A Guide to Putting Ads in a Podcast

For a primarily advertising-driven medium like podcasting, ads in the content cannot be avoided; especially when the content itself is free. However, that doesn’t mean advertising cannot be done artfully. Here, by sharing examples of four podcasts, we look into what works and what doesn’t for podcast ads. 

Ads are everywhere. Consumers prefer to spend money purchasing premium services or installing ad blocks to avoid exposure to ads. There are no two ways about it. However, podcast ads and listeners are different. 

Owing to the intimacy of the medium and the degree to which hosts can, quite literally, add their own voice to the advertisement, listeners do not avoid ads as much. Podcasting remains a medium that is, not yet, saturated with ads. 

In 2021 in the US, Edison Research’s Super Listeners Study reported that survey respondents pay more attention to podcast ads than ads on other media. (A super listener is someone who listens to 5+ hours of podcasts in a week.) However, 22% of respondents did express that there were “way too many” ads. In more informal settings, Redditors often speak of being annoyed with podcast ads. 

A truth that creators sometimes need reminding of is – your listeners are your audience and they are the reason you’re doing this in the first place.

This truth needs to be kept front and center when looking into monetization techniques, especially placing ads on podcasts. Not only can creators not afford to turn listeners off with low-effort or low-alignment ads, but most podcast ad marketplaces also require shows to maintain a certain amount of listeners to continue buying ad inventory. 

So, careful attention must be paid to what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to podcast ads. Here we lean on the After These Messages study done by Sounds Profitable in 2022, to share insights on podcast ads. 

Before we get into these, let’s get some definitions right. 

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