Podcast Advertising 101

January 11, 2021

Podcast advertising spiked in 2020 and is expected to continue to grow. It’s estimated that in 2021 podcast advertising spend will cross the $1 billion mark.

podcast advertising

Podcast Advertising 

Podcast advertising can be a great way to gain awareness, boost conversions, and grow your business (or podcast)!

Some quick statistics:

  • 81% of podcast listeners pay attention to podcast ads.
  • 54% are more likely to consider the brand advertised (only 7% are less likely).
  • 60% of podcast listeners have bought something from a podcast ad. 

For more stats on podcast advertising, check out our breakdown here

Pricing 

The cost of podcast advertising varies quite drastically. The industry standard for advertising on a podcast is $18 for a 30-second ad slot and $25 for a 60-second ad slot per 1000 listeners (CPM). But we’ve spent quite a bit of time advocating for why the industry standard doesn’t make sense for many podcasts. The reason for this is niche audiences. Since the industry standard is based on the number of listeners you have, this makes it hard for niche podcasts with highly specific, targeted, and engaged audiences to get fairly compensated for their ads. 

For example, if you’re a gluten free bakery in New York, you can pay the industry standard to advertise on a huge baking and cooking podcast with tons of listeners. But you may have also found a podcast that’s all about having a gluten allergy in New York and the best places to go and products to use. The second podcast might not have as many listeners but those listeners are your direct target audience and may also be much more engaged with the series. Although the second podcast doesn’t have as many listeners it should still be fairly compensated for how targeted their audience is for your product/service. 

Okay, rant over. Basically what we’re trying to say is that the price for ad slots varies by podcast. If you’ve found a series you’re interested in advertising on, get in touch with the host(s) directly to discuss their pricing and be open to negotiating the deal to make sure both parties are happy. 

We also recommend doing trial runs. Maybe you start with 8 ad slots, for example. This is enough time for listeners to repeatedly hear your ad and for you to track conversions on your end. If you’re not seeing anything, move on! 

Style 

When it comes to advertising on a podcast, always go for host read ads. It’s been proven that host read ads perform better than advertiser read ads with an “average of 50% increase in purchase and recommendation intent among listeners when compared against non-host-read ads” (Nielson). Why is this the case? The host already has a connection with the audience, who trust what the host is recommending. 

You can definitely share a script or some points that you want the host to touch on to steer them in the right direction. But overall, it’s smart to give them some freedom to decide the style and format of the ad since they know their listeners best. 

Selling Products/Services 

The first type of podcast advertising is using this medium to sell a product or service. Some common brands that you’ve probably heard ads for are ZipRecruiter, SquareSpace, H&R Block, and many more. 

Companies of all sizes can use podcasts for advertising. It just comes down to finding a podcast with the right audience, content, and budget. 

If you’re advertising a product/service on a podcast it’s best to offer some sort of discount and promo code for whatever you want the listeners to purchase. For every podcast you’re advertising on, give the host a unique promo code that only their listeners will have. This helps to track conversions from your advertising efforts. If you have a conversion come through using the podcast promo code, it’s safe to say it was probably from that podcast ad. 

Advertising Your Podcast 

The second type of podcast advertising is advertising your podcast on another podcast. Podcast inception basically. This is commonly known as cross promotion and you’ll see many podcasters out there forming partnerships to promote one another. It’s also an incredibly popular tactic among podcast creators such as Wondery and Gimlet. Both of these podcast creators will advertise new podcasts on their existing shows to boost audience growth. 

Many people have asked us “why would another podcast advertise me? Wouldn’t they think I’m a competitor?” And honestly, fair point. We have rarely had any podcast host say they view advertising other podcasts as competition though (as long as it’s not a series about the exact same topic with very similar guests). 

For example, if you have a podcast focused on health tech startups, maybe you’ll look to pay for advertising slots on a hospital podcast that interviews different doctors. This isn’t direct competition, but since the topics are related, you’re targeting a pool of listeners who have proven their interest in the area and therefore may be interested in your show as well. 

