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How to put together the perfect audio ad

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

Elana Gurevich, Product Marketing Manager
January 30, 2023

A podcast ad is a 30 second opportunity to showcase your business to listeners in the most engaged environment. With full creative control, you have the opportunity to capture an audience’s imagination through an intimate medium, at scale.

New to podcast advertising and don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. This guide is meant to help you understand what makes for a great audio ad, with best practices and examples to guide you through the whole creation process. 

Podcaster looking to run a trailer or promo for your show? Check out this guide instead.

Start with a plan

Before writing your ad script, you should put together a plan for your campaign. It should answer the following questions: 

  • Your Business Objective: Why are you running a podcast ad? Is it for brand awareness? Driving web visits or purchases? What type of conversion are you looking for? Are you looking for a direct response?
  • Target Audience: How broad is the audience you want to reach? Are you trying to reach a new customer? What podcast categories are popular with that demographic?
  • Key messaging: What is the problem your business is solving for and how do you solve it? What is the key takeaway you want your audience to remember? 
  • Budget: What is your total ad spend? What cpm are you targeting?
  • Metrics: How will you measure success? Measuring the impact of podcast advertising requires a different approach due to its audio-first nature.

Your campaign objective will determine how you target listeners, which attribution methods are best, and what calls to action you should use. Some popular attribution methods include: 

  • Coupon codes: Offering a unique code that can be redeemed at checkout 
  • 3rd Party Tracking: Using pixel-based attribution tags from supported vendors to measure conversion and brand uplift. To learn more about 3rd party pixel tracking, click here. This is a good option for tech-savvy advertisers looking for more granular performance data (such as CPA) and access to a real-time dashboard.
  • Vanity URLs: Telling listeners to visit a unique URL or landing page (that you are only using for podcast ads). Just make sure the URL is short and easy to both pronounce and remember.

Understanding the basics of podcast ads

Podcast advertising is unique because of the way that listeners consume the content. A great ad is one that adapts to the environment - it should speak directly to the listener, just like their favorite host does. 

Word count: Less is more. Aim for 60-70, this is the average length required for a 30-second ad with a few short pauses built in. 

Clarity over cleverness: Simplicity is key. Avoid using complicated jokes and gimmicks. The more straightforward you are, the better. 

Tone: Be conversational and friendly. Podcast listeners are already engaged, so unlike with radio ads, there is no need for a shouty announcer. Think about what your target audience is listening to and try to match the energy of the surrounding content. 

For example: if you’re advertising on podcasts in the Business category, you should lean towards a more informational tone whereas if you are advertising in the comedy vertical, you could be more casual. 

You want to make your business easy to remember. And while it’s tempting to pack your script with tons of information, you should aim for short, concise sentences that clearly outline the benefits. Avoid run-on sentences and don’t rush. Don’t forget to leave space for silence - a rhetorical pause can emphasize your message.

Write your ad copy

Great creative is critical for a successful ad campaign. Luckily, there are tried and tested formulas to help you lay out your messaging. 

Podchaser recommends using the following structure, “Start with an attention grabbing opening, establish the problem that your product solves, then spend the majority of the advertising time offering a solution, and finally you need a strong call to action.”

Opening: The first few seconds of your ad are crucial for capturing podcast listeners’ attention. Use a strong opening line, question, story, or personalized greeting to draw listeners in. Address the listener directly. Remember that podcasting is a one-to-one — not one-to-many — medium. And don’t forget to include your brand name early on.

The Pitch: This is where you convince the listener that your business can solve a specific problem. Once you’ve laid out the problem from the listeners’ point of view, focus on the positive results or solutions that your product offers. Focus on a single problem and, if there are multiple benefits, list 2-3 of them at most. 

Call-to-Action: Your ad needs a clear call to action at the end, such as "visit our website to learn more" or "use promo code XYZ at checkout." This will give listeners a clear next step to take if they're interested in learning more about your product or service.

Some examples of CTAs include: 

  • Learn more at [Vanity URL]
  • Text code to [phone number]
  • Get 50% when you use code XYZ at website
  • Mention this ad in store for X% off
  • Download
  • Sign up at..
  • Shop now

Before you move on to recording, read the ad copy out loud, time yourself, and get a feel for how your ad rolls off the tongue. Clunky phrasing or no space to take breaths should be immediately noticeable. Keep an eye on the length too - the whole thing should be no longer than 30 seconds, otherwise your ad will get cut off. 

Looking for inspiration? Listen to some podcast ads below:

Recording the ad

To bring your script to life, you have two options - record the ad yourself or hire a professional. However you choose to create your podcast ad, make sure that the final product also meets the technical specs.

DIY ad recording

  • Record the ad yourself: If you have a smartphone with a good microphone, you can record your own ad. Just make sure to speak clearly and use a quiet, echo-free space to record. Use a confident voice to convey your message and avoid monotone or robotic delivery. Your tone, volume, and pace should remain consistent throughout.
  • Use free audio editing software: There are several free audio editing software programs available, such as Audacity, that you can use to edit and polish your ad. 
  • Background music and sound effects help communicate the mood around your message, but use them sparingly so they don’t distract from your main message
  • If you’re using music, make sure that it is not copyrighted!  
  • Use an AI voice generator: Companies like Murf.ai, Well Said Labs, and Play.ht use AI to transform text into realistic-sounding voice overs. This is a great, cost-friendly alternative to hiring a professional voice actor. 
  • Test your ad: Before you finalize your ad, test it out on a few people to get their feedback. This can help you identify any areas that might need improvement and ensure that your ad is as effective as possible.

Hire a professional

  • Hire a freelancer from a service like Fiverr: There are many freelancers on platforms like Fiverr who can produce a professional-sounding podcast ad for a relatively low cost. Whether you need voiceover artists or sound editors, there is no shortage of platforms to connect with them. Just be sure to read reviews and ask for samples of their work before hiring someone.
  • Work with a production company: 
  • Acast partners with a number of global agencies that can help produce a professional ad. 
  • Acast Ad Services: Acast offers full audio ad production including talent sourcing, scripting, recording, and editing. Fees range from $500 USD depending on requirements. To commission an ad, start by filling out this form

Podcast advertising was ranked as the most effective online media channel by Kantar. From driving mass awareness to converting a highly targeted, niche audience -  podcast advertising can do it all. And while the top global advertisers have been taking advantage of podcast advertising for years, Acast’s self-serve platform finally unlocks this medium for advertisers of all sizes. 

Let’s discuss how we can help you achieve your business objectives
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