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woman doing a podcastby Patrick Hill

The podcast industry is booming, and it is high time retailers took advantage of this. The numbers do not lie: research from Infinite Dial shows that in the US, podcast audiences listen to an average of four to five podcasts per week. These audiences are projected to grow by 81 percent in 2022, and there are already millions of podcasts catering to a wide variety of audiences. 

Through podcast advertising, brands can easily stick with listeners, who then have a pleasant association with the brand because they know their advertising dollars are what is keeping their favorite content afloat. There are also many ways for retailers to track how their advertisements through podcasts fare compared to other media such as radio, TV, magazines, or even bus ads. 

The Uniqueness of Advertising Through Podcasts

In most channels, consumers are eager to avoid ads, either skipping them as soon as they can or purchasing ad blockers. Podcasts are different in this regard, with 78 percent of podcast listeners approving of sponsored podcasts. This is because listeners are able to make the connection between advertising funds and content they value. This is due to the fact that they understand that without advertisement money, the product they enjoy would not be able to exist.

Research has also shown that listeners connect with ads better when the advertisements are spoken by somebody they like. According to Podcast Playbook, published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, listeners find the ads they hear on podcasts are more motivating and memorable.

Effectiveness of Podcast Ads

Advertising through podcasts is not only well-received, but is also extremely effective. Sixty-seven percent of listeners can recall brands and products from the advertisements, and 61 percent actually paid for the product or service they learned about on a podcast. There are also many effective tools to quantify the effectiveness of an advertisement, such as URLs and discount codes unique to the podcast that retailers can use to measure the performance of an ad on a particular episode.

For example, The Serial podcast is one of branding’s biggest success stories in the industry. The email platform MailChimp sponsored the first season of the podcast and gained widespread name recognition when the podcast went viral and the Serial episodes were downloaded  31 million times, along with MailChimp’s unique ad.

Another podcast success story is eBay partnering with Gimlet Media to create Open for Business. This branded podcast is dedicated to exploring what it takes to found a company. The sponsorship has paid off as the podcast gained traction, and downloads have passed eBay’s projected goal by more than 200 percent

The Best Ways to Advertise Through Podcasts

There are many spaces in a podcast to place an advertisement. The three slots made for ads are called pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. The pre-roll refers to the first 15-30 seconds of a podcast, mid-roll plays halfway through the episode, and the post-roll is an advertisement at the very end of an episode. 

Retailers can create a script for the podcasters to read, or they might pay the podcast creators to come up with a unique ad for the brand that is relevant to their listenership. Advertisements can be in the form of a host read, where a pre-recorded ad voiced by the podcast host is played, or a pre-recorded ad voiced by someone else, known as a programmatic ad. 

Other than pre-recorded ads, there is also the possibility of utilizing live reads, where podcast hosts improvise an advertising message that specifically relates to the theme of the podcast show. Retailers should research the podcast theme beforehand and choose to advertise through podcasts that relate to their product or brand and hit the same specific consumer market retailers are interested in. 

One single ad may not be enough to gauge if the podcast is an effective advertising method. It is best for retailers to advertise on five to eight consecutive episodes to solidify brand recognition and your call to action. This will create a more accurate view of how the advertisement performed with the specific audience. 

The Cost of Podcast Advertising

There is actually a formula to figure out how much a podcast advertisement would cost. According to Balter, the ad sponsorship formula is the Cost of Sponsoring one Episode = (# of Downloads per Episode / 1000) X CPM. CPM stands for “cost per mille,” and represents a flat standard rate advertisers pay for every 1,000 impressions. The cost of a standard ad in a single podcast usually ranges from $10-$50. 

Just as podcast listeners can listen to shows on their drive to work, companies can drive their sales through podcast advertising. Brands are allowed unique opportunities to advertise to different niches while also avoiding the ad avoidance that plagues most mediums.

Patrick Hill is the CEO and Founder of Disctopia.

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