Podcast Advertising Challenges and How to Overcome Them

By now, we’re all certainly familiar with podcasts – and most of us likely engage with them in some form. These digital audio programs, often presented in a conversational format with a host and guests, tend to average an episode length of about 36 minutes. This format gives podcasters ample opportunities to sell ads to support their channels, and for marketers to reach a combined worldwide audience of 383 million listeners.

How Advertisers Are Taking Advantage of Podcast Advertising

Studies show that 78% of Americans were aware of podcasts as a media option in 2021, compared to just 20% in 2006. As podcasting grows in popularity, so does the ability for brands and marketers to reach relevant target audiences that are tuning into them.

As awareness increases, so does the number of brands and advertisers jumping in to take advantage of the opportunity. Podcast advertising statistics show that 60% of listeners searched for a product or brand after hearing an advertisement during a podcast. This gives advertisers and brands a great chance to reach more potential customers using this media format.

An omnichannel advertising partner, such as AUDIENCEX, can help companies and brands looking to reach a broader audience by offering a wide range of audio advertising options. Expert strategists can help you identify which podcasts will impact your marketing performance, with audiences that are most relevant to your campaign. Working with a partner can help you overcome some of the challenges that are common to podcast advertisement.

Challenges to Expect With Podcast Advertisements

Along with the opportunity this kind of advertising presents come certain challenges for your business to overcome. The first challenge can be the cost of the placement and fitting testing — and sometimes failing — into a marketing budget.

The industry average cost per mille (CPM), or cost per 1,000 listeners, for 2022 is $18 for a 30-second advertisement, and $25 for a 60-second advertisement. Cost per acquisition (CPA) is another metric advertisers use to measure their efforts. The CPA would be found after customers have listened to the ads and then taken an action, such as visiting a website and buying a product. The CPA formula divides the ad campaign’s cost by the number of converted customers. This number can be used to calculate the effectiveness of an ad campaign. Different campaigns can be run, and their CPAs can be compared. Each campaign can differ in terms of ad style, ad placement, and ad length. Testing can be costly, but it’s necessary to get the right ads in front of the right people.

There are several other challenges for marketers to overcome to get the best return on their investment, including the following.

Finding the Right Podcast Audiences

There are millions of listeners tuning into podcasts every week. Out of those millions, a small subset represents potential customers. The challenge is speaking to audiences who are interested in your product. Proper audience targeting means finding podcasts that are relevant to your brand so your ad budget will be spent on reaching relevant and engaged audiences. It is crucial to make a connection with potential buyers or clients, and that can happen only if you find the right audience. Using a sponsor marketplace is one way to find a good, relevant audience.

Control Over Ad Placements

The placement of the ad within the podcast can have an effect on its success. For instance, if the ad is placed toward the end of the podcast, many listeners may have already tuned out by that time and may be unlikely to hear the ad’s message and take the call to action. So-called baked-in ads require the host to read out a script or mention the product within the episode itself. This can be preferential to dynamic ads, which are recorded separately from the podcast and whose placement can be rearranged, dropped, or even switched with another brand at a later time.

Difficulty With Cross-Device Targeting

Cross-device, or cross-platform, marketing means running ads on numerous media channels that target specific audiences on their different devices. A unified omnichannel tech stack, such as the one offered by AUDIENCEX, can tie in your podcast advertising to numerous channels and help you gain insight into your audience and reach them throughout the digital landscape, including programmatic, search, and social channels.

How to Get the Most Out of Advertising on Podcasts

Brands will need a well-researched approach to get the full benefits of podcast advertising. The ad itself must be well-written, concise, and to the point, and a clear and memorable call to action must be included somewhere in the ad. This will give the listener the optimal experience, one through which they get the message, remember the message, and wish to act. This message can be repeated in various scripts, across several podcasts, or even throughout a single podcast. Repetition further drives home the point of the ad.

Ensure Your Message Is Recorded Properly by the Podcast Host

With traditional radio advertising, your ad would have been read by a professional voice actor or a radio host with the experience and talent to get the point of the ad across properly. With podcast advertising, you may not be dealing with a professional voice actor. Ads are frequently read by the actual host of the show. It’s important to make sure the podcaster reads the ad properly, whether it’s prerecorded or live.

Choose the Right Ad Format

You have a few options when it comes to the format of your ads. An effective podcast advertising example would go something like this: A podcast host starts off the episode, introduces the topic and guests, and then begins the segment by talking about whatever the topic of the day or week is. At some point, the host will mention the sponsor or read the advertisement.

