Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know and How to Make It Work for You

Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know and How to Make It Work for You

An Introduction to Podcast Advertising

Research shows that the amount of time people spent listening to Podcasts has doubled in the last four years (Edison Research). From comedy to mysteries to sports and relationships, podcasts give listeners access to fresh content focused on the subjects that interest them most.

Typically, your advertisement is integrated into the program and voiced by the host, co-host or producer of the podcast. So, your brand gets instant credibility and trust among the listeners.

You can buy pre-produced spots at a lower rate, but you need to know you will lose the endorsement effect that has made podcast advertising a valuable and powerful source of new leads, customers and sales.

One of the most important aspects of podcast advertising is how convenient it is for listeners to consume the media. Once they subscribe, the fresh podcast is available automatically on their smartphone and they are alerted as new content is available. Since the talent of the program is reading your ads, there are no up-front production costs.

Here are some eye-opening podcast facts to consider:

  • Podcast audience has grown to 73 million listeners a month (Edison Research).
  • 81% of podcast listeners say they pay attention to podcast ads.
  • 60% of listeners have purchased something promoted in a podcast.
  • 93% of podcast listeners are active on Social Media.
  • Podcast hosts endorsements bring instant credibility to your brand.
  • Podcasts audiences are extremely loyal. They hand-pick the podcasts they want to consume.
  • Your brand gets a positive halo effect of the program you associate your brand with.

It’s important to note that even though you pay for a 30-second or 60-second spot on podcasts, many times your ads can run much longer. We have seen talent go on for three to four minutes about a client because they related a personal story to the sponsor.

You will get alerted the day that a show is available and get a link to how your spot ended up sounding. Be advised that even though you send the exact same script, the spot will sound different if the host is doing a “live” read. That’s because show topics change from program to program, and hosts usually try to bring relevant content to your spot.

This is one of the reasons that podcasts are so valuable in today’s distracted world. Because your target audience is extremely focused on what is being said in the program, they are engaged. And there are usually not many other sponsors right next to you like there can be in radio spot sets that last 5 to 7 minutes long.

Types of Podcast Advertising

Pre-roll spots are ads that air before the program actually begins—like the inside cover of a magazine. In this case you may have three to four sponsors in the pre-roll section of a podcast. It airs somewhere in the first minute or two of the show. The audience hears the introduction music and then the pre-roll spots air before the host begins talking about the show’s subject for the day. We suggest avoiding pre-roll.

We like to position clients in mid-roll. Mid-roll can be more expensive because it delivers more results and is in higher demand. Mid-roll is usually positioned in the middle of the podcast. The talent is heavily involved in the content of the program, and then your advertising is delivered and highlighted. Sometimes the show’s producer or co-host will read your copy. This normally happens in podcasts where the host is not allowed by contract to be seen or heard endorsing a product (for example, national news anchor such as Anderson Cooper). Since each podcast varies in length, it’s difficult to know exactly when the mid-roll spot will air. However, because your ads are embedded deep into the content of the show, it sounds like it’s actually part of the program versus just being a sponsor.

There is also post-roll, which comes at the end of the podcast. You will hear “this program has been brought you by” and then a list of sponsors. The show ends with the post roll sponsors.

In regard to production there are two types of podcast ads: pre-produced ads and host endorsements or “live” reads.

1. A pre-produced ad is voiced by a professional talent other than the host or producer.
2. The “live” reads or host endorsement ad is read by the host, co-host or producer.

Podcast Special Considerations

Because there are no strict guidelines on commercial lengths, spots can last from 30 seconds to five minutes. They are usually sold as 30-second or 60-second units, but that does not mean that’s exactly how long your ads will be. In fact, some of the best performing spots are ones where the host takes your basic script and adds his or her personality, personal experiences and input.

Podcasts are not restricted by typical broadcast standards. Which means you need to know in advance if the program’s hosts use language you are not comfortable associating with your brand. Both the topics and language can be considered NOT “family-friendly” very quickly in the program. The title of the podcast does not always reveal the actual content of the program. It’s wise to listen to several programs before sponsoring to make sure you are comfortable with the content of the show.

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on a Podcast?

Podcasts are priced based on the CPM basis. Most podcasts try to get $25 CPM, or $25 for every 1,000 people who download their podcast. So, for quick pricing a podcast that delivers 100,000 downloads is going to cost an advertiser $2,500 per sponsorship per show. If you want to try a pre-produced spot, you could test it for around $10 per thousand.

