Podcast Advertising 101

Tips for Buying Podcast Advertising — Getting the Best Podcast Ad Deals

April 01, 2019

If you’ve done your research and found a few shows that you want to place ads with, the next step is reaching out and starting a conversation. Buying podcast ad placements is more akin to traditional media buys, because you’re working with people to negotiate the details of your spots and the cost. This isn’t clicking through online forms like you would with social ads.

Below are tips on reaching out, negotiating CPMs, and what to look for in a contract.


Who to buy ads from—outreach to shows, publishers and networks

Honestly, the best way to start reaching out is by going to the show page, finding the correct contact info (it might say “For advertising questions” or “Inquire about advertising with us”). Make sure you are ready to start buying when you reach out. That means having a clear budget that you’re working with, an idea of what schedule you want your ads to run, and copy ready to send to the show.

The podcast landscape can seem daunting if you’ve never reached out to a show before. It helps to have a basic understanding of the various industry players:

  • Individual shows—shows can either be independently produced or part of a larger network.
  • Publishers—companies like Wondery, Gimlet, ESPN, Loud Speakers Network create and distribute their own shows.
  • Networks—Midroll, Cadence13, and True Native Media are examples of networks, they act as the sales representation arm for multiple publishers or independent shows.

A sample message to inquire might look like this:

Hello - I’m interested in buying advertising on your show. Can you please send over rates, availabilities, and download information.

You can buy across multiple networks, publishers, and shows, or limit your buy to one publisher or network at a time to simplify the process. Juggling numerous contracts and multiple campaigns though different shows can add a layer of complexity that might feel overwhelming for a first-timer; it’s up to you and how much you want to manage when you start out. The Podsights Analytics tool will help simplify buying across multiple partners.

How to evaluating pricing—negotiate for lower CPMs

Without understanding pricing, it can be very easy to be taken advantage of as a first-time podcast ad buyer. There is a budget template in Part 2 of this Podcast Advertising 101 series that describes some of the basic components of podcast ad pricing to get you started.

It can be daunting to do this for the first time, but we’ve put together a few tips so that you can at least ask the right questions to get to a fair price. One rule of thumb when negotiating: ask for what you want, and get in the mindset that the worst that can happen is they say no.

Here are a few more tips on getting the right budget:

  • When buying baked in ads, if you are quoted a price per episode, it’s important to ask how many downloads are in an episode to figure out the CPM. A CPM calculator can be found here. A typical CPM is between $25-50.
  • Pricing can often be fluid, so don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller. Be sure to do your research though, there is a range for CPMs and asking for something far too low might turn them off and shut down the conversation.
  • If you can’t negotiate on the price, don’t hesitate to ask for added value to get the CPM down. For example, try asking for a bonus spot if you’ve committed to buy three spots. If that fails, ask for a post-roll. Many networks keep these spots open for when added value is needed.

What to look for in a contract—signing the agreement

It can be exciting when you strike a deal for your first advertising campaign. Before you sign a contract, it’s important to look for a few things:

  • The price of your ads: make sure what you agree to is within the budget you decided.
  • Charging rate: look for whether you’ll be charged a flat fee for the entire episode or a CPM based on impressions. If you’re charged a CPM based on impressions check to make sure there’s a clause that states you’ll get “make goods” or extra spots for missed impressions in case of underdelivery.
  • Understand who you are working with. Is your deal with the individual show, or with their network or sales representation organization? This is who you’ll be corresponding with as you monitor the campaign.

If you’re using Podsights Analytics you can easily verify downloads to ensure you get what you paid for. This can be a helpful tool in maintaining a fair budget if you continue placing ads with the same show.

Part 4: Optimizing your campaign for the best results.