If the 1950s were the Golden Age of television, then the 2000s would have been the Golden Age of podcasting. The evolution of podcasting has been nothing short of remarkable. Since podcasts started growing in popularity around 2005, people haven’t been able to get enough of the platform. Fast-forward to just a few years ago, the number of worldwide listeners has grown from 274.8 million in 2019 to 464.7 million today. By the end of 2024, that number is expected to grow to 504.9 million.
Forty-one percent of people listen to at least one podcast a month, while 28 percent listen weekly. Podcasts have given people access to an entirely new listening experience unlike ever before. They connect people to diverse, engaging topics they can either listen to for entertainment or inspire personal growth. We have major streaming services, like Spotify and Apple, to thank for podcasts’ rapid growth over the past decade.
It’s no wonder why so many people are drawn to podcasts, and it should be no surprise, then, that companies big and small are expanding their marketing efforts to include podcasts. Podcast advertising is an entirely different beast, however. But no one knows that more than Spotify’s Head of Sales, Brian Berner.
“The world of podcast advertising can seem unknown and new for brands that are unfamiliar with the platform,” adds Brian. “But as more brands continue to lean in, we have seen a lot of learnings and momentum showcasing how brands can effectively engage with their customers through podcasting.”
Below, Brian Berner shares some of the best practices brands should follow to develop a successful podcast marketing strategy.
Identify the Right Podcasts
For the same reason you wouldn’t target your Gen Z audience on the radio, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right podcasts to reach your audience. There are over 2.4 million podcasts available to listeners, with over 66 million episodes in total. Finding the right podcast to play an ad might feel a little bit like finding a needle in a haystack. But it’s important to research.
Narrow down your options — you can find all of Spotify’s podcasts here — and sift through the content as if you’re your target audience. Selecting the right podcast is make-or-break for your ad budget. The wrong podcast means wasted dollars, but the right podcast could mean turning a profit in the first week alone.
Keep Messaging Short and Sweet
Podcast advertisements tend to vary anywhere between 15 seconds to one minute. To brands, this seems like a short amount of time. But for listeners who are impatiently waiting for their podcast episode to resume, it can feel like an eternity. You shouldn’t need more than 60 seconds to advertise your product or service.
Keep it brief to ensure people will hear it, but make sure it’s also engaging. You want to make a good impression so that people will want to look you up after your ad is done playing.
Choose Your Placement Strategically
There are three options for podcast advertisements: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. Pre- and post-roll advertisements are generally cheaper than mid-rolls, but mid-rolls tend to get the greatest number of listeners. Rather than make a decision based on cost alone, be strategic about your choice.
Track the Effectiveness of Your Ad
This is true for whatever platform you advertise on, but some brands might not understand how to track their ad’s performance on podcasts. One strategy is to give your host a discount code they can use when they advertise your product or service. This code will let you know how many customers are coming from a certain podcast. If you’re not finding a lot of success with one podcast, try another!
Podcasts are the center of brand marketing. Your audience is out there listening to podcasts — make sure you’re reaching them.