podcast marketing
Content Marketing
Sep 05, 2019
Natalia Bergareche
Head of Corporate Marketing
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The Rise of Podcasts and Podcast Marketing

Home > Content Marketing > The Rise of Podcasts and Podcast Marketing
When we talk about the forms of communication or technological innovation to sweep society in the 21st Century, we think of Artificial Intelligence, self-driving cars, or at the bare minimum, virtual reality. But what if all we needed as humans was the company of other voices? That’s what podcasts provide.

As New York magazine noted in its article on the rise of podcasts, they said that “...these humble chunks of audio have emerged as the most significant and exciting cultural innovation of the new century.” There are an estimated 660,000 podcasts in production today, equating to around 28 million individual podcast episodes you can listen to right now. With a world of possibilities and a podcast for any subgenre you can think of, from the most popular podcast of all time Serial to a podcast of two comedians discussing recaps of the US Real Housewives franchises, marketing on podcasts can be an exciting option for reaching your target audience where they are. 

First things first, what’s a podcast anyway?

As a hybrid between the words iPod (remember those?) and broadcast journalist Ben Hammersley first used in The Guardian in 2004, these pieces of audio emerged into the zeitgeist amid the digital music revolution. While the date of birth for the podcast is disputed, the claim is that it appeared in 2004 when Adam Curry, a VJ for MTV at the time and software developer David Winer distributed their Daily Source Code and Morning Coffee Notes shows using an RSS feed. The Oxford New American Dictionary declared podcast as the 2005 Word of the Year, and as the format has continued to grow in popularity and diversity, Spotify acquired Gimlet Media, a company that produces podcasts, for a reported $230 million.  

digital marketing podcasts

How can podcasts work as a marketing tool?

Have you considered advertising your product or service on a podcast? That’s what we’re going to cover here by giving you an introduction to advertising on podcasts. The podcast advertising landscape is growing significantly, making it an exciting option for expanding your marketing mix.

What are the benefits of advertising on a podcast?

The latest edition of the IAB Podcast Ad Revenue Study, in conjunction with Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), found that podcast advertising revenues in the United States are projected to exceed $1 billion in 2021. The projected figure for the total US podcast advertising market in 2019 is $678.7 million. Over the past few years of the study, both the overall market figures and the self-reported numbers (the study relies on self-reported numbers from podcast makers) have increased considerably.

As the market continues to grow, there are several benefits we can note. One of the most critical parts of any marketing strategy is to target your audience correctly, and that’s one of the strengths we can get from a podcast. Ahrefs’s Rebekah Bek noted that since there’s a podcast to meet nearly every niche like the ones we highlighted before, as well as the extremely-popular true crime shows, you’ll be able to reach any audience you want.   

Besides the hyper-targeting stemming from the niches we get based on the podcast topics, another advantage podcasts have over other pieces of content is their audiences are engaged and loyal. The fact that people go back to hear hosts over and over again for more episodes is a testament to their success as a content marketing format.

What are some things to keep in mind if you want to foray into podcast advertising?

The Ahrefs journey into podcast advertising offers excellent insights, as well as some crucial do’s and don’ts for advertising. Their lessons in the world of podcast sponsorship will help you get more acclimated and get ready to do the work. I highly suggest you take the time to read through the entire article, but here’s what you’ll need to take into consideration.

Podcast advertising works best at the top of the funnel

One of the most important lessons came from the first of Ahrefs’s podcast advertising campaigns. It saw them spend over $14,000, thinking they would be running a lead generation campaign. It turns out that podcast advertising works best for gaining brand awareness and exposure.

There are three general classes of ads

We can break down podcast advertising into three types: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. A pre-roll ad is an ad at the start of a podcast episode that lasts roughly between 15 and 30 seconds. A mid-roll ad is an ad in the middle of the show that lasts about a minute and tends to be the most expensive ad type. A post-roll ad is a 15-30 second ad at the end of the show. The pre-roll tends to be the second-most-expensive ad type, with post-roll advertisements managing to be the least expensive.

If you want to advertise, most advertisers do the following

Podcast advertisers typically have a landing page and a promotional offer for the podcasts they sponsor. In the Real Housewives recap podcast that we mentioned earlier, there was an episode where jewelry brand Kendra Scott sponsored for advertising. Kendra Scott had the hosts read the copy, and they prepared a promo code for listeners to use on their website.

As for metrics, downloads per show and impressions are the preferred KPIs of choice. The IAB study also confirms that impressions are the preferred pricing method, with 85.7% of participants self-reporting that this was their preferred method. The second-most-popular pricing method was a flat-fee.

Not all podcasts are created equal

The other significant lesson to come out of the Ahrefs article is that not all podcast sponsorships are created equal. Not all of them have their pricing information readily available, and that means it could make it difficult. Ahrefs recommends you find podcasts whose audience and content tone align with your brand. They also reflected that working with more prominent podcasts felt like an “audio version of GoogleAds” if you will. In contrast, working with smaller podcasts was similar to an influencer marketing sponsorship agreement. Finding the right podcasts that fit your brand is going to be crucial, and then contacting them to determine whether there is a possibility you can advertise and inquire about pricing is vital.

Once you find the right podcast, do the following

You’ll next have to decide what type of ad you want, the time slot during the podcast you want it placed, and the price point. Since the price will depend on the ad placement, that decision will be fundamental. After that, it’s time to work on your copies and anything else you’ll need to send along to the podcast to go along with your campaign.

The most important thing to know is that marketing to podcasts requires a lot of work, but it will pay off. Ready to get started?

 

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