From the multiple channels available to mass marketers, acquiring customers through a podcast is often underestimated. Brands like Dollar Shave Club, Squarespace, and ZipRecruiter have used podcast advertising for user acquisition for years. However, it is still a channel that operates under the radar. If you are interested in learning about how to use this medium, iTMunch has a few effective tips for you. Keep reading to find out.

If you need to test in a channel where initial adopters are rewarded with both attractive CAC and range, here is what you want to know:

  1. Podcast advertising is used successfully as a direct-response channel with CAC on a level with other consideration-stage activities. It is not just for information.
  2. Podcast range is perfect, reaching 51% of US viewers aged 12+ monthly.
  3. Ads read by hosts work better than recorded “programmatic” ads. 
  4. Tracking and testing the channel is both tougher and more expensive as compared to most of the digital channels.

Who hears, who advertises, and why worry?

Podcast audiences are a sought after group – the audience leaning towards education; basically, new adopters with a significant household income. 

You can see this profile elsewhere, but what makes podcasts different is that they are willing to use that precise content time. 

The host becomes an active voice to give them not only exciting stories but knowledge on companies as well.

Usually, podcast sponsors are newcomers or start-ups, and the podcast ad may be the first time the audience has learned about that company. 

Having the first touch with customers be from a thorough, personal, and often funny host-read communication is valuable and benefits brands to jump over the credibility barrier. 

Match that to an impersonal banner ad, and customers would choose a podcast ad all the time. 

Even though the word ‘podcast’ was coined in 2004, advertising in the medium has erupted in the last five years. The IAB has been following podcast ad income since 2015, when the whole medium produced $105.7 million in ad sales. Recently, it released its third study of podcast ad income, which evaluated the US market at $479 million in 2018, with growth-stimulating to a predicted $1 billion+ by 2021.

Andreesen Horowitz did an amazing investor profile on the area earlier this year, which includes a valuable rundown of the holistic ecosystem, from hosting mechanisms and programs to the speed of podcast monetization.

Historically, the medium has been ruled by a mix of entertainers doing their own thing, radio entities simulcasting sports shows, and differently popular displays that had a loyal niche following relative to separate mediums. 

Many advertisers got podcast ads as an expansion of their other audio acquisition campaigns.

Podcasts reach mainstream

Then Serial came on, in 2014, splitting into popularity and pop culture. They worked a MailChimp ad that had someone mispronouncing the name of the firm as “MailKimp,” which was a hilarious inside joke for those in the know. Co-founders of Public Media Marketing, Nina Cwik, and David Raphael, explained the initial conversation around this present iconic spot.

While considering a launch sponsorship with sponsors, there wasn’t a large amount of interest in taking a chance on a new show even with the marvelous This American Life provenance. 

MailChimp was allocated to assisting Serial. 

The skilled production team at Serial and This American Life designed Mailchimp, and the sponsor was rewarded for believing in the show. Along with this, they were rewarded for becoming a launch sponsor of one of the most flourishing podcasts in history.

Also, once Serial and the medium itself developed, a friendly role of Serial host Sarah Koenig and the MailKimp joke ultimately made its way into a Saturday Night Live skit. 

Serial also attracted to a female audience, assisting in bringing new audiences into the channel, and podcasters and advertisers followed.

Over the past five years, the area has expanded. 

We now notice so many different shows with all tastes of true crime, news, and political take that you don’t listen to the broader media picture. Women have started discussing almost everything under the sun; thanks to comedy and pop culture pods such as Bodega Boys, Who? Weekly, and RuPaul: What’s The Tee with Michelle Visage, and more. There are exceedingly many shows to talk about; there are over 750,000 shows listed by iTunes.

Actionable tips for your business

Start with a high yet doable budget and take your time

We encourage companies to begin with a test spend that you think is necessary for the context of your other consumer acquisition efforts.

Initial tests in the channel that are well-diversified typically differ from $50,000 to $150,000 in media cost. 

If you under-invest, you have the risk of a so-called negative, i.e., you didn’t pay enough to verify performance. Or a false positive; when you buy small shows, one or two sales might payback. 

If you execute media decisions at scale based on that information, you may find yourself in deep water. 

If the uncertainty of testing a new channel and having a hole in your CAC is too great, we suggest you drain other channels, like Facebook, before hopping into the podcast area.

Podcast gives advertisers a moderate barrier to enter. Creative production is restricted to producing copy tips for hosts to use as they record their ad views. 

However, it is very standard for digital channels and could take weeks to set into place. Most of the buying is done through a show’s sales representation or system, by calls and emails, and set in advance. It involves RFPing, multiple network associates, doing analysis and outreach to autonomous shows, gathering rates and assessing the content, and ultimately making choices based on budget and inventory availability. 

