Podcast Ads: 7 Vital Aspects for Successful Advertising on Podcasts
What Makes A Good Podcast Ad?
When you’re about to start advertising on podcasts, you’ll face the same problem that everyone does—it’s hard to accurately gauge ad performance on podcasts.
And yet, despite the current lack of effective analytics, podcast advertising growth continues to skyrocket, with podcast ads spending projected to surge north of $1 billion in 2021.
So, why is podcast advertising growing so quickly?
According to The Infinite Dial, the percentage of the population that listens to podcasts in the U.S. alone has more than tripled from 12% in 2013 to 37% in 2020, representing and estimated 104 million listeners. That growth trend is set to continue, which presents massive opportunities for companies that align themselves with the right podcast hosts.
In this article, we’ll explore seven essential aspects of successful podcast ads in 2021. Let’s dive in.
7 Essential Elements of a Good Podcast Ad
Podcast hosts who have an established platform can wield powerful influence over their loyal audience. Podcasts listeners tend to be highly engaged, and therefore, they trust the recommendations of their favorite hosts when a good podcast ad comes along.
Which begs the question, what makes a good podcast ad?
1. Understand the audience
Here’s the truth:
Bad podcasting ads can turn listeners off a show.
First and foremost, you must know your audience. You should seek our partnerships with podcast hosts whose audience’s interests closely align with your products and services.
Magellan AI enables advertisers to search the content of past podcasts to discover shows that discuss specific topics, even if that content is not the primary focus of the show. Advertisers can leverage this feature to expand their reach to a larger audience. For example, if you sell healthy protein supplements, it makes sense to advertise on shows that mention nutrition, supplements, or healthy living.
2. Get the host to read the podcast ads
Since launching our sister site, Really Good Podcast Ads, our research indicates that listeners prefer host-read ads. People want to listen to the hosts, so commercial ads can seem like an unwelcome interruption in the show.
Instead of running third-party advertising, companies should get the host to read their ads. Better yet, if the host can bring in some personal experience, it will make the ad more interesting to listeners.
Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, of the popular show Office Ladies, regularly do this, sharing anecdotes or personal opinions about the products they advertise. From Squarespace to HelloFresh, they personally vouch for the products they tell their listeners about in the Office Ladies Show. Further proving their impact, Office Ladies was awarded “Best Ad Read” in the iHeart Radio Podcast Awards.
3. Explore and encourage creative freedom
Sometimes, a scripted ad can seem inauthentic or generic. The best podcast ad examples are those that dare to be different.
Think about any memorable podcast ads you’ve heard recently. Did they make you laugh? Make you tell a friend?
Podcasting doesn’t need to be straight-laced and formal like television broadcasting or radio. Throw the stilted script templates out, and get creative to come up with fun, entertaining ads that people will remember.
Also, you should create multiple versions of the ad, giving the hosts free reign to riff off the script and modify the ad when needed. For example, perhaps you can highlight different product features each time, or spin the ad a different way coming up to a major seasonal holiday, like Black Friday or Christmas.
4. Keep it short and sweet
Our customer data from Really Good Podcast Ads indicates the best podcast ads are between 30 - 180 seconds in length, with preference given to shorter ads that are clear and easy to understand.
Advertisers have a few choices:
- Pre-roll ads - 15 to 30-second ads played at the start of a podcast, either before or after the host introduces the show.
- Mid-roll ads - 60 to 90-second ads that usually play in the middle of an episode.
- Post-roll ads - 60 to 90-second ads that play at the end of the show.
Listeners are more likely to ignore or fast-forward through longer ads, so brands should keep their messaging concise and focused. Think of your ad like an elevator pitch - only say what the listeners need to hear.
5. Run podcast ads people won't skip
Another thing to keep in mind is that your ads should flow seamlessly with the episode. Even though only 1 in 5 podcast listeners is likely to skip an ad, some advertising in podcasts can feel like more of an interruption to the show and turn people off.
To avoid any unwanted ad skipping or negative reactions, early research indicates that odd-length ads that avoid 15-second increments can help ensure the ads are heard.
With the creative focus we mentioned earlier, advertisers and hosts have found other ways to make the ads blend in naturally with the flow of the episode. For example, the host can cue up the ads with some theme music or a relevant anecdote.
6. Repeat the call-to-action
Podcast ads can usually be sorted into one of three categories: branding, tune-in, or direct response. While it’s important to repeat the call-to-action in all three types, direct response ads include a promo code or vanity URL to help the advertiser track purchases back to a specific show. These URLs or codes usually include the host’s name or the podcast parent company to help the advertiser attribute a purchase to that specific show or network. Consider the following examples:
- Honey on Freakonomics - joinhoney.com/freakonomics
- Magic Spoon Cereal on the Tim Ferriss Show - MagicSpoon.com/Tim
- Bombas on Pod Save the People - bombas.com/people
The end goal of any advertising is to drive action, and advertising on podcasts is no different. Advertising companies should ensure the hosts make the call-to-action loud and clear.
By using short, memorable URLs or promo codes, and repeating the CTA several times, it’s more likely that people will be able to remember them when they want to shop online.
And that brings us to our final tip...
7. Measure the success of your podcast ads
Up top, we mentioned that podcast advertising analytics leave a lot to be desired. However, the promo codes can be a key element to tracking performance.
As listeners hear the ads, and use your unique code online, your ad delivers a measurable return on investment (ROI).
With that in mind, we can reiterate the importance of encouraging hosts to make the CTA clear, even going so far as to spell out the promo codes for listeners. You can also list all codes on your website and social media pages.
Keep a close watch on the use of your codes to determine whether or not your podcast ads are a success.
If you want to keep people engaged, and turn listeners into customers, you need to create ads that work for the medium, the audience, and the show.
It may take a little trial-and-error, but with continuous tweaking and testing of elements, like the length, the copy, the offer, and the show, you can find out what works for your podcast ads.
Are you ready to start creating new podcast ads? Check out podcast ad examples on Really Good Podcast Ads to get some inspiration.