Podcast Advertising Cost and Rates

8 min read

Podcast Marketing is Growing

Podcast marketing is growing in a big way. According to Insider Intelligence, two-thirds of the U.S. population listens to digital audio once a month or more. Growth has been steady; by 2025, an estimated 231.5 million people in the U.S. will listen to digital audio. About 58% of digital audio listeners enjoy monthly podcasts. That represents 134 million podcast listeners ready to receive targeted podcast advertising.

No wonder more advertisers are choosing podcast advertising. Podcasts cover a wide range of topics and attract engaged, loyal, and invested listeners. An advertising campaign focusing on podcasts can target specific demographics and interests far better than other options. Plus, advertisers can gather up-to-the-minute data and live analytics from those ads, allowing precise impact assessments.

Podcast advertising comes with benefits:

  • Limited ad loads in podcasts reduce listener fatigue and "zone-out."
  • Ease of ad production and targeting lets advertisers experiment with creative and innovative ad formats.
  • Influencers and popular hosts have built credibility and trust among their followers — making ads feel more authentic and compelling.

Podcast advertising rates are low compared to radio and TV ad prices. Let's dive in and see how you can get started on an affordable budget.

Podcast Advertising Rates

Many factors impact advertising rates for podcasts. Let's look at three basic ways of paying for ads:

CPM in Podcast Advertising

The most common model for podcast ad costs is CPM (cost per mille). Advertisers pay a fixed rate for every thousand impressions (also referred to as downloads or listens). CPM allows advertisers to reach a broad audience with their podcast advertising. It's often chosen to improve brand awareness and brand-building because it focuses on reach. Per our data, CPM rates are typically $15 to $25 per 1,000 listeners (CPM). So, for example, if you were paying $20 CPM and wanted to reach 15,000 listeners, the cost would be $300.

CPA, or Paying for Results

Another way to pay for ads is CPA (cost per acquisition). Prices are based on a specific action taken by the audience, such as making purchases, signing up, or downloading apps. This is commonly used in performance-based marketing, where the advertiser pays for actual results. CPA may be better for "direct response" — campaigns where the goal is immediate user action.

The Flat Fee

A third model is the flat fee, or flat rate. The advertiser pays a fixed amount for advertising on a certain number of podcast episodes or for a certain number of weeks or months. It's the least common of the three models. The advertiser doesn't know how many listeners the ad will reach, but it can be useful for connecting with a small, niche audience.

Factors Impacting Podcast Ad Costs

Podcast advertising costs are shaped by many different elements. When you develop a strategy for ad spend, it's important to account for every factor.

Production Costs

A professionally produced audio ad typically runs from $1,000 to $2,500 and requires several days or more in production time. That's a serious investment when you're not even sure it will bring the desired results.

In comparison, a podcast ad at AudioGO can be produced in two days or under 48 hours — and for only $10. Just submit a script, choose the language, pick a background track, and AudioGO does the rest. Ads will be delivered in 24 hours or less; after that, you can launch your ad within minutes.

Types of Podcast Ads Can Effect Cost

Podcast ad rates depend on the type of ad chosen, so let's look at some of the most common types:

  • Pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll: Ads that appear (or roll) in the first 10% of the episode are called pre-roll and usually last for 15 to 30 seconds. Mid-roll ads are usually 60 to 90 seconds in length. Post-roll ads, which run near the end of the episode, tend to be 15 to 30 seconds. Mid-roll ads, being the longest, tend to have the highest CPM rates. Next comes pre-roll ads, followed by post-roll ads, which may reach fewer listeners because people have dropped out before the end of the show.
  • Baked-in vs. dynamic: Baked-in ads are part of the original recording. Every time someone listens to the podcast, the baked-in ads will run. Dynamic ads are recorded separately and can be inserted into any given download based on the advertisers' goals. Dynamic ads can, for example, be switched from pre-roll to post-roll or dropped altogether.
  • Host-read ads: These are ads read by the podcast host during the podcast. A personally read ad has a greater impact on listeners but costs more. These are more often baked-in than real-time.
  • Sponsored content: The terms "podcast advertising" and "podcast sponsorships" are sometimes used interchangeably. However, an advertiser can sponsor content for an episode or part of an episode, and the host will simply announce that fact during the episode.
  • Paid interview: As with sponsored content, paid interviews help brands build trust and authority. The advertiser pays the podcaster to interview someone (possibly someone from the brand) on a topic that's related to the brand. Because it uses a large swath of airtime, this technique tends to be costly.

