There are any number of reasons why people may listen to podcasts. They keep the lonely, comforted; the inquisitive, stimulated; the bored, entertained; the curious, informed. They offer different perspectives and opinions from across the globe and they often explore a vast array of entertaining and life-changing topics. Plus, they feature ads that are hand-picked to be relevant to the listener.
If you are a podcaster who’s not taking advantage of podcast advertising, why not? Podcast advertising can educate listeners on products, experiences and events they may be interested in and they’ll make you some money. On the other hand, if you’re an advertiser who hasn’t considered podcast advertising, we believe you’re missing a trick. In the UK alone, there are around 15.6 million podcast listeners (according to statista.com). That’s almost a quarter of the population!
Below, we take you through everything you may want to know about podcast advertising, including podcast advertising rates and podcast advertising statistics.
Everything You Need to Know About Podcast Advertising
What is Podcast Advertising?
Let’s start with the basics: what is podcast advertising? Just like a radio advert, a podcast advert relies on audio to advertise a product. Unlike a radio advert, though, there’s a high chance a podcast listener will engage with the entire advert. Why? Well, because the listener won’t be able to switch to another podcast whilst the ads play out – something we’ve all done before when listening to the radio.
As you can imagine, there are different types of podcast advertising:
- Pre-Roll Podcast Ads– A pre-roll podcast advert plays out before the podcast begins. The main advantage of a pre-roll podcast is that the audience is likely to absorb the information, as they’re ready to listen. The main disadvantage of a pre-roll podcast advert is that it could potentially encourage a percentage of people to stop listening to the podcast before it even begins.
- Mid-Roll Podcast Ads – A mid-roll podcast advert plays out during the middle of the podcast. The main advantage of a mid-roll podcast ad is that it’s unlikely to be skipped, as it helps break the podcast into two easy-to-digest segments. The main disadvantage of a mid-roll podcast advert is that it can feel a little intrusive and potentially disturb the podcast’s flow.
- Post-Roll Podcast Ads – A post-roll podcast plays out once the podcast episode is over. The advantage of a post-roll podcast advert is that it doesn’t distract listeners from the podcast’s purpose. The disadvantage of a post-roll podcast advert is that people may stop listening to the podcast before they have the chance to hear the ad.
- Native Podcast Ads – Native podcast adverts (also known as ‘live read’ ads, ‘host read’ ads and ‘baked in’ ads) are read out by the podcaster and often come in the form of a shoutout. The main advantage of a native podcast ad is, as the ad’s read out by the podcaster, it’s unlikely to disturb the podcast’s flow. The main disadvantage is that some may question a podcaster’s intentions if they include native podcast ads. It may lead the listener to wonder whether all opinions are, in fact, dictated by fiscal matters.
To understand podcast advertising, it’s important to be clued-up about the podcast industry. Advanced podcast analytics and advertising platform Backtracks released some of its most significant findings in 2018, revealing nationwide results about listener demographics and activity. Here are the UK-based statistics worthy of mention:
- 63% of listeners are male
- 67% of people listen to podcasts on their smartphone
- 39% of people listen to podcasts at home
- The majority of people who listen to podcasts are between 25-34 years old (21%)
- Most consumers start listening to podcasts between 8:00–8:15 am
Furthermore, Backtracks provided some insight into podcast behaviour in other destinations across the world. Here are some of the most important stats to bear in mind:
- The United States of America – 44% of the population have listened to a podcast at some point in their lives. Most regular podcast listeners fall into the 35–54 years group (36%), closely followed by the 18-24 years group (34%). An average of 6 hours and 37 minutes is spent listening to podcasts weekly
- Canada – 28% of the population are monthly consumers of podcasts, 54% of these people are men. Over half of these people (53%) have a graduate or advanced degree. On average, Canadians listen to 6 hours and 4 minutes of podcasts per week
- Australia – Over in Oz, 22% of people who listen to podcasts are aged between 12-24 and 22% are aged between 25-54. 79% of Australians prefer to listen to their podcasts on their smartphones. 74% prefer to listen to their podcasts at home
Podcast Advertising Statistics
In 2016, Midroll – the world's largest podcast advertising network – conducted a study of 11,123 podcast listeners to explore the impact of podcast advertising. Here are the main findings:
- 90% of listeners said they listened to the ads of the target brand
- 80% of listeners were able to name at least one brand advertised in an episode
- 67% of listeners were able to name a specific product feature or promotion
- 51% of listeners were somewhat or much more likely to buy from the target brand
In 2018, Midroll commissioned Nielsen to conduct another study for eight national brands represented by the podcast advertising network. Here are the noteworthy findings from that study:
- Podcasts generate up to 4.4x better brand recall than widely used digital advertising forms (e.g. scroll ads, static ads and pop-up ads)
- Of listeners exposed to an ad, 61% said they were likely to buy (a 10% lift from 2016)
- 118% more people who heard a podcast ad were more likely to buy a new flavour for a national soft drink brand
As you can see, the conclusion of Midroll’s studies is podcast advertising is extremely effective and can often lead to tangible results.
