For me, podcasting is an investment in the community behind my website and not a direct revenue stream. I have always resisted podcast advertising because I don’t want it to cheapen the community-oriented nature of the podcasting medium. But lately I have been softening that view.
How Much Is a Podcast Ad Worth?
Fortunately, there is an industry standard for podcast advertising. The standard is $18 for a pre-roll ad and $23-25 for a mid-roll advertisement.
A pre-roll ad is a 15 second spot at the very beginning of the podcast that says something like, “This podcast is sponsored by Bob’s Unicycle Shop. Bob’s Unicycles specialize in unicycles for everyone!”
The mid-roll is generally more free-form. If you’ve listened to talk radio, you know what a mid-roll sounds like. Rush Limbaugh will tell you during the middle of his show that he loves his Sleep Number bed and tells you a little anecdote about how he goes to bed dreaming of what overblown drama he can stir up on the radio the next day, and then makes the pitch for the Sleep Number bed.
A mid-roll advertisement is usually about 60 seconds long. The advertiser will provide you with a script or at least the main talking points and then invite you to free form part of it to make it sound more authentic.
How Much Money Can You Really Expect to Earn from a Podcast Advertisement?
Most podcasters require that an advertiser order both the pre-roll and mid-roll for each show. So that’s $18 + 25 = $43 (US) per thousand downloads of your podcast.
Podcasts can vary dramatically in terms of listenership, but a good baseline is that for a smaller or newer show you’d see around 2,000 downloads per month.
Most podcasts that are reasonably active in publishing frequently and have a decent listenership get around 6,000 downloads per episode.
A show doing well in iTunes may see 15,000 downloads per episode all the way up to 75,000 downloads per episode.
My show gets around 24,000 downloads per episode, so two advertisements would bring in $1,978 per episode. That means if I release two episodes per week and have two advertisers per show (typical), my show would earn $15,824 per month.
How Do You Find Podcast Sponsors?
There are three ways that you can run your sponsorships: (1) By finding the advertisers through your podcast host, (2) By selling the ad spots yourself, or (3) Waiting for advertisers to come to you.
Podcasts hosts such as Libsyn and Blubbry often contact shows hosted on their service with advertising opportunities. Generally, they only do this if your show fits in the genre of podcasts that an advertiser is interested in or if your show is receiving a large number of downloads. The benefit to selling your ad spaces this way is that the advertising is coordinated through the host, but the downside is that they take a cut of the sale. How much of a cut do they take? I don’t know. When I was contacted in the past I was not told how much of a cut they were taking out of the total sale, only what my cut would be.
You can always sell the advertising spots yourself, but it can be a significant amount of work to find a sponsor. I would recommend if you want to go this route to listen to other podcasts in your niche and see who the advertisers are and then contact the public relations or marketing team from that company to see if they are interested in sponsoring your show. Many people are unfamiliar with what a podcast is and how it works, so finding an advertiser that already spends ad dollars on podcasts is usually easier. Also, keep in mind sponsors that may not be niche-specific, but which advertise regularly on podcasts (such as Squarespace, Audiobooks.com, Audible, Legalzoom, etc).
Last, you can always wait for advertisers to come to you if you are not in a hurry to sell your ad spots. If your show ranks well in iTunes, they will likely come knocking at some point. I have been contacted a few times from advertisers that simply found the show and asked about advertising on it.
What Tips Do You Have for Choosing an Advertiser?
Having listened to tens of thousands of podcasts over the last 6 years, and having been a podcaster for many years, I must warn you that advertising done wrong can destroy a listener base. Consider the following suggestions:
(1) Only advertise for companies related to your niche. Advertising for companies such as payday loan companies or online casinos is generally frowned upon by many listeners, and if it is not related to your topic, could be a significant disruption from the show.
(2) Limit your podcast advertisements to two per episode. I have never found a podcast that I could listen to long-term that has more than two advertisements in a show.
(3) Listeners can smell B.S. from a mile away. If you can’t whole-heartedly recommend a company or if you don’t use it yourself, your listeners will smell it out. Before you promote, learn to love the product or service. If you can’t, then find a new advertiser.
If you are ready to start your podcast, be sure to check out my podcasting gear recommendations. It will likely save you several hundred dollars from what other bloggers are recommending, and in my opinion, the setup I recommend produces as good or better audio quality.
And if you’re ready to take your podcast to the next level, check out Podcast Advance! This is a product that we’ve put together to teach you how to make your podcast look and sound professional, and we give you even more details about how to get podcast advertisers and earn close to $2,000 per episode!
How Do You Get Enough Downloads to Attract Advertisers?
I’ve spent years building up my podcast network. I have shows now that consistently rank in the top 2 or 3 in my category, and even in other competitive categories such as the technology section.
One of the things that has DRAMATICALLY increased the number of downloads I’m getting is releasing my shows in multiple formats. Now, all of my shows are released as audio podcasts, youtube videos, and also as Facebook Live events. This nearly tripled my downloads overnight when I made this switch, yet I’m not seeing ANYONE else online who is using this strategy.
I’ve put together a 3.5 hour audio course where I show the exact strategies I’m using to build up my podcasts. This is NOT a basics tutorial on just “how to make a podcast.” You can get that for free on Youtube. These are the tips and tricks I use to attract advertisers and earn a full time living from my podcasts and sites.
Check out Podcast Advance here. It’s a brand new product and frankly I just want people to be able to USE what I put so much work into, so I’ve priced it way too low. I’m excited by the new product and decided to price it kind of ridiculously low so that it can get out there and hopefully get people to know, like, and trust Income School. Hope you enjoy it.