Buying podcast advertising is like buying a car; there is a sticker price and what people actually pay. Rate cards are the high end of what brands will pay for a placement. Publishers are smart, and they don’t want to leave money on the table if a brand wants to purchase quickly. There is always room around the sticker price, so here are a few tips that might help you negotiate your next podcast buy.

We will talk about live-read ads in this post; dynamic placements is a topic for a different day.

As a rule of thumb, you should always negotiate after they give you their first offer. Because of how podcasts are bought and sold, there is always wiggle room.

Pre-Buy Negotiations

One insider secret is that many podcast sellers have an acceptable range of prices they can offer for shows including a floor and a max. Depending on the size of the buy, they’ll quote you at different prices. When you receive initial rates, ask if there is any room to drop the price if you buy multiple spots. Remember, the seller’s goal is to fill their shows. Open ad spots mean lost revenue. Both of you can come out of negotiations happy.

If the publisher comes back and says they can’t drop the price, there are tricks to bring the overall CPM down. Ask for added value in the form of an additional spot. You might ask if they can do a “buy three, get one free” deal. Another option is to ask if you can get added value in the form of post-rolls. Most publishers don’t sell post-rolls and keep them open for added value.

We also want you to consider other add-ons that aren’t directly associated with the CPM. These can include branding on episode art, tweets, newsletter mentions, and Facebook posts.

If all else fails, and there isn’t a price that works for both parties, you can put in a standing buy at a price that is comfortable for you. Don’t offer something unreasonably low, but if the seller is light on spots for an episode, they might just put you in.

Post-Buy Negotiations

What happens when your podcast vendor tells you that your campaign is going to under-deliver and not hit the download goal? While they will not be able to give you money back, you have every right to ask for a make good. A make good is a replacement spot given to “make good” on the error.

Make goods come with a lot of caveats. Please don’t ask for make-goods if the download count was only off by 15% or so. If publishers over deliver they aren’t asking you for more money, so don’t ask for make-goods if they slightly under deliver.

Brands should also look at campaign performance. If you are ROI positive on a podcast, no matter what the CPM you paid, it means the publisher should have been charging you that in the first place. Podsights Analytics can help measure that ROI.

For established shows, publishers will be able to tell in the first three days if an episode is going to deliver. ~60% of downloads happen in the first three days, so it’s pretty simple math:

downloads over first 3 days * 1.66 = ~total downloads

Download graphs almost always look like:

For new or rapidly growing shows this is much harder. Publishers are rightfully optimistic about how their new shows are going to perform.

If the download and ROI numbers are low, then it’s appropriate to ask for a make-good spot.

Additionally, you are entitled to a make-good is when a scheduled spot is missed or if the host or announcer made an error reading your ad. Podsights can be a helpful tool to make sure your campaign runs properly. We deliver you airchecks of all your spots so you can easily listen to them yourself. If you find yourself in any of these situations, always make sure to ask your seller for a make good. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive it unless they notice the error.

The hardest part of negotiations is convincing yourself that it is ok to ask for what you want. Remember, the worst thing that can happen is the seller says "no".