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How much does podcast advertising cost?

Advertising to a podcast audience offers brands a unique advantage over other many other media channels. 

Podcast listeners tend to be highly educated, tech-savvy, loyal, and highly engaged. Many audio-centric audiences also enjoy a relatively high net worth compared to typical radio listeners. Furthermore, when podcasters develop strong relationships with their audience, their advertisements tend to convert more easily into leads and sales.

Therefore, what you’ll pay for podcast advertising really depends on who you’re trying to reach. Custom “host reads” on well-known shows might look like more expensive campaigns, but the “cost per thousand” for a large audience might end up being about the same as a smaller, more targeted audience. “Remnant ads” spliced across networks of smaller shows might be much less expensive, but may not pack as much punch as campaigns that emerging podcast hosts can help develop over time.

A “live read” may raise the price of your podcast advertising campaign, especially on very popular shows. That’s because today’s best podcast hosts, like expert talk radio hosts before them, excel at bringing a conversational tone to sponsor announcements. In many cases, audiences may perceive them as endorsements, especially as many podcast hosts avoid pitching products and services they wouldn’t use themselves.

Programmatic advertising platforms have opened up more opportunities to serve ads to audiences of small and medium-sized shows. However, these campaigns will require an upfront investment in ad production, especially for script writing and professional voiceover recordings.

Your purchased time slots may be placed at different points during each show. You may hear ad agency representatives refer to three types of time slot placements:

  • Pre-roll: usually 15 to 30 seconds at the beginning of the podcast
  • Mid-roll: usually 30 to 90 seconds in the middle of the podcast
  • Post-roll: usually 15 to 30 seconds at the end of the podcast

The mid-roll podcast ad placement is usually the most valuable because the ad plays when the listener is most engaged with the audio content. The second most valuable is the pre-roll, with the post-roll taking last place because there is a high likelihood that the listener will simply stop listening after the show has finished and skip the last ad.

A show’s popularity is the largest factor determining how much an advertiser will have to pay for an ad. Popularity can be measured by the number of subscribers a show has or number of downloads an episode receives.

Pricing for podcast advertisements are typically based on a CPM (cost per thousand) model. The ‘M’ stands for the Latin mille, meaning one thousand. Podcast audience size is determined by how many downloads each episode receives on average over a 30 day period. The current industry average rates in 2019, according to AdvertiseCast, for podcast advertising are: 

  • $15 for a 10-second ad CPM. 
  • $18 for a 30-second ad CPM. 
  • $25 for a 60-second ad CPM.

Direct response advertisers often pay based on conversion performance instead of reach. They will use a CPC (cost per click) or CPA (cost per acquisition) pricing model where they are only paying for clicks to their website or if a lead becomes a customer through purchase. These pricing models focus on conversions rather than reach (CPM model).

How do you find the right podcasts to advertise on? You can do a little homework and browse podcasts that fall in your niche and directly contact the host or manager, which is very time consuming. 

Or you can partner with networks or podcast agencies that connect advertisers with podcast hosts. Some of the major players include:

  • Podbean: a marketplace that connects advertisers and podcast hosts. 
  • Midroll: a podcast advertising network, connecting companies and brands with some of the most beloved and respected names in podcasting.
  • Art19 is a relatively new podcast advertising platform that places freedom of expression front and center.
  • Megaphone is a podcasting platform owned by the Panoply network. It specializes in targeted advertising and access to industry-leading data, powered by Nielsen’s Data Management Platform.
  • Podcorn to find and secure sponsors for your unique show. You’re in full control of your rates, creative formats, and scheduling.

Keep in mind that your choice of advertising platform reflects directly on your brand, and on your values. There’s a lot of controversy among podcast producers and audiences who feel strongly about minimizing data tracking and maximizing privacy among listeners. If you feel the same, you may prefer to negotiate directly with a show’s producer for an organic, host-read campaign instead of working through a programatic ad platform.

Podcast audiences are highly coveted for advertisers. If you’re ready to start advertising on your podcast, but aren’t sure where to begin, feel free to connect with us for a complimentary discovery session call with our team, and we’ll be happy to walk you through how we help our clients clarify and achieve their advertising goals with professionally-produced podcasts and audio productions. 

We’re helping authors, entrepreneurs, and business professionals bring their authentic voices to eager audiences.

We make room on our production roster for just a few new shows every month. If you’re ready to focus fully on your content and let us handle the fine art of audio engineering and editing, follow the button below to get started.

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