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March 02, 2017

Written by

Sara Johnson

Podcast Advertising | What You Need to Know

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It seems like everywhere we turn today, some form advertising is staring right back at us. And while many of us have become used to the overly saturated world of digital advertising, there are a few new players on the block ready to disrupt the current system. “What big player is that,” you ask? One that you wouldn’t think of right away: podcasts. With nearly 57 million Americans listening to podcasts monthly, there is no doubt that podcast advertising is the new ad medium every brand should be leveraging right now.

But what many of us may be asking ourselves is how to get started with this new advertising platform. To make your life easier, we did the research for you! Let’s check it out.

What Is Podcast Advertising?

Simply put, podcast advertising is a snippet at the beginning, middle and end of a podcast where the podcast host takes a break to ‘share a few words from their sponsors.’ It is at this moment that they share a scripted spot for 15-60 seconds about a product, service, etc. from the business with which they are partnering.

Why Podcasting Is a Great Ad Medium

As ad-blocking, display ads, “banner blindness,” etc. become more and more common in today’s oversaturated media world, podcasting is the breath of fresh air for which both listeners and advertisers alike have been waiting. Because podcast advertising is only a brief snippet of content, users can learn about a product or service without being intruded upon by a brand.

To showcase how great this ad medium is, here are a few stats from a study done by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research who polled roughly 1,000 podcast listeners:

  • 65 percent of listeners mentioned that podcast ads increase purchase intent
  • 45 percent say that they are likely to visit an advertiser's website after hearing and audio promo
  • 42 percent of listeners stated they would consider a new product or service after hearing an ad for a brand
  • 37 percent use podcast ads to research brands

The Breakdown of Podcast Advertising Jargon

When it comes to podcast advertising, there are a variety of terms that you will likely hear over and over again. These terms include:

  • Pre-roll: The 15-second spot that opens the podcast. This tends to have a more traditional audio ad feel.
  • Mid-roll: These are the 30-60 second ad segments that occur in the middle of the podcast.
  • Outro: This is the final part of the podcast in which the host urges listeners to try out a final sponsor’s product/service.
  • Offer code: Most podcast ads offer a promo code of some sort. This allows the company advertising to track who is coming from the ad.
  • Native Ad: The standard podcast ad that tends to consist of the host reading a script. You could also hear agency-produced ads with music, sound effects, etc.
  • Direct Response: Most podcasters now offer linkable show notes or captions which allow sponsors to provide direct links to their site or product pages.

Podcast Advertising Platforms

Something many advertisers or brands may not know when thinking about diving into podcast advertising is that you have the option to go through a third-party. Similar to the third-party companies for media buys, podcasting has the same kind of options. Though this is often a more expensive option, these companies can get your advertisements in front of the right audiences quickly and efficiently. Some of the most common companies of this kind are:

How to Get Started With Podcast Advertising

As discussed before, an easy way to get started with podcast advertising is to go through a third-party company like Midroll or Adopter Media. However, if you’re looking to save money, reaching out to the podcasters directly is a great option. Below I have listed the typical steps that take place when looking to sign a podcast advertising deal.

Podcast Advertising Process

  1. Inquiry - Reach out to see if the other party (podcaster) is interested in a partnership and provide a brief overview of why you think you would make a good partner. This should hopefully lead to a phone call/ meeting.
  2. Preparation - Create and send them a media kit. The media kit will include the visual representation of the mission, vision, host info, etc. for the podcaster to learn more about the sponsorship and prepare for the call.
  3. Personal Contact - The business will pitch the podcaster on how the relationship will work and everything involved in the partnership.
  4. Signing the Contract - The podcaster will then send a contract detailing everything discussed in the call, the package chosen, the payment arrangements, and the deliverables needed from both parties.
  5. Payment - Payment is made in advance to the podcaster and can occur monthly or quarterly depending on the package chosen.
  6. Advertising Creation - At this point, all advertisements are created and sent over for approval, whether those are written talking points, a script, or a pre-recorded audio clip.
  7. Implementation - The podcaster will edit the audio track into the show, say the script and implement anything else discussed in the agreement, such as social posts, blog mentions, etc.
  8. Monthly Tracking - It is the podcaster’s duty to provide monthly insights on how the advertisement is performing. Obviously, they cannot measure specifics such as purchases, but they can download numbers from email clicks, website traffic numbers, etc.
  9. Review - At the end of the quarter the success is reviewed by both parties. It is then that you can tweak the contract, make advertising adjustments or choose not to continue.
  10. Renew - If all goes well, then you will renew your agreement and continue monitoring and adjusting to find the most successful tactics.

