Podcast ads in 2021 – everything you need to know

June 11, 2021

As a podcaster, there’s a moment when you feel that your podcast is more than just a hobby. Maybe you have a steady amount of listeners tuning in for every episode. It might even be growing nicely with each new episode you release. So you realize that you can actually gain some revenue out of it. We already wrote a separate post about monetizing your podcast in general, but in this article, we’ll focus on ads. We’ll cover the top questions like where do you even start with ads? What is the right time to think about podcast ads? How do you get companies to sponsor or advertise on your podcast, and how much can you charge? We will answer all of these questions and more in this article.

Podcast ads 101

From a marketing perspective, both heavy and light podcast listeners are among the most desirable audiences across the entire media landscape. They are desirable due to two key factors: Podcast audiences are very engaged with the content they listen to and podcast listeners have much higher household incomes than the general population.

The Nielsen Company (US)

With 68 million weekly listeners in the US, there is a big market for podcasting ads. According to eMarketer, US podcast ad spending will surpass $1 billion in 2021. With podcasts being fairly niche and topic based, it’s quite easy to target specific audiences with the right ads. That’s great for advertisers as they can really narrow down on their target audience. It’s also good for podcasters as this opens up more opportunities with different types of advertisers.

It’s a good idea to take the time and understand the podcasting landscape, and figure out if you want to add ads to your podcast. Remember that placing ads can affect your listeners, and in some cases even push them away from your show. Always think about the ads you’re including and the number of times they roll in your episodes.

Types of podcast ads

  1. Pre-roll: the ad will be mentioned at the beginning of the podcast or as part of the intro. These ads are usually heard by most listeners, as they come before the real content. However, listeners can still skip them quite easily if they want to.
  2. Mid-roll: the ad will take place anywhere in the middle of the podcast. These ads are less likely to be skipped as listeners won’t want to miss the content, but not every listener will keep listening till this part.
  3. Outro/ Post-roll: an ad that plays during the last few minutes of the podcast. There might be a drop in the amount of listeners by the end of the episode, but the ad will stay on top-of-mind as this is the last thing they will remember from the podcast.
  4. Offer code: a coupon code that the host mentions during the podcast.
  5. Placing ads on your website. If your podcast website gets a lot of traffic, or if you want to refer your listeners to your offer code, you can easily add it to your episode transcript or show notes. Your website is a great way to attract even more sponsors and find different types of opportunities.

Host read or announcer read ads?

So who actually reads the ad during the podcast? The podcast host can do it or the advertiser (also known as announcer read ads). According to Midroll.com (a podcast advertising network), host-reads generated 91% more than the announcer read ads, for a total of 21 brand lifts. Either way, read by the host or the announcer, it means that respondents that heard the ad showed more awareness of the brand, or a higher intent to purchase than those who were exposed to the same podcast content, but without the ad.

The ads can be baked in (read live or inserted later) or dynamically inserted. Podcasters can change the dynamic ads at a later time or for difference audience, as opposed to the baked-in ads that remain in the episode forever.

Podcast ads pricing

The pricing of the ads is usually based on the average number of episode downloads in the first 30-days. Average prices currently are about $18 for a 30-second ad or $25 for a 60-second ad for 1,000 downloads. So if you have around 5,000 listeners, you can charge around $90 for a 30-second ad.

Naturally, some more successful podcasts can charge much more than that, and the pricing can easily get to thousands of dollars per slot, but it really depends on your audience size, popularity and niche.

How to get brands to sell ads on your podcast

Reach out to brands independently

If your podcast is around a specific niche, it might be easy to find a brand that wants to advertise and sell to your audience. You can listen to other podcasts in the same niche, see who advertise in those podcasts and approach them directly.

Additionally, you can look for brands that are not currently using podcasts as an advertisement channel, but they do use newsletters or other methods. They are already spending ad-money so they might be open to try a new paid channel.

While not really scalable, you can also reach out to other podcasters to see if they would like to advertise their podcast in your podcast.

Join a marketplace that connects podcasters and advertisers

If you don’t want the hassle of searching for sponsors, cold emailing them, negotiating, and so on, you can definitely use one of these marketplaces. It will obviously not come for free; you’ll have to share the revenue with the marketplace.

Advertisecast connects podcasters and advertisers, as long as the podcast has more than 5,000 listeners. Once they accept the podcast into their podcast partner program, they will split the ad revenue 70/30 with the podcaster getting 70%.

Podcorn is another marketplace that connects brands and podcasters. As opposed to Advertisecast, Podcorn claims to work with any size of audience, and only takes 10% of the revenue.

Use your podcast hosting company

Some podcast hosts are offering to connect you with advertisers as part of their hosting plan. For example, Art19 has tools and services to let you grow revenue with native ads. Anchor are also offering a way to monetize your podcast with Anchor Sponsorships. You start by advertising Anchor, regardless of your audience size. Later on you can unlock additional brands, based on your audience and other attributes. Megaphone is an additional podcast host that helps podcasters with connections to brand advertisers.

Conclusion

Podcast ads and sponsorships are a reliable way to monetize your podcast.
You can easily include ads during, before or after your episodes (either dynamically placed or manually placed) and even display your sponsors’ logo/details in the artwork or on your podcast website.

There are a few different platforms that can help you find advertisers and sponsors for your podcast and you can even use your podcast hosting provider, at times, to find suitable ads for you. Some hosts offer dynamically inserted ads so there’s really almost nothing you have to worry about yourself.

The podcast eco-system is booming. There are more than 2 million podcasts nowadays and the market (and therefore, ad-spend) is growing every month. This might also mean you’ll have competition finding adequate sponsors, but if your audience is large enough and your podcast is growing, you might find it’s easier than you think.

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