Podcast listening is surging, and so is podcast advertising. According to eMarketer, over one fifth of people in the US listened to a podcast at least monthly in 2018. According to the 2019 Infinite Dial study, Americans are spending more time listening to online audio than ever (“online audio” defined as listening to AM/FM radio stations online or streamed audio on the internet).

US Podcast Listeners and Penetration, 2014-2020

podcast advertising

(Source: eMarketer)

Podcasting listenership is strongest among the younger demographic. 35.8% of Americans ages 25-34 have listened to a podcast in the last month. According to Spotify Audience Insights, 43% of listeners are female vs. 56% male. (Podcast gender breakdown varies by podcast title.) Age breakdown:

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Source: U.S. Podcast Market

More podcast stats from eMarketer Pro’s “Podcast Advertising 2018: The Power and Potential of Storytelling for Brands”:

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Note: There’s no such thing as a passive podcast listener! Podcasts can not only help you reach your most desirable targeted audience, but they also give advertisers an avenue to listeners who are highly engaged when tuned into a podcast. Many times, listeners don’t mind hearing or seeing ads as they are generally committed to what they are listening to.

Reach a highly engaged, uniquely targeted audience with #podcast #advertising for #recruitment. Click To Tweet

podcast advertising

Source: Crowd DNA & Spotify

Podcast listeners are also among the most engaged and loyal audiences ever. The nature of the medium means that podcast hosts speaks directly to their audiences, and many listeners build a strong rapport or like-mindedness with the content and show host.

Why It’s Interesting

Podcasts are highly targeted. There’s a dedicated, top‐quality podcast for every imaginable niche audience, targeting diverse audiences, demographics, and psychographics for everything from true crime case reports to business to science and technology.

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Podcast Advertising Use Cases

Midroll is a large podcast company that offers display, audio, and live host-read ads. Authentic endorsements and native-like ads keep listeners engaged and entertained.

Host-read Ads – 15-30+ second reads in pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll positions:

  1. Pre-Roll: 15-30 second ad at the start of the show
  2. Mid-Roll: 1 minute in the middle of the show
  3. Post-Roll: 15–30 second ad at the end of the show

Custom Integrations

  • Custom Segments + Episodes: 3-5-minute segment within a show
  • Interview Podcasts: 5-10 episode interview podcast
  • Original Narrative Podcasts: 5-8 episode narrative podcast

Pricing Models

Generally, there are three different routes to pricing podcast advertising and sponsorships. These include:

  • Cost per thousand (CPM) – The price is determined per thousand listens. For every thousand podcast listens, the advertiser will pay a certain amount.
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) – The price as the cost to acquire a conversion. Each time the podcast converts a customer or a candidate for recruitment, the advertiser pays a pre-determined fee to the host.
  • Negotiated price – This model is simply a negotiated price between the podcast host and the advertiser.

How to Measure ROI

Based on the pricing model that is offered or what was agreed upon, the following metrics would be available:

  • Streams/impressions
  • Engagement: ad view/starts
  • Leads/conversions
  • % Demographic breakdown (male/female, age, etc.)

Podcast advertising is on the rise, and you can reach a dedicated and passionate audience through this medium. This would be much more of a brand awareness play and at the national level. As of now, location targeting or job skill set categories are not available. If you are a company looking to hire across your organization and want to create an awareness to have an audience consider a career at your company, this is the perfect platform to do it. This medium would much more of an “assisted conversion” play, which means the measure of any interaction throughout a candidate journey, other than the final click, that lead to a candidate converting/applying for a job on a company careers site.

Podcasts & Digital Radio

There has been a lot of movement on the podcast front with digital radio streaming companies. For example:

Spotify has made several changes, including three major acquisitions of Gimlet, Parcast, and Anchor. As of today, the only way to sponsor a podcast is by purchasing a host-read ad for a period of time and at the national level.

Pandora just launched a podcast platform (in April 2019) that recommends podcasts to users based on listening habits and collected data. Podcast advertising is not available yet with Pandora. As of now, while they are building scale, ad insertion on podcasts is only available within their Audio Everywhere product. Eventually, audio would run on Pandora, Podcasts and SoundCloud – but stay tuned!

The key to a successful podcast advertising campaign lies in finding the right partnerships and the content of the ads, putting the listener at the forefront. Always find a podcast or an advertiser who is a perfect match content-wise and adds real value to the listener. I’m excited to see where this goes in 2020 and beyond!