The Growing Opportunity in Podcast Advertising
The opportunity has never been better for podcast advertising. Brands are becoming aware of the benefits of podcast advertising and increasingly seeking out podcasts to sponsor. Podcast audiences tend to be educated, engaged, and connected. A brand can seek a good match with a target audience for its product or service.
In a study from Westwood One in partnership with Advertiser Perceptions, 21% of marketers and agencies surveyed reported advertising in podcasts, up from 15% in a similar study conducted 9 months earlier. Bridge Ratings forecasts $207 million in podcast ad revenue for 2017, up from $167 million in 2016.
How Podcast Advertising Works
Traditionally, the podcast host reads the ads during the episode. This has proven to be particularly effective because it personalizes the advertising and builds listener affinity with the brand. The ads are woven right into the content and the podcaster speaks in his own voice, often with some flexibility in what is being said and sharing personal experience.
Ad slots are broken down into pre-roll (before the episode content), mid-roll (at some point about midway through the content), and post-roll (after the primary content). Another standard feature of most podcast advertising is the use of direct response urls/coupon codes. This allows advertisers to directly measure ROI (return on investment) on sales, in addition to branding and other benefits.
Typically, advertising fees have been based on projected impressions (from average download statistics). The term you will often hear is CPM (cost per mille, or cost per one thousand impressions). However, podcast advertising also represents a unique opportunity for brands to build familiarity and improve results by being exposed to the audience through multiple channels. Often, a podcaster can offer website, newsletter or social media ads and sometimes even sponsored content to extend the value for the advertiser.
CPM and download #s will likely remain a focus for advertisers, but increasingly podcasters sell packages and flat rate advertising based on the value being offered.
How can my podcast attract advertising?
There is no “one size fits all” for podcast advertising. Big advertising agencies and companies have usually focused on shows with large download numbers. Most agencies have only considered shows with at least 10,000 downloads/episode (usually more like 50,000). However, many smaller shows have attracted advertisers. They may have found their own sponsors based on products and services they (or their audience) use, or by making connections in their niche. Some podcasters work with agents who can do the leg work for them, but in most of those cases the numbers still need to be pretty significant.
Today, platforms like Podbean’s Podcast Sponsorship Marketplace are making it possible for smaller podcasts to connect with companies of all sizes. Podbean’s Advertising Marketplace is an online platform for podcasters and advertisers to connect and easily create and manage advertising campaigns/deals. It is free to join and open to any podcast with 1,000 or more downloads/episode. It’s likely more options like this and different methods of podcast advertising (such as dynamic insertion) become more widespread.
Generally, it is important to focus on your show’s quality and audience first. With sufficient downloads and audience engagement, you can attract advertisers. You can likely do so even with a smaller audience if you are in a certain niche or attract an audience that precisely fits the brand’s target.
Some podcasters even attract advertisers before they start their show or very early on. Typically, these podcasters have already established networks, proven success with other platforms/shows, or a niche and solid marketing plan. Most importantly, you need to be able to show advertisers what you can offer. They need to see the value they will get and how the partnership will offer them good ROI. Getting even a small advertising deal can often help you build more/future sponsors.
Join us in the Podcasting Smarter Facebook group for more discussions on advertising and other methods of monetizing your podcast.