8 Pro Tips for Podcast Advertising - Part 1

WE KNOW, WE KNOW. It seems like everyone and their mom has a podcast these days… But hey, that’s not stopping people from tuning in.

In fact, podcast listeners are projected  to reach 100 million by 2024!

The most popular podcast worldwide, the Joe Rogan Experience, has even overtaken traditional media with an average of 11 million listeners per episode. 🤯

Whether it’s flipping on a pod to get your daily dose of news, bingeing a true crime series on a road trip, or leveling up your marketing game with your favorite DTC podcast (😉)…

Podcasts have quickly become the soundtrack to many people’s daily lives.

But what about podcast ads ? Are they an effective marketing channel?

Let’s take a gander…

  • 69% of listeners say podcast ads successfully increase their awareness of brands (source).
  • 81% have taken action after hearing a podcast ad (visiting a website, following on social media, etc.) and 60% have bought a product advertised on a podcast (source).
  • Podcast ads generate 4.4x better brand recall than display ads (source).
  • Annual podcast ad revenue is expected to exceed $2B by 2023 (source).

We’d say that’s a resounding “yes.”

The intimate nature of podcasts makes them a uniquely effective channel for advertising. A podcast ad is just like hearing about an awesome product from a friend – and that’s the most powerful marketing of all.

However, podcast ads are a notoriously tricky channel to navigate.

They can be expensive, often take many months to pay off, and tracking attribution can be a nightmare. This is why many brands press pause on the podcast advertising game because “they just aren’t seeing the ROI.”

BUT with the right strategy, execution, and lots of patience, podcast ads have the potential to pay off big time.

Here are the first four of our eight pro tips for effective podcast advertising. 👇

1️⃣ Understand the logistics.

The first step in setting yourself up for podcast ad success is understanding the logistics and options available to you.

There are essentially two kinds of podcast ads to be aware of:

  1. Baked-in ads: These are natively recorded within the podcast episode, often by the podcast host. They can be prerecorded or read live, and become an evergreen part of the podcast episode.
  2. Example: The Doctor’s Farmacy (prerecorded) or Lex Fridman Podcast (live).
  1. Dynamically inserted ads: These are prerecorded (sometimes by someone other than the host) and dynamically placed by an ad network or DAI software. Because they aren’t “baked-in” to the podcast episode, they can be easily changed or modified even after the episode has been released.
  2. Example: Joe Rogan Experience (prerecorded by host) or The New York Times The Daily (prerecorded by non-host)

Most experts say baked-in ads typically perform better because they sound more authentic and less like an advertisement. Although that’s not to say there isn’t a time and place for dynamic ads – for example, if you need an easy way to A/B test different ad messaging or if your offer is time sensitive.

Depending on the length of the show, there are also usually three options for ad placement: Pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. Mid-roll podcasts often get the most engagement since they’re less likely to get skipped, but they also usually cost more.

👉 So, hypothetically speaking, a brand’s best chance of success is probably with a baked-in, host-recorded, mid-roll ad.

2️⃣ Know where your audience is tuning in.

Next is to understand what podcasts your ideal customer is listening to. In general, it’s a good strategy to align with genres, shows, and/or hosts that represent your brand values or resonate with your target audience.

Tips for finding your podcast match:

  • Ask your customers directly what podcasts they like to listen to.
  • Browse categories in Apple Podcasts for shows that align with your brand.
  • Ask podcast hosts detailed questions about their listener demographics. Age, gender, income, location, and interests are all vital information to have.

However, you really don’t have to limit yourself to just one genre – especially if you’ve been in the game for a while. Testing more general categories like news, financial, sports, and comedy could also be a good move. You might be surprised at how eclectic your audience’s tastes are!

3️⃣ Frequency > Reach.

Podcast ads are almost always a long game – so play your odds right.

Listeners usually need to hear about your brand on a podcast several times before actually taking action. This means it’s often better to opt for frequency overreach.

In other words, if you’re just starting out, you’ll probably get the most bang-for-your-buck advertising on smaller podcasts where you can purchase 3-5 ad spots, versus a large podcast where you may only be able to afford one.

4️⃣ Consider being a guest on the podcast before advertising.

In an episode of the DTC Pod, the cofounders of CLEARSTEM Skincare dropped one gold nugget of podcasting advice that we couldn’t leave off this list:

When they run ads on a podcast they’ve already been interviewed on, performance skyrockets. 🚀

Having someone from your company as a guest on a podcast is a great way to familiarize listeners with your brand, which means they’ll be more likely to purchase from you when they hear an ad down the road.

So, if you have a charismatic founder, helpful information to share, or a killer brand story, see if you can secure an interview on your key podcasts *before* running any ads.

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