The Different Types of Podcast Ads

One of the more confusing parts of getting into podcast advertising is the different types of podcast ads most podcasts offer. There are 2 main types of ads, delivered 2 main ways.

Let's start with the different types of ads.

Live Read Ads

Think Howard Stern, or better yet, back to the beginning of television when soap operas were sponsored by soap companies. Remember the powerful influence when you heard someone you absolutely adore tell you to use a product they recommend? The same influence applies here, in spades. The host uses their enormous influence to stand behind your product, since they are (hopefully) a huge fan.

This type of ad is the most popular, and for good reason. Podcast hosts, especially the lesser-known ones, end up having enormous influence over their audiences because their listeners have come to trust and like them so much. As a result, most hosts will not endorse a product they aren’t familiar with no matter what you pay them, so it’s best to either find fans of your brand or create them by sending product. 

Pre-Produced Ads

Hiring a voice over artist, or using pre-recorded and pre-produced audio is one way to go, but for this medium, endorsement usually performs better. The influence of the host really means a lot. These ads are exactly the same as radio ads or something you'd hear on Pandora, etc. That said, sometimes more famous hosts won't do the live reads. This could be your only choice – but in our opinion, you're paying for the influence and intimacy of a podcast, so a live read should be what you get. Some podcast hosts will pre-produce their live reads, and we think that's ok, it works. Better that than a simple transfer of a radio ad to a podcast – they are almost always the most skipped. 

Regardless of content, all ads are either read live during the recording of the show, or pre-produced and edited in later. How they are delivered into the show is a whole other story.

Dynamic Ad Insertion

In recent years, ad technology has allowed for ads to be targeted and dynamically inserted at the time of file request (pressing play, or a download). The ad server determines the best ad to serve to the listener at the time of request. In a podcast consumed online, such as, on a website, ads may be inserted into a file that is being progressively downloaded at designated ad breaks. Some publishers may count this dynamic ad serve as an “impression” without confirming ad delivery. The metrics in this document focus on confirming that the ad was delivered. Server logs can confirm that the entire ad file was downloaded, but the process for counting a served ad can only determine that ad file was sent. (Source: The IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines)

Some say dynamic ad insertion is the ‘wave of the future’ for podcast advertising, because you can add these spots and take them away without it disrupting the recording process. You can also target dynamically inserted ads into a show based on WHO is listening, so if there is an ad that is geared towards males or females, they would get different podcast ads according to their gender. 

The problem with dynamic ad insertion so far is that obviously, all the ads have to be pre-produced. As a result, they are not consumed by the listener nearly as often.

Large podcast networks would have you believe that this is a preferable way to deliver and purchase advertising. But the entire point of podcast advertising is to take advantage of the host's audience – their loyalty, their interest in the subject matter, and the intimacy of the medium. You can't do that if you're pre-producing commercials and dynamically inserting them instead of making them part of the podcast content. The results won't be nearly as effective.

Baked In

Historically, podcasting ad campaigns often involve ads that are read by the podcast host or a familiar voice. A static ad or jingle may be also included as part of the file. These ads are part of the content and included, or “baked-in,” with the file that is downloaded. Targeting is limited because everyone who downloads the file gets the same ads. When the ad is added to the podcast at the time of request, it is dynamically inserted, as described below.

The podcaster, in this case, makes the ad a permanent part of the episode by somehow relating it to the content, by including it in the intro, or generally just doing the endorsement as part of the recording process. This is currently the most effective way to deliver ads in order to have a successful ad campaign, one that achieves a brands' marketing goals. 

When making decisions as to which podcast to advertise with, consider the following questions:

  • Does the host do a live read? Is this necessary in order to deliver the message, or will a pre-produced ad do the job and be interesting enough where the audience won't skip it?
  • How much of the success of my campaign is dependent on the host's specific endorsement?
  • Do I need the ads to be delivered to the exact right demographic, or does my product/service just apply to anyone who would listen to the show I choose to advertise on?
  • Do I have the ability to send a sample to my host, so that their live read will be authentic and enthusiastic?

The answers to all of those questions can help you determine which type of ad and which delivery method will be right for you.

If you have any questions, please contact us and we'll be glad to guide you through the process!

By | 2019-03-08T13:57:20+00:00 May 8th, 2018|

About the Author:

Jessica is the co-host and co-founder of the She Podcasts brand which supports over 8000 women podcasters. She has been podcasting since 2013 and has been teaching aspects of podcasting since 2014. Her podcast advertising agency, j/k media agency, was acquired in the fall of 2017 by True Native Media, a partnership that allows both companies more resources and dedication to helping independent podcasters make money and helping advertisers get better advertising return.

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  1. […] you’re familiar with the different types of ads and content that are possible. Let’s talk about some common podcast advertising goals that advertisers can […]

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