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The Ultimate Guide to Podcast Media Buying

Learn the ins and outs of media buying in podcasts—plus how to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your podcast ad campaigns.

We’ll cover:

What is Media Buying?

Media buying definition:  Finding and buying ad space relevant to target audiences on traditional and digital channels at the most cost-effective price for the right duration— typically including advertising and promotions.

How does podcast media buying work

The media buying process in podcasting consists of four main steps:

  1. Setting a media buying budget – This is where you determine how much you want to spend on a campaign.
  2. Understanding the demographics and psychographics of the target audience – This is where you gain deeper insight into what your target audience’s interest and how best to connect with them.
  3. Creating a target list of podcasts you want to work with – Once you know who you’re targeting and how much you’re spending, next comes a “wish list campaign.”
  4. Contacting and executing the campaign via communication with the podcast – The outreach step will involve contacting multiple podcast hosts and networks to get rates and inventory.

Now, let’s take a look at where the market’s heading.

Why You Should Buy Podcast Ads and Sponsorships

Podcast advertising is on the upswing. B. Riley Securities, a trusted forecasting authority, anticipates that total ad spend will surpass $6 billion in 2026. They also predict:

💡34% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)
💡70% CAGR in programmatic ad spend over that period
💡Year-over-year DOUBLING of programmatic ad spend to $400 million 2023 and $1 billion in 2026.

The takeaway: There’s a lot of money to be made from podcast advertising. Especially, if media buyers embrace new time-saving approaches that can enhance the quality and speed of their outreach.

Podcast ad ROI

Advertising in digital audio, such as podcasts, gives 60% higher return on investment compared to advertising in other media channels. (Source: Acast).

As an active listening medium, podcasts are more intimate than other ad formats. Plus, unlike podcasts, radio, TV, and streaming content consumption are disrupted by background noises, channel surfing, and other distractions.

Podcast listeners are more intentional about how and when they listen. The 2022 Smart Speaker Audio Report found that 48% of podcast listeners are more likely to consider a brand after hearing an ad compared to ads heard in other places.

Not surprising considering more than one-third of Americans age 12 and over (104 million ) are consuming podcasts regularly. (Source: Edison Research).

The takeaway:

  • Podcast ads are uniquely impactful because of how podcast hosts connect with their audiences.
  • The big media nature of podcasts make them a mass vehicle to connect with consumers at scale.
  • Big brands are investing in podcasts, such as Canva, BetterHelp, Sonos, Manscaped, Audible, Indeed, Blue Apron, SimpliSafe, among others.

The Different Types of Podcast Ads and How They Work

One of the great benefits about podcast ads is that there is a lot of variety around what you can do. Things can get a bit nuanced, so to avoid confusion, let’s breeze through a quick podcast ad glossary and FAQ.

Podcast Ads Glossary

  • Speaker – who is the person reading the ad? This can be the host, producer, or the announcer.
  • Content – What is being said in an ad and how. Ads come in a live read and scripted format.
  • Delivery – An ad can be baked-in or dynamically inserted.
  • Baked-in ads – Are built in a podcast when it’s uploaded to the hosting platform.
  • Dynamically inserted ads – Are built into the unique file, when a listener makes a request for the episode.
  • Length – How long and placement (where in the podcast episode an ad appears).

Podcast Ad Types

Host Read Ads- Read by the host when they’re recording. It can be scripted or inserted organically in a relevant discussion. Most live read ads aren’t fully scripted. Off script ads sound more authentic and can be introduced with less friction and be a permanent part of that show’s episode.

Pre-Produced Podcast Ad – These types of ads are like the radio ads many of us are used to hearing. They’re scripted and inserted into a podcast in post-production. Unlike live read ads, these ads are ephemeral and may lose relevance after the show airs.

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)

Direct – means logging into your hosting platform and scheduling the ad to run against your inventory.
Network/Marketplace – is where the partner selling your inventory has the ability to fly ads directly into your opted-in inventory and the inventory of others like you.
Programmatic – is another ad server responding back with an ad, so another external decisioning solution all together.

Podcast Ad Placement

Pre-roll – Ads that play at the beginning of an episode. Usually, 15-30 seconds long.
Mid-roll – Ads that play in the middle of an episode, often used as a break or segue. Usually, 60-90 seconds long.
Post-roll – Ad that plays at the end of an episode. Usually, 20-30 seconds long.

How Much Do Podcast Ads Cost?

Below, you’ll find the average 2022 CPM rates for standard, host-read pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads. In this instance, CPM, “cost per mile,” refers to the ad cost per 1,000 listens.

Podcast Pre-roll Ad CPM
The average 15-25 second pre-roll ad spot will have a $15 CPM.
It’ll cost approximately $1,500 to purchase a pre-roll ad on a podcast that generates 100,000 listens.

Podcast Mid-roll Ad CPM
The average 30-60 second mid-roll ad spot will have a $30 CPM.
It’ll cost approximately $3,000 to purchase a mid-roll ad on a podcast that generates 100,000 listens.

