Podcasting ad revenue rose by 19% over the last year and is set to exceed $2B by 2023. Reports also show that bigger brands are spending more heavily on podcast advertising, truly affirming the power of the audio format as a way to attract potential consumers' attention and engagement.
Reports consistently show that 80% of podcast listeners can recall a brand advertised in a podcast and 62% of listeners are more likely to buy from brands that advertised via podcasts. It is also important to point out that 78% of listeners don’t mind podcast advertising, so you can feel confident using podcasts to reach new audiences without annoying potential customers.
Podcast listeners spend hours upon hours listening to their favorite podcasters across multiple episodes and seasons. Over time, a sense of trust is built between the listener and the podcaster - they trust in the information shared, which includes the products/services they choose to promote. So, when the podcaster chooses to share a brand that sponsored the episode, the listeners will most likely trust the recommendation (if done correctly).
Whether you are into Dungeons and Dragons or enjoy getting a recap of the latest news, you are bound to find a podcast that hits your interests. This also holds true for brands looking to advertise on podcasts - there is likely a podcast topic and audience that caters to your brand, product, or service.
It might seem pretty obvious but when individuals tune into a podcast, they are truly ready to listen. In other words, if a brand sponsorship is integrated seamlessly, there is an extremely high chance that listeners will be listening actively, and engaged in the information about the brand.
With correct tracking - promo codes and UTM’s - brands can easily track the success of their podcast campaigns. It’s easy to see what is working and tweak or scale your podcast sponsorship accordingly.
At ThoughtLeaders, we’ve run hundreds of podcast advertisements for our clients, with some well-known podcasters. That means that we’ve picked up a few tips over the years for how to put together a podcast brand partnership that works:
The most obvious way to find podcasts that align with your brand’s target audience is by doing a quick Google search. For example, if you are a women’s daily vitamin brand, you may search for female-hosted podcasts that maybe focus on ‘healthy lifestyle’. You could jot down the podcasts that seem the most relevant to your brand.
Another way to find potential podcast partnerships is by checking out where your competitors are sponsoring. This tactic may lead you to consider niches you didn’t initially think about, opening up the doors to even more channels.
Using the ThoughtLeaders platform, you can specify keywords and content categories in order to put together a list of potential podcasts. You can also check out brands and the channels they have sponsored in the past in order to give you an even better idea of where you should be focusing your marketing efforts. Similarly, if you see a brand like yours that had one splashy partnership with a podcast, and then never appeared there again, you’ll know that might be a channel you want to stay clear from.
Once you’ve decided which channels you are interested in using to promote your brand, you can start listing the ideal podcasts in our podcast advertising planner to start collecting more information about the ad rates.
It’s important to align expectations and make sure you are using your budget on integrations that will deliver results. The best way to do this is by calculating expected results according to rates you can offer to the podcasters. The key criteria you should pay attention to is your desired CPM (cost per mille) and your ideal CPL (cost per lead) for your campaign budget. It is also a good idea to consider your landing page conversion rates, to make sure your campaign goals are realistic. (See below for some tips for optimizing your landing page for best results.)
Once you’ve set out these budget parameters, it’s easier to keep track of which partnerships will help you achieve your KPIs. You can use our podcast advertising planner to keep track of these budget requirements and make sure you don’t get distracted by over-the-top podcasts that won’t deliver the results you are looking for. Keep in mind, there are a variety of factors that will affect the rate of a podcast including the downloads per episode, number of episodes, ad placement, ad length, and maybe even the date you are expecting the video to go live - if you are a brand looking to sponsor a sports-focused podcast around the Super Bowl, this may affect the partnership price.
After listing your ideal channels and deciding on your campaign goals, the negotiation process begins. Negotiating is a tricky business, so it's important to have all the information - both your KPIs and what they can offer - downloads per episode, number of episodes, expected impressions, and of course, the price. Download our podcast advertising planner to arrange all of this data and work out which of the options will make the most sense for your campaign.
Once you have the podcast’s offering sorted, you have a clearer understanding of the expected results that are possible to achieve - the expected CPM for each partnership. Our podcast advertising planner will calculate all of this for you so you can easily see which podcasts are most likely to hit your campaign goals.
If there’s a podcast you think would align perfectly with your product/service, but the numbers aren’t quite lining up for you, feel free to negotiate. When it comes to podcasters, there’s a little bit of wiggle room - there’s an option to offer different types of advertisements such as host-read and dynamic insertion, as well as the option to place an ad on back catalog podcast episodes.
Podcast sponsorships work best when they seamlessly integrate into the podcaster's content - the product/service is relevant to viewers, it is explained in a way that resonates with the intended audience, and KPIs are met.
