Blog Post

Considering the Power of Host-Read Podcast Ads

11/10/2022 - Carley Wells

Consumers are increasingly utilizing digital audio, with about two-thirds of the U.S. population listening to digital audio at least once per week.  Consumers are tuning in to online platforms to stream music, listen to their favorite podcast, stay up to date on breaking news, and much more. These audiences can listen in almost any environment, whether they are at the gym, studying, at home, or even driving to work.

The rise in digital audio has opened a unique opportunity for advertisers. Consumers can be reached across various podcasts, music streaming platforms, and digital radio platforms. Now more than ever, consumers crave a more personalized experience, which is exactly what advertisers can offer with programmatic audio strategies. But is programmatic the only direction advertisers can follow? For podcasts in particular, placing pre-produced ads has been a tried-and-true strategy in the digital world. While host-read ads date back to traditional radio, they offer an added benefit of personalization to resonate with listeners, making this format valuable in your brand’s podcast advertising strategy. 

The Power of Podcast Ads

With over 2 million podcasts available, consumers have an endless supply of content to listen to. In the U.S, 57% of consumers listen to audio podcasts and this number has been on the rise over the last decade. But why are more and more people tuning in? There are a plethora of reasons, including learning about a new topic, expanding on their interests, finding inspiration/motivation, seeking entertainment, or simply to relax. These audiences are curious and passionate about the topics they are interested in, and they are often wanting to learn more. 

Advertisers have taken notice of rising podcast usage, for U.S. Podcast ad spending is expected to hit $1.74 billion in 2022, with 82% of marketers planning to continue investing the same amount or increase their investment in podcasts or other audio content. . Here are two of the most commonly used ad formats:

Pre-Produced vs Host Read Ads

Pre-Produced Ads

These ads are similar to traditional radio ads, however they are placed programmatically within the duration of a podcast rather than scheduled in advance. Pre-producedads are either host-read in advance using a script or are sponsor-produced. Advertisers opt for these ads in order to:

  • Lower production costs 
  • Further their reach 
  • Have more control over brand messaging. 

Host Read Ads

These ads are live-read by the host during the recording of a podcast. The ads then become a permanent component of the podcast episode and do not require a set script, but are rather spoken in the verbiage of the host. Host-read ads are effective in a number of ways, for they:

  • Appear more authentic to the listener
  • Don’t disrupt the flow of the podcast 
  • Lead to a higher brand recall than pre-produced. 

So which format is more effective? The simple answer is that both can be beneficial for your brand with the proper research and placement. However, because host-read ads are more expensive than pre-produced, landing a podcast with a host that resonates with your audience will give you the biggest return on your investment. 

The role of the host

In the case of host-read podcast advertisements, the host acts as a type of influencer that consumers listen to and trust. When consumers hear that their favorite podcast host is using a certain product or service, consumers have a higher recall of the ad and may be more inclined to purchase. Here are the benefits of using a host:

Benefits of Host Read Ads

1. Hosts are established in the influencer space. 

The host needs to have a familiarity with the audience space in order for the ad to be effective. The host is engrained in a genre or niche group of people that share similar interests and are curious to learn more about a topic. 

2. Ads become more personalized

Similar to influencers, podcast hosts are sharing their knowledge on a particular subject. Most podcast episodes can be described as conversational and form an intimate setting with the listener. Once the host speaks the ad, it can remain in the same tone as the episode itself. Although the advertiser provides the direction of the ad, the host gets to control the message and essentially be the spokesperson for your brand that is trusted by the listeners. 

3. Host-read ads drive consideration. 

Host-read ads have been found to have a higher emotional connection with listeners than a pre-produced ad. That being said, using a longer form, host-read ad to tell a story about the product/service would be beneficial to drive consideration of the brand. This allows advertisers to go upwards of 60 seconds for an ad instead of the standard 30 seconds. 

Getting started with host-read ads

It’s important to recognize the drawbacks when it comes to purchasing host-read ad space. Because there is limited inventory available, host-read ads often require a premium buy. Another drawback is a smaller reach in comparison to placing pre-produced ads. Lastly, you will have less control over your message as the host ultimately controls what is being said. Knowing these considerations, here are the steps in creating your host-read podcast advertising strategy:

1. Do a deep-dive on your audience

Because ad space is limited, it is crucial to understand exactly where your audience is and what they need. What do they value? What are they curious about? This will allow you to identify adequate targeting strategies to gain awareness and drive consideration for your brand. 

2. Find the right digital partner

When looking to purchase host-read ad space, you should pair with a capable partner that has access to several podcast networks . This allows you to choose different hosts across networks instead of having to do 1-off buys. With more access comes a higher chance of landing your preferred podcast and host.

3. Use timely messaging

Considering the shelf life of a host-read ad, it’s important to incorporate blended buys in your podcast advertising strategy. If you are producing a host-read ad for a promotion or discount, the ad will become dated if the consumer listens at a later date. By purchasing both types of ads, you are able to quickly switch out pre-produced, programmatic ads within certain podcasts while using host-read ads for a larger campaign push (i.e. holidays, sporting events, etc.). The timeliness of your host-read ad will allow the message to better resonate with consumers. 

Are you interested in learning more about adding Digilant’s digital audio solutions to your media mix to finish strong in 2022? Let’s talk. 

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