Podcast Post-roll Ad CPM
The average 15-25 second post-roll (also known as an “end-roll”) ad spot will have a $10 CPM. It’ll cost approximately $1,000 to purchase a post-roll ad on a podcast that generates 100,000 listens.

However, there many things that can impact a podcast’s ad cost, such as:

  • Podcast popularity
  • Ad length
  • Host-read vs. traditional ads vs. additional opportunities
  • Number of purchased ad spots
  • Campaign length
  • Podcaster’s discretion

To learn more, check out: How Much Do Podcast Ads Cost? — 2022 Podcast Advertising Rates

Podcast Ad FAQ

  • Can a live read be dynamically inserted? Yes, if there’s even a breath for an editor to cut into the episode to add in an ad marker, it’s possible.
  • Can you replicate fully baked-in with dynamically inserted? Yes, set the campaign to top priority, unlimited impressions, and no end date.

The Traditional Approach to Podcast Media Buying

Media buying is a lot like buying a home.

Imagine you want to know which house in your neighborhood has a pool. In traditional media buying, the media buyer would have to go knock on every neighbor’s door and ask if they have one in this analogy.

Because there was no one-stop-shop for the information media buyers need to purchase podcast ads. In other words, there wasn’t a centralized repository that could help media buyers get critical data quickly.

What’s more, data such as listenership and reach, popularity, and other demographic and psychographic information would have to be cobbled together by the media buyer before they could even attempt to buy an ad.

Scattered data and too much back and forth

The manual approach is not only time-consuming, but also leads to a lot of dead ends.

Moreover, this piecemeal approach could often mean multiple touchpoints and conversations. Often, this means networks match media buyers with the wrong show, sending the media buyer back to the drawing board.

Just like sites like Zillow and Realtor revolutionized the home buying experience, Podchaser Pro, a 4.5 million podcast database, is revolutionizing media buying in podcasting.

The New Approach to Media Buying in Podcasting

Ditch the “Rolodex” for the search engine.

Instead of manually digging for a show’s information or guessing who their listenership may be, there’s a better way to expedite vetting the shows you’re considering buying podcast ads on.

4.5 Million Podcasts in One Place

Podchaser Pro is the world’s biggest podcast and contacts database. It centralizes the information media buyers need to see if a podcast is a good fit for their campaign and budget.

Rather than guessing a podcast’s reach or emailing a ton of podcasts just to find out their audience isn’t the correct size for your budget, Podchaser Pro gives you access to reach data for every podcast at the click of a button.

1. Everything you need to match shows to your campaign

Find the perfect podcast to reach your audience with rich demographics, including: gender skew, median age, media income, marital status, top interests, top brands, and more.

2. Build Your Campaign with Lists

Podchaser Pro simplifies list creation and export, so you can get the contact information you need and start your outreach efforts faster.

3. Verified Podcast Contacts

Pro lets you contact podcasters and their teams. No more hunting for RSS feed emails, scrolling through social media accounts, or wandering through website contact forms to find your point of contact.

4. Power Score: Measuring a Podcast’s Influence

Beyond contact information, Podchaser Pro has a podcast metric called Power Score.

It rates podcast’s influence across 30+ data points, including reach, subscribers, cross platform presence, and other information.

💡Tip: Think of it like a domain authority score, but for podcasts.

As a result, media buyers don’t have to go to multiple locations to find and vet podcasts to buy ads on.

5. Simplified Campaign Outreach

Once you have the list of podcasts you want to target, you can quickly export contact right from Podchaser to streamline your outreach efforts.

💪 Want more tips? Read 5 Tips for Podcast Advertisers and Brands

How to Measure Success

There’s a debate raging in marketing attribution. On one side, you’ll find marketers claiming you can measure as much as possible; on the other: you can’t track everything, so why bother.

While it is impossible to measure everything, you can track the impact of a podcast through self-reported attribution.

Self-reported Attribution

Using this tactic, you introduce a simple form on your conversion pages that asks users where they heard about your brand.

Adding this field to a form sheds light on how people discover your brand. Ideally, you’d want to make this form a fill-in field rather than a dropdown so that users can provide more detailed responses.

Adding a Unique Offer

Another way to measure the success of your podcast ad campaign is with a special promo code. 

For example, you can have the podcast host or ad share a shopping cart code that the media buyer can trace back to the podcast or the episode.

Why It Works

Beyond conversion-level actions, podcast ads help generate brand awareness and reach people who are solo-listening.

Because listeners are consciously tuning in, they are more receptive to your message and less prone to distractions.

Learn how Podchaser Pro Can Level Up Your Media Buying Strategy 

Interested in finding out more about how to streamline your media buying and planning process? Request a demo of Pro.

Need help with your podcast strategy? Speak with a Podchaser Connect expert to learn more about our full-service podcast booking agency.