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Are you using podcast advertising as part of your marketing mix? If not, you could be leaving a valuable channel out of your strategy. Nearly 55% of US consumers listen to podcasts and — if the first half of 2020 is any indication of the future—that’s only going to increase.

Like any new medium, podcasts have created a fresh opportunity for digital marketers. Smart marketers know that growing and evolving alongside these expanding channels is crucial to reaching consumers where they’re spending their time online. If you’re looking to take advantage of the marketing opportunities within podcast advertising, here’s what you need to know.

Who listens to podcasts?

An estimated 62 million consumers listen to podcasts on a weekly basis, with 52% of listeners listening to 4 or more podcasts per week. With an active and engaged audience, this opens up opportunities for marketers to reach their audiences on a seldomly used channel.

Monthly Podcast Listening by Age Group
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According to a 2019 study from Edison Research, over 51% of the US population has listened to at least one podcast, up from 44% in 2018 and 40% the year before. With 32 million monthly listeners, 36% of men and 29% of women listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. Demographics tend to skew to the younger and middle-aged ranges, with 40% of 18-24 year olds tuning in on a monthly basis, followed by 39% in the 25-54 age range, and 17% in the 55+ demographic. Users are also, generally, well-educated with 30% of listeners having graduate degrees.

Podcast usage is driven by smartphones
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Where do people listen to podcasts?

According to a study conducted by Nielsen, smartphones remain the most popular device for podcast listening. Podcasts are most often consumed at home, followed by in-car listening with 48% and 26% of listeners, respectively, reporting these settings.

Like the device users consume podcasts on, the platform in which they’re streaming the content tilts toward one particular app. Apple Podcasts holds the lion’s share of the market, with Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, and others holding considerable user bases.

Apple Podcasts is the main app for Podcasts
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How are podcast ads bought?

The most common way to purchase podcast inventory is on a CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) basis. Podcast advertising rates vary by publisher, placement type, and audience, but the average CPM for a 30-second slot is $18 while the average for a 60-second slot is $25.

AdvertiseCast’s marketplace lists podcast advertising rates for a good frame of reference.

What types of podcast ad placements are there?

There are two main considerations in regards to the types of podcast ad placements: ad placement within podcasts themselves and the types of advertisements you can place within the content.

Podcast ad placements

  • Pre-roll: Served before the content plays.
  • Mid-roll: Served throughout the content. Mid-roll placements are generally the most sought after placements and garner the highest CPMs.
  • Post-roll: Served at the end of the content.

Podcast ad types

  • Endorsed: Host-read placements with an endorsement or testimonial. These are generally regarded as the most effective form of ad content due to the audience’s affiliation with the host and the host’s ability to riff on the product or service being advertised.
  • Non-Endorsed (Produced): These ad spots do not include host testimonials, but are instead read by the host or a non-host during the program.
  • Baked-In: These placements live within the show’s content forever as a part of the production.
  • Dynamically Inserted: Pre-recorded reads that are integrated into the show’s breaks. These can be thought of in similar terms to TV commercials, where there are spaces in the content for periodic ad breaks. Dynamic placements can be bought programmatically.

How to advertise on podcasts

The most common ways to buy podcast inventory are:

  • Direct buys via podcast publishers
    • Advertisers contact podcast publishers directly to negotiate rates and placements
    • Major direct buy providers:
      • Spotify
      • iHeartMedia
      • Pandora
      • Apple (iTunes)
      • SiriusXM
  • Direct buys via podcast networks and ad exchanges:
    • Many podcast publishers are aggregated via ad networks and exchanges, allowing advertisers to advertise across a number of podcasts with a single buy
    • Major podcast ad networks
      • Midroll
      • Podcast One
      • AdvertiseCast
      • Anchor Sponsorships
      • Westwood One Podcast Network
      • Megaphone
      • Authentic Shows
      • PodGrid
      • Archer Avenue
      • Voxnest
  • Programmatic buys via a DSP
    • Digital audio, including podcast inventory, is available through many DSPs as an available media channel
    • The podcast industry has seen slower growth in the programmatic space than with other channels, such as display. Expect to see growth in the programmatic sector over the next few years.

As podcast listening continues to grow at an explosive rate, expect to see more advertisers entering the space to take advantage of this unique medium. With highly-engaged users tuning in week after week, podcasts offer an opportunity to reach a wider audience in a new way, leading to a diversified marketing mix that can only help your business grow.

Want to learn more about how Vert can help plan your next campaign? Check out our paid media and digital advertising services to see if we’re a good fit!

Wes Ogden

Wes Ogden

An Indiana native, Wes came to Atlanta via sunny south Florida. With experience in video marketing, music marketing, and general digital industries, Wes now works to create and analyze performance media campaigns for clients across a wide range of industries.