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Podcast Advertising: The Ultimate Guide

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

Carla Travers Cleaver, Global Senior B2B Marketing Manager
July 28, 2022

There’s no two ways about it: podcast advertising works. And, whether you’re looking for bang for your buck, listener attention, or to follow in the footsteps of household-name brands, podcast advertising has it all.

This written guide will give you everything you need to get started planning your first campaign.

The benefits of podcast advertising

There’s a reason the IAB and PWC predict that podcast advertising will soon be a $2bn industry in the US, and £54m in the UK. Podcast consumption has continued to increase over time, which has led to more advertisers having the confidence to test the channel, run effective campaigns, and reinvest in the medium.

Here are some of the key benefits of media buying in podcasts, and why advertisers should continue to invest:

Podcast advertising prioritises user experience

Podcast ads are consumed in the same, effortless way as the content of a podcast episode: simply through listening. Unlike ads on many other mediums, they require no additional input from listeners like scrolling, clicking, or even moving your eyes — factors that cause friction and render ads less effective.

They also leverage the listener’s trust in the host or show they’re listening to. Host-read ads, for example, speak to listeners in the same voice and manner they’re hearing throughout an episode. They provide a seamless shift from editorial to commercial and back.

Podcasts also tend to have a lower ad load than similar mediums, so there’s far less clutter — and ad breaks usually focus on a single brand, which means an advertiser doesn’t need to fight for their message to be heard.

At Acast, we recommend a maximum of three ad breaks per episode, at an average of around three minutes per hour of podcast content.

Podcast advertising is more dynamic

Advertisers can also make their own ad creative that’s not read by the podcast host, which can then run across a whole catalogue of shows. Dynamic insertion allows custom creative to change based on location, time of day or other signals, which means advertisers can serve limited-time offers.

While video ads can be expensive and time-consuming to create — not to mention difficult to customise — audio is far simpler to produce and easy to iterate on.

Podcast advertising means your listener can go hands-free

Unlike other mediums where eyeballs need to be fixated on the screen to guarantee viewers are paying attention, audio leaves the listener free to do something else at the same time — such as going for a walk or cleaning the house.

And, instead of ads being a hindrance or distraction, such activity is actually proven to make listeners more receptive. Keeping the brain occupied enhances the brand’s ability to cut through, according to a BBC Global News study.

The effectiveness of podcast advertising

There’s plenty out there that explains exactly how effective podcast advertising can be. Here, we’ve collated the most important learnings we’ve found while working with our research partners — outlining how podcast advertising can be one of the most effective mediums for brands and advertisers:

Podcast advertising gets attention

The level of attention podcasts attract is even more impressive when you compare it to another, more traditional audio medium: radio. In our research with Mumbrella, respondents said radio is more likely than podcasts to be listened to as “background noise”, while podcast listeners are more likely than radio listeners to actively try to reduce distractions before hitting ‘play’.

It’s the same when it comes to some of the other traditional mediums too. While many consumers face ad fatigue across music streaming and television, the same can’t be said for podcasts. The same report from CUMULUS MEDIA found that, of 10 tested advertising mediums, podcasts were the one where consumers were least likely to avoid ads.

In Acast’s own research with Nielsen, 60% of listeners said they pay attention to the ads in a podcast, and 25% said they pay attention to every or most of the podcast ads they hear. Podcasts also rank second — and first versus all other forms of audio — when it comes to how immersed listeners are when engaging with the medium, showing the engagement, attention and focus this medium can bring.  

Podcast advertising motivates people to take action

The key takeaways of our research with Nielsen highlighted that there was a significant increase in the number of listeners taking action after hearing an ad:

  • 30 million visited a website for more information after product advertised, up 32% vs 2019
  • 17 million visited a website to purchase or order a product advertised, up 44% vs 2019
  • 1.3 million called a telephone number provided in an ad, up 25% vs 2019
  • 4 million visited a retail location to get more information about a product advertised, up 14% vs 2019
  • 4 million visited a retail location to purchase product advertised, up 36% vs 2019

Podcast advertising is a trusted medium

Luckily for advertisers, podcast advertising is considered more trusted than other media channels. A Magna Global study illustrated that 48% of UK listeners said they trust podcast hosts more than hosts of other traditional media, including radio or TV shows. A recent Guardian study also found that trust levels increased from 45% to 63% when podcasts were added to a brand’s media mix.

One of the most important learnings from our research with Nielsen is just how much our listeners trust podcast advertising. 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.

In fact, podcast hosts are almost as trusted for recommendations as family (85%) and friends (84%) — that’s understandable, because podcast hosts build authentic relationships with their listeners over weeks, months or even years of weekly episodes.

YouGov research also found that UK listeners are more likely to “feel deeply connected” to a brand when they can hear “a voice” — and, more specifically, their favourite host’s. Brands should tap into this ready-made authenticity and trust, to help consumers further connect with their brand.

Get started with podcast advertising

How much does podcast advertising cost?

Podcast advertising rates depend on CPM (Cost Per Mille), which is a fancy way to say the cost per thousand impressions your ad gets with podcast listeners. Acast's CPM can vary depending on advertiser requirements, campaign length, and so on — but typically falls between $5-50.

Getting started on the Acast platform

For more information about podcast advertising, and how you can start a campaign with Acast, head to the dedicated page on our website. There, you’ll also be able to build your first podcast ad campaign, explore our different podcasts and their listener demographics, or get in touch with us for more detail.

Creating your podcast ad campaign

Don't know where to start when it comes to creating the perfect ad? Luckily we have a blog post all about it - click here to find out more.

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