Podcast Advertising for ROI

Podcast advertising can be one of the most cost-effective paid-demand programs. It is far superior to pay-per-click and can create a significant return on investment. Learn why.

Bill Arnold

2/7/20245 min read


We are often asked what the most cost-effective ways are to use paid demand. A lot of clients find their way to us with the same sad story from startup and early-stage companies. Someone convinced them that in order to grow their brand quickly, they needed to dump lots of money into paid-per-click campaigns (PPC). The story goes on to say that several more established competitors, with a bigger war chest, outspent them and now they have very little to work with.

If done properly, PPC can be a highly effective method of increasing brand awareness or locking in bottom-of-the-funnel sales. The problem is most companies, and even agencies, will not engage in metric-driven analysis and marketing methodologies to truly optimize the programs. The results often turn clients away from ever wanting to engage in PPC.

To be clear, we do use PPC for our clients when the engagement warrants it. When we use it, we find that ROI is more than justified. It is just not the paid-demand option that we first engage. We have previously talked about the power of using paid co-branded email campaigns or even paid third-party referral programs. If the right formula exists, we also find that podcast advertising can produce phenomenal results.

Why Podcast Advertising Works

With the rise of digital marketing, businesses are constantly seeking effective ways to reach their target audience. While Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising has been a popular choice for many, there is a growing trend toward advertising in podcasts. Here are some of the reasons that advertising in a podcast can be a superior alternative to PPC.

Captive and Engaged Audience - One of the major advantages of advertising in a podcast is the captive and engaged audience it offers. Unlike PPC ads, that can easily be ignored or blocked, podcast listeners are actively engaged and attentive. They have chosen to listen to a specific podcast, indicating a genuine interest in the content. By placing your ad within a podcast, you have a higher chance of capturing the attention of your target audience and delivering your message effectively.

Trust and Credibility - A key advantage to advertising in a podcast is being able to leverage the reach, relationships, and trust that the podcast has acquired. Podcasts often have a loyal following, with listeners who trust and value the content provided by their favorite hosts. When an advertisement is integrated into a podcast, it benefits from the trust and credibility established by the host. This association can significantly enhance the perception of your brand and increase the likelihood of listeners engaging with your product or service. Unlike PPC ads, which may be seen as intrusive or impersonal, podcast ads feel more like a recommendation from a trusted source.

Targeted and Niche Audiences - Podcasts cover a wide range of topics, catering to various interests and niches. This diversity allows advertisers to target specific audiences more effectively. By selecting podcasts that align with your target market, you can ensure that your ad reaches the right people. PPC advertising, on the other hand, often relies on broad targeting options, which may result in your ad being displayed to a less relevant audience. Advertising in a podcast allows for a more precise and focused approach to reaching potential customers.

Longer Exposure and Increased Brand AwarenessThe good thing about PPC is that the results happen immediately. The bad news is that if it doesn’t happen immediately, PPC spending will be lost. Unlike PPC ads, which are typically short-lived and easily forgotten, podcast ads offer longer exposure to your brand. Many podcasts have dedicated listeners who tune in regularly, providing repeated exposure to your advertisement. Additionally, podcast episodes are often archived and can be accessed and listened to at any time, further extending the lifespan of your ad. This extended exposure helps to increase brand awareness and recognition among the podcast's audience.

Less Ad Clutter and Competition -Podcasts generally have fewer advertisements, compared to other forms of media, such as television or online articles. This reduced ad clutter ensures that your advertisement stands out and receives the attention it deserves. Additionally, podcast ads are typically read by the host or integrated seamlessly into the content, making them less intrusive and disruptive. In contrast, PPC ads often compete with numerous other ads on search engine result pages, making it harder for your ad to capture attention and generate clicks.

Cost-Effective Advertising - While PPC advertising can be costly, especially for competitive keywords, advertising on a podcast can offer a more cost-effective solution. Podcast ads are often priced based on the number of downloads or impressions, allowing advertisers to choose options that fit their budget. Additionally, podcast advertising rates are generally lower compared to other forms of media, making it a more affordable choice for businesses of all sizes.

Proof By The Numbers

Podcast listeners are loyal listeners and consume content on a regular basis. This captive audience creates a prime opportunity for advertisers to capture their attention and deliver their message effectively. Here are the numbers you need to know:

  • 82.4% of podcast listeners consume over 7 hours of content each week. (DiscoverPods)

  • Podcasts will generate $4 billion in US ad revenues by 2025. (PodPod)

  • 65% of the podcast audience will pay attention to it, as compared to 39% for TV and 38% for radio. (Guardian)

  • 68% of consumers are more willing to purchase a product after hearing about it on a podcast. That is more than other social platforms, radio, or TV. (Ad Results Media)

Best Way to Advertise on a Podcast

Not all paid advertising on a podcast is created equal. There are some techniques and strategies that we have found far more productive.

For example, the ones that we tend to avoid are audio ads (pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll). These simply do not feel authentic and do not pass any juice from the host or the show to the advertiser.

We much prefer programs that implicitly or explicitly demonstrate that the host is either a user or an advocate of the product. This type of advertising can be accomplished through live-read or recorded host endorsements.  An example of how effective a host-endorsed product can be found in the podcast called “New Heights.”  If you live under a rock, these are two brothers who are professional football players who talk football during the season. Oh yeah, one of them dates Taylor Swift.  Sport-focused brands have found that having one of the Kelce brothers promote your product on air is golden.

The same type of endorsement benefits can be obtained through a branded series or a custom segment about the brand. One of the best examples of a branded series is Trader Joe’s monthly broadcast called Inside Trader Joe’s. Imagine having one of the top-rated podcasts, where the entire content is about what is new in your local Trader Joe’s.


To ensure that paid advertising on a podcast is effective, and provides a return on investment, there are several recommendations and tips to follow. First, it is important to carefully select the podcasts that align with your target audience. This will ensure that your message reaches the right people, who are more likely to engage with your brand.

Create compelling and relevant ad content that addresses the pain points or interests of the listeners. It should be tailored to the podcast's tone and style, capturing the attention of listeners and effectively conveying your message.

Have the ad read and endorsed by the host of the podcast. If they are willing to read it live on-air, so much the better as their enthusiasm for your product will appear more authentic.

Finally, tracking and analyzing the performance of your ads is essential. This will allow you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your campaigns for better results.