What’s in a podcast advertising contract?
Whether you’re working with a large network or an individual show, the podcast advertising contract is the most important part of the exchange between you and any podcaster. Often times, with smaller shows this is skipped because neither party is 100% sure of what needs to go into an agreement.
We believe a podcast advertising contract needs to include EVERYTHING. It should be a combination of a legal agreement, a statement of work, an advertising insertion order, and some terms and conditions with out clauses.
Name the Parties
The beginning of an advertising agreement should list the name and address of the company who is advertising, the contact name and current position as well as any contact information. It should also have the name of the podcast, the name of the contact who is selling the ad, their position, address, and contact information. Sometimes the podcast is under a company name or a subsidiary of something else, so this is important.
Something that is really nice to have in a podcast advertising contract is what the advertisers' goals are. This promotes a sense of partnership – the podcaster understands why the advertiser is purchasing ads on their show, and is committed to helping them achieve their goals. This also can be referred to if there are any questions about the talking points that are supplied at a later date.
The Nitty Gritty
Next, you need to have a statement of intent, that the company is wanting to advertise on these specific properties, and nothing else. There are so many digital properties that podcasts can have these days, so listing this out should be super specific for both parties. Make sure the “where” the ads will be are specific.
This section can also be the Ad Insertion Order, or the I/O. It should include:
- Where the ad placement will be in the audio podcast
- How long each ad will be
- How many there will be
- WHO is reading the advertisement (if this isn't specific, sometimes a producer will read the ad instead of the host)
- If they are consecutive days/weeks/episodes in a row
- Run dates – the specific dates listed
- The rate per episode – is it per download, or a flat rate regardless?
- Is the audio interchangeable after a certain period of time? Will it remain on the archives indefinitely?
- If social media, email, website, etc. is included, and the details for that
- If there will be a report, what the date is, and who will be supplying it
- The total number of advertisements
- The total investment for the advertiser.
Sometimes this can be an Amendment to the contract, since it has so much detail. We find that using a spreadsheet template for this works best, so everything can stay organized and visually easy to understand. But the bottom line is you need to have everything specifically spelled for you, so that you can keep track and hear/see for yourself when the ads are running and if they're running correctly.
KPI, Measurements of Success, Measurement in General
We have found that it is really important to redefine how the downloads and other forms of measurement are being tracked. “Billable/trackable downloads will be measured as:” and then either 1,000 per episode within a 30 day period, or 45, or overall downloads. You may also want this section to specify if they are tracking worldwide listens or just the US only.
What's Being Said
We specify who is supplying the talking points, and if there is a product that needs to be sampled, the dates that needs to happen in order to stick to the contract in place. If a podcaster gets the product after the date specified on the contract, well, obviously they can't supply an endorsement – yet. This needs to be clear so that advertisers and podcasters clearly understand what's expected of them. We also include some verbage around disparaging, controversial, or offensive content during the ad spot. Some advertisers want to make sure that the entire episode is devoid of controversy, and that needs to be discussed before working up an agreement. (Podcasters don't generally like to be told what to say during their shows, so if this is important it's best to make sure the show you choose doesn't engage in these topics anyway.)
The Oopsie Clause
What if the podcaster reads something wrong or gives out wrong information? What if the advertiser accidentally supplies incorrect talking points? This needs to be addressed here as well. Normally if the podcaster makes a mistake, there is a promise of a “make-good” episode so that they will get another chance to get it right at no cost to the advertiser. This clause should really detail what's considered a mistake – as we've seen a few cases where the information wasn't what the advertiser wanted, but wasn't necessarily incorrect either. The contract should specify what happens in these cases.
This can be a very tricky section of the agreement, believe it or not. In most contracts, everyone has the right to cancel and no harm is done. However, podcasters have your ads “booked” way in advance in many cases, and by cancelling, advertisers have possibly blocked their chance of making income on the space that they reserved. In our contract, the cancellation is 14 days. So if the advertiser decides they no longer want to participate, they still are obligated for the next 2 weeks of advertising. It helps soften the blow of a cancelled campaign for the podcaster.
There is so much detail to each campaign, especially the advertisement specifications. The key to a good podcast advertisement contract is that both parties are protected and that both parties receive what they are hoping to receive out of the arrangement. We hope that by describing the sections in detail, you feel further prepared to get started on a new podcast advertising campaign! Please let us know if we left anything out or if there are questions about the above.