Podcast Ad Load is Nearing a Danger Zone


PodMov Daily: Monday, March 7

Episode 602: Your Monday Mix

Podcast Ad Load is Nearing a Danger Zone

The latest Super Listeners Study indicates that ads haven’t yet ruined podcasting. “But make no mistake — the medium isn't invincible,” writes Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. “In fact, the…data shows that we may not have fully gone off the rails, but podcasting is picking up speed in a dangerous turn.”

Those that consume 5+ hours of podcasts per week have a complex relationship with ads. Webster explains five graphs illustrating Super Listeners’ attitudes about ad quality, quantity, and effectiveness. They’re aware of a heavy increase, they pay to avoid them, and yet they’re more engaged than ever.

Host-read spots remain the holy grail, especially when messaging flows as part of the conversation. (56% of respondents even said they felt positively toward this format.) Webster is more concerned about the increase of “BAD ads” than of ads in general. There’s still room for all kinds — read on to find out why.

What Makes an Outstanding Host-Read Ad?

Today’s guest piece from Liz Horowitz has perfect timing. Some hosts have a certain “advertising alchemy,” says the Sonic Strategy Consulting founder. She’s written many in her career and can’t get enough of the craft. Here, Horowitz digs into the techniques of four hosts famous for their delivery.

Ads from Lindsay Graham, Malcolm Gladwell, Whitney Cummings, and Jordan Harbinger sound nothing alike. What they do have in common is strong individual vision. “You can and should initiate conversations to discuss personalizing scripts,” Horowitz explains. “The key is for hosts to take agency over the process.”

Getting to that point of trust – with sponsors and listeners – takes work. “You own the final product, so why not shape it into something that will incorporate your authentic voice and make an impact with your listeners?” Communicate directly with sponsors, ask questions, and keep listening to mix your own magic.

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A lack of seriousness has led to all sorts of wonderful insights.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Cash advance: YouTube is offering podcasters “grants” of $50K-300K to produce video content, such as filmed versions of episodes. Funding will start at $50K for individual podcasts and could be as high as $300,000 for networks, reported first by Bloomberg. Distribution terms aren’t yet clear.
  • Stay strong: Surrounded by sharks, small podcast companies are trying new tactics to stay afloat. Reggie Ugwu of The New York Times checks in with Rococo Punch and two other independents about “courting investors, crowdfunding on platforms like Patreon and partnering with the behemoths.”
  • Growth calendar: Wednesday at 6:00 pm CT is “March Marketing Masters,” a special panel from Pod People. For Women’s History Month, two women podcast marketing experts will cover core elements with a focus on data analytics and social media. Followed by a Q&A. Free registration.

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