How Do Podcast Ads Work?

Though radio advertising is still going strong in 2024, podcast listeners are projected to reach 504.9 million this year. With such significant audience numbers, businesses might want to consider podcasts as a platform for their audio advertising if they haven’t already. Here is everything you need to know about adding podcasts to your marketing strategy.

Types of Podcast Ads

With three main advertising formats, brands of all sizes and industries have the opportunity to connect with engaged audiences. Organizations interested in advertising on podcasts should consider the following ad types.

Host-Read Ads

Host-read ads, also known as host-read sponsorships or sponsor reads, are presented by podcast hosts themselves. These reads frequently embody the energy of the podcast, creating a seamless experience for the listeners and captivating their attention. Though brands usually provide the messaging, podcast hosts can put their own spin on it, while still preserving the essence of the ad. Such sponsorships are usually 60 seconds long and tend to cost more than the other types of podcast advertising.

Pre-Recorded Ads

Pre-recorded ads, also known as announcer-read ads or pre-produced ads, are a classic type of audio advertising. Advertisers supply the commercial messages read by voice-over artists, not podcast hosts. These ads play during commercial breaks in the podcast and range between 15 and 30 seconds in length.

Branded Content

The least popular of the three types, branded content ads integrate promotional messaging as a branded segment or episode within the editorial content of podcasts. This ad format is popular on social media and can be used effectively in podcasts that get recorded and uploaded to video platforms such as YouTube or Instagram Reels.

Benefits of Podcast Advertising

Over the last few years, podcast ads have proved to be effective. Research shows that 60% of listeners pay close attention to the messaging of podcast ads, with 80% of listeners reporting that podcast ad reads didn’t negatively affect their experience. Here are additional benefits of podcast advertising and the reasons why you should consider adding this channel to your marketing mix.

1. Direct Audience Targeting

With an array of niche podcasts, you can place your messaging within one that aligns with your brand’s industry. That way, you can guarantee that listeners would already be interested in the products or services you’re providing, increasing the chances of them taking action.

2. Unique Ad Format

When podcast hosts read the ads, listeners tend to pay more attention. Their trust increases because it’s human nature to respond to authentic conversations, even if they’re guided by a specific messaging. The hosts’ casual banter and relatable anecdotes make the audiences feel more receptive to promotional messaging compared to a more traditional voice-over ad (which can also be effective!). According to the IAB study, host-read ads bring in 55% of generated ad revenue.

3. Buildable Reach

When you buy an ad spot on a podcast, it’s usually a one-time charge per episode. However, the ads are permanently embedded into the episode, meaning that your messaging will be heard by any listeners who discover the podcast or want to return to it in the future.

Is Podcast Advertising Worth It?

Yes. With podcast advertising getting people’s attention and motivating listeners to take action, adding this medium to your advertising budget doesn’t have to mean dropping other channels. If you can balance audio ads with a mix of static or video formats, you can build a comprehensive advertising strategy that reaches your target audience through multiple touchpoints.

Need assistance with finding the right podcast, booking your ad, or tracking your results? 5 Horizons can work with you to make sure your messaging appears in the right place and airs in the most optimized format. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your audio ad needs.