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Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know

Dylan de Koning

Dylan de Koning

17 June 2024

Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know - Voquent

Did you know there are between 3.2 million and 4.3 million podcasts out there?

Yeah, seriously!

Podcasts have been rapidly growing in popularity over the years and evolving, too. Video podcasts have become especially popular, allowing audiences to simply listen to or even watch their favourite hosts.

The extreme popularity of podcasts is evident, with 200,000 + podcasts being released year-on-year since 2018.

For brands, podcast advertising offers an especially low-cost way to showcase products and services, target a new audience within a specific niche, and extend your reach.

But with so many options out there, where do you start?

 

Two podcast hosts working at their desk

What Are Podcast Ads?

Podcast advertising is just one of the many forms of paid marketing, but the options and benefits are especially extensive.

Podcasts can be found on various platforms, and each discusses a particular niche in depth. It’s, therefore, easy for businesses to find a podcast that aligns with their brand and fosters an engaged audience to market their products and services to.

Podcasts usually offer 3 kinds of ads including:

Pre-Roll Podcast Ads

This is considered the 2nd best choice for advertisers.

Pre-roll ads take place at the start of the podcast, meaning this slot will get the most listeners but not necessarily the most engagement. When audiences first start listening to a podcast, they will be more inclined to skip ads as they are excited for the episode to start and are likely still close to their device. This slot is best for particularly short ads, entertaining ads, and ads that focus on generating mass brand awareness.

Mid-Roll Podcast Ads

For advertisers, this is the prime slot.

This slot is only available in podcasts with a longer duration that has more than 2 ad slots. It’s at this point in the content that listeners are at their most engaged, making it more likely for your podcast ad to make a big impression. The nature and purpose of podcasts also mean that audiences are usually completing other tasks by this time, such as house chores or driving the car. This ad slot is the least likely to be skipped and, therefore, the most lucrative to advertisers.

Post-Roll Podcast Ads

This slot is usually considered the 3rd best option.

However, it really depends on your goal. As this slot is placed near the end of the content, it offers the least amount of listeners, with some of the audience inevitably dropping off as the episode continues. The thing is, this is often a hidden opportunity. Fewer listeners mean a cheaper cost and the audience that is still engaged during the post-roll ads tends to be the die-hard fans of the podcast. It’s particularly important to find a podcast within your niche for this slot, as the listeners who make it to the end are more likely to be influenced by the podcast itself and the businesses aligned with it.

 

The analytic graphs of a podcast advertising campaign

What Are the Benefits of Podcast Ads?

Podcast advertising is successful for a range of businesses. Big brands often look out for the most popular podcasts that align with their brand messaging, but smaller businesses can align themselves with smaller podcasts that have the perfect audience for their niche. The range of podcasts out there allows you to achieve the goals you want from your advertising campaign, and the benefits of podcast advertising include:

Extended Reach

For businesses looking to achieve global success, podcast advertisement is an excellent choice. Podcast platforms can be accessed internationally, and some podcasts have global listeners. While traditional television advertisement is all about location, the nature of digital mediums and their advertising potential allows podcast ads to extend your reach beyond borders. Some podcasts even translate and re-voice their content in new languages, as well as dubbing podcast videos. This further expands the global reach of your brand beyond audiences that speak your language.

Branding

Podcasts blur the line between advertising and influencing. Businesses can boost their brand awareness campaigns by relying on this medium’s audience engagement and listeners’ trust in the content creator. When brand awareness is the goal, pre-roll ads are likely the best choice, as this will get the most ears (or eyes, in the case of video podcasts) on your ad.

Cheaper Production

TV ads require a big budget, but podcast ads are much cheaper to produce. Dropping the visuals for audio advertisements is a great way to reduce spending when promoting your business. Of course, the price of the slot depends on many factors, but the voiceover production of your advert will be very affordable compared to audio-visual mediums.

 

A microphone for recording podcast ads and acoustic treatment

What Types of Podcast Ads Are There?

