Why Podcast Ads Sound Good to Test in 2020

By Karen Huntoon

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Lead Digital Strategist

Considering the size and listening frequency of consumers, Podcast Ads as a medium is becoming too opportune to ignore. With major players like Spotify entering the Podcast distribution market, having your brand side-by-side with the endless amount of content out there has never been easier.

Now hear this: Half the US population are Podcast listeners, and the adoption of this medium is only increasing.

According to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2019 survey, 90 million Americans listen on a monthly basis and 62 million listen on a weekly basis. Of those weekly listeners, on average they consume seven Podcasts a week.

Age Breakdown of Podcast Listeners

Podcasts consumers do skew younger. From 2018 to 2019, the largest growth has come from Americans ages 12-24, with the largest group consisting of 25-54 year olds.

Monthly Podcast Demos

Of course, listener demographics can change wildly depending on the subject matter and the specific show you are looking to advertise on.

When, Why, and How Do People Listen to Podcasts?

When analyzing a potential new advertising channel, we always look at consumer behavior first. Podcasts cater to the individual. People listen not just for information, but also for a meaningful connection to topics and ideas they care about in the tone of voice that’s most relevant to them.

With technology like AirPods, connected cars, and smart speakers gaining popularity, it is much easier for consumers to listen to audio content on their way to work or school. In fact, 2019 saw Podcasting overtake SiriusXM a preferred source of audio in one’s car.

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Streaming services are playing a role in the growth of podcasting with 43% of monthly podcast listeners saying they have listened to a podcast on Spotify, and 35% on Pandora.

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Types of Podcast Ads

Ultimately, the type of ad that you choose must make sense for your brand, demographic, and goals. You must consider factors like the production level you want to associate with your brand and what action you’re trying to convince users to take.

Sponsored Content

There are two flavors of sponsored content, sponsoring an episode of a show or putting together a “live read,” where the host(s) discusses your brand loosely based on a script you put together.

The latter is usually more impactful. Listeners generally trust the podcast hosts, so with good collaboration and talking points about your product or service, that enthusiasm will be conveyed in an organic way. A live read ad why your product is beneficial may help break down barriers to purchase, like ease of use or price point.

Make sure that the action of the sponsorship or live read is simple. Typically, brands extend a special offer for podcast listeners who use a unique code specific to the Podcast.


If your company wants strict control of how their product or brand is discussed, this is the best option. Ads can be inserted pre-, mid-, or post-podcast, depending on what ad placements the specific show offers. In most cases, pre-produced ads are 30-60 seconds.

Dynamically Inserted Ads

With the investments into Podcasting by Spotify and other major distribution networks, scalable and highly targeted ads are now a possibility. After you pre-produce an ad and upload the audio to the distribution network of your choice, select your desired audience, ad position, and launch a campaign.

Podcasts CPMs tend to range from $15-$25.

Pushing Listeners Down the Sales Funnel

Podcasting seems very top funnel; what are the next steps for closing the deal? Many podcast ad buys now offer retargeting. Reach audiences and target listeners who downloaded a podcast on other digital platforms and serve them ads with stronger promotions to incentivize the action you want.

How to Test Targeting Podcast Behaviors on Facebook

If unsure about diving into Podcast advertising, test the waters in Facebook first. Start by onboarding your housefile, and then further drill-down based on their interest in popular podcasts. Run this small, sample campaign to see how that group responds. If the results are positive, perhaps advertising on Podcasts or Podcast distribution platforms may be a sound test.

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Published on Jan. 27, 2020, Last Updated on Jul. 20, 2022