With more than 48 million podcast episodes available for download last year and about 68 million people in the US actively listening to podcasts weekly, it is safe to say podcasts are quite popular.
In fact, statistics suggest that 50% of all homes in America are podcast fans and 155 million people in the US have listened to a podcast at one time.
These figures are a goldmine to businesses, as they could leverage the wide coverage podcasts provide to promote their brands.
However, if you’re not familiar with the concept and find yourself asking, “Should I sponsor a podcast?” this post will help you to answer that.
Podcast vs Traditional Radio Shows
Why should you advertise on a podcast when you can as well place ads on radio shows? After all, is a podcast not essentially radio on the internet?
Indeed, both types of shows are inherently similar but have major differences. First, traditional radio shows have a set schedule, and listeners who aren’t tuned in when they air will miss both the show and your ads.
With podcasts, listeners can stream or download and listen to episodes at their convenience. This means they can hear your ad regardless of when they listen to the show and they can hear it as many times as they listen to the podcast.
Podcasts make great advertisement vehicles for e-commerce companies and other web-based businesses. That’s because they are not limited by geographical boundaries just like their audience. But companies with a local customer base may be better off by placing ads on traditional radio shows.
Also, traditional radio tends to create a wide range of topics to appeal to a mass audience who may or may not be interested in your brand. That’s another way of saying advertisements on radio shows could be a hit-or-miss proposition.
On the flip side, podcasts tend to zero in on a specific theme or niche. This provides brands with related products and services a target audience already primed for what they have to offer. And with niche podcasts come loyal listeners who form strong – almost tribal – bonds with hosts of their favorite shows. This makes it easier for listeners to buy or signup for products and services promoted by podcast hosts.
Why are Podcasts More Efficient for Advertisement?
Stop for a minute and think about the times you played broadcast radio. If you are like most people, you weren’t paying keen attention throughout the broadcast. Instead, you let it play in the background while you do something more “important.”
Now, what do you think happens when most people listen to a podcast? Usually, a podcast isn’t something people play in the background. Most listeners make an active, conscious choice to listen, subscribe, and download episodes of their favorite podcast.
In other words, people listen to a podcast because they want to get value from it. If you leverage this and offer relevant products and services during a show, your ad has a greater chance of reaching an audience that’s already primed for your brand than merely advertising on traditional radio shows.
Another reason that advertising on podcasts is more effective is the higher rate of add recall. The Super Listeners reported last year indicates that 86% of people remember hearing ads on podcasts. That’s number is higher than 79% and 80% of respondents who say they recall ads on websites and social media respectively.
In terms of engagement with ads, 76% of podcast listeners take action (signing up, purchasing, or visiting a website) after hearing advertisements. This is a higher responsiveness score compared to other forms of advertising.
Also, a significantly low percentage of podcast listeners skip ads while listening to episodes of a show. In fact, a good number of podcast listeners are grateful to the brands for the continued support and sponsorship of their favorite shows.
Pros and Cons of Sponsoring a Podcast
Like every other investment, sponsoring a podcast has its upsides and downsides. Anyone who’s ever asked, “Should I sponsor a podcast?” needs to pay close attention to this section because this is where you’ll decide whether or not to invest your money in a podcast.
- Guaranteed existing audience: Podcasters already do the heavy lifting for your brand. You don’t have to scout for a niche audience if you sponsor a show that’s related to your brand. And if you choose a podcast with a large number of listeners, your chance of getting massive returns on your investment goes through the roof.
- People connect more with podcasters than brands: Most consumers of products and services are more likely to connect with people like them that they trust rather than companies they know little to nothing about. A podcast host can act as your brand ambassador, and if he or she has a strong rapport with their audience, giving life and meaning to your products and services will be seamless.
- Accessibility: Podcasts are downloadable, meaning you’ll be right in front of thousands of people whenever and wherever they choose to listen to their favorite podcasts.
- Improves your SEO ranking and domain authority: When listeners follow through with a call to action, it usually means visiting a website or landing page. This increases the organic exposure for your website and your SEO ranking.
- Less setup work: You don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to reach potential customers or clients. People will have you in their listening lineup without even realizing and with little to no effort on your part.
- Can be pricey: In many cases, sponsoring an existing podcast may not be very cost-effective, especially if you consider that the show may not be related to your brand’s niche. The price varies depending on the podcasts and because there isn’t any specific industry standard for ad rates, you could be dealing with arbitrary prices. For example, a premium show with about 500,000 downloads could cost up to $50,000 and that’s just for only a few seconds of airtime.
- You may have to join a waitlist: This is particularly the case if you want to sponsor a massively successful podcast. You probably aren’t the sponsor looking to be featured on the show, so you’ll likely have to wait.
- Less control: You may sponsor a podcast related to your brand but the episode where your brand is mentioned could be completely unrelated to what you have to offer.
- Ads can vary depending on the host: Even if you sponsor a niche-related podcast with a large number of listeners, the host can make or break the ad depending on how he or she promotes it. It can take a lot of time and effort to find a host who will intelligently and passionately demo your products and services.
Pros and Cons of Sponsoring Your Own Podcast
If the downside of sponsoring an existing podcast makes you have second thoughts, perhaps you could consider sponsoring your own show!
If you are interested in monetizing your podcast, check out how to get sponsors for your podcast.
Many brands, such as GE Podcast Theater, A16Z Podcast, and Funders Fund, have sponsored produced their own podcasts internally.
However, similar to sponsoring an existing podcast, sponsoring your own show comes with pros and cons, too.
Some of the advantages of sponsoring your own podcast include:
- You are in charge of the show’s style and brand. It is all up to you whether you want to make the podcast into a series of interviews with guests and experts or stick with branded content.
- If done correctly, sponsoring your own show can cost less and you’ll deliver authentic and fresh content centered on your brand. This can be more cost-effective than paying a steeper price for only a few seconds of airtime for sponsorship on other shows.
- You have better control of your audience and even target specific types of people who you want to listen to your show.
On other hand, a few downsides associated with sponsoring your podcast include:
- You’ll have to build your own audience instead of leveraging on the existing large number of loyal listeners of established podcasters. Depending on your niche, this could be a slow process, even if you deliver great content.
- It takes a lot of upfront time to create a successful podcast. You have to prepare a sizeable number of episodes before launching your podcast unless you want to risk running out of content shortly after launch and end up dead on arrival.
Should I sponsor a podcast? Or should I stick to website and social media advertising? These are common questions that brands seeking better promotion and visibility are always asking.
And if that’s you, it is okay to add podcast sponsorship to your current advertising campaign. If you do it right, you could significantly increase your ROI.