This is known as the media puzzle – making it certain that the perfect shows, with favorable pricing, are ready when you need them to be. 

This could take time and some back and forth with your network rep to place in stone, so give yourself some room to plan.

Ensure your host’s personality shines through

The audience is there for the hosts-they relate to them, laugh with them, or laugh at them. They begin to expect a performance from them, and usually, that performance leads into the ad reads.

Senior Vice President of Business Development for Rooster Teeth, Alan Abdine, said that the best ads are the ads that are pure, natural, and start from the voice of the show talent. When brands let our hosts be themselves, there are more possibilities for entertaining side stories and analysis associated with the brand. He proceeds to say that his belief is if an advertiser is ready to spend money to reach out to the audience, then let him be the expert on that audience and let him use his voice to give their message and speaking points. They will always get much better outcomes in that scenario.

Podcasts help in acquiring customers | iTMunch

Estimate the response

Ads nearly always end in some call to action, like using the show’s promo code to save money or visit a URL to receive a free trial of a product and more. It is a way for shows to receive credit for their audiences taking some action, usually a purchase, similar to hearing the ad.

And it is how advertisers can understand if their ad expenses are paying back, too. Along those lines, Hoggatt was glad to see how close response the channel could be. He was amazed at the lift in site visits and follow-on orders that relate so similar to when their podcasts drop. 

Customers have been accustomed to hearing that call to action at the end of an advertisement so they can measure a direct response in the channel.

That isn’t to state podcast advertising should replace a highly effective channel like funded social or paid search in your prepaid marketing testing preferences. 

We usually ask advertisers data about their overall CAC or CPA from other funded marketing efforts like Facebook or Google advertising and apply that data to benchmark target CAC for the podcast.

Why can’t we use measurement methods from different mediums?

Even though podcasts are digital audio, we cannot track conversions digitally. 

Unlike television, where you can utilize spot-based attribution, or radio, you can gain consistent ad exposure. However, according to average quarter-hour (AQH) numbers, there is a setback in both downloads of an episode and media consumption.

For advertisers, that indicates performance comes in overtime, and it needs a minute to develop reach and frequency (R/F). 

You may notice very little activity for the first or second week of a campaign. And then, as R/F increases and crescendos, you will see conversion activity pick up. That is when you can begin to get a stable picture of the return on ad spend (ROAS).

How to make the most of other audio acquisition opportunities

Positive signs in podcast campaigns can also mean that other audio channels may be ready for testing, which can help expand your marketing mix and reduce the stress on individuals channels. 

Hoggatt says his achievement in podcast advertising showed that it is possible to invest in offline channels and see measurable success.

SiriusXM and streaming programs, whether pure play like Pandora or Spotify, or aggregators like Westwood One and ESPN, are excellent next moves for advertisers who see the best signs in the podcast.

The podcast scene is the perfect platform to play in to study more about how your brand operates in offline media and enables there to be a stepping stone into different mediums.

Be good hosts

We understand that podcast advertising can have a great impact on the marketing mix for businesses of all sizes. As more and more players get included in the area, it helps everyone get involved, from advertisers to networks to marketers. Considering this competition and ever-increasing involvement of different parties, it is rare to find good hosts who can do everything. This is why you should be excellent hosts of one of the last left mediums on earth with limited inventory and listeners who genuinely respond to ads. 

And along the process, we hope to improve the way people think about conventional offline media channels. Like how they can be taken to high growth performance measures, and where they meet with popular digital growth tactics like paid social.

You will have to get inventive, but with some support and patience, and adherence to best practices, you can get essential benefits and consumer acquisition, and scale from podcast advertising campaigns.

Now that you have a clear understanding of how and why podcasting has become the go-to platform for advertisers let’s look at how you can leverage this medium for your business. Mentioned below are a few tips to help your business get started and scale-up.

9 points growth marketers must do when getting started:

  • Build the team and time required to perform a campaign, whether in-house or via a partnership with a subject matter specialist like a consultancy or agency
  • Master the language of podcast advertising, words like download carry a lot of things and knowing them can affect your campaign’s performance
  • Budget your primary tests properly to avoid a false negative or positive outcome
  • Have a clear mind on show choice; make sure you test over various genres and formats
  • Measure direct and indirect action, to triangulate performance and market impact, and make optimizations and arrangements on renewals
  • Support, don’t choke, the character of the show hosts
  • Get comfy becoming creative, and take time to onboard hosts
  • Keep an eye out for new opportunities, not only in the podcast but in additional audio channels as well
  • Be a great partner to shows, networks, and others in the area

Podcasts | iTMunch


There you have it- every little detail you need to know about customer acquisition by using podcasts. Indeed, there are various mediums out there, tried and tested, for you to get new customers. However, by using the latest and the most effective one, can take your business to newer heights. So, what’s stopping you from leveraging a podcast?