There are two different methods of voicing your podcast advertisement, and the results of each can dramatically affect the way your brand is perceived by listeners.

Host-Read Podcast Ads

Some businesses will elect to have the host of the podcast read their ad. This can be beneficial as it further blurs the lines between advertising and influencing. Should your podcast host have the skills to deliver a convincing performance, audiences may be more likely to pay close attention to the recommendations of a content creator that they like. However, it all comes down to the performance, and relying on the speaker to sell your business with their voice can be a roll of the dice when they’re not a professional voice actor. This option is also usually only available when directly placing an ad in the content rather than through a dynamic platform, which will be significantly more expensive than CPM (Cost Per Mille) spending metrics.

Pre-Recorded Podcast Ads

The next option is pre-recorded podcast advertising, where you adopt the skills of professional voice talent to sell your business. This option gives advertisers more control of their brand messaging and delivery. From the audience’s perspective, they are then in communication with the brand itself, relating the characteristics of the voice to your business.

Selecting talent then involves choosing how to represent yourself. Should the voice actor sound professional and calm so audiences know your brand is serious and to the point, or conversational and comedic to grab their attention and show that your products are fun?

Pre-recorded podcast ads give you more opportunities to represent your business in the way you choose. This voiceover ad can then be used in more mediums, including the radio, and placed over visuals for YouTube advertising or Twitch advertising.

 

Voice actor recording a podcast ad

How to Record a Podcast Ad

As audio ads are much simpler than audio-visual ads, the production process of podcast advertising is particularly straightforward.

Choose a Podcast

Of course, you can record your podcast ad in any way you choose, but we have placed this as the first step because it benefits the next one.

When choosing a podcast, it’s important to match the niche of the content with your brand or find podcasts that are popular with your target audience, regardless of niche.

Businesses will often first look at podcast platforms, determining whether they want to place their ads on Spotify Podcasts, YouTube Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or somewhere else.

Write the Script

What do you want to say?

You may have new products to advertise, or you simply want to introduce your brand to a new demographic. Relating the content of your ad with the content of the podcast is a great way to increase engagement because you already know that the audience will be interested in the topic. If the podcast discusses marketing, then relate your advert to marketing. If the podcast is comedy-based, then make your script funny!

Cast the Talent

What kind of voice best represents your business?

Casting voice actors is a crucial step in the production process of podcast advertising, as the talent’s vocal characteristics will determine the audience’s impression of your business. Browse the 12 main vocal tones to discover which aligns with your goals, and shortlist your favourite picks. You can even ask for auditions to get a clearer idea of how the voices sound when reading your own material.

Record the Voiceover

Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to record your podcast ad.

Some voice actors will require you to book a studio, but many of our talented voices have their own home studios, which make recording a breeze. When browsing our voice actors, keep your eyes peeled for the blue ‘Voquent Verified’ badges, as we have already tested and approved the audio quality of their home studios, guaranteeing top-tier voiceover.

Or, speak to our team for a quick quote.

 

A small trolley filled with parcels

The Podcast Ad Marketplace

While there are some third-party platforms to purchase ad slots on podcasts, it’s often easier to go directly to the platform or creator. So, which podcast platform should you choose?

YouTube Podcast Ads

55% of YouTube Podcast listeners consume more than 5 hours of content per week.

Undoubtedly, YouTube reigns supreme on the list of podcast advertisers due to videocasts. As the platform gives audiences the option to listen to or watch podcasts, they fulfil the wants of a larger percentage than the other sites. However, YouTube only allows premium subscribers to listen to content on the go.

Choose YouTube if you want to create audio-visual ads. You can place ads on the platform here.

Spotify Podcast Ads

49% of Spotify Podcast listeners consume more than 5 hours of content per week.

