners seek out more information about featured products. Knowing this, there’s a high likelihood that if you stick with a podcast, their growth will be your growth, too.

bottom line–podcast advertising works

Podcasts allow you to get more creative with your advertising and reap engagement from a devoted and receptive audience. Ensure ads are tailored and use an authentic voice to match the show, so you can tap into engaged markets. By running ads across multiple shows, you can benefit from building a relationship with the audience through the host. Plus, you’ll continue to see results in the weeks and months following the initial release of the episodes you’re featured on.

Want to go deeper? Take a look at Midroll’s Definitive Guide to Podcast Advertising and 2018 Podcast Listener Demographics Report.

Matt McGlashan is a Media Specialist at Trampoline. Want his help incorporating podcast ads into your media strategy? Get in touch at [email protected]