What Podcast Should You Advertise On?

Sam Wormser
By Sam Wormser

While the practice of advertising has evolved since its inception, there are more options and stronger competition than ever for brands right now. Although some businesses may be successful through traditional forms of advertising, digital marketing tactics have become more impactful. Keep in mind that it’s still crucial to use various tactics to reach your consumers and establish yourself as an authoritative brand in this market, but one of the most powerful avenues for reaching an audience during this competitive age is through podcasts.

Buying off on the concept of podcast advertising may be difficult since there are numerous options that you can invest in. While some businesses may hesitate on investing in a new advertising format, you should take advantage of the fact that there is currently less competition compared to other advertising options.

Interest in podcast ads is quickly growing, so now is the time to jump on the opportunity. In fact, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAM) has predicted that podcast ad revenue will see an 85% increase over last year and will reach $220 million in 2017. With the popularity and effectiveness of podcast advertising growing, now is the time to consider adding this tactic to your content marketing strategy. Keep in mind that there are many factors to look at when deciding if advertising on a podcast is right for your business.

If you do decide to pursue this channel, the bigger consideration to keep in mind is which podcast you should advertise on. Just as each advertising channel is used to reach a certain audience, the same holds true for podcasts. So before you start investing in any and every podcast, think critically about where you can make the biggest impact.

Know Their Audience

It’s crucial that businesses take advantage of the fact that podcast advertising is used to influence a highly-targeted market. You don’t want to invest your budget speaking to anyone and everyone; be sure to concentrate your efforts on a receptive audience. Just as it’s important to determine your target audience, it’s equally as important to identify the audience of the podcast you want to advertise on.

Consumers listen to particular podcasts because that niche audience shares a similar interest. As an advertiser, you should only work with podcasts that reflect an interest that your brand shares. For example, listeners are going to tune out when they hear an ad for hotdogs while listening to a podcast about vegetarian recipes and benefits. Making sure that you relate your product to the content of the podcast, and therefore the audience of the podcast, is key.

Related: Why You Should Invest in Podcast Advertising

Working with a podcast that aligns with your audience is about more than simply sharing a common interest. It’s one thing to find out what an audience likes, it’s another thing to truly understand who they are. Ask a podcast for their demographics, such as stats on their listeners’ gender, age, income and location. Advertising on a podcast allows businesses the opportunity to change the content of each ad in order to speak to niche audiences.

For example, a company that creates organic baby food can customize an ad that features a DIY recipe, and place this ad on a podcast that targets mothers who are on a budget. Providing these subscribers with a helpful solution shows that your business cares about its customers. Later on in the podcast the same company can also run an ad about a current sale on large baby food variety packs, which will benefit busy working mothers who aren’t able to make their own baby food. Creating a unique ad for multiple personas that all subscribe to the same podcast is an effective tactic for maximizing your advertising efforts.

Identify An Appropriate Tone

Just as your brand needs to be relevant to the audience of the podcast, the tone needs to be appropriate as well. Think about what your brand is trying to sell, what the theme of the podcast is, and who the audience is. Do all three of those align? It’s essential that you match your brand voice with the voice of the podcast.

Related: How Much Does Podcast Advertising Cost?

If your advertisement is relevant to the podcast and its audience, and your brand voice is aligned with the voice of the podcast, it will feel more natural and will be better received by listeners.

Distinguish Their Ad Positioning

Since there are only a few advertisements per podcast, they are often better received by the audience. However, the position and delivery of your ad can further increase its effectiveness. For example, ads that are read by podcast hosts are more impactful than being read by an unknown voice as the audience has developed a relationship with the on-air personalities and are more likely to view ads read by the host as recommendations. Ads that read forcefully or ones that are read by someone who sounds like a used car salesman are going to repel listeners.

Just as important as the delivery of the ad is the location of the message. Ads can be inserted at the beginning, middle or end of each podcast, and the pricing structure will differ based on the location. However, increasing your budget in order to reach a more engaged audience will pay off. While a pre-roll ad might be more affordable, consider the fact that a listener may be tuning into the podcast and might be multitasking, so they aren’t yet invested in the content of the podcast. Mid-roll positioned ads are more impactful as they are delivered to a highly engaged audience. Post-roll ads are also effective as they are the last words spoken, which acts as a call to action for the audience.

Another benefit to advertising on a podcast is that unlike other digital advertising formats such as Hulu or Spotify, ads on a podcast can’t be blocked. While you may think that the inability to skip an ad would be frustrating to the listener, keep in mind that your advertisement will actually be resourceful and welcomed as long as it captures their attention at the right time and matches the tone of the podcast and the interest of the audience.

