Podcast Advertising 101: 5 Things You Should Know Before Advertising On Podcasts


Welcome to The Yard, a blog by Backyard Media that explains the podcast industry and podcast advertising.

Ready to jump into podcast advertising as a sponsor? Awesome. We at Backyard Media have been doing this for a while, so we've outlined the five important things you need to know before getting started on that first podcast ad campaign. Knowing these five things is a great way to get a head start on your campaign and achieve conversions faster than ever.


1. Have an idea of what your podcast ad campaign will look like

Consider where you want your ads to run, whether as a mid-roll, a pre-roll, or a post-roll. These terms refer to the positioning of the ad within a podcast episode.

Mid-rolls are better for longer ads with a more complex call-to-action. Pre- and post-rolls, on the other hand, are shorter and therefore better for simpler ad messaging, or if your campaign is running multiple, shorter ads across a podcast's episodes. They're also great for brand awareness ads that don't have a direct call-to-action for listeners.

Think also about how long you want your podcast ad campaign to run. The most current research we have about podcast ad campaigns says that for them to be effective, ads should run for at least five podcast episodes. The longer listeners hear your campaign, the more ingrained their association of your product with the podcast they're listening to will be.

Finally, have a direct response campaign theme in mind. Most podcast ads are part of direct response campaigns, meaning they provide a code or special URL that listeners use to gain access to a promotion. Think about what you want your campaign's code or URL to be (usually one or two words), and have your marketing team start to build that dedicated page on your company's website or into your online shopping cart. Also build your ad script around this theme - whether it's celebrating a new product line, touting how innovative your product is, or highlighting how your product can save people time and money.

With all of this, don't worry if you're unsure about which way to go with your campaign. Backyard Media helps all of its podcast sponsors with their campaigns, especially those new to the podcasting space. We make it easy to add podcasts to your marketing campaigns and realize the incredible ROI of advertising on this medium.


Want to read more about the logistics of podcast ads and ad campaigns? Check out these blog posts:


    2. With podcast ads, you're paying for the valuable host-listener relationship

    The unique value-add of podcast advertising is the host-listener relationship. Great podcasts have unique brands, and those brands are often closely related to the podcast host(s). Listeners value the podcasts they consume regularly, and they value the hosts they hear on a regular basis. Listeners even report they feel they have a personal connection with the podcast hosts. This host-listener relationship is what makes podcasts so much more valuable than other digital media.

    When you buy an ad on a podcast, you are effectively linking your product to the host's credibility with their audience. By connecting the value your product or service to the host, you gain access to the "secret sauce" of podcast advertising: that listeners like podcast ads because they feel they're relevant to their interests and actually part of the content of the show.


    Want to read more about the podcast host-listener relationship? Check out these blog posts:


    3. Podcast listeners are incredibly valuable consumers

    But who are podcast listeners? Well, they're quite a diverse and valuable group. Study after study has confirmed that podcast listeners are more likely than the average consumer to:

    • be employed full time (54% of podcast listeners vs 45% of the general population),
    • have a four-year degree (27% vs 21%),
    • have an advanced degree (34% vs 23%),
    • and make over $75,000 (51% vs. 38%).

     In fact, 15% of podcast listeners made over $150,000 in 2017. That means more disposable income to spend on high-value products and services.

    What's more, our podcast partners have confirmed that their listeners are engaged media-consumers that consume above-average amounts of news content. They're intellectually curious, and they don't mind longform audio content, whether that be podcasts over an hour in length, or longer mid-roll ads where hosts explain the true value of a product through personal anecdotes.


    Want to read more about the incredible value of podcast listeners? Check out these blog posts:


    4. Do you want to target a specific podcast audience?

    Keeping in mind that podcast listeners are such a sought-after group of consumers, it's worth thinking about what kinds of listeners you want to target with your product or service. For many sponsors, a general podcast audience (white-collar, wealthier, intellectually curious) is the perfect group to hear their ad campaign. For other sponsors, it's worth focusing on white collar professionals in particular industries.

    What sorts of industries? Well, podcasts cover a vast range of topics. Some particularly important topic areas in podcasting are technology, business, marketing, national security/the defense industry, and the legal profession. We call these podcast content verticals - different areas of the podcast world where shows group around similar topics. We have evidence that listeners who work in these fields, like software engineers or lawyers, often gravitate toward podcasts relating to their profession. They might listen to learn about the latest industry-specific news, hear from thought leaders in their field, or to improve their craft.

    This is where podcast "content leaders" come in. A podcast content leader is a podcast that exemplifies a particular podcast content vertical. You can often identify a podcast content leader because they're widely shared among people who work in an industry. They have consistently high listenership in the tens or hundreds of thousands of downloads per episode. These podcasts have respected, high-profile guests on their show. Sometimes they even make news in the field themselves. Backyard Media partners First Mondays and Rational Security are two examples of highly-respected podcast content leaders (in the legal and national security fields, respectively).

    What does this mean for sponsors? As we mentioned in #2, sponsors can and should lean on hosts' credibility for their podcast ads. With podcasts that serve specific audiences, you can speak directly to industry professionals about your products. You can also highlight upcoming events and conferences, advertise industry-specific job openings, or raise awareness of your brand within the profession.


    Want to read more about specific podcast audiences and podcast content verticals? Check out these blog posts:


    5. Podcast ads are the most valuable form of digital advertising out there

    We mentioned this briefly before, but podcasts offer an incredible value to sponsors because listeners actually like hearing podcast ads. This comes from a combination of hosts reading ads and explaining why they believe the product is valuable and listeners finding the products relevant to their lives. Podcasts are a great way to find new digital media consumers and build your sales in a new way. 

    Recent research backs these facts up. The landmark Infinite Dial 2018 survey by Edison Research found that 85% of listeners complete all or most of a podcast episode once they start it, meaning sponsors' ads get heard. What's more, recent podcast listening data from Apple's new Podcast Analytics tool shows that the average completion rate of a podcast episode is 90%.

    For marketers who love data, the direct response ad campaigns we mentioned earlier give them the opportunity to use trackable codes or special website URLs in order to gauge a campaign's success. Within a few weeks, sponsors can see exactly how much traffic their podcast ads are driving to their website. They can also A/B test different ad campaigns or try advertising on different podcast shows, and then compare the results.

    We always like to relay conversations we've had with marketers at companies that sponsor podcasts. One marketing director recently relayed the following to us:

    Of all [our company]’s marketing efforts, advertising on podcasts has had the highest ROI, by far.
    — Director of Marketing at a technology firm

    Perhaps this is why the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that podcast advertising has tripled in size since 2015 ($220 million in revenue in 2017 versus $69 million in 2015). Multiple outlets have projected that advertising on podcasts will continue to grow at a record pace in the next three years, with some industry analysts saying podcast advertising will become a half a billion dollar business by 2020.


    Want to read more about the proven value of podcast ads? Check out these blog posts:


    For new sponsors, jumping into the world of podcast ads can be overwhelming. Know that Backyard Media will work with you to make sure your campaign is successful in driving new business and a great overall experience.

    Ready to join thousands of other companies who are advertising on podcasts? Contact us here and start hearing your ads on Backyard Media's podcast partners today.


    Backyard Media is a marketplace for podcast advertising. We connect content creators of all shapes and sizes with awesome sponsors, providing them with the resources they need to do what they do best. Everyone wins.