You’ve decided that podcast advertising is right for your brand. Now what? Here are a few steps to get you started as you begin to plan a podcast ad campaign.
Getting through to your target audience will only come from pairing your message with the right show. Choosing the right show might be the most important part of your ad planning process.
It might feel daunting to start looking through all the podcasts out there. Podsights Research is a fantastic place to start—it sources the top 200 podcasts for you to browse.
One way to begin filtering shows is by looking at ads that are (or are not) placed by similar brands. Podsights Research monitors podcasts to determine who is advertising where, to help you better understand where competitive companies are placing their ads. Podsights combines machine and human reviewers to identify ads within each episode, and tag them according to the advertiser.
If you find a show that seems like a good fit you can also view a list of shows that those listeners also subscribed to, to continue narrowing your search.
When choosing a show, think outside the box of traditional demographics. It’s important to understand what type of genre resonates with your target audience, but also to get specific within general interest categories. If you’re audience is interested in science, are they humor-driven, fact-inclined, academic, or interested in storytelling? Building out a thorough user profile that matches your target audience will help narrow down your show selection.
Picking a show with a regular schedule will make it easier to manage a campaign and track the results. Some podcasts post only monthly or at irregular intervals, which can make tracking your results a bit harder if it’s a new show that you are trying out. Plus if you place an ad with a show that drops on a specific day of the week you will be able to tailor your ad copy to match any larger marketing campaigns you have going.
Also called “Read Type” there are two main types of ads you can choose from.
There are three types of ad placement within the duration of a podcast, they are pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll, placed either before the podcast begins, within the middle of the podcast, and after the podcast ends, respectively. There are many differing opinions on which type is better for optimized audience listens. Here are a few pros and cons to each type:
We suggest starting with pre- or mid-rolls only, because post rolls are often skipped; they have value only in a binge-worthy show that drops all at once, such as Serial, which is rare.
Most podcasts will accept a script or bullet points—we suggest providing bullet points to allow the show’s host to ad lib around them. Podcasts are often informal dialogue, journalistic reporting, or well-crafted storytelling; depending on the show, submitting a canned and stiff-sounding ad might seem out of place and turn listeners off from your product.
A 30-second spot is typically 70-80 words and a 60-second spot is typically 140-150 words. The best way to determine the length of an ad is to read it outloud. If your ad is host-read and not fully scripted, remember to allocate time for the host to talk about their personal experience with the product. Don’t expect a podcast host to explicitly endorse a product or service (“I love this” “This is the best product”). Do expect a host to talk about their experience with the product, in a positive and also realistic way.
Add a coupon code or custom URL to your copy. Not only will this help direct listeners to exactly where you want them to go online, it will also help Podsights match listeners with on-site visitors for more accurate analytics and tracking purposes.
Quick list of what to include in your ad copy:
Podcasts are sold on by CPMs—cost per mille (thousand) impressions. There are two models of buying podcast campaigns:
CPMs range from $25 - $50. On the higher end, it’s totally appropriate to ask for additional value like bonus spots to support those high CPMs, or additional data points such as Podsights Analytics.
The formula to figure out the price of an episode is as follows:
Total cost = (Total impressions or downloads x CPM) / 1000
To back into a CPM, the formula is as follows:
CPM = (Total Cost x 1000) / total impressions or downloads
For example, let’s say you are quoted 2 episodes that are each $5,000. One gets 250,000 downloads per episode and the other gets 75,000. The episode that has 250,000 downloads backs into a CPM of $20. The episode that gets 75,000 downloads backs into a CPM of $66. The 250,000 downloads per episode show for $5,000 is a better deal.
Your budget will differ depending on the size of shows you select. You’ll want to factor a significant cushion into your budget for trial and error while starting out, because the first podcast you choose to place ads with might not be your best target audience. We suggest buying at least three spots on a new show as a trial, and trying out two or three shows at once. If you have the same number of ads places in each of a selection of new shows, you’ll be able to quickly tell which ones are doing better for your brand.
One tip: if you choose to run three ads in a new show as a trial, often you’ll see more conversions after the last spot has aired. This is due to familiarity of your message. Studies have found it can take three times for an ad to resonate with a listener enough for them to result in an action (like visiting your website).
There is also the factor of how close together those ads will run. We recommend starting with an ad schedule like this: week one - one spot; week two - no spots; week three - no spots, week four - one spot. This is a “one week on, two week off” schedule.