Podcasts are one of the fastest-growing addressable markets. With an incredibly engaged audience that is hard to reach elsewhere online and one that has shown a high willingness to respond to an advertiser’s call to action, podcasts should be on every marketer’s radar. Here are our top tips for successful podcast advertising.
1. Understand the different advertising formats
There are four main categories of ads in podcast sponsorships: Pre-roll, Mid-roll or Post-roll, depending on when the advertising appears in the podcast. These are generally short sponsorship messages spoken either by the podcast host or an external speaker. In addition, there is the native ad where the host integrates your advertising message freely into the podcast conversation.
Each ad format has its pros and cons. Many advertisers prefer the native ad, as these allow hosts to improvise unique advertising messages or relate products to the theme of a show. Ads seem like another segment instead of a paid endorsement. Loyal listeners are also more likely to trust a host’s endorsement because it’s coming from someone they’re already familiar with. However these ads also tend to be more expensive.
2. Choose the right podcast
It goes without saying that it is best to advertise on shows that match your niche and have listeners who are likely to have an interest in your product. Don’t be swayed purely by a podcast with huge number of listeners - It’s better to reach a small number of listeners who are in your target market than 100,000 who aren’t.
That being said, the best podcasts to advertise on might not be the most obvious fit. The host being an enthusiastic advocate of your brand, for example, is a huge bonus for any advertiser, even if the subject of their podcast has little to do with your industry.
3. Listen to the Podcasts you want to advertise on
Spend some time actually listening to the podcasts you’re considering advertising on, before you make any kind of commitment. How does the host promote advertisers? Know the content of the show, the host and if they conducts themselves in a way that is consistent with your brand voice and ethos.
4. Define your measurements
It is worth saying that native ads should be seen as a branding and not a performance tool. However, for other ad formats, there are certain tools advertisers have developed to measure the success of a campaign. Promo codes, vanity URLs (where podcast listeners are invited to visit a specific page) and checkout surveys (where online purchasers are asked where they heard about your brand) are three best practices to track the success of a campaign. Another great idea is to run a prize giveaway with tweet-to-enter mechanic. There’s a sweet engagement boost for the host and listeners love a prize – maybe a free sample or subscription to your product.
5. Develop a creative strategy
A podcast ad where an external person speaks your message is relatively easy to organise. You write them a script, have it recorded and off you go. However if a host is endorsing your brand during the podcast, this takes some preparation. Avoid overscripting the ad. You want their personality to do the work so simply give them some talking points.
Pay attention to storytelling in your briefing and entertaining stories about the product. Do they have any personal experience with your brand? If they don’t have any personal experience, allow them to trial / test your products but also brief the host on your product’s key features and benefits. Remember, podcast hosts know their listeners better than anyone else and should be given a certain degree of creative licence.
Native ads should be entertaining and use the character of the host/podcast - to present a product in the best possible way (e.g. Joko Winterscheidt in a funny way, a True Crime Podcast in a rather creepy way...). So the advertisement fits perfectly into the environment and doesn't disturb, but is at best still entertaining and credible.
6. Accept that podcast advertising takes considerable preparation time
It might initially seem straightforward but the lead-in time is considerable- for all aforementioned reasons! Some podcasts are completely transparent with their pricing structures and publish this on their websites. For others it is harder to find. Sponsorship and ad packages vary wildly so a comparison is difficult and can be extremely time-consuming. When you do finally decide on a podcast, very often it might often have a sponsor – so you might have to wait your turn. Patience, long lead-time and preparation are the key.