What are the Podcasting Advertising Rates?
The rate a podcaster charges an advertiser usually depends on the size of their listenership. In 2019, Advertise Cast – a premium podcast advertising network – reported the average rate for a podcast ad was $18 for a 30-second ad and $25 for a 60-second ad, per 1000 listeners.
Also in 2019, The UK Domain released a guide for podcasters to help them figure out their pricing strategy. Here are their guidelines:
- A 15-second pre-roll should cost around $18 per 1000 listeners.
- A 60-second mid-roll should cost around $25 per 1000 listeners.
- A 30-second post-roll costs $10 per 1000 listeners.
Podcast Advertising Networks and Agencies
There are plenty of podcast advertising companies dedicated to connecting brands to podcasts who are interested in integrating ads into their episodes. Here are five of the most popular podcast advertising networks globally:
Midroll is a podcast advertising network (founded in 2010) that works with some of the most esteemed podcasters on the planet – including Conan O’Brien, Kid Fury and Crissle West and Bethenny Frankel – and world-class advertisers, such as HBO, Squarespace, Amazon and Dunkin’ Donuts.
The California-based agency allows advertisers to select from hundreds of podcasts; on the flip side, it also allows podcasters to select the advertisers they partner with carefully.
AdvertiseCast is a Wisconsin-based premium podcast network that boasts more than 1,700 podcasts on their books (categorised by genre) and works with over 1,200 advertisers. The self-described podcast fanatics stand out because they’re results-driven: they carefully manage each advertising campaign they handle. This might explain why they have four different offices: one in Oshkosh, one in NYC, one in Charleston and one in Boston.
After leaving his role as Podcast Advertising Sales & Director of Marketing at TwiT (the world’s largest tech podcast network), Glenn Rubenstein set up his own podcast advertising agency, ADOPTER Media. To date, the company has placed over eight figures in podcast ads for brands such as LinkedIn, KIND snacks, Fossil and Netgear. It prides itself on working closely with advertisers and marketers to research, plan, launch and manage successful podcast ad campaigns.
With 15+ years of experience, Authentic (a Podtrac company) knows a thing or two about podcast advertising – naturally, this is reflected in their results. They are selective about the podcasts they work with – providing ads for popular podcasts including The Peter Schiff Show, Don’t Keep Your Day Job with Kathy Heller and Filmspotting.
True Native Media
True Native Media is a Florida-based boutique agency that specialises in podcast advertising. By building close relationships with the teams and brands they collaborate with, True Native media has built a reputation. This reputation has led to partnerships with NATIVE, FabFitFun and Warby Parker Eyewear. To date, they have placed over 50,000 ads and satisfied over 100 podcasters.
Best Podcast Advertising Tips
In 2019, Forbes asked 10 members of the Forbes Agency Council to share some tips for podcast advertising. Here are their most useful pieces of information:
- Front-load your podcast advert – If you are creating a long podcast advert, you run the risk of listeners skipping your ad. Therefore, it’s vital that you shout about the most crucial information at the beginning.
- Include a measurable call to action – When creating a podcast advert, it’s essential to encourage the listener to move from the podcast to your domain. If you have something to sell, you may want to provide listeners with a promo code. This way, you can track the success rate of your podcast advert.
- Request a season-long sponsorship – podcast ads are perfect for those looking to gain exposure, rather than generate leads. If possible, strike a deal with a podcaster who’s open to limited season-long sponsors so that you can establish a relationship with a specific audience.
- Think global, not local – A podcast’s listenership may not necessarily reside in the podcaster’s local area, so, it’s essential to ‘think global’ when creating a podcast ad. After all, you don’t want to advertise a product, service or event the listener can’t access or use.
- Be familiar with your audience – It’s paramount to ensure you’re advertising to the right audience who may be interested in what you have to offer. If you don’t choose the podcast wisely, you’re unlikely to reap any benefits.
- Consider the podcast's tone – a podcast advert should always be appropriately aligned with the podcast’s theme and tenor. If you fail to match the tone of the ad, you’re unlikely to appeal to the audience. In some cases, you may even offend a listener, so make sure you always consider the audience’s state of mind.
Music for Podcast Adverts
If you’re an advertiser looking to create a podcast ad or you’re a podcaster looking to liven up your native ads, we’d like to welcome you to our world of ready-to-licence production music.
We’ve got music to suit every type of podcast imaginable. We have a Fashion and Beauty playlist for contemporary tastemakers, brimming with sparkly, optimistic tracks; a soothing World Meditation album for those who preach (and practice) traditional wellness methods; a Cinematic playlist for film buffs; and a Religious playlist jam-packed hymns for the spiritual.
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