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How to track your podcast advertising results with promo codes

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
July 18, 2023

Promo codes (or direct response ads and discount codes) are often considered to be the bread-and-butter of podcast advertising and for good reason: they work. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be synonymous with the podcast advertising industry and you probably wouldn’t know about Casper mattresses, BetterHelp or MeUndies.

They’re a win-win for the advertiser and customer, with advertisers able to directly track the success of their podcast ad campaigns while offering listeners an incentive to try their product or service.

This article will give you an overview of promo codes in podcast advertising, and guide you through the process of effectively using them to maximize your return on investment.

Let’s get stuck in.

What are Promo Codes?

Promo codes are alphanumeric codes used in podcast advertising campaigns to offer discounts, incentives, or exclusive deals to listeners. These codes are typically unique to each podcast or campaign, and are provided by advertisers as a way to track the effectiveness of their advertising efforts.

When a listener hears the unique promo code in the podcast episode and decides to make a purchase, they’ll enter this code during the checkout process. This gives the customer their discount offer, and the advertiser will be able to attribute that purchase to the podcast they advertised on.

Promo codes are sometimes combined with vanity URLs or offer landing pages that make the process easier for listeners, and provide additional analytics through tracking pixels.

What are the Benefits of Promo Codes in Podcast Advertising?

Let’s dive into why promo codes and direct response ad campaigns are so popular with advertisers and why they’re effective by looking at their benefits.

Measurement, attribution, and additional metrics

A primary reason why promo codes are popular in podcast advertising is that they allow brands and businesses to accurately track the success of their campaigns. By assigning unique promo codes to different podcasts or ad campaigns, advertisers can easily determine which shows are driving the most conversions and generating the highest return on investment (ROI). Advertisers can calculate their ROI through this formula: Net income / Ad spend x 100.

You can also discover other metrics such as conversion rate (CTR) by comparing the number of downloads or listens the advert had to the number of conversions.

Metrics are crucial for advertisers in optimizing their campaigns, so a transparent view of conversions off the back of their advertising efforts is very valuable.

Higher Engagement and Conversion-driven

Promo codes can also play an important role in engaging podcast audiences and converting them into customers. When podcast hosts promote a product or service using a promo code, it creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency among their audience, especially if it’s a limited-time offer. Listeners are more likely to take action and make a purchase when they feel they are receiving a special offer or discount.

Host-read ads with promo codes are integrated into the content of the podcast, even if it’s dynamically inserted. The host will bring their own personality and style to the advertisement, which makes for a more engaging experience for the listener, making them more likely to make a purchase. Research shows that 3 in 10 people have used a promo code heard during a show.

Flexible for podcast ad formats

While promo codes are often linked with host-read sponsorships, they can actually be used across all podcast ad formats.

For example, an advertiser might be running a pre-recorded ad campaign using audience targeting, and they include a promo code and unique URL in the audio ad creative to track results from that campaign. They can also create different codes for different targeting criteria to measure which targeting performed best.

Of course, the host-read ad lends itself to more authenticity and trust in the advertised product or service, especially if the host can talk from first-hand experience about what they’re promoting. Giving each podcast host a unique promo code gives advertisers a detailed look at which show is their top-performing ad.

Promo codes can also be used in branded content, and beyond podcasts such as social media, websites, and newsletters.

At Acast and through our self-serve ad platform, both pre-recorded and host-read sponsorships are dynamic ads, which means that your ad is stitched into the podcast episode at the right time for the right people, and also can be heard across the podcast’s entire back catalog. So your latest promo code campaign can be heard no matter which episode the listener hits play on.

How to make promo codes for podcast advertising?

Promo codes are typically generated by the e-commerce platform you’re using for your business. There’s a lot of options out there but here’s a selection of the popular platforms:

Each platforms will have their own promo code creation process, so look at their help articles or give it a quick Google search. However, here’s a general step-by-step process that should apply to all platforms when creating promo codes:

  1. Create an alphanumeric promo code: This should be easy to remember and related to the podcast you’re sponsoring or a specific word or phrase related to the campaign.
  2. Decide the discount amount: How much of a discount will the promo code offer? This could be a percentage (e.g., 10% off) or a fixed amount (e.g., $5 off).
  3. Set an expiration date: Will the promo code expire? If so, when?
  4. Usage limit: Can the promo code be used more than once by the same person, or is it a one-time use code? Is the code only valid for certain products?
  5. Minimum Order Value: Does the customer need to spend a certain amount for the code to be valid?
  6. Test the Promo Code: Before you start advertising, make sure to test the promo code to ensure it's working properly. You don't want to advertise a code that doesn't work.