Remember that this isn’t a time for some stranger to tell an audience to “buy, buy, buy”, rather it’s a time for a trusted and established podcast host to offer a valuable resource that offers a solution to the needs of its’ audience. In fact, an IAB and Edison study found that 65% of podcast listeners are more likely to purchase a product that they heard about while listening to a podcast.

Consider Their Value Add

Consider other the value that  investing in a podcast can provide. Ask if a podcast has its own blog or social channels. If so, they can promote your content on the various platforms. Repetition is key; the more ways that your brand can get in front of the podcast’s audience the better. If they can weave your brand into their social posts, segments or promotions – and do so naturally – the more the audience will think the host has a connection with your brand.

If the podcast host trusts or endorses your brand, the more likely the audience will as well. Remember not to write off “the little guys.” Newly-established podcasts are usually the ones more inclined to promote a blog post or include your brand in a newsletter. Be sure to inquire about getting involved with other available channels as this sort of collaboration often presents the opportunity to negotiate a larger package deal.

Advertising on a podcast is scalable and is a viable solution for even small businesses. Since industry standards have not yet been determined, there is more room for negotiating. Remember that repetition is key to retention, so the more often your brand’s name is mentioned in the podcast or other channels, the stronger the impact it will have on an audience. Investing in ad bundles will allow you to maximize your budget as you’ll be able to increase your customer value while lowering your CPM.

Evaluate Their Reputation

One of the most important steps in deciding which podcast to advertise on is the validation process. You could agree to an affordable package that includes great pricing, free blog post promotion, and inclusion in the weekly newsletter, but how do you know what your potential ROI will be? Before you even start negotiating costs you need to research the quality of work. Inquire if the podcast has worked with any other reputable brands, and if they have, ask for case studies.

Ask for examples of any blogs they wrote where they mentioned a particular brand, as well as what kind of engagement that blog post received. If the podcast posted content on social channels, ask how that content performed. What is engaged with? If so, what was the sentiment of the audience? Were followers annoyed that the podcast was promoting a blog, did they retweet content, did they find the information valuable? Ask what the podcast’s social following looks like.

Related: How to Measure Your Podcast Performance

If they tell you that they’ll promote your brand on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, find out how many followers they have on each platform. How often do they post content on the various channels? Do visitors engage with their content? Sharing a Tweet with 10 followers isn’t going to have an impact. Neither is sharing content on a blog where you only post content once every few months as this most likely means that the blog doesn’t have a consistent readership.

It’s great if a podcast offers a value add like free inclusion in their newsletter, but does that really mean anything if only four people have subscribed to it? Don’t be content with simply hearing that a podcast is present on social channels, has a blog and distributes a newsletter. Make sure you research how present and how impactful the podcast is through those various assets. Whether you have a budget of $5,000 or $50,000, you need to ensure that your budget will have an impact and that the CPM of advertising on a podcast will have a justified and maximized ROI.

Also, evaluate the trustworthiness and passion of the podcast host; they shouldn’t just read scripts, they should tell stories. Listeners follow a podcast regularly because they trust the host, they turn to them for lessons, advice, and experiences. Unlike banner ads or TV commercials, podcast hosts retain the attention of a listener over a longer span of time. Listeners are invested in not only the content of the podcast, but also the delivery of the podcast, which solely lies on the host. If you’re entrusting someone to represent your brand, be sure it’s someone who can captivate and motivate an audience.

Wrapping Up

Remember that podcasts are designed to connect with a specific audience. Be sure that your advertisement is aligned with the tone of the podcast and the interest of its listeners. Your ad will have a strong, long-lasting impact on a niche audience if the consumers are truly invested in the podcast and its host. Building a relationship with a brand takes time, so utilize the relationship that a podcast host has made with its listeners in order to create a positive brand reputation.

Determine a podcast’s ad positioning and how your message can leave the biggest impact on your audience. Inquire about the added value of advertising on a podcast so you know how to truly maximize your ROI. The format of advertising has transitioned over the years, but if you want to stay ahead of evolution, there’s no better time for your brand to advertise on a podcast than now.

Come chat with our PR department about podcast advertising with an intro to what we’d recommend for your brand!

Samantha is a PR manager and account manager at Power Digital where she executes on everything from top tier media relations, to SEO outreach and social media influencer outreach. After spearheading the influencer marketing arm of the PR department, Samantha has created strategies and partnerships with social media influencers to elevate both brand awareness, engagement, and ROI for our clients. Outside of the office, she's obsessed with all things food and exploring the outdoors.