How to Advertise on Podcasts

Podcast advertising offers many radio promo opportunities.

A recent study showed that roughly 120 million Americans are podcast listeners. That’s around 41% of the total US population. 

With such a wide listener base, many companies and businesses are reaping the rewards of advertising on the platform. Indeed, it’s estimated that ad spending on podcasts will double to $1.6 billion by 2022.

If you haven’t explored this marketing channel before, now is the best time to start. And if you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to advertise on podcasts, the benefits of such a move, and some successful podcast advertising examples you can use for inspiration.

The Benefits of Advertising on a Podcast

The biggest benefit of podcasting advertising is that it’s one of the more engaging forms of marketing.

According to a Super Listeners 2021 study, 86% of people remembered an ad that they heard from a podcast show. The same report also concluded that 76% of listeners responded to a podcast ad. That’s a pretty high conversion rate.

The best podcast ads are also skipped less than other forms, like video ads. The same study showed that only 12% of listeners always fast forward through a podcast ad, with 33% never doing it at all. In fact, 64% actually welcome these ads, especially if it’s to help support their favorite show and host.

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The biggest reason for this performance is trust. Often, the host is the one that will promote a product or service in their podcast. As a result, regular listeners have come to trust a host’s opinion (it’s why they listen, after all) and will readily hear any endorsement they will offer. This is much more authentic and natural than a direct ad.

Because of this, you’re essentially advertising to warm or even hot leads. It’s akin to word-of-mouth or affiliate advertising. The hosts also often extend a discount or special offer to their listeners, further driving up conversion rates. 

Another benefit of podcast advertising is that it takes the guesswork out of segmentation and market research. That’s because you can easily deduce it based on the nature of the podcast.

As a podcast advertising example, let’s say you’re trying to promote a men’s grooming kit. Your best bet is to look for podcasts that talk about men’s grooming or fashion and try to run an ad there.

And the great thing is that you’ll rarely run out of podcasts categories to run your ads on. There’s a staggering amount of shows out there that cater to almost any kind of niche. So chances are, you’ll find one where your ideal customers are tuning in.

Some services like Midroll exist that connect advertisers and podcasts. This route gives you access to the biggest podcasts with millions of listeners.

Lastly, it’s relatively easy to put together a podcast ad compared to, say, a video ad since there’s less production involved. For instance, you can use WellSaid Studio to easily create a high-quality voiceover by providing a plain text script. Some hosts will even ad-lib your promotion based on just a few talking points you’ll provide.

How to Advertise on Podcasts

Tip #1: Do competitor research

Much like any other marketing campaign, it pays to do your research with podcast advertising. And that includes your competitors.

In particular, look at any existing podcast ad campaigns your competitors have run. How well did they work? Are the listeners of the podcast receptive to their ad? Which podcasts did they run it on?

Once you have that data, you can think of ways to improve and surpass their ads. You can then run your ads on the same podcasts or look for other shows in a similar genre or with a similar listener base. You’ll also know if an ad-lib or scripted ad is better suited for that audience.

Tip #2: Use the appropriate type of podcast ad

There are generally two types of podcast ads – scripted and ad-lib.

A scripted ad is pre-produced and runs much like any other type of ad. If you’re listening to the FM radio and an ad pops up, it’s most likely scripted. This ad is better suited on more formal podcasts like NPR or The Economist.

An ad-lib ad is one that’s made up by the host “on the fly.” Usually, the advertiser will provide talking points and product features, and it’s up to the host to put their creative spin in promoting it. This type of ad works well for informal shows or podcasts that center on an authoritative host.

Beyond these two, there are also other types you can consider. For example, you can opt to do a paid interview, where you invite a respected authority figure or celebrity to talk about your brand on the podcast in exchange for payment. It’s important to remember, though, that the guest should still be relevant to the podcast topic.

Tip #3: Consider spreading your ad costs

Generally, it’s better to spend multiple ads on a smaller show than to invest in a single ad on a bigger podcast. The added frequency gives your ads much better exposure and ROI.

Doing this also gives you a safety net. If your ad doesn’t pan out on a show or two, you can still rely on other podcasts for your ROI. Starting small also lets you hone in on the most receptive shows to your campaign.

On a related note, it’s also worth running ads on podcasts on the same network. The reasoning behind that is that listeners are more likely to also tune in to other podcasts on the network. So doing this helps increase your ad’s reach without necessarily overwhelming a show with multiple ads.

Tip #4: Consider advertising on past episodes

Running ads on past podcast episodes might seem highly unusual and counterintuitive. However, it’s actually a fantastic strategy when done right. 

For one, not many advertisers consider it, making it a great opportunity cost-wise. You can also offer to promote these past episodes on your company’s marketing channels, giving podcasters more incentive. Indeed, learning how to advertise podcasts on website properties you own is a good offer to have on your sleeve.

The key with this tactic is to pick “evergreen” episodes that continue to garner a steady stream of listeners long after it’s finished airing. Usually, these involve topics that stay relevant for a long period. So, for example, people will continue to listen to an episode that reveals home decorating tips.

