The different types of podcast ads to use – with two surprises

Estimated read time: 5 minutes


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Podcast ads are an emerging area for content creators to monetize their podcasts or to promote their services.

Usually podcast ads are read by the host and are quick and to the point within the show. Some studies have said they are highly converting and work better than other ads.

Let’s look at some common podcast ads types and two that are new and emerging – especially with marketers who try to maximize their production and outcomes.

The pre-roll podcast ad

This ad runs right at the beginning of a podcast episode. It comes before all the content and listeners who want to listen to your show will have to listen to it or skip through it.

The advantage is that if anyone will listen to the episode they will hear this podcast ad.

Read next: What’s the difference between a podcast listen and download?

The mid roll podcast ad



This podcast ad runs in the middle of content. I use this currently to promote marketing services for businesses on my podcast episodes.

The advantage of this ad is that people are already listening to the show and may be less likely to skip through it. They may just be running the podcast audio and won’t take the time to click skip ahead 15 seconds.

Podcast ads in the written description

I saw this on a Washington Football Team related podcast. John Keim had the sponsors and their podcast ads listed in the written description:

This is a great idea and makes it easy to highlight the sponsor or a business message to the potential listeners in the written description.

Be careful with only sharing sponsor messages there; especially early on in a podcast launch. It could potentially negatively impact audience growth if people can’t figure out what the new show is about.

It’s quite hard to tell how many people actually look at this, but if there’s a trackable link with a call to action that’s one way results can be tracked.

Podcast ads within articles

I turn many of my podcasts into written articles, like this show on branded face masks.

The podcast ad message can also be listed in this article. My podcast articles often get twice as many reads as the podcast gets listens so it’s another way to make the podcast ads partnership more valuable to your sponsor.

When should you run podcast ads?

There are two types of podcast ads to consider:

  • When an external company buys space on your podcast
  • When you promote internal services or products

Example 1 includes somebody who wants to reach your audience. Podcast advertising expert Heather Osgood said on an episode of my podcast that you’ll have to have 5,000 or more listens to each episode to make this work.

Example 2 includes promoting your company’s services. That could include:

  • Professional services
  • Products
  • A book
  • A conference

Podcast ads maximization tips

I like to think of podcast ads as ads and calls to action that are part of an overall integrated strategy. Especially as podcasts are starting to grow think about how you can maximize ads – internal and external – across all channels where it makes sense.

Of course, it’s only possible when you take a Create Once, Publish Everywhere approach with the content. Consider a workflow like this

  • Livestream of podcast recording (Tools like Switcher Studio allow this)
  • Video on YouTube
  • Audio on podcast channels (after extracting audio from the video)
  • Article on website based on podcast
  • Pieces from article on social, promoted via email and through paid campaigns

If you have a ton of listeners for your podcast the podcast-only advertising model may be tempting. But if it’s taking off there why not maximize results by using the content on all the channels?

Remember that some listeners skip ahead

For hands-on users it’s easy to fast forward.

Some people are constantly on their phones and I remember a campaign on Pandora that performed best on mobile. That was because people interacted with Pandora on their phone. On desktop it’s just running.

Skipping commercials is easy.

Here’s a screen shot from Apple Podcasts:

You can easily move forward in an episode. Scrub along (highlight in image). Of course it’s hard to tell where you will end up and if you missed something you wanted to hear. The 15-second skip function is another wag listeners skip ahead.

On video platforms – like YouTube and Netflix- at least you have a visual indicator of what you are fast forwarding through.

Some of the video platforms now also restrict fast forwarding when there’s a commercial on. That will likely come to podcasts at some point.

But there’s a way for listeners to skip commercials and chit chatter they don’t like.

Some podcasters kind of encourage skipping, too, when they publish time codes:

At 2:32, we talk about what to say at the beginning of a podcast.

Of course, one goal is to get listeners the content they want. If you are running ads, another goal is to get the ads heard by the right target audience – presumably your established listener base.

Just something to keep in mind as you are considering adding commercials and use them to your advantage to make money and hopefully stay even more relevant to your audience.

And integrating the campaign across all related channels makes sense.


How ads are inserted

There are basically two ways: dynamic insertion and by episode.

By episode means once it’s in an episode it stays with that episode. Dynamic insertion means that the ads run across a network of episodes for a specific time. And once that campaign is over they stop running.



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