How does podcast advertising work? (1/2) | Articles

More than 50% of US citizens listen to podcasts on a regular basis. Among those listeners, 82.4% spend more than 7 hours a week listening to podcasts. Furthermore, since the beginning of the pandemic, numbers show that Covid-19 has boosted audio consumption by 76.2%.

Those statistics are showing a trend: podcasts have the ability to capture an audience’s attention like few digital channels can. In fact, 80% of listeners say they listen to all or most of each episode of the shows they subscribe to. That’s pretty impressive when you consider the average length of a podcast is around 43 minutes. And it’s not a niche trend.

Today, there are over 1.7 million podcasts available. This means that many brands could benefit from the attention podcasts are getting. Lots of companies are already doing it: in 2021, marketers should spend over 1 billion dollars in podcast advertising.

This is linked to the return on investment it can generate, with 54% of listeners saying they are more likely to buy from a brand after hearing their ad on a podcast. 

In this article, we dig deeper into podcast advertising. You will learn how to find relevant shows to share your message on and how to negotiate ad placements with podcasts hosts. 

Then, in a second article, we will teach you the metrics to monitor in order to assess a podcast’s performance as well as how to plan your podcast advertising budget. 

How to get your brand on a podcast 

There are two steps you need to consider when you want to advertise on a podcast. First, you need to find relevant shows for your brand. Second, you have to negotiate with the hosts for them to accept your advertising offer. Let’s dive into this. 

Find the right podcasts

To find relevant shows for your brand, you have two possibilities: 

  • Use a podcast advertising platform, but expect a fee.  
  • Directly search on Google & streaming platforms, which is free (but takes time).
Podcast advertising platforms 

Midroll and AdvertiseCast help advertisers who want to push messages on podcasts. Those two brands have a podcast directory, that marketers can navigate to find relevant shows. 

AdvertiseCast claims to have over 1.700+ podcasts in its directory, while Midroll claims that over 250 podcasts (active among 40+ industries) are registered on its platform, with more than 800 companies having already bought ads placement through it. 

All in all, both of those brands can help you to: 

  • Find shows quickly,
  • Get a free campaign proposal,
  • Get access to a campaign management tool to measure your results.

That’s the first way to find podcasts on which you could push your ad, but you should expect a fee from those platforms. 

Direct search

To find shows on Google and streaming platforms, for free, first consider the industry you’re working in. How could you sum it up in a couple of keywords? It could be marketing, finance, insurance, health, real estate, food & beverages, furnitures & interior design, automotive, etc. 

So  pick the industry you work in, and simply search on Google if some podcasts already exist. You can also check on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Anchor, SoundCloud, PocketCast, etc. 

Here are a couple of examples showing that podcasts exist in a lot of industries: 

Looking up on Google and podcasting platforms is how 53.6% of listeners discover new shows. But you can also ask your clients if they listen to podcasts. And if they do, which ones are they subscribed to. 

That’s a great way to build up your relationship with your customers but also to learn more about the kind of content they consume. If you know your clients listen to podcast “A”, other listeners of podcast “A” might also be interested in buying your product or service. 

Once you have a list of potential shows to advertise on, you’ll have to choose which ones to target. We’ll come back to that point in a second article, by explaining the different metrics you can use to assess podcast’s performances and how to estimate your ad budget. 

For now, let’s focus on how to negotiate an ad placement with a podcast host. 

Negotiate with the podcaster

A Podcast Host is not an Instagram Influencer

The first thing you need to know is that a host doesn’t have the same kind of relationship with his or her audience as an Instagram influencer might have.

75% of podcast’s listeners subscribe to a show in order to learn new things, while 80% of subscribers listen to all or most of each episode of their shows. With an average length of 43 minutes per episode. 

So we’re not talking about a 2 minute-video on Instagram. We’re talking about listening to someone for 40 minutes straight on a topic you want to know more about. And it’s done while commuting, doing sports, or cooking at home. 

It means that a host will have more pressure from his or her audience when it comes to advertising.

Precisely because listeners are there to learn something, the ad doesn’t only have to fit perfectly to the topic of the podcast, the host must also strongly believe in what he/she’s advertising. 

It’s critical for brands to target the right podcasts and to approach the hosts with a convincing pitch. Typically, the brand should show in its outreach that: 

  • It listened to a sufficient amount of episodes in order to know the host and what he/she’s talking about. 
  • It has a clear goal and knows why its value proposition can help the host’s audience. 
Advertising on a podcast is not a one-shot thing

The second thing you need to know is that a typical podcast ad is not a one-shot.

Usually, podcasts hosts agree with brands to share their promotional message on multiple episodes. This is why we could talk more about sponsorship rather than advertising.

This means the host will endorse your brand on multiple episodes and have additional pressure when it comes to accepting an ad proposition. 

What an ad typically looks like on a podcast

You may ask yourself how those endorsements will happen. That’s part of the negotiation you’ll have with the podcaster. You can negotiate on how long the promotional message will be but also on when it will be pushed in the podcast episodes.

From experience, most podcasters include the ad at the beginning of their episodes. They usually take one to two minutes in order to talk about the brand that sponsors them, give details on the offer and where to find the brand. 

How to assess the R.O.I. of your podcast ad

Obviously, you can check the amount of sales your brand is doing right after the podcast gets published, by using a link the host will place in the episode’s description for instance.

But the biggest impact a podcast can have, is to help your brand become a “top of mind company”.

As stated above, 54% of podcast listeners are more likely to buy from a brand after hearing their ad on a podcast. But it doesn’t mean they’ll do it right after listening to the show. They might do it later on. Or even talk about your brand around them if somebody asks for a recommendation. 

This makes it really hard to assess the R.O.I. of a podcast advertisement. It all comes down to your strategy and if you believe in this channel. 


This article was an introduction to podcast advertising. We’ve seen it’s a promising channel and you’ve learned a lot about: 

  • How to find relevant shows, whether it is through platforms or on your own.
  • How to negotiate ad placements with podcasts hosts. 

However, we still need to see how to assess a podcast. Once you have a list of potential shows, you need to know which metrics to look for in order to choose a podcast to advertise on. Furthermore, we also need to cover how to predict your ad budget. 

Those are 2 questions that will get answered to in a second article. 

Click here to read it.


Written by Tancrède d’Aspremont Lynden 

Content & Product Marketeer @ Sortlist


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