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Creative Strategies for Crafting Compelling Podcast Ads that Drive Results

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

Acast Editorial Team
January 8, 2024

The listening environment of podcasting is a special place, and it demands everyone working in the medium, including advertisers, to respect that. The nature of spoken word content means that—unlike radio or music streaming, which is often listened to in the background—you have a listener’s undivided attention.

As 93% of listeners consume podcasts via headphones, brands have a rare opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with their target audience. The lean-in experience is why podcast advertising is so effective, with studies showing that 64% of listeners pay full attention to podcast ads and 95% of frequent podcast listeners have taken action after hearing them.

With all this in mind, the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility” feels appropriate—advertisers should strive to craft pre-recorded podcast ads that truly resonate with listeners and respect the environment.

In this article, we'll dive into some creative strategies that will help you craft compelling podcast ads that not only capture attention but also drive real results.

Start with a Story

Storytelling is a powerful tool in advertising, no place more so than in podcasting—the home of storytelling. We often refer to the perfect recipe for a podcast ad as having a hook, value proposition, and call-to-action. Your story is the hook that creates a relatable or entertaining narrative for listeners that captivates them from the start, rather than bombarding them with features or sales speak—where they’ll switch off or skip through.

Begin with a relatable problem or scenario that your product or service can solve. Take listeners on a journey that leads to a satisfying resolution – your offering.

Find the Right Voice

When deciding what voice to use in your ads, your first consideration is the audience you are trying to reach. If you’re promoting a new range of women’s sportswear for a target market of women around 18-35 years old, you should work with voice talent that reflects this demographic.

For pre-recorded ads, you often don’t have the benefit of having a recognizable voice (although that’s an option), so don’t overlook the importance of selecting a voice actor that best represents your brand, is relatable to your intended audience, and fits the story you’re telling.

Don’t be afraid to use that same voiceover talent for multiple different campaigns and establish them as a trusted ambassador of your brand.

The same considerations apply when choosing which podcast to run host-read sponsorships with.

Watch your Tone

Podcast listeners are savvy. They can spot an overly scripted or insincere ad from a mile away. To connect with them, aim for authenticity. Use a conversational tone, as if you're speaking to a friend—this means dropping your favorite buzzwords and industry jargon.

A good practice is to run your ad script by someone who doesn’t work in the company. Do they understand everything? If not, revise your script. We’re prioritizing clarity over cleverness in podcast ads.

Let your passion for your product or service shine through, and be genuine in your delivery.

Respect the Listening Environment

Remember, podcasts are an intimate environment and a sacred place for listeners—they’re tuning into their favorite shows to unwind, learn, and connect with their passions.

There’s no need to shout or crank the volume in podcast ads when speaking calmly is all you need to be heard. The listeners will thank you for it too.

When recording your ad, brief the voiceover artist to imagine they’re speaking to someone who’s only a couple of feet away in a quiet space, like at home in a living room. This is how the listener experiences loudness when listening to a podcast with headphones on.

Keep it Short and Sweet

A pre-recorded podcast ad is a 30-second opportunity to showcase your business to listeners in the most engaged environment. The golden rule is to keep your ad short and to the point. Most listeners don't want to sit through a lengthy commercial break. With 30-seconds of audio real estate, you’ll need to focus on the most compelling aspects of your offering.

If you have more to say, consider host-read sponsorships where podcasters can talk about your brand for longer, and personally endorse the product or service to their listeners.

Call-to-Action is Crucial

It may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how often advertisers don’t use their call-to-action (CTA) effectively.

Put simply, the CTA is the one thing you want the listener to do immediately after hearing the ad. This could be visiting a website, downloading an app, or purchasing a product. Whatever it is, make sure there is only one CTA and it is abundantly clear.

Use persuasive language that conveys a sense of urgency or exclusivity. Offer incentives through promo codes. Use a vanity URL that’s easy to remember.

Use Sound Design to Your Advantage

Podcasts are an audio-first experience, so take advantage of sound design to enhance your ad. Choose the perfect background music that fits the narrative of your ad, or captures the essence of your brand. Think about how you might incorporate sound effects that reinforce the story you’re telling. Just be sure not to overwhelm the listener – subtlety is key.

Over to You

Creativity and strategy go hand in hand. Take the time to consider the above strategies into producing your next podcast ad, so you can create something that not only captures attention but also drives results. So, go ahead, let your creativity flow, and craft podcast ads that leave a lasting impression on listeners.

Remember, the podcasting landscape is ever-evolving, so stay open to new ideas and trends, and don't be afraid to push the boundaries of creativity to stand out in this exciting advertising space.

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