Podcasting is a labor of love. You put a lot of work into creating content you are passionate about and great sounding audio.
But that labor isn’t free. 😩
Sometimes it’s nice to recoup some of the money you have spent on the cost of podcasting. Sometimes it’s nice to have your podcast also act as a revenue stream for you.
That’s why we’ve put together this quick-read blog post. We’re going to cover everything podcasters need to know about podcast advertising. 💪
Keep in mind we are only going to highlight the basics, but you can find in-depth info about everything we talk about in our other deep-dive blog posts.
The Fundamental Concept
The foundation of podcast advertising is simple. Businesses want to reach potential customers and convince them to buy their product or trust their brand. As a podcaster, you provide access to those potential customers, your loyal listeners.
Advertising is all about the audience. Never lose sight of that. 👀
Growing your audience is not separate from selling ads. Creating loyal listeners is not separate from cultivating target demographics for advertisers. People are the heart of the podcast advertising. 💜
Sometimes the best way to start learning about something new is to read through key terms. So, without further ado, here are some terms that will help you understand the podcast ad industry world.
CPM stands for Cost Per Mille. As you Latin scholars out there may know, ‘mille’ means one thousand. So CPM means cost per thousand.
CPM is a common term across different kinds of media marketing– sometimes it refers to post views, sometimes it refers to link clicks, etc. But in the podcast advertising industry, it stands for downloads.
CPM means cost per thousand downloads.
The general rule of thumb is that the average podcast CPM is somewhere around $15 – $30. That means for every 1,000 downloads, the advertiser will pay you $15-$30. However, the CPM rate usually differs based on where the ad is placed in the episode. Some ad spaces are higher than others.
This leads us to the next key term(s)…
Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, Post-Roll
There are different slots in which to advertise in an episode.
There is space before the episode kicks off, a break in the middle of the episode, and space at the end of an episode. Hence: Pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. Usually mid-roll ads are the most expensive, then pre-roll ads, then post-roll.
Mid-rolls spots are considered to be best because advertisers find that listeners to podcasts pay more attention to audio ads in the middle of an episode. Brands are more confident that their promotion in this slot will actually reach the target audience. 🎯 Listeners often have their hands full doing something while they listen to the podcast so they aren’t likely to skip ahead.
Pre-roll space is of medium value because even though audio listeners are more likely to click ‘skip ahead’ when they have just clicked ‘play,’ more people do listen to the beginning of a downloaded podcast episode than the end of one.
That is also why post-roll ads are considered the least valuable– there is natural audio listener loss over the span of a downloaded episode.
An ad campaign is time-limited ad effort with specific branding and goals.
For example, an aquarium may have an ad campaign featuring their sharks for a month, focused on getting little kids excited to come in and see them. Then, for another month, it may have an ad campaign featuring their work on rehabilitating injured animals, convincing a young adult demographic to visit the aquarium as well as to donate to the program.
Maybe your podcast wouldn’t be a good fit for the aquarium’s campaign that targets shark-loving kids, but it would be a good fit for the campaign that targets young adults. That’s why it is important to break down advertising by campaigns– your podcast might not be the best fit for all of a business’s advertising, but it might be an excellent fit for a few of the campaigns! 💪
As a podcast host, you’re a big deal! Your listeners love and trust you. 🥰
That’s why brands want you to read their ads to your audience. You may read them as part of recording your episode or separately, depending on what the agreement is. Typically the promotion is more effective if you, the host, has tried the product or brand and can vouch for it.
A sponsored segment is when a special, repeating part of a show is sponsored by a business or organization. Usually the segment is somehow related to the product or brand they want to promote. 🔥
For example, let’s say you host a podcast about local art in your region. You could have a segment called “Fresh and Ready” that focuses on a new talent in the area, and it could be sponsored by a pizza restaurant. There may only be a line or two of promotional material for the company, but listeners appreciate and remember them for supporting that segment of the show.
A radio ad is an ad that can be plugged in just about anywhere. It isn’t read by a host. It isn’t related to the content of the show in any direct way. It is probably what you think of as a typical ad– like a TV commercial that plays during different shows. 🎙️
Ok, now that we’ve got a good start on some of the basic terms, let’s look at the critical tools in podcast advertising. 💰
Dynamic Ad Insertion
This is probably the most important podcast advertising tool created to date. In the old days of podcasts (like a few years ago), ads had to be in the same media file of the podcast. They were baked-in. There was no way to go back and insert ads in an old episode. This wasn’t great because as podcasts gained new fans and those fans downloaded old episodes, there was no way to advertise to them in the old episodes.
