Burning Questions You Had About Podcast Advertising
(But Were Afraid to Ask)

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

The slow-burning podcast industry has been lit aflame by 2020. Between big bets and even bigger shifts in consumer behavior, this medium has been able to adapt through it all. But with big changes comes more questions, as podcast advertising becomes increasingly competitive and complex.

What’s the minimum buy for a test (or any campaign for that matter)?

In case you missed Podsights latest Benchmark Report, it’s a must-read. The big takeaway from this quarter’s analysis: more is better. The pixel-based attribution platform found that more spots per episode, in more shows can move the needle for brands across multiple KPIs.

Among the campaigns analyzed, the average conversion rate increased in step with the number of spots per episode. Cross-publisher campaigns also converted households at a greater rate – over two times more than a campaign placed in a single show. Advertisers who placed both a pre and mid-roll in an episode generated an average of $3.56 return on ad spend – almost a dollar more than a mid-roll alone. 

Bottom line: expanding campaign messaging across different points in time and in different contexts, increases a campaign’s chance for initial success. 

So one podcast is not enough. How do I find an audience at scale?

We get it, buying podcast ads is still a very manual, hands-on process for most buyers. Programmatic has not reached Trade Desk levels for podcasting – there is no single real-time bidding solution across the entire ecosystem. 

While we wait for the tech to catch up, let content verticals and networks do some of the work for reaching new, but like-minded audiences. 

Regardless of what they listen to, podcast listeners are still making purchase decisions – whether it’s for their households, their business, or themselves. Unlike buying individual shows for a specific audience, verticals and networks can offer efficient reach by placing your message across similar audience profiles. 

Speaking of reach…

Identifying the biggest podcasts that will deliver the most reach requires knowledge on the charts that rank them – and the key differences between each. 

The Apple Podcasts chart algorithm is supposedly based on new subscriber activity and is not a good indicator of how many downloads or subscribers a show has. These platform-specific charts, however, do serve as decent discovery tools for what’s trending.  

Survey-based rankings that have emerged this year from Edison and Media Monitors ask actual humans to recall the podcasts they listen to. These are more representative of the entire ecosystem and not bound by platform or publisher, but do not provide metrics on a show’s reach.

Opt-in rankers like Triton, while reflecting only a portion of the podcast universe, are more robust in terms of the data they provide for advertisers. These rankers rely on IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines to calculate total downloads for individual podcasts and sales networks, providing the most accurate information on actual reach and downloads for the podcasts and networks that have opted into their service.

What are some considerations to ensure the content is a good fit?

A show’s reach is only part of the picture, and simply being in a podcast is not a guarantee for automatic success. Ultimately, the host is the most valuable key to the hearts and minds of listeners. We have seen shows of all sizes perform really well with our advertisers because the audience is engaging with the content, and with hosts that they trust. 

If the host can run with your talking points and put their own spin on them, great. If the host has personal experience with your brand, even better. We can’t stress this enough –  let the host try your product or service so they can give listeners their most authentic take.

Going the host read route does not mean missing out on the campaign flexibility and impression tracking of dynamic ad insertion (DAI). Host reads can still be dynamically-inserted in most cases, and when done right, sound just as seamless as a baked-in read.

For more tips and information, check out The Podcast Buying Guide V3.0 where we tackle more of the industry’s current challenges and lay out the best practices to drive success for your advertising campaigns. Get your copy here.


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