How To Advertise Your Podcast To Increase Listenership
Ever since I started working in this industry I’ve known that podcast discoverability is difficult. I launched my podcast Clipped, in the summer of 2022. In doing so, I knew I had to throw everything but the kitchen sink at it to get it to grow. I made social media promo clips, DM’d people on Instagram, joined online communities, and wrote articles and newsletters. It helped a little, but I quickly realized that if I wanted to increase my listenership I needed to start treating my podcast like a business.
What do businesses do to market themselves? They advertise. So that’s exactly what I did. The results were gangbusters.
Fast forward to now, January 2023. I’m stoked with how my podcast is growing and I want to help you grow yours. I believe that you can experience a similar increase in listenership if you start implementing a paid advertising strategy as a part of your overall podcast marketing plan.
But how do you advertise your podcast, and where do you do it?
Don’t worry, I’ve done all that work for you. You advertise your podcast in the places where podcast listeners hang out. They hang out within podcast listening apps, on podcast websites, and within podcast newsletters.
The Five Best Places To Advertise Your Podcast To Increase Listenership
- Buzzsprout Ads – Dynamic ad insertion
- Overcast.fm – Podcast listening app
- Podcast Addict – Android only listening app
- Pocket Casts – Podcast listening app
- PodNews – Website, newsletter, and podcast
Organic Growth vs. Paid Growth
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t want to pay anything to grow my podcast, I’m doing an organic approach.” Just hear me out for the remainder of this post, and at the end of it if you still aren’t convinced that using paid advertising can exponentially grow your podcast, fine. You do you.
Here’s the truth, organic growth is best. But, organic growth takes a really long time and a ton of effort. You’ll eventually benefit from an organic approach, but, if you could shorten that window and give your podcast a boost, why wouldn’t you?
By implementing a paid advertising strategy, you’re getting the best of both worlds. To grow your podcast you’re still going to have to push really hard on social media, write newsletters, do interview swaps, go to podcast conferences, and join online podcast communities. So, you might as well get a faster reward from all that by putting some money into advertising your show. When you complement your DIY hustle with some paid marketing you get the best of both worlds.
Also, today’s podcast climate is a lot different than it was five years ago. You’re now competing with Spotify Originals, Wondery, Amazon, Audible, and various other giants in the space. These companies get all the headlines. If you want to cut through the noise and get in front of your ideal listener quicker and more effectively, you HAVE to incorporate some kind of ad marketing budget into your overall growth plan.
How I’ve Used Paid Advertising To Increase My Listenership
I host my podcast Clipped, on Libsyn. In October 2022 I started dabbling in buying ad space, and have continued through now, which as of writing this is January 28, 2023. I’ve bought ad space through Buzzsprout, Overcast, and podnews.
Here’s a screenshot of my monthly growth.
I’m showing you this because I think you can experience similar results. I don’t want you to burn out and pod fade. I want you to keep pushing forward if you really believe in the content you’re putting out. Podcasting is a long game and in my opinion it’s little wins like this that reinvigorate the soul and make things exciting. So why not put a few bucks into some paid promo?
Don’t Pay To Advertise Your Podcast On Google Or Social Media
You’re going to want to stay away from buying ads on google, or social media. For the best results, you want to advertise in places where podcast listeners are. That’s in podcast ecosystems.
I needed to say that before I dive in and show you how to advertise your podcast.
Buzzsprout is a podcast hosting platform, but they also have a service called Buzzsprout Ads. For 2 cents per download you can record an audio promo for your podcast, and Buzzsprout Ads will insert it into a podcast in your same category. This way you can be sure that your ad is being targeted to the right type of listener. You wouldn’t want to insert your ad into Business shows if you host a comedic podcast. With Buzzsprouts targeting, your ad will reach listeners who will be more inclined to check out your show after hearing a promo for it.
How It Works
You select the demographics and the podcast category you want to target. Next, you upload your audio. Audio files have to be between 12-40 seconds in length. Lastly, you purchase the number of downloads you want.
The minimum investment is $100. For $100 your ad will be placed in numerous podcasts that will be downloaded a combined 5,000 times. That’s 5,000 potential people that will hear your ad. Some people skip ads, sure, but you’re setting yourself up for a large number of people to hear your promo. The next level up is 10,000 downloads for $200. It goes up from there, maxing out at 50,000 downloads for $1,000.
Buzzsprout is a great choice if you’re someone who thinks people will respond well to hearing an audio ad for your show. If you’ve got the creative chops and think that can sway people with a well-produced and well-written promo, definitely give this a try.
