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The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Podcast Advertising

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According to Edison Research, “one-third of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast- a 300% increase since 2006.” As podcasts have become more popular, podcast advertising has taken off. Today, advertisers spend at least $34 million on podcasts each year.

Some of the most visible podcast ad campaigns have been from large companies like Mail Chimp and its famous commercial on the Serial podcast. However, you don’t have to be a big business to take advantage of podcast advertising opportunities. In fact, small businesses have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the advertising value that Podcasts can offer.

If you're looking for a great way to get the word out about your small business, you should definitely consider podcast sponsorships. In this post, we’ll discuss the five things that all small businesses should know about podcast advertising. 

1. Podcasts are Popular, and Podcast Ads are Effective   

According to the same Edison Research Report, over 20 percent of adults in the U.S. will have listened to a podcast in the past 30 days. To give you some perspective, that is the same number of Americans who use Twitter each month, while only 13 percent of Americans use Spotify each month. Not only is the audience large, but they also actually listen to your ads.

Per the same report, most listeners (65%) reported that podcast ads increased their purchase intent and about half (45%) were likely to visit an advertiser’s website after hearing an ad. NPR claimed that "75 percent of podcast listeners take action on a sponsored message." When advertising on podcasts, you're reaching an audience in a trusted and intimate setting. As a result, your ads can seem more conversational and less staged. For this reason, podcast ads can feel more meaningful to potential customers.

2. Podcasts Live “Forever”

Once a podcast goes live, it is saved in the podcast archives, which often times has hundreds of episodes that listeners can access. New listeners can start from the very first episode. If a listener misses a few weeks of the show, they can easily pick up where they left off. The ads are always part of the podcast and do not change, so once you pay for a spot, your ad will be heard every time the podcast episode is played.

3. Tracking is Easy

Success tracking is unique for podcast advertising, which doesn’t capture click-through rate or views. Instead, you can provide the audience with a direct response discount code which will allow you to track your advertising metrics and success. The discount code can be unique to the podcast, so will allow you to measure the value of a specific ad placement.

4. Your Audience is Listening

According to PodcastOne, 86 percent of their audience actually listens to the full podcast episode. Further, over 45 percent of their listeners “strongly agree that they pay more attention to podcast advertising than advertising on broadcast radio.” Podcasts include a captive audience, and podcast advertising can be woven into the program even more than on traditional broadcast radio spots. This is especially true when the podcast host reads the ad.

5. Podcast Ads are Genuine

During advertising spots, podcast hosts often do live reads and talk about how they’ve used and had great experiences with the product or service being advertised. Since the listeners already have a relationship with the host, this conversational and genuine format makes users much more likely to trust the message and brand that the host is promoting.

What You Receive by Advertising on a Popular Podcast

When you sponsor an ad on a podcast, you have multiple options for the types of ads you can purchase. They can include sponsored live or recorded reads by the podcast host, sponsorship of one specific podcast or other shows, promotion on the website and/or app of the host, a mention of your business when the podcast is advertised on television, and promotion across the podcast host’s social media platforms. Of course, offerings differ per podcast network.

How to Select Your Podcast

As a small to medium-sized business, you’re likely looking to advertise on a smaller podcast that resonates with your customer base. It’s important to look into more than just the podcast audience size and subscriber numbers. Make sure to consider the following factors before selecting a podcast for advertising:

1. What Type of Audience Does the Podcast Have?

It’s important to make sure that the audience of the podcast will be interested in your business and what you are selling. Podcast hosts usually have a relationship with their audience, which creates a unique community surrounding their show. Because of this, hosts are often hesitant to advertise products or services that would not resonate with their audience and could potentially dilute or distract from their content. They need to be sure that they are promoting things their listeners want or need, so it’s critical to find podcasts that fit well with your business and its products or services.

2. How Engaged is the Audience?

It’s important to select a podcast with an engaged audience. Look to see if the audience is commenting on the show. You can also see if the show involves audience involvement. The more engaged the audience is, the more likely they will trust the products or services mentioned by the host.

3. What Type of Social Media Presence Does the Podcast Have?

Take a look to see if the podcast is active on social media channels. Do they have a presence on Twitter? How active are they on Facebook, and do they have a lot of followers? What does their activity look like on Instagram, Pinterest of YouTube?  If there is a loyal and active social media following, it will be much easier to interact and engage with an audience online.

 4. Do You Like Listening to the Podcast? 

Make sure that you actually enjoy listing to the podcast. If you genuinely like the show and feel that it is a great fit with your customer base, you have the opportunity to expand your audience in a way that coordinates with your company’s branding and additional advertising.

Though there are still many podcast skeptics out there, you should take notice of this growing trend. Not only has podcast viewership increased, but the opportunities to advertise have become more sophisticated and cost-effective. If you want to have the ear of your customers, you should consider including podcast advertising into your overall outreach strategy.

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