For audio advertising, Spotify is our top pick. In 2022, Spotify had 32.2 million podcast listeners, and that’s just in the USA! This number is also expected to grow by 12.5% by 2026. Spotify has exclusivity to some of the biggest podcasts in the world, so if you’re looking for the most popular podcasts with the largest audiences, Spotify is the platform for you.

Click here to place ads on Spotify.

Apple Podcast Ads

38% of Apple Podcast listeners consume more than 5 hours of content per week.

As the OG major podcast platform, Apple podcasts are frequently the first ones to inject new and exciting features.

Apple does not have a platform for placing ads directly on their content. You will need to place these ads through podcast hosting platforms or third-party sites that work with Apple content.

Direct

If you want to place your ads directly in the podcast and ensure they stay there forever, you will have to contact the creator directly. This is often also the best way to record host-read ads, and they may offer you a bulk deal. However, this also often means a lack of analytics and higher fees. You will not see exactly how many listens you are getting, whether someone skipped the ad, etc, unless the creator shares their analytics with you. For this reason, it’s good to offer a discount code to those listening to your ad. You can then use the number of people using the discount code to determine the success of your direct advertising campaign.

Affiliate Schemes

Some businesses choose to let the results speak for themselves in the form of an affiliate scheme. If your brand offers podcasters the opportunity to create their own discount code and market your business independently, you will only be paying for successful conversions.

Of course, this method can take a lot of work to convince podcasters to advertise your business and offers less control over who those podcasters are. Proceed with caution.

 

A piggy bank wearing glasses, looking at a calculator.

How Much Do Podcast Ads Cost?

There are two fees to consider when recording a podcast ad with voice talent: Session fees and Usage fees. After recording, you will also need to pay for the ad slot.

How much does it cost to Record a podcast ad?

Session fees + Usage fees = the cost of recording your podcast ad.

Session Fees

Basic Session fees (BSF) are paid to the voice actor for the time spent creating the ad, and this fee is usually charged by the hour. If recording your podcast ad takes one hour, then you will pay the voice a one-hour session fee.

Voice actors will usually have set hourly rates for session fees, the price of which is dependent on a range of factors, including ability, experience, and availability.

Usage Fees

Calculating usage fees can be far more complicated. Often referred to as buy-out fees or licensing fees, usage fees are the payment for actually using the ad to market your business.

To put it simply, the more ears on the content, the higher the fee. A voice actor will expect a larger usage fee for a podcast ad going out on the world’s most popular podcast than they will for smaller-scale niche content.

Similarly, the brand comes into play too. VAs will expect a higher usage fee from Pepsi than they will from a local restaurant.

Usage fees can be difficult to price up and negotiate with talent, but sourcing voice actors from casting platforms such as Voquent makes this step easy. We reach out to your shortlisted talents and negotiate on your behalf to find a fair deal for everyone and get the ball rolling on your new ad within budget.

But wait, that’s not all!

Buying Podcast Ad Slots

You also need a slot in the podcast to place your ad. Most podcast ads are paid by CPM (Cost per Mille), which is the price of 1,000 ad views. While pre-recorded ads usually fall within $15 to $30 CPM, host-read podcast adverts usually cost between $25 and $40 CPM. Of course, this will vary depending on the size of the podcast’s audience, targeting, and the length of the ad.

This is another reason podcast ads are becoming more popular: they’re scalable! Many businesses will test the waters with limited targeting or smaller ad budgets before extending their campaigns.

 

Conclusion

So, that’s podcast advertising.

From the types of podcast ads and the recording process to the price, this is how to make the most of podcast advertising and target niche or global audiences to the benefit of your business.

In audio advertising, nothing is more important than the voice and how it sells your brand. Different businesses require different voices to achieve the goals of their campaign. Whether it’s professional characteristics for essential services or a comedy prowess for funny ads, discover the range of talent we have at Voquent and use our search filter to find the perfect voice for your campaign.

 

Cast Voice Actors

Dylan de Koning

By Dylan de Koning

Dylan de Koning is a narrative writer, script reader and film buff from Scotland.

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