Remember, the goal is to make the promo code attractive enough for listeners to want to use it, but also feasible for your business financially. So consider your discounts carefully.

How to Create an Effective Promo Code Podcast Campaign?

We know that promo codes are a powerful tool for podcast ad campaign measurement and driving conversions, so what are best practices when creating codes and running direct response ad campaigns? In this section, we will discuss four key strategies to help you create effective promo codes for podcast advertising.

1. Understand Your Target Audience and Choose Your Podcasts Wisely

You need to have a deep understanding of your target audience. This goes for all podcast advertising, but especially for performance-focused campaigns using promo codes. Before starting your podcast campaign, think about your audience, customers and potential customers. Consider their demographics, interests, and purchasing behavior.

Firstly, you can tailor your promo codes discount to appeal to their specific needs and preferences. Would they prefer a percentage discount or a fixed amount? Which products will your audience be interested in a promo code for?

Secondly, you’ll want to plan your podcast campaign based off your audience research. When picking podcasts to book for host-read sponsorships, it’s crucial that you match your audience to the right podcast listeners. As we mentioned, the value of host-read podcast advertising comes through the influence of the podcaster, so having a relevant product that the podcaster and their listeners will be interested in will be a big factor in a campaign’s success.

The same goes for audience-based targeting using pre-recorded ads. Acast allows you to target listeners based of demographics and interests, so you’re still able to apply your audience research to ad campaigns at scale.

2. Make Promo Codes Easy to Remember and Pronounce

This one may seem obvious but you’ll be surprised how many advertisers may have lost out on sales due to having overly complicated promo codes. Simplicity is key when it comes to creating promo codes. Make them easy to remember and pronounce, as well as shareable. Avoid using long or difficult codes that may confuse your audience or be easily forgotten. For example, instead of using a random combination of letters and numbers, consider using a word related to the podcast, like the name of the show or the host. This will make it easier for your audience to recall and use the promo code when it comes to entering it at checkout.

3. Offer Attractive Discounts or Incentives

To entice podcast listeners to take action, you’ll want to offer an attractive discounts or incentive with the promo code. Consider the value proposition of your product or service and offer a discount that is significant enough to motivate potential customers to make a purchase. Additionally, consider offering exclusive incentives that are only available through the podcast promo code, this will give you a stronger CTA (call-to-action)to motivate listeners to make that purchase.

When creating promo codes, keep in mind that they should not only attract new customers but also encourage repeat business. Offering incentives for referrals or future purchases can help build customer loyalty and drive long-term success.

4. Think about additional placements for promo codes

A strategic way to increase the effectiveness of your promo code campaigns with podcasts is to have them included in the podcast show notes. Show notes are typically a written summary or outline of the episode's content, and they often accompany the podcast on various platforms.

By adding your promo codes to the show notes, you provide an easily accessible reference for your audience. This allows listeners to revisit the codes at their convenience, even after they've finished listening to the episode. Additionally, including relevant information about the promo codes, such as expiration dates or specific discounts, can further entice your audience to take action.

You could also have podcasters share posts to their social media channels as part of the sponsorship campaign, offering a fantastic opportunity to extend the reach of your promo codes beyond the podcast episode itself.


Hopefully you’re leaving this article a lot more informated about how promo codes are used in podcast advertising, and how you can most effectively use them to track results in your campaigns.

We learnt that promo codes bring accountable measurement and attribution to the ad campaigns you launch, giving you insight into the best performing shows and audience targeting. However, it’s still important from the outset to choose relevant podcasts that align with your target audience.

You’ll want to think carefully about the creation of your codes, including the type of discount you’ll be offering listeners. And of course, remembering to make it memorable!

So, take these learnings for your next podcast campaign and start seeing results with promo codes. Good luck!

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