Tip #5: Consider how you’ll measure ROI

There are many ways to measure your podcast advertising ROI, which is essential if you want to know how it’s doing.

Offering a unique promo code is one of the most effective. You can give each podcast its unique code, which listeners can use when signing up or making a purchase. This allows you to track your own conversions on a per-show basis. You can use a similar tactic with vanity URLs.

Surveys are a great alternative if you don’t have the technical infrastructure to support promo codes. It can be argued that surveys work better for podcasts because people are more likely to remember hearing your ads there.

Tip #6: Pick your segment carefully

When your ad plays during a show, it significantly impacts its effectiveness. Here are some factors to consider.

The first few minutes of a show (called the pre-roll) generally capture the most listeners. However, there’s also the risk that people will gloss over your ad at this time. Thus, pre-roll ads typically have a lower rate.

As the podcast goes on, the rate tends to get higher, and spots become more “premium.” The reason is that listeners who stick through tend to be more engaged and would thus respond to your ad better.

What you ultimately pick will depend on your budget and the nature of your campaign.

Tip #7: Vet podcasts before working with them

While it’s a good idea to work with niche podcasts with a more engaged listener base, make sure they’re transparent with their numbers. It’s often easy to fake the number of downloads and listeners just to hook you in.

So make it a point to do your homework, especially with lesser-known shows. You can use their social media sites and platforms that host their shows to vet them. If you can see signs of engagement there, then it’s highly likely that they have a legitimate listener base.

If you’d rather skip this process, consider working with an ad network. Many, like Midroll, specialize in connecting podcasts and marketers. You can even use them to purchase ad spots for multiple shows easily.

Tip #8: Create an engaging script

The best podcast ads all rely on an engaging script to make it work. Here, it’s much more effective to tell a story than to sell a product directly.

It’s best to start with a bold opening line to hook listeners in and discourage them from skipping the ad you’re running. Next, you should try to tell a story or personal experience related to your product or service. For example, it may be how they enjoyed using it or solved their problem.

Lastly, always give a clear call to action (CTA) for your listener, whether to visit a particular link or sign up for your service. This is where you can give promo codes or special URLs useful for tracking your ad’s conversions. Of course, with WellSaid Labs, you can easily create text to voice in just one click. This streamlines the process of creating advertisements for podcasts. Plus, our platform has an array of rich, human-like voices to choose from that fit your brand and your story. 

Podcast Ad Examples

There’s no shortage of podcast ad copy examples to inspire your next campaign. In fact, just listening to a few top-tier shows should give you plenty of podcast advertising ideas.

However, we’ve taken the liberty of providing you with some of the best examples to get you started.

Podcast Advertising Sample #1: The Adam and Dr. Drew Show

You’ll find that the best podcast ads are those that naturally weave the product or service into the topic of the episode. This makes the promotion much more natural and feels less like a shameless plug.

That’s what Adam and Dr. Drew do so well in their show.

For example, in one episode, Dr. Drew talked about the importance of sleep in a person’s overall health. He then goes into a story of his time in a retirement home full of Alzheimer’s patients and how he realized that lack of sleep was a major cause of their condition. This provides a natural segue into a product he’s promoting – EightSleep.

It could be argued that Dr. Drew’s credentials and authority alone could’ve easily sold these products using a direct approach. But by expertly integrating the product into the show, the promotion was much more effective.

Podcast Advertising Sample #2: The Sauce

Sometimes, the best approach to podcast advertising is to create an entirely new show yourself. This is exactly what McDonald’s did when they partnered with Gizmodo and Onion Labs to create a mini-series called “The Sauce.” 

The Sauce is a 3-episode long podcast mini-series that talks about the Szechuan Sauce fiasco, where a shortage of the sauce in question caused riots. Instead of hiding it, however, McDonald’s seized the opportunity and showcased the entire debacle in a podcast show. Turning a negative outcome into a marketing campaign is a genius move.

Of course, you don’t need to have a fiasco of this magnitude to try what McDonald’s did. If you find the right podcast to partner with, creating a mini show that is related to your brand is a great advertising approach.

Podcast Advertising Sample #3: Squarespace and Accidental Tech Podcast

Here’s an excellent case study of how to advertise for podcasts that don’t normally align very well with your product. 

The company in question is Squarespace, and the podcast is called Accidental Tech Podcast, which three veteran programmers and self-proclaimed nerds host. Now, note that Squarespace – a web builder tool – is generally despised by the hardcore programming community.

But a single episode helped turn that around. Here, the hosts talked about the benefits of using Squarespace for both novice and expert coders. The ad was different in that it tried to educate its listeners instead of advertising to them. It’s a fantastic approach to consider in your own campaign.

Consider organic podcast advertising opportunities.

Start Podcast Advertising Today

As you can see, podcast advertising is a fantastic channel to get into. Engagement is great, the production barrier is low, and the chances of ROI are pretty high.And now it’s easier than ever, thanks to tools like WellSaid that make creating professional voice overs online a breeze. Check out our platform or contact us to learn more about our text to speech API.


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