Blog Post

How to Overcome Podcast Advertising Challenges and Maximize its Power

12/13/2021 - Sierra Ducey

Podcasts advertising has taken the world by storm.

Why? A few important reasons. The first is the ability to connect to a growing, diverse, and highly engaged listener base. Listeners consume, on average, eight podcasts each week. The medium gives people a break from visual screens and can go with them wherever they are, whatever they’re doing.

Podcasts also offer a format primed for authentic, effective connection. Podcast listeners can’t employ ad blockers, and 78% of listeners approve of podcast sponsorships because they make the connection that advertising funds the content they value so much. Beyond that, podcasts are brand-safe environments because they allow advertisers to choose the precise context in which their ad is placed.

One other strategic advantage of podcast advertising is its precise targeting capabilities. The pool of podcast options is seemingly endless and spans basically every topic and interest. This presents brands with an incredible opportunity to align their ads with a hyper-relevant podcast or host, knowing that the stronger that alignment, the more interested the audience will be in the product or service. Even further, they can target podcast ads by device type, language, location, consumption type, age, and genre.

Challenges of Podcast Advertising

But as with anything, podcast advertising isn’t perfect. As this is still a newer medium in the digital advertising world, advertisers are ironing out a few challenges when using the format to promote their messages:


People listen to podcasts on their phones, smart speakers, tablets, computers, and cars. They may even listen on different streaming platforms, ranging from Spotify to Stitcher to Apple Podcasts. For advertisers, it can be tricky to do cross-device targeting and holistically measure the success of their campaigns across these different devices and channels.

Host-read vs. Pre-Recorded

Podcast listeners feel a direct connection to an ad and a brand when the podcast host reads the message. It creates an intimate, authentic environment. The problem with this, though, is that there are only so many opportunities for this kind of ad buy. Advertisers can supplement host-read podcast ad buys by also doing programmatic prerecorded ad spots. But finding the right balance between the two and creating the same kind of authentic connection can be difficult.

Unique Format Production

When advertisers choose to make prerecorded ad spots, they often do so with some creative hesitancy. Unlike video or other digital ad types, prerecorded podcast ads have a unique sound quality that makes them largely exclusive to podcast advertising formats and almost impossible to use across different channels. This can make advertisers hesitant to jump in because they don’t know how to go about creating the ad itself.

Over-Reliance on Audience Targeting

When it comes to podcast advertising, advertisers have primarily been relying on audience targeting, which mostly focuses on the audience’s demographic makeup, even though this presents them with a limited reach. It drives them to create ads based on what consumers are listening to, not who they are. While audience targeting is certainly valuable, it shouldn’t be a standalone solution. Rather, advertisers should use contextual targeting to understand consumers’ interests and behaviors and then create ads based on those things. This is what will ultimately allow them to embrace and expand their audience.

Overcoming Podcast Advertising Challenges

Although challenges do exist for advertisers, they’re by no means insurmountable. And it’s important to note that none of the challenges is outside the norm: With the explosive growth of podcasts and the advertising format they offer, growing pains are to be expected.

As advertisers forge ahead and continue to harness the power of podcast advertising, here are three best practices to keep in mind:

1. Embrace new and improved measurement solutions.

The podcast advertising industry continues to grow and change, and new attribution and measurement solutions continue to enter the market. AdsWizz, for example, offers a powerful attribution pixel that works with Tapad’s cross-device solution to track conversions from listeners who switch devices before taking action on a landing page or website. Together, these tools enable advertisers to track conversions across multiple devices, glean accurate insights into campaign performance, make data-informed decisions to optimize their campaigns, and gain a holistic view of each consumer journey.

2. Work with a trusted strategic partner.

To most effectively use measurement tools, walk through the creative process, and reap all the benefits that podcast advertising has to offer, work with a trusted, strategic partner. It can be overwhelming to choose from a variety of podcast advertising formats and then craft creative messages for each. A partner can outline which formats are best for your brand and your goals and even provide access to voice actors who can help you record and produce those ads, too. At Digilant, we provide our clients the ability to send up to three script reads to be recorded as 15- to 60-second ad spots with optional royalty-free music.

3. Consider podcast networks vs. direct-buy ads.

If you’re struggling to measure your podcast ad performance across platforms, consider the benefits of going direct to platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify versus the benefits of tapping into designated podcast networks like PodcastOne or AudioBoom, which provide inventory to reach your target audience as they listen to podcasts across different platforms including Apple, Pandora, Spotify, and more. At Digilant, we have partnerships with digital audio vendors that allow our clients to scale their podcast ads across different platforms. This allows our clients to reach listeners no matter where they tune-in, while also avoiding unified measurement to avoid platform silos.

Ready to harness the power of podcast advertising?

At Digilant, we provide strategic, creative partnerships to advertisers across industries as they navigate digital advertising, including podcast and digital audio advertising solutions. To learn more about how we can help you execute effective, relevant podcast advertising for your brand, get in touch today.

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