If it seems like a new podcast series drops every day, it may not be your imagination and closer to reality than hyperbole. That’s a welcome development if you are an advertiser who is looking for a new avenue to broadcast your message.
As the space continues to mature, brands that embrace podcast advertising strategically are poised to reap the rewards of the dynamic and burgeoning channel. Podcast advertising offers many benefits, from heightened brand awareness to measurable ROI.
Brands that have taken notice of the benefits and financial gains are also upping their spend as US podcast ad revenues grew 22% YoY in 2022, which more than doubled the growth rate for the US digital ad market overall, according to The Interactive Advertising Bureau.
If your brand has uncertainty about investing in a new medium, the following strategies and benefits will shed light on why you should seriously consider diversifying your ad spend to podcasts.
Podcasts biggest draw is authentic integration and trustworthy advertising
Podcasts seemed to have cracked – or at least successfully mitigated – a challenge that continuously plagues other digital platforms like TV, streaming, and radio: the ability to capture and maintain the attention of their audience.
So, what makes podcasts successful with audiences?
Podcasts excel at integrating ads seamlessly into the content. Host-read ads, strategically placed at the beginning or middle of episodes, sound more like authentic recommendations than traditional advertisements. Listeners are likely to trust the host (which is probably the reason they are listening in the first place) making the promotional content more believable and impactful.
Brands also benefit from a space that is not oversaturated. With only a few ads per episode, brands avoid the clutter associated with other media ensuring that each ad receives adequate attention, contributing to higher engagement and recall.
There are tech challenges to the space and common misconceptions about strategy
While the potential benefits of podcast advertising are vast, there are pitfalls for brands that don’t come in with a strategy.
Fast-forwarding on platforms like Spotify remains a challenge if the listener is a subscriber. The technology to avoid skipping ads is not currently offered. There is also no way to measure if a brand’s ad was skipped over.
There is also another measurement issue that can give you problems when you look at the effectiveness of your ad. While you can get an idea of who is listening to a podcast episode through impressions and downloads, that number may not be definitive. For example, let’s say a listener subscribes to a podcast they like, and when that podcast drops a new episode, it automatically downloads for the subscriber. If you are an advertiser of that podcast, that number does not reflect if the person truly listened to your ad.
The good news is that these tech issues are being raised and platforms are working on improving this aspect to provide more accurate performance metrics. For example, Apple’s latest mobile update (iOS 17) addresses download discrepancies. Automatic downloads will now be paused when a device is low on storage or when a show hasn’t been played for more than 15 days and can be resumed by playing the show or adjusting download preferences in Apple Podcasts.
There are also issues you can run into if you don’t educate yourself by learning from other brand’s miscues.
One common mistake brands make is aiming to advertise on the top-charting podcasts. While these shows have a massive audience, they also have a high volume of competing ads. Instead, focus on aligning with podcasts that genuinely resonate with your target audience, even if they are not the most popular ones. The authenticity and trust of the listeners often matter more than sheer numbers.
Getting started with podcast advertising
Brands should not approach podcast advertising with a one-size-fits-all strategy. Strategic planning involves considering client demographics, budget, campaign length, and goals. If you are making the choice to step into podcast advertising, consider this your strategy checklist:
Define Your Goals: Start by setting clear objectives. Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive conversions? Your goals will shape your strategy.
Understand Your Audience: If you advertise in other mediums, chances are you have a good idea of who your target audience is. For podcasts, make sure your audience lines up with the shows you are considering. This ensures that your message reaches the right people.
Identify Trusted Partner For Media Buying Strategy: Media buying in podcasts involves purchasing advertising space or time within podcast episodes to promote a product, service, or brand. Having a team that can determine brand fit and negotiate ad rates allows your brands to concentrate on the creative side of your advertisement.
Budget Allocation: Determine what your budget will be in the beginning. It’s essential to set realistic expectations based on your budget size and your goals. Consider the amount of testing you will do and have a planned budget for a successful campaign and what you might do if you switch to a new podcast audience.
Choose the Right Podcasts: Listen to potential podcasts to understand their content, tone, and style. Make sure the podcast’s values and messaging align with your brand to maintain authenticity. At Ocean Media, we tailor our approach for each client, ensuring the podcasts chosen resonate with your target demographic.
Campaign Length, Placement and Flighting: Decide on the campaign length and frequency of ads. Consider the seasonality of your business and align your ad placement accordingly. Showing up early in podcasts (pre-roll, mid-roll) increases the likelihood of your ad making an impact.
Trackability: Ensure you have the right tracking tools in place to measure the performance of your ads accurately. Understand how your campaign will be tracked and evaluated.
By diversifying ad spending to podcasts, brands can leverage authenticity, access limited ad inventory, and evolve measurement capabilities to connect with their audience in a meaningful way.
At Ocean Media, we work with clients that have different types of budgets and goals in the podcasting space. Learn how we can tailor a strategy that yields a positive ROI and meets your business goals.