By Jack M. Germain
6/16/2021 5:00 AM PT
Podcasts provide advertisers with micro-targeted pitches that engage listeners more effectively than other mediums, said Maury Rogow, CEO and creative director of Hollywood’s Rip Media Group, in an exclusive interview with the E-Commerce Times.
Most podcast listeners are educated, have disposable income, and are open to advertising. Microtargeting of a podcast streamed ad is delivered in real time and provides traceable data on the number of listeners.
Podcast streaming can be an audio or video format. The video element often consists of a single static image or video recording of the podcast presenters and guests.
This advertising format provides marketers with an effective way to deliver focused messages to a narrowly defined audience that has one thing in common. They have a high similarity in taste and interests compared to the target groups of other media.
The most effective podcast advertising is delivered by the host. This is extremely uncomfortable for many marketers. But such risks can gradually pay off because the targets listen and remember the message, countered Rogow.
The main benefit for the advertiser is benefiting from the podcast listeners’ strong relationships with their favorite hosts. Copywriting hosted by hosts produces the best results, he said.
“Let the hosts be themselves. Let them do their thing. That’s why people listen,” he added.
Newer advertising medium
Podcasts became a new outlet in the early 2000s. You are now reaching a mass market audience. This widespread audience growth has made podcast advertising a very viable way to grow vendors’ e-commerce presence.
Numerous reports from Reuters, The Podcast Consumer, Podcast Trends Report, Nielsen Marketers Guide to Podcasting and IAB Podcast Ad Revenue Study show that podcasting is a growth medium with a steadily growing audience.
According to various industry reports, around 25 percent of all listeners started in the last six months. Podcasts continue to attract new listeners to their existing audience of 90 million people monthly. Almost 63 percent of those surveyed said they listened to more podcasts today than they did a year ago.
Edison Research announced the 50 most-heard U.S. podcasts of 2020 in February. This list ranks the podcasts based on audience size determined by the Podcast Consumer Tracker, a service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks.
The methodology used by Edison was to continuously collect data by surveying weekly podcast consumers aged 18 and over. The survey tracked what podcasts participants listened to in the previous week, along with demographic, psychographic, and buying behavior information.
Rogow noted, “Podcasts are ubiquitous. A podcast is that strange thing hidden in your computer or smartphone. You can listen to them on Amazon Prime, download them from Audible and Spotify. Every music platform picks up podcasts. “
Podcast advertising serves two main purposes. It provides a very effective way for podcasters to monetize their programs. It also gives ecommerce merchants the ability to target audience memberships to expand advertising reach, he said.
Overview of podcast popularity
Edison Research senior vice president Tom Webster said the ongoing industry surveys tracked over 10,000 podcast listeners and tracked what shows they listen to, what they buy, and demographic profiles for each leading network and top podcast. His organization’s published report lists these top 10 podcast deals:
1. The Joe Rogan Experience
2. The daily newspaper
3. Crime junkie
4. This American life
5. My favorite murder
6. Things You Should Know
7. Office ladies
8. Pod Save America
9. Planet money
10. Wait, wait … don’t tell me!
The top 10 podcasts for 2021 tracked by Podtrac rank many of the same shows as other lists, though not in the same order:
1. The Daily Newspaper – The New York Times
2. NPR News Now – NPR
3. First up – NPR
4. Dateline NBC – NBC News
5. The Ben Shapiro Show – Daily Wire
6. What You Should Know – iHeartRadioart
7. This American life – this American life
8. Call Her Daddy – Sports Bar Stool
9. Pardon My Take – Sports bar stool
10. CNN News Briefing – WarnerMedia
TopPodcast also presents a collection of (you guessed it) top podcasts. The website also has tabs listing top networks, top podcast apps to download, top influencers, and more.
The Balance Small Business website has a list of their best business podcasts.
Podcast advertising cheat sheet
The industry average prices for podcast advertising are, according to AdvertiseCast, 15 CPM for a 10-second ad. The CPM used here is the price of an ad for 1,000 podcast downloads.
A 30-second commercial costs an average of $ 18 CPM. A 60-second commercial costs an average of $ 25 CPM.
Anchor sponsors also pay on a CPM or “cost-per-mille” basis. Ad prices can go up to $ 50 CPM.
There are three main types of podcast ads with the following durations and placements:
- Pre-roll ads, typically 15 to 30 seconds long, that run before or after the show’s intro;
- Mid-roll ads last 30 to 90 seconds and are placed roughly in the middle of an episode. and
- Post-roll ads that last 15 to 30 seconds and play right before or after the credits.
Depending on the skills of the entrepreneur, creating self-written content is the most cost-effective. Otherwise, the production of professionally designed content with voiceover and sound effects is the domain of advertising agencies and media companies, according to Rogow.
A related strategy is the acquisition of sponsors. Podcast sponsors provide a revolving door for recurring financial support.
Advertising and sponsorship can go a long way in monetizing a podcast. Improve Podcast claims there are two million podcasts available worldwide. They attract a recurring audience of 90 million people each month. The trend in podcast advertising revenue is increasing, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).
Be proactive in finding advertising and sponsorship opportunities for your podcast, recommends Rogow. One of the most effective ways to find advertisers and sponsors is to work through podcast ad networks.
These networks are a collection of podcasts that are produced, distributed, or made available to advertisers via a single company or network. They can do anything from finding advertisers to negotiating prices to getting the script. Another approach they use is to get a quote from the podcast host.
Make ad content important
Rogow applies two strategies to his advertising content. Both approaches are good guides for the DIY enthusiast.
His first formula for writing ads is a four-step process he calls the Epic Story. It starts with engaging the audience with empathy. This is the introductory story he tells to set the tone for a problem his product can solve.
“For example, let yourself be preoccupied with an empathy problem. Then go into the details and the solution,” he explained.
The next part of his system for creating a podcast ad is telling the details to make the situation believable. Next, talk about the integrity of the product as a solution. The final step is the call-to-action.
“Remind listeners how this product or solution can affect them. Include the website, contact details, where to get them, etc., ”he offered.
Rogow’s second formula is much more creative and abstract. He incorporates as many of the five human emotions into his ad content as he can to keep the audience engaging. He uses the acronym STUF to explain his approach:
- S stands for something sexy or engaging;
- T is for touching the heart;
- U brings something unique or completely unexpected in relation to the product or solution;
- F gets the audience to take action for fear of missing out on the product or its solution.
Base ROI on the KPI
So how do you know when your podcast ads hit the ROI sweet spot and not just wasted a ton of time and money?
Rogow’s answer was short and direct. “Just watch the KPIs or key performance indicators,” he said. “They are different in the different industries. The financing needs and goals are also different for everyone.”
So that answer brought our discussion to the last question in our discussion of podcast monetization. What should someone getting into this business expect in terms of advertising return?
Don’t expect a sudden stroke of luck
Financing your podcast through advertising works as part of a viable business plan, Rogow replied. However, don’t expect to get rich in the beginning, at least not right away.
“It’s the long game that works reliably,” he warned. “The revenue is much lower at first. But the really cool thing is that you can do microtargeting. It’s all about microtargeting.”
For example, if you’re promoting a business tool for SMBs, look for a podcaster that will attract small business people. This gives you access to an audience that 80 to 90 percent of the listeners are genuinely interested in. The others are browsers.
Focus on the common theme of the listener. Are you an entrepreneur? What do they have in common with the podcast content?
“Knowing your audience means you can target the people who are listening to the podcast and the presenters who best fit your product line or message. You really have to focus on the long game and not the short game, ”advised Rogow.