How to sponsor podcasts: Find the right podcast and ad type

Before you create your sponsor podcast, you’ll need to find which podcasts your target market listens to and what ad length is the best fit for your company.
Sponsor podcasts: radio hosts talking

Depending on who you talk to, podcasts seem like all the rage these days. 

From cooking shows to relationship advice, sports commentary to current events, there are so many different types of podcasts in the market. If you can dream it, there is probably a podcast that exists discussing it, and more importantly, a devout audience consuming it.

More than 41% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, which accounts for more than 3X the total monthly listeners a decade ago. As podcasts are such a popular medium, marketers are trying to find ways to use them to promote their brands.

In this post, we’ll review everything you need to sponsor podcasts in a way that connects you with your customers and moves the needle for your business.

Why you should sponsor podcasts

Sponsor podcasts: man recording a solo podcast

Sometimes, it feels good to be the center of attention. With a podcast advertisement, engaged listeners will focus on your brand.

However, there are so many other marketing channels with engaged audiences. Why should you focus on sponsoring podcasts as opposed to other channels? 

Some of the most compelling reasons to sponsor a podcast include:

  • Increasing listenership: Podcasts are becoming a popular medium across the world.
  • Cost: Compared to other mass media tactics like billboards or broadcast commercials, podcast advertisements can reach a wide audience for a more cost-efficient price. 
  • Ease-of-setup: You can cut a podcast ad quickly or opt for a host-read ad.
  • Limited lead time: Once you have the script, you can launch your ad in a day. 
  • Credibility: Listeners often trust the show’s host, which lends their credibility to your brand.

These reasons position the medium as a popular way to engage listeners and showcase your brand in a meaningful, cost-effective way. 

With the right strategy and a little effort, your podcast sponsorship can propel your brand into the minds of captive listeners. 

Just one thing, though: How much will something like this cost?

The cost of sponsoring a podcast

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Stop reaching for your wallet, and feel free to dab the sweat dripping off your face. Podcast advertisements will not break the bank.

Instead, they are an affordable option that can drive a meaningful return for your investment. In fact, for every $1 you spend on podcast ads, research shows that you can generate an average of $2.42 return.

Podcast advertisements are often priced based on their cost per mille (CPMs) which is the cost per 1,000 listeners. The average CPM rate is $18 for a 30-second ad and $25 for a 60-second ad. These prices can fluctuate depending on available ad space, total number of downloads, and the types of podcast sponsorships.

Types of podcast sponsorships 

Sponsor podcasts: two people recording a podcast

Now that you’ve made up your mind to launch your first podcast campaign, it’s time to see how podcast sponsorships work.

First, you need to pick the type of podcast sponsorship that you want to launch. There are multiple different types of podcast advertising formats frequently used.

These types of podcast ads include:

  • Pre-roll ads: Sponsored content prior to a show. Typically, a 15-second pre-roll ad will have a $15 CPM
  • Mid-roll ads: Sponsored content in the middle of the show during a commercial break. An average 30-second mid-roll ad will have a $30 CPM.
  • Post-roll ads: Sponsored content at the conclusion of the show. A 15-second post-roll ad has an average CPM of $10.

Each type has its own benefits. With a pre-roll ad, you are reaching an eager audience who is energized and waiting for the show to begin. They’re captivated and ready to consume great content. 

Mid-roll ads are typically sandwiched in the middle of the broadcast. If the content of the podcast is compelling, you know the listeners will stick around to hear the rest of the show after the break. By doing so, they’ll hear your advertisement and learn about your business.

Finally, although post-roll ads occur at the end of the broadcast, they are a great way to include a call-to-action (CTA). This will be the last thing that the audience hears, so they’ll be more likely to remember your brand and your CTA. However, it’s important to note that there is a reason why post-roll ads are the cheapest. Some listeners will drop off in the middle of the show, leaving your advertisement playing for only the most dedicated listeners.

But how should you create your podcast advertisement? There are two main ways:

  • Host-read ads: The host reads a prepared script or talks loosely about your product or brand. There is little set-up time needed and this type of ad can be more authentic to listeners who trust the host.
  • Brand produced ads: The brand handles everything—writing, recording, editing, producing—and submits a finished product to the podcast to run.

All of this, however, is irrelevant if you don’t select the right podcast for your campaign.

How to pick the right podcast

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With so many podcasts out there, it can be daunting to pick the right ones.

However, you can take a few steps in order to ensure that your sponsor podcast finds your target audience and will be the right price.

1. Search for relevant podcasts that match your audience personas

From Spotify to Apple Podcasts, there are so many different platforms for fans to discover and digest new high-quality podcast content. As a potential sponsor, it’s up to you to comb through these directories to find podcasts that are relevant for your target audience.

Searching using relevant keywords like “sports podcasts” or “true crime” can source popular podcasts related to your business. In addition, you could ask your existing customers and followers what podcasts they are listening to via surveys and social media outreach. 

Creating customer personas and modeling your marketing tactics off of those is an impactful way to ensure that your strategy is aligned with your target audience.

2. Request a media kit

Discover information about who listens via the podcast’s media kit. This could include audience demographic data, number of downloads, social media reach, and more. 

Take a look at how many podcast episodes they’ve recorded and how many sponsors they’ve featured. This could help shine light on the legitimacy of their production and what you can expect if you sponsor it down the road.

Media kits often also include pricing information, the total number of available ad spots, podcast hosting information, and other key metrics. Digest all the information and compare it to other podcasts you’re considering for a holistic look at your options.

3. Research other sponsors who advertised on that podcast

Ask for case studies from previous podcast sponsors, or do your own digging. See about the effectiveness of their campaigns and whether or not they felt it was a good investment. 

If they are a recurring sponsor, that is usually a good sign that they are happy with their investment.

4. Review available podcast ad spots and pricing

Just because you found an ideal podcast, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit… yet.

You may find out that your dream podcast has sponsorships booked for for the next six months, tanking your big marketing launch. 

Take a look at the available inventory and make sure the type of ad is aligned with your objectives. Finally, review the pricing to see if it fits your budget. Then, you can set up your sponsorship deal and begin the campaign.

Ready to sponsor podcasts?

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It’s time to take the training wheels off and launch your first podcast sponsorship. This is an excellent way to get in front of captive listeners and introduce them to your brand. By doing so, you can engage an entirely new audience and increase brand awareness and revenue.

Get started drafting your podcast sponsorship script today with script templates or start recording your advertisement with AI voiceovers. Decibel, a full-service ad tech platform, is ready to help get your next audio campaign launched in a few clicks.  

Nervous about campaign pricing? Learn more in our next blog post, “What you need to know about podcast advertising rates.”

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