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An Advertiser's Guide to Successful Host-Read Sponsorships

From targeting and creative development to measurement, we offer the most advanced solutions to make your podcast campaign a success.

Simon Franklin, Digital Brand Marketing Manager
August 14, 2023

When it comes to podcast advertising, host-read sponsorships stand out as the most recognizable format. If you're a podcast listener, you've likely encountered them before.

Host-read sponsorships offer a more personalized and creative approach to commercial messaging, leveraging the influence and trust of podcast hosts that listeners have built strong connections with. If you're an advertiser looking to build credibility and awareness through podcast host-read sponsorships, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will guide you through the process of securing the best host-read sponsorships that will let the podcaster’s creativity and personality shine, while driving the results you're looking for.

Understanding the Power of Host-Read Sponsorships

Host-read sponsorships are a type of podcast advertising that are longer, editorialized commercial messages delivered by the podcasters themselves. They’re typically a 60-second ad but can run to a couple of minutes in length, and have a higher CPM rate (cost per mille or per thousand listens) because it requires the podcaster to create and record the ad themselves.

These can be baked-in ads, which means the sponsorship is stitched into the podcast episode and become outdated once the campaign has finished. However, Acast uses dynamic ad insertion for host-read sponsorships which means they’re always reaching the right audience and the right time.

The reason they’re effective is because sponsorships sound like an organic part of a podcast episode, where the podcaster puts your brief into their own words and style which makes for an engaging listening experience for the podcast’s audience —making them more likely to be engaged with the products or services the podcast host is talking about.

This allows advertisers to establish a genuine connection with the podcast listeners through the podcast host, because the host you choose to sponsor becomes a trusted advocate for your brand and delivers the message in their unique voice, often incorporating personal anecdotes or experiences.

Finding the Right Podcasts to Sponsor

The first step in creating a successful host-read sponsorship campaign is finding the right podcasts whose audience aligns with your target market. Start by identifying who your target audience is and what their interests are. Once you have your customer profiles, you can start researching podcasts to find shows that align with your product or services.

Leverage Acast's podcast network of over 100,000 shows to discover ideal sponsorship opportunities that align with your brand. We make it easy to search for shows in our self-serve advertising platform by selecting a podcast category or genre, target market and show language. If you already know the show you’re looking for, you can search for individual podcasts too.

You can find out more about each show by clicking on them. Here you’ll see information about the podcast including

  • Description
  • Links to episodes
  • Weekly listens
  • Audience demographics
  • Price to sponsor per week

You can also discover additional shows similar to the one you’re viewing in the ‘Shows with audience crossover’ section at the bottom. This is a great way to expand your sponsorship campaign to reach similar listeners.

When reviewing podcasts to sponsor, you’ll want to evaluate their content, tone, and style to determine if it complements your brand's image and messaging.  

It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t necessarily want to only sponsor the most popular podcasts. While these have large audiences, they also come with higher price tags. There are also huge untapped audiences that are also relevant outside of the top shows that you can reach at a more affordable price.

If you have a niche audience, there’s also probably a podcast out there that caters to your target audience — this is where the research is crucial.

Crafting the Perfect Sponsorship Brief

After identifying potential hosts, it's crucial to create a well-crafted sponsorship brief. Remember, the key to a successful host-read sponsorship is authenticity. Provide hosts with a detailed brief about your brand, product, or service, but allow them creative freedom to personalize the message. By giving hosts the flexibility to incorporate their personal touch, you can ensure the sponsorship feels natural and genuine.

Below is an outline of what you can include in a sponsorship brief, along with a few helpful tips.

Introducing the brand and product/service

  • Supply the podcaster with the background of the brand as well as the specific product or service you’re advertising.
  • You can include website links or additional material that will give the podcast host context for the sponsorship.

Campaign overview

  • Explain what your campaign is. What are the products/service you’re looking to have promoted?
  • How does this fit into your brand and your wider marketing strategy?
  • Is there a creative concept you’d like to explore in the podcast sponsorship?

Campaign goals

  • Tell the podcast host what you’re looking to achieve with this sponsorship, e.g. brand awareness, driving sign-ups, or getting purchases.

Key messaging points

  • Try and stick to three clear and concise bullet points for your key messages
  • Each key message point should be distinct and contribute to the complete message of the sponsorship
  • These are your non-negotiable messaging points for the podcast to include in their host-read sponsorship.
  • Include any verbatim elements — anything that should be read word for word.

Call to action

  • Outline your call to action (CTA) that the podcast must say at the end of the host-read ad.
  • There should only ever be one CTA in a sponsorship ad, you don’t want to confuse listeners.
  • If you’re running a direct response campaign, you can include the personalized promo code or coupon code for the podcast you’re sponsoring.

Example script

  • An example script isn’t always necessary but often podcasters prefer to have a template to work from when creating their sponsorship scripts.
  • Include the key messaging points and direction for when the podcaster should add their personal touch or anecdotes.
  • Make it clear that the podcaster shouldn’t read the example script verbatim, and emphasize that you want the podcast host to deliver it in their own style.

Relevant information

  • Finally, include any relevant information that should be included or will help the podcaster.
  • E.g. pronunciations of any words that may require guidance, any legal mandatories or things to avoid.

Tracking and Analyzing Results

Once your host-read sponsorships are live, it's essential to track and analyze the results. Utilize analytics tools to measure engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversion metrics. This data will help you assess the effectiveness of your sponsorships and identify areas of improvement for future campaigns. You could also communicate with the host to gather their insights and feedback, as they have firsthand knowledge of their audience's response to your sponsorship.


To sum up, host-read sponsorships offer a distinct chance for advertisers to establish genuine connections with audiences in a personal and authentic manner. By finding the right hosts, crafting compelling messages, and tracking results, you can ensure the success of your host-read sponsorships. If you want to find out more about podcast advertising, check out the ultimate guide we’ve created.

Ready to start your own host-read sponsorship campaign? Head over to our self-serve platform to get started today.

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