Overcast is a podcast listening up. Think of it like an Apple or Spotify. You may never have heard of it, but rest assured, a lot of die-hard podcast fans use Overcast to listen to podcasts.
For the Education slot, it’s estimated that your ad will be clicked on 650-1,000 times, and you’ll get an estimated 30-45 subscribers. That’s a cost per click of .48 cents and a cost per action of $11.71.
I have no idea how these estimations work. Perhaps they’re constantly averaging everyone’s ad results, or maybe there is some AI figuring it out. Either way, it’s actually pretty damn accurate. I’ve bought a couple of display ads within Overcast and the subscribers I’ve received have been on par with their estimates.
Keep in mind, the subscribers you get will be Overcast subscribers, not Apple, or Spotify. Also, the rates for the categories can fluctuate. So if you’re looking for the best price it might make sense to check the site from time to time.
Podcast Addict uses display ads and functions very similarly to Overcast. You’re going to pay for your category and you’re going to see the estimated clicks and subscriptions that you’ll get for your ad spend.
I personally haven’t used Podcast Addict, but it appears to cost less than Overcast. It seems as though you also get a higher number of clicks and estimated subscribers for your money. I’m not sure why. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Podcast Addict is only available on Android. But that’s just an assumption.
I love the rates and how far your ad will go what you pay. It’s a much better deal than Overcast.
At the time of writing this, it’s $275 for a display ad in Education. For that, you’re estimated to get 1,250 – 1,650 clicks, and 25 – 140 subscribers.
The Main Screen
Podcast Addict also give you the option to advertise your podcast on “The Main Screen”. The main screen is where users search for podcasts. If someone clicks on your ad on the main screen it takes them to the podcast description screen. Here, users can subscribe your show, read reviews, and check out episode descriptions.
Currently, the cost to advertise on the main screen is $4,750. That will get you 50,000-70,000 clicks, and 500 – 1,350 subscribers. That’s a lot of dough! However, the display will last for an entire month. It’s a great option for big spenders, plus, there’s a lot you can do to monetize your podcast once your listenership climbs into the thousands.
Pocket Casts only has one option and it’s expensive. They will display your podcast on their home page. It’s called “The Discover Section”. When you open the app you’re immediately in the discover section. Think of it as the home screen.
To advertise your podcast here for one week will cost you $1,700, and you’ll receive 350k unique impressions. That’s a shit ton of people seeing your podcast. They don’t say how many clicks or and subscribers you’ll get, but I imagine if you inquire about purchasing this ad space they will give you more info.
This might be my favorite place to advertise my podcast. Podnews is a daily newsletter covering everything happening in the podcast industry. It features new shows, current events, podcast jobs, and more.
There’s a section in the newsletter where you can buy written classified ads. Many people buy these slots to promote their podcasts, resumes, online courses, etc… I’ve bought 6 slots in the last few months to advertise Clipped. Below is the current ad I’m running.
“Listen To Clipped, A Podcast Teaching Podcasting – Clipped brings you podcast production tips, education, and industry resources, to help you navigate the podcast industry. Supercharge your podcast skills by listening to Clipped every Wednesday.”
My podnews ad stats
This ad was seen a total of 122,312 times in email, and a further 1,915 times on the website. The ad was also visible within our podcast episode notes and in RSS readers.
This ad was clicked on a total of 483 times.
The average number of people who saw it (in email) per day was: 10,220
Per person during your campaign, that is a clickthrough rate of 4.73%
It was seen a total of 124,227 times.
Per impression, that’s a clickthrough rate of 0.39%
The above info was taken directly from my podnews account. I’m a big fan of the newsletter and I like promoting my podcast, so advertising with podnews is a win-win.
Ad space starts at $29 dollars and can get up close to $200. You get to choose the date you want your ad to run. I’m not completely sure what drives up the price of the ad space, but it’s a sliding scale. There are usually 3-4 classified ads per email. I’ve noticed the further in advance you buy space, the cheaper it is. I think it starts to go up when the ad slots start getting filled, like a supply-and-demand situation.
The Wrap Up
7-8 years ago you could launch a podcast and see hockey stick growth. These days if you want to compete and get your podcast in front of your ideal audience you have to buy advertising. This by no means takes the place of all the hard work you’re doing to organically grow your podcast, it’s IN ADDITION to your DIY hustle.
The goal of this article is to get you to start thinking differently about your podcast. It’s like my buddy Adam Schaeubule of Podcasting Business School says, “You’ve got to love your podcast like a hobby and treat it like a business”. If you’re ready to start crushing your podcast goals it’s time to welcome the idea of paying to advertise your podcast.
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