Now with dynamic ad insertion tools, ads can be inserted into old episodes. Ad campaigns could also be set to run for a set amount of time, and then be automatically replaced by different ads. The dynamic insertion tool has given podcasters the ability to leverage their old episodes and maximize future ones.
With Ausha, you can set Dynamic Ad from your Ausha Manager. Create and manage your own advertising campaigns in our tool and easily analyze your results. Collect 100% of the revenue you generate. 🚀
Audio to Video Transformation
Countless internet platforms rank video content over text-only or audio-only content. If you want people to find your podcast, if you really want any reach at all, you MUST have video content. This is especially true as YouTube (part of Google) plans to become a top site for podcasts.
But what if you don’t have the resources to produce video for each show? And what about all those great past audio episodes? Never fear, audio to video tools are here! 🎬
These tools will transform your audio episode into a video episode, often by using waveform visuals along with the show’s cover art. That means no extra time or work on your part!
With Ausha, you can automatically transform your audio to video and get your podcast discovered on the 2nd biggest world search engine. 🔥
Advertisers want to ensure that your show has the target audience they are looking for, and they want to ensure that those people actually heard the ad. The most effective way, perhaps the ONLY effective way, to provide this assurance to advertisers is through data analysis. 📈
You need to make sure your podcast hosting platform gathers good data about the people who listen to your podcast. 🎧 The best hosting platforms will integrate data from all kinds of distribution sites, social media, and YouTube. Ideally your tool will be able display that information in a logical, attractive format that you can show advertisers.
Since your audience is your advertising value, it is important to never stop growing your own audience. That means you should never stop promoting your own podcast. 📣
There are a lot of helpful promotion tools out there today that past podcasters could only dream of: Integrated social media, email, website tools that build on each other to help people find and then fall in love with your show.
The costs of promoting your show are simply investments in your advertising revenue stream! Promote, promote, promote! 💪
“Mmm it’s always better when we’re together…” is that a Jack Johnson lyric or the underlying concept of podcast networks? It’s both! 🎵
Podcast networks are groups of podcasts that come together to do more than what they could do as individual podcasts.
Some are pretty lowkey and simple. They focus on mutual promotion, learning from each other, and low level cost-sharing.
Some are more intense. Those tend to be where the big ad-buying business deals get done. Large brands want to be able to go to one spot and buy marketing space over different shows, ensuring they reach as many people in their target demographic as possible. This is the key service that a modern podcast network provides. 😁
Remember the Dynamic Ad Insertion tool? A podcast network can use that tool to place ads in different podcasts.
These groups tend to have requirements like a certain number of downloads per month, cover a certain type of content, etc. In return, the podcaster gets a piece of the large revenue pie.
How to Get an Advertising Deal for Your Podcast
We can hear you now: “Ok, all of this is nice information, but how do I actually get money in my pocket.” You are 100% right. Advertisers aren’t going to magically show up to your doorstep. You have to go out and make the marketing deal happen.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Research
This is the most important step. What is a better overall fit for your podcast right now: Joining a podcast network or going solo? 🤔
If it is joining a network, which network? What are their requirements? What are their benefits? What kind of other shows are already in the group?
If you think that it is better for you not to join a network, what businesses’ have a target demographic that matches your listening audience? Who at the company should you contact? Where are they currently advertising their brand and how does your podcast stack up to those spots?
Step 2: Make Your Case
You’ve done your research. You’ve made a list of the top businesses you want to contact. Or, if you have decided to go the network route, you’ve made a list of the top networks you want to contact. Now you just have to do it. But how?
Email is probably your best bet. 💌 Keep it short, but thorough. Show the numbers about your audience and how it overlaps perfectly with who they are probably targeting for ads. Show them that you know your stuff, but don’t throw around too much jargon.
Close the email with an offer to speak over the phone in order to get to know each other better and discuss how your podcast ad space can help them achieve their goals.
Step 3: Contract
Let’s say that after some back and forth, the network or the business say yes. Yayyyy! 🥳 Definitely time to do a happy dance. But don’t celebrate too much, too soon. Now it is time to put together the contract details.
Most networks and businesses have their own template contracts that they want to use. That’s perfectly fine. Just make sure you read any contract thoroughly. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. Check out all the details: What is expected of you? When? How?
Once both sides feel good about the contract, it is time to sign and celebrate! 👏👏👏
Final Tip: Keep Promoting Your Own Podcast
Sometimes when podcasters start to sell advertising, they get so wrapped up in it that they forget to promote their own show. Remember, the service you provide to brands is access to your audience– you always want to be taking action to attract and retain your audience!
Don’t forget your own brand! Don’t forget to advertise your own show! Keep sharing your work far and wide!
If you can keep growing your own show while also securing advertising dollars, your podcasting future will be very bright!
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