Best Practices for Podcast Advertising

in Business

Listeners who tune in for a podcast episode are more likely to finish the episode than not. In fact, the vast majority of listeners (85%) will stay dialled in for most, if not all, of the episode once they press “play.”

By partnering with podcasters — and dedicating part of your ad spend to podcast advertising — you’re able to tap into this engagement in a relevant and meaningful way.

But there’s a caveat. Because listeners have the option to bypass any and all ads, you have to be very intentional and strategic about how you integrate ad content into podcasts.

To help you convert podcast listeners into loyal customers, this article details the best practices for creating, sharing, and tracking the ROI of your podcast ads.

Investing in Podcast Ads: A Digital Marketer’s Perspective

According to Podcast Insight’s latest count, there are more than 1,750,000 podcast shows on Apple Podcasts. And to add another statistic into the mix, the amount of monthly podcast listeners is slated to reach 164 million by 2024.

From a marketing standpoint, distributing ad content through podcasts allows you to meet your target audience where they are — blissfully listening to interviews, panel discussions, or even (by popular demand) true crime stories.

This is to say that if you haven’t invested in podcast advertising yet, it might be time to start.

The next three sections break down what you need-to-know to get the most ROI from your podcast ads.

Find Podcasts with the Right Audience Fit

When it comes to partnering with podcasters for ad campaigns, look for opportunities where your audiences overlap.

Listeners are more inclined to engage with pre-roll or mid-roll ads that are relevant to them, but also to the podcaster they’re listening to.

Take time to learn more about prospective podcast partners before you initiate a new deal. What brand partnerships have they formed in the past? How do they present ads to their listeners? Is there good potential to align your interests with theirs?

If a podcaster will be talking about your product or service in an ad, consider gifting them with the product or a free trial of the service ahead of the ad’s release.

The podcaster can then share their first-hand experience with listeners and make a more compelling case for why the product is worth their investment.

This approach benefits both parties involved in terms of boosting engagement and revenue.

Baked-in Vs. Dynamically Inserted Ads

Before you make the final call to invest part of your ad spend in any podcast, make sure that you communicate your expectations about the ad content with your potential partners.

While a podcaster might prefer an ad lib or scripted style, there are two main categories that all podcast ads fall into: baked-in and dynamically inserted ads.

Baked-in ads are exactly what you might expect — they are added in during the podcast recording as opposed to afterward.

This type of ad usually comes across as more organic to listeners because the podcasters have to plan for a smooth transition into ad breaks. A dynamically inserted ad, on the other hand, gives you more precision when targeting your audience.

Since dynamically inserted ads are pre-recorded, you can run A/B tests on the ad messaging (a perk that isn’t possible with baked-in ads).

Even still, a study comparing these ads found that baked-in ads were 3.5 times more efficient when it came to cost per acquisition (CPA).

As you track the success of your podcast ads over time — whether baked-in ads, dynamically inserted ads, or both —  you’ll have a better gage for which type of ad yields the most consistent results for your company.

Cost Breakdown

In pursuit of a positive ROI, it’s important to consider at all times whether the cost justifies the means.

The last thing you want to do is overinvest in a podcast ad campaign that isn’t targeting the right audience or yielding the conversion results you forecasted.

Your early conversations with podcasters will give you insight about how they price their ad slots. As you enter into negotiations, keep in mind that the average industry rates for podcast advertising are $18 for a 30-second ad CPM (cost per mille) and $25 for a 60-second ad CPM.

To put this in perspective, a podcaster who has an audience of 10,000 listeners would likely charge you $250 for a 60-second ad. And the more listeners a podcaster has, the steeper this cost will be.

Whatever your marketing budget might be, it’s always smart to err on the side of caution and start small. We recommend partnering with several micro podcasters rather than one or two podcasters with larger audiences, at least until you get a lay of the land.

Keep Listeners Tuned in for Podcast Ads

Whether you opt for a baked-in or dynamically inserted ad, you can use promo codes and vanity URLs to both generate and track new conversions. In doing so, you create a direct line of traffic from a podcast episode to your business’s landing page.

Not only are you incentivizing listeners to stay tuned for your ads, you give them a reason to invest in your product or service. Because they use a promo code or visit a personalized URL link, you’re able to attribute new revenue growth to specific podcast ad campaigns.


Image Credits: Maciej Korsan

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