The 2019 Guide to Podcast Advertising for Ecommerce Businesses

In 2019, we have seen the unprecedented rise of podcasts. Because of this, it is no surprise that businesses are finding podcast advertising an attractive and lucrative option to reach potential customers. But is it a suitable and appropriate option for ecommerce businesses?

In 2019, we have seen the unprecedented rise of podcasts. In fact, the podcast advertising industry is estimated to be worth $659 million by 2020 in just the United States alone. Because of this, it is no surprise that businesses are finding podcast advertising an attractive and lucrative option to reach potential customers.

But is it a suitable and appropriate option for ecommerce businesses? Here’s our 2019 podcast advertising guide.

What is podcast advertising like in 2019?

Short answer: better than ever. 

With an increasing number of global netizens feeling ‘ad fatigue’ from digital channels (be it social media, e-mail or websites), podcasts remain one of the most effective ways to gauge human engagement; according to podcast company Acast, 76% of UK adults have followed up on a podcast ad or sponsorship message they have listened to. 

Furthermore, corporations are racing to capitalise on the booming podcast industry. Earlier this July, Bloomberg reported that Apple is planning to finance its own original podcasts (exclusively on their platforms) in the hopes of keeping competitors at bay. Meanwhile, popular streaming service Spotify has rebranded itself as ‘Spotify New Music and Podcasts’ on iOS, which clearly reflects their earlier decision to spend over $400 million on acquiring podcasts. Naturally, this means that podcast advertising is becoming more and more beneficial for businesses. But it also means you have to act fast, before all ad space has been taken. 

The benefits

  • Podcast listeners are, by far, one of the most engaged audiences. People are much more likely to remember something from a show they’ve subscribed to, than a tweet they’ve read on their feed (to this day, I can still remember the businesses that sponsored a podcast show I enjoyed). 

  • Podcasts can be played anytime and anywhere, forever. Not only are podcast episodes online and free to listen to, they are also downloadable. You’re buying lifetime space in a segment of a show. Every time existing listeners revisit or replay an episode, they are reminded of your products/services. New incoming listeners will also be constantly introduced to your business. 

  • Podcast ads act as product endorsements from the host. The relationship between the host and listener has already been forged, without any third-party intervention. This makes the listener experience much more intimate. If a host speaks of your product in a host-voiced ad, the listener is more likely to trust and have a more positive impression of your business just because the host said it. 

  • Podcast listeners are more likely to be avid social media users. You might be hitting ‘jackpot’ if you’re able to combine podcast advertising and social media together; for example, if you’re promoting a giveaway that involves some kind of social media activity to win (like posting or following your accounts), you might experience some success. 

  • You can reach the untapped audiences. With a significant portion of the millennial demographic having installed ad blocking software, podcast advertising could be a way for your business to prove that you’re worthy of their attention. 

The drawbacks

  • Limited metrics. It is virtually impossible to accurately and quantifiably measure how effective your podcast was, unless you are also advertising a promo code or offer. 

  • If you want immediate sales, you might not always get that. Sometimes, advertising on podcasts can be more of a branding tool than another way to hard sell. 

  • Depending on the podcast show, it can be expensive. Prices depend on CPM (cost per 1000 listeners).

  • It’s time consuming. There is a lot of back-and-forth involved when trying to arrange this process.

So is podcast advertising suitable for my company? 

It depends whether the nature of your business is in line with the podcast(s) you want to partner with.

It might also be worth considering the podcast listening demographic in general. A sizeable majority of podcast listeners have university degrees and are below the age of 35. If your products are relevant to these people, your ad is obviously more likely to resonate with them. 

However, if your product or service has a wider appeal (meaning: you have something anybody can use), there’s a chance it may not be as important. Podcast shows within the ‘comedy’ genre are the most popular type and seem to be safe bets for many major B2C companies because of its general nature. 

Is it worth it for ecommerce businesses? The smaller your company is, the less likely you would want to invest money into something as expensive as podcast advertising. After all, even though popular podcasts with guarantee you with quality audio and a smoother process, they typically ask for at least a four-figure sum (depending on their listenership). 

That’s why if you do feel like your business would truly benefit from podcast advertising in 2019, it might be worth looking at smaller podcasts. 

Things to consider

  • Prices and your budget

  • What type of ad - pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll? Mid-roll (ads that are played during an episode) typically cost more, but are more desirable. 

  • Will you use an agency? Major podcast advertising agencies like Midroll or AdvertiseCast can help you find shows that would be relevant to you.

  • Who’s going to be responsible for writing the script? You might write it yourself, you might ask the host to improvise, or you might hire a freelancer. 

  • I’ve decided to advertise. What are my next steps? 

Once you’ve decided that you want to go through with podcast advertising, the steps are: 
  1. Find a show you want to sponsor. 

  2. E-mail them expressing your interest. They may have pricing packages or ‘kits’. 

  3. Decide where your ad is going to fit in. 

  4. Confirm with the podcast. You might be sent an invoice and/or a contract.

  5. Work on your ad script and other related items. 

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