Other Drivers of Audio Advertising Rates

There are a few more factors that influence podcast ad rates.

  • Size of audience: Bigger podcast audiences mean you reach more people, and that's reflected in ad costs.
  • Precision targeting: Specific targeting options may increase the CPM of your campaigns. While many ways of filtering for specific audiences may be included, you might need to pay more for behavioral targeting, ad positioning, and other services.
  • Timing: What time your ad runs affects cost. "Prime time" ads (during rush hour, lunchtime, etc.) reach more individuals, and that's reflected in higher ad prices.

Radio Ad Prices Vs Podcast Ad Prices

Radio ad rates fluctuate significantly due to markets and timing. A further problem with making comparisons is that radio ads are often perceived as "only background noise," but podcast ads are a more immersive experience. Listeners are more invested in the content, which drives a greater engagement and response to podcast ads.

Traditional radio ads might cost $5,000 a week, depending on market, ad length, and audience size. And don't forget to add the cost of ad production, typically $1,000-$2,500.

But at AudioGO, a podcast ad budget as low as $250 is enough to get started. And that money buys an ad that reaches your target demographic faster and more effectively. Compare radio advertising vs AudioGO here.

Advertising Campaigns and Budgets

An advertising campaign is a coordinated series of promotional activities with specific objectives for a target audience. These campaigns are designed to create awareness, generate interest, and ultimately drive purchases and engagement with a brand. 

The budget plays a role in determining the reach, creative, targeting, and duration of the ad campaign. 

Most advertising campaigns feature key components such as:

  • Objectives: Set clearly defined goals focused on brand awareness, lead generation, sales, or other key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Target audience: Understand the demographics, interests, and behaviors of target audiences to tailor campaign messaging for maximum impact.
  • Messaging and creative development: Craft compelling, creative messages that resonate with target audiences and align with campaign objectives.
  • Channel selection: Choosing the most effective channels to reach the target audience. This can include digital platforms, traditional media, social media, and more.
  • Integration across channels: Ensure a cohesive message and branding across advertising channels for a unified and impactful campaign.
  • Analysis and evaluation: The post-campaign analysis assesses the effectiveness of the campaign. Learn by measuring the results and applying insights to future strategies.

In developing an advertising budget, businesses must factor in several other factors, including:

  • Objective alignment: Align budgets with overall business objectives and specific advertising campaign goals.
  • Cost considerations: Estimate costs associated with creative development, media buying, campaign execution, and other related expenses.
  • Market research: Conduct market research to help determine goals and messaging and to set an appropriate budget based on industry benchmarks, competition, and potential ROI.
  • Allocation across channels: Allocate spending for different advertising channels based on their effectiveness and relevance to target audiences.
  • Flexibility: Allow for flexibility within the budget to adapt to changing market conditions or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Analytics: Integrate budgetary considerations with measurement tools and analytics to track the ROI of advertising efforts.

Make Podcast Advertising Part of Your Marketing Plan

The benefits of podcast advertising are substantial. No other form of advertising lets a business so narrowly define where their budget dollars are spent, and the ongoing growth in podcasts means ongoing growth in target audiences.

At AudioGO, we take the pain out of audio advertising. We're the leading audio advertising platform, providing businesses with a streamlined and effective solution for reaching their target audience. Our extensive advertising network of 64 million podcast listeners, user-friendly interface, extensive targeting options, and affordable pricing make AudioGO a go-to platform for advertisers of all levels.