What you need to know about podcast advertising rates

Podcast advertising rates are calculated according to how long they are and when they’re played, and they can be steep. Find an alternative, and learn more.  
podcast advertising rates: woman recording a podcast episode

In today’s media buying landscape, podcasts have quickly become one of the most popular ways to reach audio users. In fact, 80 million Americans listened to podcasts on a weekly basis in 2021. Fifty-six percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 34 listen to podcasts at least once a month.

Obviously, there’s a huge market of podcast listeners that advertisers can (and should) tap into. So it’s only natural that you’d want to know podcast advertising rates so you can work these ad placements into your campaign.

By understanding the factors that affect pricing for podcast ads, you can reach your target audience without blowing through your available ad spend.

Why podcast ads are worth the investment

Before diving into podcast advertising rates, it might be helpful to understand why advertising on a podcast is a good idea in the first place.

First and foremost, a podcast ad is a great way to inform new customers about your products or services. According to Podcast Insights, 69% of podcast listeners report that podcast ads made them aware of a new product or service. These individuals are also more likely to subscribe to video streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime — meaning they probably aren’t going to see many (if any) TV ads.

In other words, these are people that you might be missing out on entirely if you stick with traditional TV or radio advertising.

Podcast listeners also offer some of the most highly engaged demographics you could reach with your ad spots. According to Ad Results Media, podcast ads have the highest recall rates of any type of advertising, with 86% of listeners able to remember an ad they heard. That’s more than social media and websites! 

Even more importantly, 76% also report “taking action” after hearing a podcast ad. This includes visiting the company’s landing page, making a purchase, and so on.

What are normal podcast advertising rates?

person computing rates on a calculator

The industry standard for setting podcast advertising rates is to use CPM, or cost per mille. This refers to the cost of reaching 1,000 listeners with your ad. According to AdvertiseCast, the average ad rate is currently $18 per 1,000 listeners for a 30-second ad and $25 per 1,000 listeners for a 60-second ad.

Of course, it is worth noting that the actual rate for popular podcasts can vary significantly based on the audience size (which is often measured in the number of downloads a podcast gets each week), as well as the type of ads you choose to buy.

After all, it only makes sense that a popular podcast that gets millions of listeners a week would be able to charge more than your crazy uncle who only gets a dozen people to listen to him talk about politics.

Still, by using these industry average rates as a baseline, you can see how quickly the cost of buying a podcast ad can skyrocket. If you buy a single 60-second ad on a podcast that averages 100,000 listeners, you can expect to pay around $2,500 for that single placement. If the podcast has 1,000,000 listeners, you’re now paying $25,000.

Of course, these numbers can be higher or lower depending on the type of ad you buy:

  • Pre-roll: Pre-roll ads are programmatic ads that are played before the start of a podcast. Everyone who wants to listen to a podcast is going to hear these ads. They have to if they want to hear any of the podcast! As a result, pre-roll ads are going to have a higher CPM than ads that appear later in the episode.
  • Mid-roll: As you can hopefully guess from the name, mid-roll ads are programmatic ads that are placed in the middle of the podcast. Think of these the same way you would a commercial break that shows up in the middle of a football game. Depending on how the episode is going, some people may have already tuned out by this point. However, there should still be a fairly large audience listening to the episode and your ad, especially if the podcast episode is particularly compelling.
  • Post-roll: Post-roll ads show up at the very end of a podcast episode. These programmatic ads play after the episode is completely done. Not surprisingly, there generally aren’t that many people who stick around to listen to commercials after the podcast is over. Post-roll ads tend to have a much lower rate since far fewer people are listening.
  • Host-read ads: Host-read ads aren’t part of a programmatic commercial break. Instead, they are read by the podcast host as part of the episode itself. Research from Nielsen reveals that host-read ads drive greater brand recall, purchase intent, and affinity among podcast listeners. While this makes host-read ads seem like a no-brainer choice, podcast hosts are well aware of their persuasive power. As a result, you can expect host-read ads to be much more expensive than any programmatic ad.
  • Podcast sponsorship: If you’ve got the money to sponsor a podcast, you probably don’t need to be worrying about podcast advertising rates in the first place. Sponsors have their name plastered all over a podcast episode — the main sponsor may even get themselves attached to the title of the podcast. A full-scale podcast sponsorship will typically include several mentions by the host, as well as programmatic ad placements. This costs big bucks, but it also puts the brand front and center.

Of course, the best podcast is the one that appeals to your target audience demographics. The right podcast is one that covers topics relevant to your brand’s target audience, or one that appeals to relevant demographics for your brand.

The Decibel difference

Bill Nye putting on his headphones

While a podcast advertising campaign can pay big dividends, it can cost a lot of money — quite often, more than a small agency or business can afford. Decibel provides a more affordable alternative that still ensures your ads reach those oh-so-enticing podcast listeners.

With the Decibel platform, you can write your own 30-second or 15-second ad that is fully voiced by our high-quality AI voices. You can also have your script read by a professional voice actor for a low rate of $200 per ad.

These are programmatic ads, meaning they aren’t read by the podcast host. Instead, the ads are placed at various commercial breaks by the podcast hosting platform. This allows us to provide more affordable podcast advertising rates, while also ensuring greater flexibility in ad placements.

After you’ve created your ad, you can set either a daily or lifetime budget for your campaign. Unlike other podcast networks, there is no minimum spend requirement. Our system then aggregates multiple audio sources, including podcasts and digital radio, to get your ad in front of the greatest number of users while keeping ad costs low.

Make the most of your podcast ads

podcast advertising rates: woman sorting through her money

While standard podcast advertising rates might be enough to make you faint, this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on podcast audiences entirely. When you work with Decibel, you can get programmatic ads on relevant podcast episodes without breaking the bank.

Don’t miss out on this exciting way to take your ad campaigns to the next level! Get started with Decibel today so you can reach these highly engaged audiences while still keeping your advertising costs at a manageable level.

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