Placing Ads on Podcasts: An Informational Guide

by | Jan 20, 2022


If you’re not already placing ads on podcasts, you might want to add it to your list of marketing strategies. A 2019 survey from Edison Research and Triton Digital says more than half of all Americans have listened to at least one. Over 167 million people have officially tuned in to audio shows, many of them dozens of times each month.

That’s a pretty large demographic your company could (and probably should) be targeting. Podcasts are also great advertising platforms because listeners tend to trust their hosts’ recommendations. They remember the ads on podcasts better than ads on media like websites, social media, TV, and print, according to Forbes.

But once you do buy ads on podcasts, you’re faced with a different challenge. How do you measure your results? It turns out there are quite a few ways to track the bang you’re getting for your buck. Here are just 3 of them, ranked from the most effective to the least.

Track Your Success

  1. trackingPixel-Based Tracking: This method requires a true partnership between the podcast and its advertisers. To make it work, the podcast publisher has to install a pixel (a tiny, digital tracking and information-gathering tool). You do this through the hosting provider. Then, you have to install one on your website. Together, the pixels will reveal the connection between podcast downloads and visits or conversions on your site. You get a lot of data, but some podcasters may not agree to use pixel-based tracking because of privacy concerns.
  2. Post-Checkout Surveys: This is a tactic as old as time. When your customers sign up for your service or buy your product, simply ask them where they came from. Then make sure the podcasts you advertise on are options on the list. You can do this with an online survey or by incorporating it into your live sales process. According to Marketing Insider, 80%–90% of customers complete this kind of survey, making it a pretty accurate tracking method. The biggest downside is that you won’t be able to track podcast-driven traffic that doesn’t convert to sales. However, this is possible with both pixel-based tracking and the next option we’ll dive into.
  3. Promo Codes And Vanity URLs: You can drop a podcast-specific promo code or URL into your advertisement. Then, track how many clients visit your website or purchase using those options. One big perk of this method is that it’s shareable between customers. If one person finds you from a podcast and makes a referral, you can track it back to the podcast, too. Unfortunately, Marketing Insider reports that only 2 in 3 listeners remember promo codes. Also, and only 1 in 6 use vanity URLs when they’re provided. That means you might end up with podcast-driven customers who appear to have found you from somewhere else.

Have you already invested placing ads on podcasts? Are you considering taking the plunge? Understanding and utilizing these strategies will help you keep track of your investment. You can use them individually or stack all 3!

Of course, there’s no guarantee of results, no matter how effectively you track your spending. If the conversions aren’t there, they just aren’t. The money you make from your advertising will depend on the podcast you choose and its number of listeners. You also need to know its listener demographic.

Find Your Listeners

listenersEvery podcast is different. The economics podcast “Freakonomics Radio,” for example, draws in millions of listeners each month. It targets young, affluent, well-educated men in the computer and mathematics field. Obviously, this show wouldn’t be an ideal stomping ground for a makeup company. However, the booze-and-boos show “Spirits,” which reaches primarily young working women, might be a great fit. Tracking your results is the key to identifying which podcasts work for your business and which are busts. (Tracking your key performance indicators is also vital for business success in general, but we digress.)

Of course, podcast marketing might not be a good fit for your demographic, period. Forbes reports that podcast listeners are 57% white, for example, and only 4% are Asian. If your product or service caters to people in smaller demographics, then podcasts might not be right. (Or you’ll need to choose them very wisely.) Other options like email marketing, social media ads, and direct mail campaigns like newsletters might get the results you want. Ideally, you should diversify your marketing over print and digital streams to reach the largest audience.

Whatever route you choose, keep in mind that buying ads on podcasts is a booming industry. According to eMarketer, podcast ad spending made up over 20% of digital radio advertising spending in 2020. And, incredibly, it’s set to surpass $1 billion this year. It’s time to jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t already — just do it the smart way.

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