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How Much Does Podcast Advertising Cost? | Complete Guide to Podcast Advertising Rates [2024]

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

Acast Editorial Team
November 20, 2023

Understanding the costs of a podcast advertising campaign can be confusing, especially when you’re new to podcast ads. This guide is here to help all those looking to get to grips with how much podcast advertising costs.

If you want the “TL;DR” (too long, didn’t read):

The average CPM (cost per mille/1000 listens) of podcast ads is between $15 to $30 for pre-recorded ads up to 60 seconds. Host-read sponsorships can cost between $25 to $40 CPM. Ultimately, podcast advertising rates vary based on the type of ad, audience size, targeting criteria, and other factors.

If you’re looking to become a podcast pro in the office, read on. This guide will give you a complete rundown of how podcast advertising rates work, the different types of podcast ads, and tips for advertisers looking to start advertising on podcasts.

Factors that Influence Podcast Advertising Costs

Several factors can influence the costs of an ad campaign, so understanding these factors can help you make informed decisions about how you prioritize your campaign objectives and efficiently use your budget.

Let’s explore the key factors that influence podcast ad costs.

Type of Advertising Format

First and foremost, the type of podcast ad that you’re buying impacts the cost. There are two main ad types in podcast advertising:

Pre-recorded ads (also known as announcer-read ads, or pre-produced ads)

Pre-recorded podcast ads are commercial messages supplied by the advertiser, usually featuring a voice-over artist and not a podcast host. Ad length typically runs between 15-30 seconds (max 30-second ad).

Pre-recorded ads cost less than host-read sponsorships, typically between $15 to $30.

At Acast, we use dynamic ad insertion for pre-recorded ads and place them into podcasts using a set of criteria called targeting. Targeting includes criteria such as campaign dates, geographic location, podcast categories, and audience demographics; which you set up before launching a campaign to determine which listeners should hear your ad or not. Adding additional targeting criteria increases the CPM of your campaign.

Ads can be placed into podcast episodes during pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ad slots.

Host-read sponsorships (also known as host-read ads, live reads, or sponsorships)

Host-read Sponsorships are longer, editorialized commercial messages delivered by the podcasters themselves. Brands and advertisers can work with podcast hosts ranging from household names to niche influencers, to deliver native and authentic audio advertising.

Sponsorships are typically a 60-second ad but can run to a couple of minutes in length, and in pricing terms have a higher CPM.

Sponsorships sound like an organic part of a podcast, where the podcaster puts your messaging into their own words and style which makes for a more engaging experience for the podcast’s audience. Sponsorship is a more premium ad product, and the price reflects that. Acast also uses dynamic ad insertion for podcast sponsorships, ensuring that ads are always timely and relevant, unlike baked-in ads.

Different podcasts have different CPM rates. Podcast sponsorships can cost between $25 to $40 CPM depending on the podcast you’re sponsoring due to audience size, demographics, and other factors.

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There are other forms of podcast advertising such as branded content, affiliates, and extensions through social media, which you can find out more about in our ultimate guide to podcast advertising.

Both pre-recorded ads and host-read sponsorship campaigns are available to buy through Acast’s self-serve ad platform.

Podcast Ad Placement

There are also different placements for podcast ads; meaning at which point of the podcast episode the listener will hear the advertisement. There are three ad placements in podcasts:

Pre-Roll Ads

Pre-roll ads usually play at the start of episodes but can be moved up to 25% into an episode by the podcaster. Pre-rolls are considered effective and typically more expensive as they have higher listener attention.

Mid-Roll Ads

Mid-roll ads can be placed in any episode that is at least 10 minutes in length. This is the most lucrative ad spot, as mid-roll ads have the best position because they are placed in the middle of an episode. During this time, listeners are often engaged in activities such as working out or doing the dishes, which makes them less likely to skip through the ad content, so they’re the most expensive ad slot.

Post-roll Ads

Post-roll ads play at the end of podcast episodes but can be moved up to 50% from the end of the episode by the podcaster. Post-roll advertisements are seen as the lowest value because many listeners tend to stop listening to the show when the episode ends, especially if they are only listening to a single episode. However, post-rolls still can be effective as people often have their hands full with their activities while listening to the podcast. They’re the most affordable of the ad slots.

