All digital media is skippable, really if you think about it. We fast forward through commercials, we “skip ad” YouTube, we hit the “forward 15 secs” on our podcasts. It's becoming more and more difficult, as advertisers, to make sure you're heard.
Acast recently released a study showing some really interesting data about a section of listeners called “The Unreachables.” (They split out US and UK info, if you're interested and more to come about Australia.) The study showed that The Unreachables don't mind advertising per se, but they don't like the disruption. In other words, if your ad sounds like a disruption, it's getting skipped.
The Unreachables are paying premium prices for ad skipping capability. They use ad blockers and don't watch cable TV. They mean business! So the answer is quite simple: you make your advertisement as un-advertisey (or part of the entertainment) as possible.
The best way to do this isn't to pay for branded content, as these folks can smell a sales pitch a mile away, and they usually avoid anything with a blaring “sponsored by” label. Instead, you have to find a way to integrate your product or service with the show as seamlessly as possible.
All the best ways to integrate is by utilizing the podcast host as your partner. Together, for example, you can run a contest where listeners purchase the product (with coupon code/discount) and share on Instagram their experience. Best share of the week/month can win a prize.
Another idea is simply to encourage the host to use and honestly review your product for a fee. If you've got confidence in what you're selling, the trick here is to make sure you've got a host that is your absolute perfect target audience member, and their listeners as well. Barkbox is great about this – they send doggy treats to hosts with dogs and even customize it to the size/breed of the dog. Hosts then watch their pets open and enjoy the products and talk about it on their podcast. Now, instead of a read script, your endorsement is all part of the content.
The bottom line is that The Unreachables need to be met with “The Unskippables.” However you decide to do it, it's absolutely necessary that you create an audio experience for the listener that's INTERESTING, above all else. Because no one will get to find out the benefits of what you're selling if they never get to hear it.
Remember: Acast's research shows that these people are listening because they're learning about a niche subject, something radio can't offer them. Forty-three percent said they were just listening for the entertainment value. Make sure you find a way to match the tone of the show you'll be advertising on, and create a seamless segue into the spot. Make it entertaining, interesting, compelling, and you can be sure to boost your ROI.