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Why Podcast Advertising Might be Right for Your Marketing Plan

I have a confession: I’m a podcast addict. I not only co-host podcasts, but I also listen to podcasts all the time. My favorite part of the morning is hopping into my car and listening to my podcast friends discuss everything from pop culture, to Dungeons and Dragons, to mysterious murders. The best way to engage me in conversation is to offer a podcast recommendation. I’ll always take it. 

This is why I know that podcast advertising works. I can tell you about popular podcast advertisers, like the latest mattress or meal prep company that’s sponsoring my favorite audio narratives. Like me, podcast listeners are attuned to their favorite shows. 

Back when podcasts started to blow up on the scene with Serial, Saturday Night Live even got in on the fun, making fun of Serial’s ad for Mailchimp. Those are free advertising dollars Mailchimp never needed to spend because they got in on the podcast boom early.

While podcasts are way more popular than they were in the Serial days, the world of podcasts is still an ever-growing market with a lower barrier to entry than you might think. 

If you’re wondering if it’s time to get in on the podcast advertising train, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

Podcast Hosts Are Influential 

You might have dipped your toes into influencer marketing in the past, but did you know podcast hosts are the ultimate influencers? After all, you’re not just scrolling past a photo of them standing in front of a brick wall. Podcast hosts are your friends, riding along in the car with you or gossiping with you while you do the dishes. This creates a more personal connection between podcast hosts and podcast listeners.

According to recent data, almost 50% of listeners surveyed felt positively towards supporting brands in podcast ads. This personal connection between listener and host means that listeners are more willing to, well, listen when hosts read ad placements. They understand the value of supporting the brands that support their favorite podcasters. Since podcast content is free, listeners might be more willing to help their favorite shows in other ways. You’re not just another brand to listeners; you’re a brand supporting their favorite show.

Podcast Listeners Are a High-Value Audience 

Podcast listeners are a lucrative audience to tap into, and not just because they feel like they know the voices emanating from their podcast app. It turns out that podcast listeners as an audience have a high-value proposition to most advertisers. 

For instance, podcast listeners are 45% more likely to have a college degree and 68% more likely to be post-graduates. Podcast listeners are high earners, with 32% making an annual income of more than $75,000, and 45% of listeners make an annual income of more than $250,000. High salaries mean the listeners of your ads are more likely to have the disposable income to afford your product or service. 

Not only that, but podcast listeners are also tech-savvy and heavy social media users. Podcast listeners are more likely to own a smart speaker like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. They’re also more likely to be active on social media. While 81% of the population is on at least one social media platform, 94% of podcast listeners are present on social media. They’re more likely to follow companies and brands, meaning the podcast listener you convert into a customer just might be your next best brand ambassador. 

There’s an Untapped Podcast Market 

When you think of podcasts, you probably think of the big shows. Shows with high production values like This American Life, or podcast hosts that tour nationwide like Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark from My Favorite Murder. You might think you don’t have the budget to advertise on Conan O’Brien’s podcast or Critical Role, but you don’t need to have Hollywood ambitions to get in front of the right audience. 

The podcast audience is growing all the time, with 32% of Americans listening to podcasts monthly and 22% listening to podcasts weekly. In 2020, 51% of Americans have now listened to a podcast at least once. 

With all of these listeners, it makes sense that the field of podcasts is also deep and varied. There are currently over 850,000 podcasts available to cue up on a whim. In January 2020 alone, listeners could choose from more than 30 million podcast episodes. 

With this many podcasts available, it doesn’t make sense to limit yourself only to the biggest and most popular shows. Instead of blowing your whole budget, getting the brothers from My Brother, My Brother, and Me to read your ad, why not focus on smaller fish? 

Smaller shows also have a loyal audience, and often will have more organic interaction between hosts and listeners. Much like targeting micro-influencers on social media, podcasts with only a few thousand downloads per episode still have a dedicated following. Their listeners might see them as more authentic influencers with tighter ties to their fan community. Another plus of targeting podcats with smaller monthly downloads is that it allows you to advertise on more shows in your target market. 

With the podcast market continually growing and evolving, now is the perfect time to jump aboard and make podcasting advertising part of your marketing plan. You’ll be rewarded with increased brand awareness, sales, and affinity from the tight community of podcast fans ready to learn more about your business. 

What do you think? Have you tried podcast advertising? Have you found value with podcasts? Sound off in the comments! 

About Morgan Glennon

Morgan Glennon is a social media and digital marketing professional living in New Jersey who loves all animals (but mostly dogs), reading a good book, overanalyzing television shows on the two podcasts she co-hosts, and fashion. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @mojotastic.