However, like with all other media, podcast advertising rates are negotiable. DX Media Direct has access to several well-known podcasts at 50% off what other advertisers pay. It’s wise to get a professional media buyer on your side who has tested these programs with other advertisers. They can guide you to safe harbors for best results. While some podcasts promote huge download statistics, we have seen some inaccuracies in the data and results. Be careful of podcasts that have packaged themselves together with other podcasts to boost their reported download numbers. It’s smart to measure the performance of each podcast as a stand-alone. In doing so, you’ll have better insight as to which host, program and content is driving the real results and sales. You can do this by giving a special offer code, using a dedicated tracking number for each show, or both.

DX Media Direct can help connect you to the right podcast audience. Here are some examples of rates and downloads. There are literally hundreds of programs available.

Program Topic# Of DownloadsMid-Roll Rate
60 Seconds
Host Endorsed
NBA Basketball79,000 $1,100
National News78,000$1,100
Business News8,000$100
Conservative Talk250,000$2,205
Rock & Roll Music7,000$90
WWE Wrestling 120,000$1,500
Celebrity Talk400,000$4,500
Crime & Mystery65,000 $825
Financial Talk 8,000$250
Comedy 100,000$2,200
Conservative Host650000$10,500
Political Talk150000$2400
Wrestling Talk17500$350
Celebrity Interviews75000$1,050
Economic & Current Events20000$275
Comedy & Shock Jock30000$385
Serial Killer Crime65000$750
Web Technology show20000$700
Psychology & Philosophy200000$6,500
Work Life15000$550
Car Talk13000$450
News Anchor Podcast140000$1,400
Hot Button Issues550000$7,350
Unsolved Mysteries15000$250
College Basketball6200$95
Football Sports Talk8200$125

(Additional advertising costs can be found in our blog post titled, “How Much Does It Cost to Advertise?“)

How Do I Know It’s Working?

As you can see there are about as many podcasts as there are topics of interest. In fact, some podcast topics have several shows covering them weekly.

As an advertiser, you will want to know how long you should test a podcast before knowing if it will perform for you. We have an answer: within two weeks.

Believe it or not we have found that you get 90% of the results from the podcast within the first week that it airs. Remember that loyal fans are usually waiting for fresh content from the show’s producer. They love the program so much that they have subscribed so they consume the new content relatively quickly when it hits Apple Podcast ad, Google’s Play Music or another source. We have seen same-day results, call spikes, website visits and app downloads on most of the successful podcasts buys. Likewise, for underperforming podcasts, waiting several weeks for results to come in did not help. Time is not necessarily your friend. If results are poor on the first one, then buying 10 more will not help.

Additional Tips:

  • Establish a target goal for results with every podcast buy. If you need a cost per lead of $50 and the podcast costs you $1,000, then you should receive 18 to 22 responses within the first week.
  • Test two podcasts and watch the results for two weeks. Then renew if it performed or search for other opportunities if it does not achieve your goal. It’s not to say you won’t get results after the two weeks. Podcasts do have a nice shelf life. But the consumption behavior that we have observed has shown us to look at the results within the first two weeks of the release date and repurchase the podcast or stop the bleeding right away. There are so many opportunities still available to test, there is no use hanging around and hoping results get better.

If you need help creating a script for your podcast, then reach out to us here at DX Media Direct. We’ve written hundreds of scripts that have delivered millions of dollars in sales over the last 30 years. Put our podcast ad agency experience and expertise to work for your brand.

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise?

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise?

20 Answers to the Most-Asked Questions in Advertising

As a full-service advertising agency, one of the first questions we get is how much does (fill in the blank) advertising cost? Whether it’s television advertising, building a website, or running Facebook ads, you want to understand before you start a campaign if you can afford it or not.

Quite honestly that’s one the first questions I ask when someone presents an opportunity to us they want us to try—whether it’s new software or a media opportunity. With over 30 years of advertising experience, we have learned a few things the hard way. We believe in making it easy for our clients to get the answers they want quickly and directly. So here are some guidelines to consider when planning your advertising campaign.

Advertising on Billboards

How much does it cost to advertise on billboards?

Billboards or outdoor advertising are priced based on location, size and amount of traffic the ads will receive.It costs between $650 to $950 to print and install a billboard. Digital Billboards don’t cost anything to produce since there is nothing to print. You simply pay for the monthly advertising costs.