The Cost of Podcast Advertising

As if podcast advertising didn’t already have a lot going for it, you can add ‘won't make a big dent in my ad budget’ to your list. As one of today’s most inexpensive ad mediums out there, Podcast advertising can get you the ROI for which you have been looking.

However, as podcast advertising begins to pick up in popularity over the next few years, we can expect that price to increase. Below is a graph from Bridge Rating that shows how much podcast advertising spend is expected to skyrocket over the years.

Podcast Advertising Potential

When it comes to pricing, the typical cost for podcast advertising is around $18-$25 for every 1,000 listeners. However, this will depend on the length of your ad, popularity of the podcast, etc.

To see how this compares to some of the most popular podcasts right now, we reached out to see what a few big-name podcasters typically charge for a spot on their show.

Side Hustle Nation:

“Typically podcast sponsorships are sold on a CPM basis (cost per 1,000 downloads). Rates vary by industry, but you might see a range from $15-$40 depending on the ad placement and length. In this way, sponsors can find affordable exposure even on smaller shows since they're only paying based on the size of the audience. In my case, I try to sell a "whole-episode takeover,” where there's only one sponsor. I'll give them a 15-second plug at the top of the show and a longer 60-second spot toward the end. My current rate is a $29 CPM for those two spots combined. I could increase those rates by going longer at the beginning or offering a true "Midroll" spot closer to the halfway mark of the episode.”

- Nick Loper

Growth Everywhere

“We operate on a CPM (1,000 impressions) basis at $40.”

- Eric Siu


EarWolf partners with podcast advertising network Midroll who has over 300 podcasts in their network. Podcast advertising prices are based on a CPM basis and range from $15-$30 depending on the podcast and the positioning (pre-roll, mid-roll, and outro) of the advertisement within the podcast.

How to Measure Podcast Advertising

So, podcast advertising clearly has an abundance of amazing aspects that are encouraging and make you want to jump on board. Unfortunately, there is always a drawback to any ad medium, and podcast advertising has its in the measurement and metrics area. Though that's not to say that there is no way to measure a podcast advertisement’s success. A few of the biggest ways to track podcast advertising is through unique/trackable URLs, downloads, sessions and other vanity metrics via various analytics tools.

The Future of Podcast Advertising

It is safe to say that both the popularity and cost of podcast advertising is only going to go up from here. But the good news is that it’s a brand new, fresh ad medium to try out for your brand. If we haven’t convinced you thus far, check out a few podcast facts below:

Podcast Fast Facts:

  • 56% of listeners are men
  • 44% of listeners are women
  • 51% have a four-year degree or higher
  • 21% make 100k or higher
  • 41% make 75k or higher
  • 38% are 18-34 year-olds
  • 34% are 34-54 year-olds
  • 64% listen on their smartphones
  • 34% listen on their computers

Interested in Podcast Advertising for your Business?

Our savvy digital marketing team can help! With so many podcast advertising options available, our team is here to direct you to the best possible choice for your brand. What are you waiting for? Contact us today!

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Author Thumbnail for Sara Johnson at Blue Compass
Sara Johnson

Blue Compass' Digital Marketing Associate Sara Johnson comes from a background in Digital and Social Media Marketing. She developed her passion for marketing while attending Iowa State University where she graduated in May 2014. She is dedicated to delivering quality, results-driven digital marketing content for clients while continuing to learn and develop in the Digital Marketing field.