Campaign targeting

How you set up your podcast ad campaign plays a role in determining advertising costs. The great thing about podcasts is that they cater to all sorts of people, niches, and industries—which is highly sought after by advertisers looking to target a specific audience. Taking advantage of these specific targeting features changes the cost, which we refer to as “dynamic pricing” on Acast’s self-serve ad platform.

With dynamic pricing, the cost varies depending on what targeting you add to your campaign. For example, a basic campaign running across the network with only country-level geographic targeting will cost around $15 CPM. If you start adding specific regions or cities, podcast categories, or Nielsen audience segments, the CPM price increases.

Here’s Acast's self-serve's dynamic pricing breakdown:

Note: Adding more or fewer options within a targeting category does not affect the price. For example: adding one podcast category costs the same as adding several.

Podcast Audience Size and Demographics

Another big factor that impacts podcast advertising costs is the quantity and quality of the podcast audience—which primarily relates to host-read sponsorship campaigns as you’re spending to reach a specific podcast’s audience.

The rule of thumb is that bigger audiences have a higher CPM, due to the increased reach and potential exposure for advertisers. However, the quality of the audience matters too. If a podcast has a smaller audience, it could also be a valuable niche or specialist group of people that advertisers would prefer to pay higher CPM rates to reach. For example, a company selling farming equipment would rather pay to reach the right audience on an industry-specific podcast, rather than a scattergun approach advertising on a general interest podcast with a large audience.

Additional Costs to Consider

Like many things in life, there are a few additional costs to be aware of. Let’s take a look at the hidden costs beyond the actual ad spend so there are no surprises.

Ad Production Costs

Creating a compelling and professional ad for your podcast campaign is crucial to capturing the attention of your target audience. Ad production costs encompass everything from scriptwriting and voiceover talent to sound editing and music licensing. Depending on the complexity and quality you desire, ad production costs can vary significantly.

To ensure your podcast ad stands out from the crowd and captures the attention of listeners, consider working with experienced professionals who specialize in podcast ad production. While this may involve an upfront investment, it can greatly enhance the effectiveness and impact of your ad, ultimately leading to better results.

Ad Attribution and Reporting Costs

Once your podcast ad is live, it's important to track its performance and analyze the results. Ad attribution methods such as pixel tracking allow you to monitor metrics such as website visits, click-through rates, conversions, and cost-per-acquisition (CPA). These insights are invaluable in assessing the success of your ad campaign and making data-driven decisions.

Pixel attribution tracking usually costs a premium on top of your CPM, however, Acast offers this to advertisers for free through our attribution partner Podscribe.

Other reporting costs may incur such as vanity URL hosting services, or services to generate promo codes.

Is Podcast Advertising Worth the Cost?

When considering any form of advertising, it's crucial to weigh the potential return on investment (ROI). After all, no business wants to invest their hard-earned money into a marketing channel that doesn't yield results. The good news is that podcast advertising has proven to be a highly effective and lucrative avenue for many brands.

Acast’s research found that 64% of listeners pay full attention to podcast ads, and 95% of frequent podcast listeners have taken action after hearing an audio ad. Podcasting is a lean-in experience unlike any other, so if you’re looking to build brand awareness and drive action, don’t overlook it.

Due to the unique listening environment of podcasting, podcast hosts develop trust with their listeners, who consider them as friends or trusted advisors. This relationship holds significant influence over their audience's purchasing decisions, presenting an effective advertising opportunity for brands and businesses.

Acast and Nielsen revealed that 63% of respondents said the host of the podcasts they listen to are trustworthy, and 80% said they trust recommendations from hosts they currently listen to.

There’s no advertising channel quite like podcast advertising, which is why smart marketers should be including it as part of their media mix.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does podcast advertising cost?

The average CPM of podcast ads is between $15 to $50. Ultimately, podcast advertising rates vary based on the type of ad, audience size, targeting criteria, and other factors.

How are podcast advertising rates determined?

Podcast advertising rates are determined by several factors. Including; type of ad format, ad placement, campaign targeting, and audience size, demographics, and interests.

What are the different podcast ad placements?

The three ad placements are pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads. These have different pricing based on their listener engagement.

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