Billboard sizes and costs will range as follows: (based on a four-week period)

Junior Posters: Size 6' x 12 "
Cost: $250 to $1,000Benefit: Impact Urban Areas
Posters: Size 10'5 x 22'8"
Cost: $300 to $1,500Benefit: Local Market Road Saturation
Bulletins: Size 14" x 48' Cost: $400 to $25,000Benefit: Size Commands Attention
Digital Bulletin: 1400 x 400 pixelsCost: $150 to $5,000Benefit: Change Message Often

As you can see, depending on the market size you want to advertise in it will cost $650 per month for a main street in a small town and $20,000 or more per month to be on the Interstate.
It’s important to note that billboard ads get sold out for longer terms than other advertising outlets. Many advertisers lock up prime locations for a year or more. You need to be prepared to take advantage of an opening quickly. There are limited locations and usually high demand.

What’s the minimum length of time to advertise on billboards?

Usually 30 days. However, some locations have a 90-day minimum.

How often should we change creative or art for our billboards?

We suggest every 60 days. Well-crafted creative can help increase results substantially. You will also want to drive your locations to make sure the colors you are using grab attention.

For example, we had a client who wanted to use white as the background color for their billboard. However, the locations we were buying had high desert as a backdrop. The white boards completely blended in with the scenery around the outdoor ads. It washed the creative out and you hardly noticed it was there. We changed the background to black to make the creative stand out.

How do I design outdoor ads to get the best results?

Keep it simple. Limit copy to nine words or less. Use colors that have strong contrast like black and yellow, red and yellow, orange and white, and black and white. Use fonts and images that are easy to read and see. Use an image that grabs the viewers’ attention. Write copy that makes them want the product or service, and make the advertiser name and logo easy to read.
Effective Outdoor Ads

Ineffective Outdoor Ads

What types of advertisers do outdoor ads work best for?

Exit here strategy. If you have a retail location that you want people to exit for, outdoor advertising is very effective.

Advertising on Radio

How much does it cost to advertise on the radio?

Small cities and towns can be as low as $5 to $10 per 60-second spot. Mid-size cities and markets will range from $50 to $100 per spot, and large markets will go for $150 to $750 per 60-second spot. Rates vary based on demand, time of year, time of day, audience size, ranking and ratings of the station. You will get the best value on radio if you negotiate based on the audience size per average quarter hour (AQH). And remember: Don’t pay rate card.

It’s also smart to let a professional media buyer do all the negotiation for you. They do all the hard work–negotiating back and forth. You get the benefit of someone who has the latest audience ratings and insider knowledge of what the market is going for in regard to pricing and demand.

In the following table, we’ve provided sample cities, stations and planning rates. Full disclosure: Rates will vary by time of year, demand on inventory, audience fluctuations and ratings. This information is for planning purposes only, so you can get an idea of how much various markets and market sizes cost.

Market FormatDaypart60 sec. rate each(25 Spots per week)
Weekly Investment
Abilene TXCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Akron OHAdult HitsM-F 6am to7pm$25$625
Albany NYSportsM-F 6am to7pm$10$250
Albany NYUrbanM-F 6am to7pm$10$250
Allentown PACountryM-F 6am to 7pm$40$1000
Anchorage AKClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Asheville NCTalkM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Amarillo TXCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$7$175
Ann Arbor MICountryM-F 6am to 7pm$30$750
Atlanta GAMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$75$1875
Atlanta GANews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
Atlanta GAMexicanM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Auburn ALUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$5$125
Baton Rouge MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$35$875
Beaumont TX Hit MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Birmingham SportsM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
BirminghamUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Bismarck NDNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$13$325
Boise IDSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Bridgeport CTMix MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$125$3125
Bryan TXClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Buffalo NYClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
Cape Cod MASportsM-F 6am to 7pm$11$275
Cedar RapidsAdult Stand.M-F 6am to 7pm$2$50
Charleston SCUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Chicago ILMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Chicago ILNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$200$5000
Chicago ILUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$75$1875
Cincinnati OHRockM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Cincinnati OHA/CM-F 6am to7pm$62$1550
Col. SpringsMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Columbia MOMusicM-F 6am to7pm$13$325
Dallas TXSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$60$1500
Dallas TXNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Dallas TXSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
Davenport IANews/TalkM-F 6am to7pm$16$400
Dayton OHCountryM-F 6am to7pm$5$125
Des MoinesCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Detroit MITalkM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Detroit MIUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
Erie, PARockM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Eugene ORAlternativeM-F 6am to7pm$7$175
Fayetteville AR MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Fayettville NCMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
El Paso TXTalkM-F 6am to 7pm$22$550
El Paso TXCountryM-F 6am to7pm$5$125
Flint, MIA/CM-F 6am to 7pm$18$450
Flint, MITop 40M-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Ft. Smith ARCountryM-F 6am to7pm$7$175
Ft. Walton FLActive RockM-F 6am to 7pm$13$325
Fresno CATalkM-F 6am to 7pm$42$1050
Fresno CACountryM-F 6am to7pm$25$625
Fresno CATop 40 M-F 6am to7pm$26$650
Gallup NMHit MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Grand RapidsClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$24$600
Green BaySportsM-F 6am to 7pm$19$475
Green BayMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$21$525
Huntsville ALTop 40M-F 6am to7pm$22$550
Huntsville ALUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$11$275
Kansas CityMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$60$1500
Knoxville TNCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$49$1225
Knoxville TNTalkM-F 6am to7pm$23$575
Lafayette LAMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Little RockMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$14$308
Los AngelesNews/TalkM-F 6am to7pm$50$1250
Los AngelesRockM-F 6am to7pm$150$3750
Memphis TNUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$29$725
Mobile ALUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$29$725
Modesto CAMusicM-F 6am to7pm$49$1225
Nashville TNUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Nashville TNMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$95$2375
New YorkNewsM-F 6am to 7pm$250$6250
New YorkUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
New YorkCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$95$2375
Okla. City OKHip HopM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Peoria ILRockM-F 6am to 7pm$8$200
Peoria ILClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
San FranciscoNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$65$1625
San FranciscoAlternativeM-F 6am to 7pm$32$800
San DiegoSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$14$350
Sirius XMComedyM-F 6am to7pm$50$1250
Sirius XMNewsM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Sirius XMSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$22$550

