Insights / Digital Media

PUBLISHED: Jul 8, 2021 7 min read

The Complete Podcast Advertising Guide

Ty Jenifer

Digital Media Analyst

How to Identify the Best Podcast for Your Brand’s Advertising | Tracking + Measuring Ad Performance | How to Buy Podcast Ads

Cooking, commuting, catching up on emails — many of us try to make these daily tasks more tolerable. And for a growing number of Americans, it’s by listening to a podcast while they work through their to-do list.

A podcast ad is a highly engaging paid media medium to deliver brand messaging. Listeners tend to hang on to every word, meaning they’re engaged and listening to your advertising too.

While some marketers may be concerned about the lack of messaging control, having a trusted source deliver rave remarks about your brand, product, or service can be an effective way to advertise. And demographically, podcast listeners are growing in number.

There’s a diverse range of podcast listeners, from die-hards to newcomers, with no sign of slowing down. Nielson stated in 2020 that the total podcast audience is growing at a compound average growth rate of 20%.

Instead of being a niche target audience, it’s likely that your prime customers consume audio or even video podcasts. And if they don’t just yet, they likely will soon. We’re sharing our podcast advertising know-how and best practices for the most effective ROI and customer conversions.

How to Identify the Best Podcast for Your Brand’s Advertising

Ask the crucial questions, including the following:

Does my brand, product, or service align with this specific podcast?

Does the campaign need the broad reach of a macro audience on a well-known podcast?

Or is it better for my business goals to reach a niche group with micro-influencers and podcast hosts?

Find the Right Podcast Host

Top platforms such as SoundCloud or Spotify allow you to see platform-provided view numbers to verify the podcast’s success. Vetting the best podcast for your brand requires a deeper dive than just high-level metrics.

And find the answers to make sure it’s going to be a good fit.

Direct Outreach: Reach out to podcast hosts directly to identify if their key success metrics and goals would suit your campaign.

Social Media Presence: Check follower counts and engagement rates on podcasts’ social media pages. It’s a great indicator to verify that they have a legitimate audience.

Credible Advertising Network: Platforms such as Midroll, Advertisecast, PodcastOne, and Authentic offer advertisers access to hundreds of shows and hosts with your desired target audience and directly connect advertisers with podcast hosts.

What to Know About Podcast Advertising Scripts 

The average podcast listener can tell you; podcast ads don’t sound like your typical radio commercial — it’s one of the reasons they’re so successful. Many podcast hosts don’t read ads verbatim. Instead, they work the provided ad copy into their in-the-moment monologue. When providing ad copy, what messaging must be specific and verbatim — and call it out. Your script should specify key messaging that hosts can pull from as they work through your script on the spot. This ad-hoc approach keeps listeners engaged, and they will be hanging on the hosts’ every word, including when they speak about your brand.

There are three types of podcast ads with the following duration and word counts:

Pre-roll Ad: 20 seconds long + 70 words max

Mid-roll Ad: 60 seconds long + 170-200 words max

Post-roll Ad: 15 seconds long + 50 words max

Easy Tips for Podcast Scripts

  • Make copy easy to read and straightforward.
  • Keep sentences short and sweet.
  • Test timing by reading aloud.
  • Ask someone else to read it aloud, too.
  • Provide a pronunciation guide and phonetic spelling as needed.

How to Format Your Podcast Script 

Similar to other advertisements, podcast scripts follow a prescribed pattern for optimal messaging success.

Introduction: Start with a hook, i.e., problem, upcoming holiday, a current event that your product or brand can solve or discuss. Then, give a brief background of your product or brand.

Overview: Provide specific information about differentiating features and offers. Why are your brand and product the best solution for your customer? For example, highlight any first-hand accounts, endorsements, pricing details, points of distinction, etc. That can help your product stand out and sell — especially if there’s a unique connection between your brand or product and the podcast you’re advertising on.

Call-to-Action: Bring it home with a clear, actionable CTA. Generally, it’s a website URL as well as any offers or promotion codes if applicable.

Tracking + Measuring Ad Performance 

Podcast ad performance is tracked through impressions in the form of podcast downloads. For example, if your ad ran in an episode with 150,000 downloads, it’s considered that your ad received 150,000 impressions.

While platforms can’t guarantee an exact number of listeners who heard your ad, researchers agree on some statistics. And these factors can be considered when measuring campaign performance.

  • Listeners who download an episode listen to at least 80-90% of the content, regardless of length.
  • Within 48hrs of downloading, 73% of listeners will have listened to the episode
  • Within a week of downloading, % of listeners will have listened to the episode

And there are indirect ways to track campaigns, such as:

  • Offer codes
  • Custom URLs
  • Check-out surveys
  • Social mentions
  • Web hits

How to Buy Podcast Ads

Advertisers can buy podcast ads in several ways. Each method has pros and cons — so the best option will depend on your ad concept, media mix, and business goals.

Buying Directly from Individual Podcasts

For ads that require more planning, such as sponsored content, a paid interview, or preparing scripted product placements, reaching out to podcasters directly is the most effective way to place ads. Making an in-person connection and working together to develop the best ad is ideal. Within initial communication, confirm their growth and key success metrics to guarantee all parties are on the same page about campaign ROI.

Buying Through an Advertising Network 

Many podcast publishers are aggregated through advertising networks and exchanges, so a single ad buy can be used to advertise across many podcasts. Advertisers need to submit ad information and purchase ad slots across a variety of podcasts.

For example, utilizing an advertising network is beneficial for launching multiple “host-read” ads across different podcasts. Top podcast advertising networks include Midroll, Advertisecast, PodcastOne, and Authentic.

Buying Programmatically through a Demand Side Platform

While podcast advertising has seen slower programmatic growth than in other channels, it’s starting to ramp up as more and more Americans consume content through podcasts.

A Demand Side Platform (DSP) allows digital ad buyers to manage multiple ad and data exchange accounts in just one interface, including digital audio such as podcast inventory. A DSP streamlines ad buying by removing redundant negotiations and automating impression buying. With the ability to buy impressions across websites, mobile apps, podcasts, and digital out-of-home media, customers can hear receive your messaging across platforms and channels — in moments that matter most.

Targeting user behaviors and preferences, DSP can provide targeting options based on geolocation, type of device, browser, domain URL, and traffic category. DSP is a comprehensive tool that offers timely reports, including reporting on ad impact, cap frequency of ad shows, and real-time creative optimization.

With hundreds of podcasts within industries and verticals, your target audience is likely already listening to one of them. And identifying where your target audience is and how to engage them to act is foundational to a successful paid media strategy. Within a holistic marketing strategy, podcast campaigns can drive the success of surrounding tactics as well.

To learn more paid media insights, read Google Discovery Ads: Optimize Campaigns + Save Time with the Modern Search Journey.