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Podcasts – The (not so new) IT Media

Dina Germadnig - Account Director

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a podcast enthusiast. Find me in the morning with my coffee listening to what’s going on around the world. Catch me and my husband at night on the couch watching our favorite comedians break down the week (or each other). Listen to my conversations with friends and I’m talking up the latest and greatest interview, murder mystery or newsworthy story while explaining this new product or service that I’ve GOT to try. And according to a report by Insider Intelligence, I’m not the only one; more than 144 million people listen to podcasts each month! 

I know what you’re thinking, “But Dina, with over three million podcasts out there, how can a brand possibly break through?!” Short answer is … they can, and they should start trying, because it’s 2023 and consumers are on the hunt for the best way to devour the content they want (and need). The two biggest spaces they’re consuming today are video and audio. And guess what — podcasts now have both video and audio components, so it’s inevitably a win-win. For the consumer, this content provides a one-to-one, intimate experience which in turn creates (you got it) a one-to-one intimate experience for the brand. Like me, podcast audiences are loyal to their shows and the hosts they love. So much so that more than 80% of listeners who heard about an ad through a podcast are interested in learning more and 29% of them have bought from a brand that they’ve heard on their favorite podcast (Brand Equity 2022)

Podcasting today, along with its advertising capabilities, takes me back to the days of radio when the hosts we listened to were … everything. Might we say they were even influencers before influencers?! Think about it; live reads were made famous by Howard Stern. His self-read advertisements built brands like Snapple and Heineken. And now, podcasters are doing just that for brands like, Liquid Death, MeUndies, Athletic Greens and so many more!

So, what differentiates podcast advertising capabilities from that of old school radio? A bunch of things. First — many podcasts have a video component which gives your brand double the love (though these mediums do need to be purchased separately). But, with this video component, you’ve got an opportunity for product placement. And best of all — you’re not time restricted, so the value you get if your brand’s ad goes past its :30 or :60 second mark has no bounds. Similarly, because podcasts aren’t strictly regulated, if you find a show that fits your demo, you can have creative conversations and figure out new and innovative ways to insert your brand and your product into the content’s conversation. For example; if your brand’s product is alcohol — link up with one of the mixology DIY podcasts, create a segment together, and do a month’s worth of cocktails sponsored by and featuring your products. Is your brand launching a new recipe in-store or a new pot/pan online? Link up with a foodie podcast — they can taste it, rate it or do a giveaway with it. The possibilities here are as wide as your creativity. 


Think talk radio … but more robust! Though podcasting has been around for more than fifteen years, the medium itself has continued to grow and evolve year over year. Podcasts run the gamut in terms of the content you’re actually listening to (and watching).

You’ve got news and sports shows that spit out daily episodes, catching their listeners up on what’s going on locally, nationally and worldwide. 

Dive right into an interview-style show, similar to a talk show, but longer form with the ability to create a deeper conversation between interviewee and interviewer.

Are you a fan of stand-up comedy or simply like to laugh? Comedy-driven podcasts are shows where your favorite funny people have conversations with you, the listener, vent about their week, catch up with their friends or experts, give advice and so much more.  

You can even catch podcasts that center around your favorite hobbies like cooking, cars, DIY, business advice – the list goes on!

And the biggest genre of them all — True Crime. These podcasts are episodic stories that roll out each week, outlining or breaking down a crime for its listeners. 

It’s no surprise that listenerrship grows year over year — there’s truly something for everyone. 


There are several ways to get a brand placed in a podcast.

Pre-roll and post-roll ads for podcasts are normally pre recorded :15 and :30 second ads mentioning the brand name prior to the content beginning and after the content has ended. This ad can simply state that the episode you’re listening to is brought to you by the brand, voiced by the podcast’s host or it can be a pre-recorded branded audio ad created by the brand itself.

(Keep in mind these ads are skippable by the listener — depending on the platform they’re listening on and/or the subscription type they have.)

Mid-roll ads are just that – :30 and :60 second ads played in the middle of the content. These are typically prerecorded brand advertisements. You can pay more of a premium price to have your ad “read” by the host of the show. Similar to that of a “live read” on radio. With the live read approach, you can almost always guarantee that the host will go over the :60 second mark with your ad. Like I’d mentioned above, the difference is that you’re not earmarked for time on podcasts so you can run a bit longer — which is vastly different from that of traditional video and audio outlets like TV and radio.

(Keep in mind these ads are skippable by the listener — depending on the platform they’re listening on and/or the subscription type they have.)


You can go about this a few different ways — buy in bulk like at Costco! What does that mean? Buy broad (or what the experts call “programmatically”) based on explicit targeting, which gets you quality listeners.

(NOTE: This type of buy will limit your live read capabilities and the only tracking available for programmatic is proof of ad delivery and a percentage of servers are able to share back what percentage of the audience “played” the ad vs skipping it.)

Buy more of a premium and hand-pick shows/hosts by genre and target demo — focusing on live reads only in order to generate clicks and engagement. Some podcasts are even taking their show on the road — which means the ability to put your brand front and center with a live audience. 

Do a hybrid buy where you’re buying both programmatically and hand-picking to help generate awareness and engagement. 

Go premium plus and focus on one show and one show only. Own its ad space exclusively. Depending on the show’s reach this will drive curiosity, awareness and engagement. Remember how MailChimp took over our lives when Serial launched in 2014?! Imagine what it did for MailChimp’s growth!

With premium buys. I always recommend taking that buy one step further. INSIST on meeting with the host (or at the very least settle for the producer). You want to ingrain your brand into the show, you want your reads to be genuine and come across to the listener like the host truly uses or trusts your brand. This can only be done through real-time conversation and sampling. Send the podcast team some freebies, give them a trial subscription, give them the backstory of how you got started. This will take time but will give you the biggest payout in the long run. Sometimes this level of engagement even leads to the hosts talking about your product organically in 5-minute one-off conversations. 

An added bonus to this media is that the listener is used to the short url. Every pod that you listen to is driving its listeners to a specific landing page for trackability — this way you can measure the podcast’s success, especially if your brand is eComm or subscription-based. Yes, like most media, the listener will also simply type in your brand’s name, so make sure that you’re measuring homepage traffic and search increases while testing media mixes to fully understand successes. 

The last thing I’ll say before you stop reading and shout “podcasts” from the rooftops, is that word of mouth is alive and well. Not only do consumers listen to podcasts consistently, they share the information they heard with their friends. They share episodes they’ve listened to and they share their favorite ads for new products and brands they’re intrigued by that day, week or month. And we all know that there’s nothing and no one you trust more than your own network of friends and family. So, unlike traditional radio, where the episode or the ad fades with time — podcasts are shareable forever. Therefore your ad and your brand live on just as long which is the ultimate value add. 

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