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Podcast Advertising: How to Effectively Use It to Grow Your Brand


Podcasts have quickly become one of the most popular forms of content to deliver to users. According to the latest data from Edison Research, more than 75 percent of Americans are familiar with podcasting. Out of that pool, around 24 percent are listening to podcasts on a weekly basis. In the U.S. alone, we can estimate that around 70 million people are tuning in to at least one podcast a week. That's a lot of reach.


While many small business owners are not aware of those numbers, big brands are well aware of how powerful podcast advertising can be. We discuss this all the time with performance marketing: follow the smart money. As we move deeper into 2023, a lot of advertising dollars are going into podcast ads. For advertisers and businesses, it's the perfect time to start becoming a part of the podcast advertising conversation and getting your message out to your world.


Podcasts are uniquely intimate, which is why we believe it's an ideal medium for advertisers that want to connect with engaged listeners. In fact, three out of four listeners say they give their favorite podcasts their full attention. Think about that for a minute: 75 percent of listeners are giving their full attention to their favorite podcasts. What other form of media is going to give you those results? The data proves it: people are paying attention and listening.


It proves that users are not just playing something in the background or zoning out in front of a screen. Rather, they’re highly engaged and often hanging on every word that is said. Imagine being able to get your ad seamlessly blended into an episode of a highly engaging podcast, or being a part of the show where you can share your story about building your company.


Here are some podcast advertising tips to help you get started.


What Is Podcast Advertising?

Before you learn how to advertise on podcasts, it’s important to understand the core reasons you should be advertising on them. Podcast advertising allows you to speak directly to potential customers through an audio ad or audio in general. You can choose to have specific podcast hosts talk about your brand, or you can hire voice talent to help you create an ad to be placed at the beginning (preroll), middle (midroll), or end (postroll) of an episode. While ad spots are going to vary, nearly all podcasts have this type of format.


When we're evaluating the best-in-class podcast ad examples, preroll and postroll ads are usually about 15 seconds, while midroll ads can go as long as 60 seconds. Some podcasts also may offer sponsored episodes or sponsored segments that run for two-to-three minutes across multiple episodes.


What Gives Podcast Ads the Edge?

A few interesting studies suggest that users are tired of looking at screens all day. In fact, more than 50 percent of people globally say they want an escape from visual stimulation. With that in mind, it's no wonder so many people are turning to podcasts to get exposure to content. According to another study, in the United States, over 90 percent of people report listening to most of a podcast. That's a solid engagement rate. In that same study, five out of 10 users listened to the whole podcast.


What about the podcast advertising: is there any additional data that shows listeners are going to be more willing to buy from a brand? You bet. More than half of podcast fans say they’re more likely to consider buying from a brand they hear advertised on podcasts. Even better, 81 percent of them have taken action after hearing a podcast ad. This can include but is not limited to viewing a product online, engaging with a company on social media, visiting a web page, or sharing the brand with a friend.


Another important note to take away is podcast advertising and streaming. Podcasts go everywhere listeners go: since you can stream your favorite podcasts from anywhere, advertisers know this is an effective strategy for engaging with their target audience.


While advertising on podcasts continues to grow, the market is still a big blue ocean. There are opportunities everywhere. It may seem like podcasts are everywhere, but in the grand scheme of things, there's a huge market for all niches available.


How to Grow Your Brand With Podcasts

There a number of different strategies for selecting the best podcasting platforms for advertising. You're likely already creating content for your business, whether that is through social media, blogs, emails, or other means. Any type of content you're creating can be used as podcast advertising or to — at the least — inspire podcast ad creative.


Before you start investing in podcast ads, you do need to make sure you have offers in place. If you are an e-commerce business, make sure you have products for sale. If you're a service-based business, you want to make sure you have complete service pages, and make sure your audience has ways to reach your email list. As long as you have something valuable to offer, podcasting can be effective.


While we focused this article on podcast advertising, it's also important to note that you should consider creating your own podcasts. This gives you another content method to put out in the world. Even better, other podcasters can notice your podcasts, which can lead to opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise. If you're going to invest into advertising on podcasts, having your own podcasts enhances that advertising and often leads to additional opportunities and business.


The key is going to be finding the best podcasting platforms to advertise on — that can be a challenge. It can take a little trial and error to get it right. We'll discuss finding your target audience below.


How To Find Your Target Audience

First things first: do your research. You'll want to think about the podcasts and podcast categories that closely resemble your industry and your consumer base. There are many podcasting categories to choose from, such as news, politics, comedy, sports, true crime, business, and more. You can also find categories in select niches, such as home repairs, taxidermy, woodworking, elk hunting, and so on.


While you'd think choosing a popular podcast is a great idea, we recommend that you don't do that. Instead, you should be choosing podcasts that are closely related to your target audience.


Remember, ads that directly relate to the specific topic of a show or episode are going to feel a lot more natural and authentic. You wouldn't want to join a hunting podcast and run an ad for baby dolls. Aim to align with genres, shows, and/or hosts that represent your brand values or resonate with your target audience.


Start Expanding Your Reach Today

The Performance-Driven Marketing Institute (PDMI) is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit trade association dedicated to promoting, protecting, and advancing business for performance-driven and direct-to-consumer marketing professionals. ​Membership in the PDMI is an opportunity for marketers and suppliers alike to show vision in the industry and to connect with like-minded partners.


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