There are about 6,000 radio stations in the United States. This table provides general prices based on market size and format.

How much does it cost to produce a radio spot?

$0 to $500 depending on talent and script elements. Some radio stations will produce at no charge.

How much do host endorsement radio ads cost?

The talent gets a weekly fee on top of the cost of your schedule. Typically, that’s $250 to $5,000 per week, depending on talent and market size.

How many words are in a 60-second radio spot script?

165 to 170 words. 30-second spots should be 80 words max.

How many local radio spots should I run each week to be effective?

25 to 45 spots per week, Monday through Friday, 6am to 7pm.

How few is “too few” spots to be effective on radio?

Nine to 12 local radio spots per week. Save your money if you can’t afford at least 15 spots per week.

What if I have limited radio budget?

Buy fewer days of the week and fewer weeks of the month, but don’t scrimp on frequency. Focus your spots on Wednesday through Friday or Saturday and Sunday. But make sure you have at least four to eight spots per day.

Advertising Online

How much does it cost to build a good website?

$2,500 to $3,500 for 10 to 15 pages. This pricing does not include a shopping cart function.

What’s the average cost per click on Facebook?

In the US, the average cost per click on Facebook is $1.17. CPC will vary by target audience and quarter.

How much does it cost to produce a video for social media?

$500 to $3,000 depending on elements, animation, voice work, and talent.

Advertising on Television

With cord-cutting does television advertising ever work anymore?

Yes. It’s harder than it used to be. But you only pay based on the audience that’s left. It still works. Especially for audiences that are aged 45-plus.

How much does it cost to produce a television spot?

Depending on the elements of the spot, it will cost $1,500 to $50,000 or more. Some cable outlets will produce at no charge.

How much do television spots cost?

Local cable spots can be as cheap as 75 cents to $5 per 30 seconds, per network, per zone. National networks will run $500 to $12,500 per 30-second spot depending on daypart, audience size, audience ratings, time of year and demand on inventory.

When is the least expensive time of year to advertise?

January. Most companies spent their budget on Christmas advertising. The networks don’t have as much demand on inventory and are more willing to negotiate.

What are the most expensive months to advertise?

May, October, November and December.

How much does it cost to advertise on television?

How much does it cost to advertise on television?

We get asked all the time to quote rates for television advertising. It’s a challenge because advertising rates are effected by so many variables. Do you want local or national ads? What time of day do you want to be on? What type of programming do you want your spots featured on? And what time of year do you want to advertise?

Television advertising is a commodity. Supply and demand drive rates week to week. But since you asked, let me give you some ranges.

Local cable spots can run anywhere from $2.00 per ad to $250 a spot.
National cable can run anywhere from $250 a spot to $100,000 a spot.
Network television advertising tends to be the most expensive, ranging from $15,000 a spot to $300,000 a spot.
Of course you have the Super Bowl, which goes for $5 million per :30 second spot.

But before you think you can’t afford it, contact a Direct Response advertising agency. They have ways to save you 90% or more on traditional rates. That’s what we do for our clients. They are pleasantly surprised how inexpensive Television Advertising can be.