During the past few years, podcasting has become one of the most popular advertising mediums.
Storytelling is one of the oldest human traditions, so it should come as no surprise that this format has seen tremendous growth (especially during the pandemic when many marketers revisited their strategies).
Podcasts are engaging, affordable, and effective.
Research from two Stanford professors in 1969 reveals that people are six to seven times more likely to remember information when it is presented as part of a story.
Stories can educate, entertain, and even convince listeners, which is why you should incorporate podcasts into your marketing efforts.
The Power of Podcasts
According to The Infinite Dial 2020 study, 55% of Americans have listened to a podcast at least once, and 37% listened to one in the past month — a 16% year-over-year increase.
Almost a quarter of the U.S. population, or about 68 million people, have listened to a podcast in the past week.
This final group includes serious listeners who work through an average of six different shows for 6 hours and 39 minutes per week.
Brands are eager to reach these ears with their messaging, which is why the 2018 Podcast Revenue Report conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers found that podcast-based advertising revenues will exceed $1 billion in 2021.
If popularity alone cannot convince you to explore podcasting and generate a sweet ROI, then there are some other compelling benefits.
For instance, Edison Research found that 54% of listeners think about buying products advertised via podcast ads.
Brands that advertise do see a 14% increase in purchase intent, according to Nielsen. And if you host your own podcast, you have an excuse to network with contacts who might not give you the time of day otherwise.
Even if you are not sure about starting your own show, you can still capitalize on the profitability and popularity of podcasts. You just need to know what types of advertising opportunities are available.
4 Ways to Advertise
As more listeners flock to the podcasting format, you never know who might be in an audience.
Starting your own show or appearing as a guest on another could help you reach potential customers, partners, mentors, or even investors, and any one of these individuals could transform your business and future.
If you do not think you have the time or resources to dedicate to this kind of organic reach, do not give up yet.
Podcast advertising is more accessible than it might seem — here are four ways to get involved.
Host-Voiced Podcast Ads
Host-voiced podcast ads are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.
Because there is no change in the tone of the program, these podcast ads offer the most natural and consistent listening experience.
The spot comes off as conversational and informational instead of promotional.
You also benefit from the credibility of the host, who is putting their name on the line for your product to some degree.
Let the host ad-lib your message for a more natural feel, or include a few slightly different scripts to mix up the content of the ad between episodes.
Consider offering hosts trials of your product or service so they can provide authentic, firsthand accounts of their experiences.
Fully Produced Ads
If you want granular control over the content and delivery of your message, you might be interested in fully produced podcast ads.
These sound bites will still be customized to reflect the overall production style of the podcast, but their structure and message can be scaled across several different shows.
Fully produced podcast ads generally feature a fresh voice, whether it is a member of the show’s production crew, one of your own team members, or a paid voice actor.
Data-Driven Ad Insertions
Data-driven ad insertions combine a fully produced ad and a platform that places your ad where your defined audience is listening.
It is akin to remarketing, and it is an accessible way to exponentially expand your reach.
However, you need to feel comfortable sacrificing some control over the placement.
Because these podcast ads are automatic, sometimes they are inserted in awkward places in the show or even on programming that does not align with your brand values.
A branded podcast is not exactly an ad, but it can absolutely serve as a promotion for your brand.
Having your own podcast under your name could be referred to as an advertorial: most of the content is information-rich and educational or editorial in nature, but there are certain points in the show where you can highlight your brand and expand its influence in key ways.
A branded podcast allows you to build up a following from scratch, or you can cultivate an existing audience further by moving from short interactions on social media to an extended 20- or 30-minute audio experience.
Check out branded podcasts such as the Spin Sucks Podcast, Lyft’s “Pick Me Up” or Microsoft’s “.future” for inspiration.
The best possible ad is one that your prospects hear, which is why you should be mindful of where in the show your spot is featured.
A mid-roll airing is ideal because it gives listeners time to become invested in an episode, while a pre-roll ad is more likely to be skipped because listeners might still have their devices in hand.
A post-roll ad has the same downside, and it might not be heard by audience members who are eager to get to their next episodes.
Because placement is so important, be prepared to pay a premium for mid-roll podcast ads — and only pursue other options when you think you have an irresistibly captivating message.
Even though people are not commuting daily or flying all the time like before the pandemic, podcasts are still exploding.
If you choose your message, ad type, and placement wisely, podcast advertising can offer an excellent ROI.
Just think about what would resonate best with your ideal customers, and you will start seeing conversions in no time.