Finding The Right Podcast 

Podcast advertising really comes down to finding the right podcast for your brand/series. You want to be looking at: 

1. Podcast Content 

What is the podcast about? Does it match up with the focus of your company or podcast? Do they cover relevant topics/guests for your industry?

2. Audience Size 

Yes, we’re supporters of niche audiences, but you want to make sure the show has a reasonable number of listeners so that your advertising efforts yield results. 

3. Price

Does the cost of advertising on this podcast align with your budget? Do you feel that it’s fair? 

4. Values/Mission 

Finally, does the mission of the podcast align with yours? Do you feel that the host could be a good speaker for your brand? 

Podcast Advertising Resources 

Like we mentioned at the beginning, podcast advertising has really taken off. So much so that multiple platforms have been created with a focus on tracking the success of your podcast ads. 

If you’re looking for some resources to start tracking these initiatives, here are two companies to check out: 

  1. Podsights: this platform connects podcast downloads to on-site activity, giving you insights into the effectiveness of your campaigns. 
  2. Chartable: through their SmartAds, you can get verified download and conversion information across publishers and ad providers.

Quill Podcast Roster

And finally, if you’re interested in joining a community of podcasters, fill out the Quill Podcast Roster form! This community is focused on helping you monetize your podcast and find potential partnerships with other podcasters. 

Fill out our intake form here


Platform
Price
Pro’s
Con's
Anchor

Free

  • Easy to use
  • Automatically distributes your podcast to major platforms.
  • Embed media player.
  • Great if podcasting is a
    side hobby
  • Very basic editing
  • Since it’s a free tool, you don’t have full control over the monetization of your podcast.
  • Not the right platform for people taking podcasting seriously
Buzzsprout

Free for 2 hours of content per month

$12 for 3 hours per month

$18+ for 6 hours and up

  • Very user-friendly
  • Caters to both long term and beginner podcasters
  • Advanced analytics
  • Easy distribution of your episodes
  • They measure their size requirements to hours not megabytes
  • Bonus: get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for any paid hosting plan!
  • Advanced features like dynamic ad insertion need some work
Libsyn

$5/month for Monthly Storage 50mb

  • Oldest podcast hosting site.
  • Easy distribution to major platforms and great for scaling once your podcast gets bigger.
  • Hosted over 35,000 podcasts.
  • An iTunes Podcast partner.
  • Allows you to publish your podcast to specific directories.
  • Embed media player.
  • Price is based on storage
  • 50mb storage for $5 won’t be enough if you are publishing weekly so you’ll end up with a higher price point
Podbean

Unlimited audio package: $9/month

Storage space:

Unlimited

  • Great support & customer service features
  • Unlimited audio.
  • Pages are easy to customize
  • Can schedule podcast release dates.
  • Easy to use.
  • Uploads and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions are automatic to Spotify.
  • Embed media player.
  • Simple Analytics
  • Analytics aren’t as advanced as other platforms
  • Upload and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions take a day to change on iTunes.
  • Not an iTunes podcast partner.
  • The process to send a podcast to iTunes is more tedious. But, you will still be able to get on the platform.
Blubrry

Classic

$5/month

Monthly Storage

50mb

  • Podcast Wordpress plugin and management.
  • If you want to record a new introduction or conclusion, add in a sponsored ad or upload a new version of a podcast, it doesn't count towards your storage usage per month.
  • Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month
  • Prices are based on storage.
  • Usability is okay.
SimpleCast

Starting: $15/month

Recommendation: $35/month

Monthly Storage: Unlimited

  • Hosts your audio files no matter what the size!
  • Dynamic insertion for podcast ads or edits.
  • Incredibly detailed analytics including number of episodes completed and listener location tracking.
  • Embed media player.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great distribution! Easy access to all major podcast platforms.
  • Customizable podcast
    website.
  • Prices are slightly higher than other platforms, but well worth it especially if you have a branded company podcast!