Branded Podcasts


How to advertise in podcasts

Recently I was in a meeting with a Client. She says, “We’re obsessed with podcasts. I love this idea.” In March 2017 when I pitched this client the exact same idea, her response was, “we’re making a podcast internally. We’re only interested in TV commercials.”

A lot has changed in podcasting and if you’re still making your podcast internally, you might be missing out on a tremendous amount of value, from a marketing and sales perspective.  

  1. Listeners are exploding — there are 2x as many podcasts in March 2021 (~2 million) as there was in March 2020 (circa 1 million). 
  2. The tech has improved – awesome analytics, great monetisation opportunities and it’s really easy to use. 
  3. Radio stations’ approaches have shifted and while radio is still radio, there’s a concerted effort to move to on demand. (Note: I wish radio ads would evolve too). 

With the changes to podcasting tech and audience, marketers wish to capitalise. My client asked me which podcast approach to recommend. Here are 3 options to consider: 

  1. Make ads for podcasts; 
  2. Sponsor a show?
  3. Make your own show and build your own audience; and
  4. Make something great for your niche audience. 

I’m going to share with you some learnings I have for each option so you can decide what’s best for you. 

If you’re making ads for podcasts, remember: Your audience doesn’t love ads interrupting them. 

I have made plenty of ads. But I struggle to listen (or watch) them in programming as they are disruptive to my entertainment / education. When we make ads – we try to inject humour / empathy / interest into whatever we’re doing. Here’s an ad we did for Norton LifeLock as part of the Criminal Domain podcast.  

Don’t give the listener a reason to skip — which is much easier than it used to be. Make your ad entertaining and informative – not just about selling. Podcasting is intimate. Those voices are in your head. 67% of podcast listeners consider purchasing from brands that advertise in them – what’s the same metric in radio / tv / banner ads? Can it compare? 

Sponsor a show – borrow an existing audience. 

Sponsoring a big audience to promote your business’s show is a way to support a tangential show rather (or in addition to) doing a bulk CPM buy of ads. 

 – building your loyalty, sharing your ethics and creating customers for life. Find a show that is right and spend to support it. When doing your sponsor message – don’t just do an ad or a “this show is brought to you by”. Think creatively on how your brand can give the audience something they need; discount codes are standard, what else can you do?  

Don’t just rent an audience — make your own too. 

A well-produced podcast insulates your brand from the death of cookies by giving you an owned channel where your brand / staff can be thought leaders. It’s first party data – that you own, that you care about. Build an audience and you can own all the data you pull from it, and care about your audience so they don’t feel like you’re selling to them and you will build brand loyalty and increase consideration. 

Our shows have fantastic rates of completion – because the people who are listening are interested in the topic. 

You already have a listener base to share your shows with *hint – they’re your existing social media channels and customer base. Some of you have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers on social media. How long are your social media followers staying with you? Is it 15-20 mins? If not, what is your average audience engagement? 

How valuable would a person be to your business from a long term financial relationship if they spent 15-20 mins with you at a time?

Make something great for your niche.

It’s really hard to discover a good, new podcast about the topics you love. If you can produce a show that will have them subscribe, share and stay interested this keeps prospects (whether you are a B2B or B2C brand) in your funnel longer. But — it has to be great otherwise, your audience won’t give a shit. 

Choose a topic about your brand’s ethics – not just brand values. If your company believes you’re doing something good — share it, like Norton LifeLock did through Criminal Domain – a true crime podcast about tech crime that informs, while entertaining. They produced a show that was best in class and saw great audience growth – which affects sales. 

So imagine a stadium of listening completing 90% of your 20-30 minute episode (compared with .01% CTR). This is a priceless asset you control. You don’t get control over the podcasts you advertise on. And that matters. 

Lastly, I’m often asked about how to advertise on podcasts. 

  1. Other shows
    Find podcasts your audience is listening to and get the best value in return. But only if your content is better than the show it’s in. 
  2. Work with other Brands in your Show
    Create a value exchange.
  3. Spend triple what you think
    Great time to be chasing a CPM under $50. The audience and industry growth is at an all time high because of audience, technology and quality of storytelling. But you can promote your show in all media – TV, digital, paid, OOH — wherever you normally advertise. 

Hope this information is helpful. Check out our Ampel Blogs for more thoughts and tips on creating branded podcasts.  

Have an idea for a podcast or project?

Contact Ampel

Audio Experience Agency


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