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Four Best Practices for Podcast Advertising

As podcasting listening booms, more advertisers than ever want in. Across industries, brands are waking up to podcasting’s ability to reach new customers and generate leads. 

A huge reason is the sheer number of regular listeners. About one in three adults in the U.S. currently listen to podcasts on a monthly basis and half of all Americans say they’ve listened to at least one, according to Edison Research. These users are listening for longer periods of time, with the average listener is streaming 6 hours and 39 minutes each week. That’s up 100 minutes from pre-pandemic listening levels, pointing to digital audio’s rapid rise, per Comscore data. 

If you were wondering whether supply would be able to keep up with demand, the number of podcasts just keeps growing. In 2018 there were 500,000 active shows in the podcast universe—just three years later that count has nearly doubled and now stands at 850,000.

While that audience scale is important, an even more compelling reason to advertise in podcasts is how effectively they deliver a brand message to an engaged, loyal audience. In fact, according to recent studies, 41% of listeners actually trust ads more if they hear them on a podcast and 81% say they’ve taken action after hearing a podcast ad. 

To make the most of this massive opportunity, it is wise to implement some proven best practices. We’ve curated four tips to boost your podcast advertising success:  

#1: Choose relevant podcast genres

Digital consumers have come to expect targeted ads that speak to their needs and interests. Some might actually be annoyed if they feel an ad has reached them by accident. In today’s hyper-targeted world of advertising, it just looks sloppy to market an irrelevant service to someone who isn’t interested. This is why it’s crucial to choose podcast genres that match up with your intended audience. 

Podcast listeners go out of their way to discover and explore certain content, so they’re already primed to engage with relevant brand marketing. By aligning your ad with a relevant podcast genre, you’ll be ensuring your audience is in the right space to receive your message. 

#2: Target specific demographics

Once you’ve honed in on the genres, you can dig even deeper. On podcasts, advertisers can target consumers beyond what types of shows they are listening to. Businesses promoting any type of regional offer, like a small local business, an event, or a grand opening can target listeners by specific zip codes and cities. From there, you can add in retarget display ads to podcast listeners who have been exposed to the podcast campaign, amplifying your reach and scale.

Podcasts are an effective way to reach listeners across demographic groups, and you can target age groups by genre. Younger listeners, adults 18 to 29 years old, are most interested in comedy and music content, while users 30 to 59 years old opt for TV/film, tech, comedy and music podcasts. Listeners 60+ are attracted to music, religion, tech and comedy. 

#3: Find the optimal length

Podcast listeners are so focused and engaged with the content they don’t like to be too disrupted. They’re responsive to short, 15-second ad spots, which podcast listeners prefer to traditional 30 or 60-second audio ads. In fact, in one study, 46% of listeners who heard a 15-second ad spot could remember the brand without any hints, according to SXM Media research. That recall rate is similar to the rates of longer ads, showing just how efficient podcast ads really can be.  

What’s the right length? That depends on your campaign objectives. If you’re looking to boost top of the funnel metrics, 15-second ad spots are highly efficient. Likewise, if you’re looking to boost brand recall and awareness, go with shorter ads. 

#4: Measure and adjust 

No matter how good an advertisement performs right out of the gate, you can always fine tune.  Study your data and analytics, and work with your partners to make adjustments to your campaign. In time, you’ll need to make changes based on the reactions from your audience and whether you’re getting positive ROI.   

It is important to set goals and establish the metrics you’re using to measure success. You’ll also need to find a simple way to monitor the ads performance and make the necessary adjustments going forward. 

As podcasting listening booms, more advertisers are discovering how effective and efficient it can be to advertise on the medium. And with new shows going online daily and fresh crops of listeners tuning in, podcasting is well positioned to continue on its rapid ascent.