Here’s a breakdown of the different podcast sponsorship placements:
Host-read ads: This is when the host reads the sponsorship message while recording the podcast. This type works best when the ad isn’t time-sensitive, such as the coupon codes. According to studies, host-read ads produce an average of 50% increase in purchase and recommendation intent among listeners when compared to non-host-read ads.
Dynamic ad insertion: These are pre-recorded ads that allow for flexibility and easy updating. In many cases, the host does not read the ad. However, these ads are less effective as an unfamiliar voice is heard.
Pre-roll: This is when the ad plays at the very beginning of the podcast episode. Many advertisers prefer this ad placement as they believe that it will most likely be heard by listeners. Although these ads are easier to skip and tend to have a lower CPM rate.
Mid-roll: This is when the ad plays in the middle of the podcast episode. This ad placement tends to have a higher CPM rate because listeners who reach these ads are usually more engaged, increasing the chances of following a CTA.
Post-roll: This is when an ad is placed at the end of the episode. These are usually cheaper than mid or pre-roll, but usually deliver lower conversion rates. Let’s be honest, most people do not reach to the very end of the podcast episode, and may click away as they know the episode is coming to an end. However, the listeners that do reach the ad are most likely the most dedicated fans.
When someone tunes into a specific podcast, they didn’t choose that specific video because of the sponsored product/service. They want to listen to their favorite podcaster and hear what they have to say. As a marketer, in order to make sure your brand and product are digested properly by listeners, you have to ensure that it aligns with the creator's values and content.
There’s a reason why hundreds of thousands of people tune into this specific creator. Don’t try to fight it. Instead, ride the wave. It’s important to send the podcaster specific text you want them to say about the product/service, keeping in mind that they will adjust accordingly to accommodate their tone and style (you should trust that they know what their audience likes and what will ensure the highest engagement).
The key aspect of sponsorship advertising is the human touch. Instead of a brand promoting their products to a general audience, podcasters have the ability to advertise a product/service in a more creative, engaging way - touching on aspects that they already know their audience enjoys.
For example, HelloFresh sponsored an episode of Chatty Broads with Bekah and Jess, and they perfectly exhibited a podcaster adding a personal touch while still sticking to the script - “I want restaurant-quality meals but I want to enjoy them from the comfort of my own home. I want to try new cuisines and fun recipes but I don't want to spend a fortune on ingredients I may never cook with again. You get the idea. That's why this year I am leaning heavily on HelloFresh to help keep things interesting and easy in the kitchen.”
So what makes a successful podcast sponsorship? Well, there is no cookie-cutter answer because each brand partnership is different. It’s important to determine your own goals for your campaign - what does success look like and how will it be measured?
There are so many metrics you can choose to measure the success of your campaign, but the key is to pinpoint the ultimate goal. For example, if the goal is to increase sales, you may want to offer the podcaster a promo code that can also help you track sales (and see if this specific podcaster helped lead the brand to success). If you are more interested in general brand awareness, then tracking individual conversions will be less crucial.
Rosie Acosta is a meditation teacher that focuses on the healing journey to self-love, mindfulness, spirituality, and overall healthy living. So, when it comes to her podcast partnerships, Rosie Acosta focuses on brands that highlight healthy living, including Care/Of, BetterHealth, Daily Harvest, and Thrive Market.
In early 2022, Care/Of, daily vitamin packs that are made from clean ingredients, sponsored one of Radically Loved’s episodes. The podcaster focuses on a few key aspects that align well with her regular content - clean ingredients, vitamins that would support her health goals, and staying on track with new year resolutions. Rosie Acosta also added a personal touch, “I struggled for many years even when I was doing nutrition school and when I was becoming a health coach trying to find the right combination of supplements that were going to support my ultimate health goals. Not only did Care/Of make it super easy for me to get the right vitamins….”.
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You can also check out a few more podcast brand partnership examples here.
Remember, you can customize and optimize your landing page for each podcast placement, to deliver the best results and help personalize the message for your site visitors. For example, when Helix Sleep partnered with the Another Below Deck Podcast, they personalized the landing page for listeners of that podcast, welcoming visitors with custom messaging like - “Welcome Another Below Deck Podcast listeners”. This helps your visitors to feel like they are in the right place and creates a more seamless conversion experience from podcast to your website.
Podcast sponsorship can be highly effective in helping you to reach engaged audiences. Download our podcast advertising planner to get started and keep your campaign on track with your KPIs. If you need any help deciding which podcasts will be the best fit for your current messaging, get in touch and our team can help you look at the data and design a successful podcast sponsorship for your brand.