Mid-Roll Ads

Mid-roll ads are read sometime during the middle of the podcast, as opposed to at the beginning or end. These tend to be longer, usually 60 seconds. At this point in a podcast, some listeners may have already stopped listening, but the ones who remain may be a more enthusiastic and engaged audience.

Pre-Roll Ads

Pre-roll ads are read before the podcast starts, when the audience is just tuning in. Being read at the beginning, when people have just started listening and before anyone has tuned out, can give your ad an advantage, as the audience’s size may be at its peak at this point.

Identify Your Target Ad Length

Choosing your ad length for optimal performance can be a challenge at first. You should test different ads to find the best-performing length. In general, short ads do well, but there are a few different reasons for having different ad lengths. 

The podcast’s duration, for instance, can be a factor. If the podcast is long, a longer ad may be suitable, as could a larger number of ads. Conversely, shorter podcast formats may call for shorter ads. Some longer podcasts can even use several ads to tell a story about the brand throughout the episode. Regardless of the ad’s length, it is important for the script to be concise, for the reader to get to the point quickly, and for an exciting and energetic message to be delivered to the audience.

15-Second Ads

With today’s shorter attention spans, listeners may start to tune out if an ad is too long. A 15-second ad can be effective if you have a message that can be conveyed quickly. Pre-roll ads, which are read before the episode, sometimes offered at 15 second lengths. This is when the host will make a quick reference to their sponsor and include a clear call to action.

30-Second Ads

The duration for most pre-roll and post-roll ads is within the 30-second range. This provides enough time to hook the listener, offer a few informational and educational lines about your product or service, and conclude with a strong call to action.

60-Second Ads

A 60-second duration is perfect for mid-roll ad placements. Mid-roll ads can even be up to 90 seconds long. These ads typically occur when the audience has already listened to about  40% to 70% of the episode’s content.

Ensure the Podcast Content Is Relevant to Your Industry or Niche

Reaching the wrong audience will have a detrimental effect on your podcast advertising’s effectiveness. If your brand is advertising something different than or, even worse, antithetical to the topic of the podcast, not many listeners will follow your call to action. As a worst-case example, if the podcast is about how bad certain foods taste and your product is similar to the food that’s being discussed, the ad is unlikely to succeed.

On the other hand, if the podcast is about how delicious that particular food is, you have a higher chance of securing new customers. It would also be a relevant ad if the podcaster were to describe your offering using their personal experience with the product, which can build a sense of trust within the audience.

With thousands of podcasts to choose from, there is likely a podcast with a topic related to your brand, product, and style. A third-party platform can help match appropriate podcasts with your brand.

Consider Using a Marketplace for Podcast Sponsorships

There are thousands of podcasts to choose from, which could make finding the right podcast with the right audience for your product or service a challenge. Using podcast advertising platforms for podcast sponsorships allows your offering to be seen by the hosts themselves, who can shop for sponsorships. The sponsorship marketplace can be a great place to match podcasts with the right sponsored advertisements. Data can be collected to show how effective ads are, what their CPA is, and what the resulting return on investment is.

Design a Custom Plan to Measure the Success of Your Podcast Ads

Measuring the performance of your podcast ads is essential to the success of your campaign. As mentioned earlier, tests can be done to measure the effectiveness of various characteristics, such as an ad’s length, its placement, the writing of the ad’s script, and the specific podcast audience. Conversion rates can also be tracked to see which ads are resonating with specific audiences at specific times.

You can also track the effectiveness of specific ads by using different promo codes for different ads. This is an easy way to see which ads are working and which ones you may want to scrap. Another similar method is to use unique URLs, with webpages specifically tailored to a podcast to track how many people from that particular podcast answered the call to action and clicked through. Design a custom plan to measure your ads’ effectiveness and calculate your return on investment.

Get Started With Podcast Advertising Campaigns Today

Navigating podcast advertising can be difficult to navigate for many midmarket brands and independent agencies. But, these placements can bring your company a great return on its investment if you follow best practices, reaching potential buyers among the millions of podcast listeners. 

Whether you’re placing podcast ads directly, exploring programmatic audio, native, CTV, display, social, search, or advertising in any format on any channel, AUDIENCEX can help. Working with an expert team of strategists that are empowered by futureproof solutions and seamless media access, AUDIENCEX can help you overcome the challenges inherent to any channel and engage the correct audience based on intelligent targeting and in-depth data.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you achieve true performance outcomes, reach out for a free consultation today. Our team would be happy to discuss how we can tailor our holistic approach for your brand, leveraging seamless media access and integrated futureproof solutions throughout the digital landscape.