News & Insights

The beginner’s guide to podcast advertising

Podcasts are quickly becoming the center of attention: According to Edison Research, 75% of Americans are familiar with podcasting, and 24% listen on a weekly basis. That’s an estimated 68 million people tuning in to at least one podcast — or, on average, six podcasts — a week.1 And the medium’s continued growth shows no signs of slowing down. For advertisers and businesses, now is the time to become part of the conversation and get your message heard.

The intimate nature of podcasts makes them an ideal medium for advertisers to connect with engaged listeners. In fact, 75% of listeners say they give their favorite podcasts their full attention.2 Which means people are actually listening. They’re not just playing something in the background or zoning out in front of a screen — they’re highly engaged and often hanging on to every word. Now, imagine your ad seamlessly blended into an episode of a beloved podcast, or that show’s host sharing a story about your brand.

Curious about how to make that happen? Here’s a quick guide to get started.

What is podcast advertising?

Podcast advertising allows you to speak directly to potential customers through an audio ad. You can have select podcast hosts talk up your brand, or hire voice talent to help you create an ad to be placed at the beginning (preroll), middle (midroll), or end (postroll) of an episode. Preroll and postroll ads are typically about 15 seconds, while midroll ads go as long as 60 seconds. Across many of our titles, we offer sponsored segments that may run up to two or three minutes.

What sets podcast ads apart?

Sick of screens? Well, so is over half the population. We’ve found that 56% of people around the world want an escape from visual stimulation.3 Podcasts serve as a welcome respite for our eyes, but that doesn’t mean listeners are tuning in just to tune out. Here in the US, over 90% of people report listening to most of a podcast, with 52% sticking around for the whole show.4

This focused listening experience has proven to be especially effective for advertisers: 54% of podcast fans say they’re more likely to consider buying from a brand they hear advertised on podcasts. Even better, 81% have taken action after hearing a podcast ad — anything from looking up a product online, to connecting with a brand on social media, to talking about a product with someone.5

Podcast advertising also gives advertisers an opportunity to reach the “unreachables” — those who have cut the cord, opted for streaming services, or enabled ad blockers. Especially considering that podcasts go everywhere listeners go — in the kitchen or the car, to the store or on a jog. (Plus, in many instances podcast ads can reach Spotify’s Free and Premium audience across all of these daily moments.) Yours may be one of the few ads they hear on any given day, and it’s coming from a source they know and love.

To get started, find your audience.

With podcasts more popular than ever before, there’s plenty of room for advertisers to get creative. Start by doing your research. Think about the podcasts and podcast categories that might align best with your target audience: Comedy? Sports? True Crime? Woodworking? Don’t just choose a podcast because it’s popular. Ads that directly relate to the specific topic of a show or episode will feel more natural and authentic. In general, aim to align with genres, shows, and/or hosts that represent your brand values or resonate with your target audience.

Next, choose your approach.

After choosing your podcast, it’s time to find your voice:

With host-read ads, you can tap into a host’s familiar and trusted voice to deliver your ad either in a scripted format that showcases your message, or an off-the-cuff approach with personal anecdotes and in-jokes. Voice talent ads, on the other hand, are easier to produce and can run across multiple shows, so they’re great for scaling effectively.

Tap into our technology.

Spotify is the second most popular place to listen to podcasts in the world6 — and growing fast. We have 356 million monthly active users,7 and over 100 monetizable podcasts — take a look at our extensive library. To make the most of this, we’ve launched Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), which leverages streaming to deliver Spotify’s full digital suite of planning, reporting, and measurement capabilities. As the name implies, SAI allows ads to be inserted into a show when it’s streamed, which means you can reach your audience whether they're listening to new or catalog episodes.

Get accurate data.

SAI offers the most robust and transparent reporting available in podcasting. You’ll get confirmed ad impressions, so you know exactly how often your ad was heard and how many listeners heard it all the way through. SAI also allows you to understand your audience on a more intimate level, providing insight into listeners’ age, gender, device, and whether they’re streaming on an ad-supported or premium account.

The opportunities to reach podcast listeners aren’t limited to a single show or host either. With Spotify, you reach your audience across a broad range of exclusive and original content, developed by our world class studios like Spotify Studios, Gimlet, The Ringer, and Parcast.

Best of all, just as podcasts are continuing to grow, so is our podcast ad technology. We’re enhancing our data-driven approach so you can take full advantage of reaching your target audience when they’re fully engaged — whether cooking, chilling, or cutting a two-by-four. Make sure to stay tuned for the latest updates from Spotify Advertising. And if you’re ready to amplify your message with podcast ads, connect with our team below.

1 Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2020
2 Crowd DNA & Spotify, We’re All Ears, 2018, US 3 Spotify trend survey, respondents 15-37, Globally, February 2019, US, MX, BR, UK, DE, FR, AU, PH 4 Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2019
5 Crowd DNA & Spotify, “We’re All Ears,” US, 2018 6 Spotify for Podcasters
7 as of April 2021

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