podcasts, mic, affiliate marketing

Are podcasts an effective marketing tool?

Podcasts are becoming as popular a source of entertainment as streaming or video content. Users are only growing, and with it, so is the industry. And marketers are noticing. Media spending is set to double in 2022, to a whopping $1.6 billion.

But is it worth it? Is the money currently getting poured into podcasting creating a return on investment? We investigate here.

How popular are podcasts?

Podcasts are only going up in popularity and are only going to keep going up. It’s arguable that lockdown had a positive effect on the popularity of podcasts, but the fact that podcasts have been growing in popularity before and after lockdowns proves that it is no passing fad.

As does the embracing of podcasts by Spotify, Apple, and Audible, who have all launched their own platforms to post podcasts on, and the norm of brands and businesses launching their own specified podcasts relating to their business or industry to go with websites and blogs.

According to the Infinite Dial, as of 2021, over 116 million people were found to be listening to a podcast every month. Over 55% of the US population have listened to at least one podcast, and in fact, the user base has doubled since 2017. Around a quarter of the US population, namely 68 million, are listening to multiple podcasts weekly. Those are a lot of ears to reach. The past assumption that there was a limited number of people being reached with podcasts is now definitely a thing of the past.

Not only are podcast listeners growing but podcasts themselves are growing. They are seen as a good way to make content due to the combined elements of simplicity in creating it, the fact that it can be about anything, and the marketing opportunities available to both brands and influencers. This means that as a brand, not only can you advertise through affiliate marketing, but you can also market yourself as a source of content in your own podcast.

What kind of advertisements can you post on podcasts?

The nature of podcasting allows for a lot of means of advertising, including audio ads, host reads, and endorsements.

Audio ads are pre-recorded and packaged, ready to play on the podcast platform itself, with or without the knowledge or input of the podcast creators. They can be played pre, mid, and post-roll of the podcast.

Host reads sound like they can cover endorsements, custom segments, and presenting sponsorships, but they have subtle differences. Host reads are a scripted blurb sponsorship, and usually have a call to action, which has nothing to do with the subject of the podcast. They can be less subtle than endorsements, which sound more natural when the host is mentioning the products and services amongst their usual subject matter. For example, a podcast that talks about the latest fashion might mention a brand they like to buy from.

Is it effective?

A Super Listeners 2021 report detailed that podcast ads are the most recalled type of advertisement. A whopping 86% of listeners said they remembered hearing an ad. For comparison, that figure for social media was at 80% and websites 79%.

Engagement is also particularly high for podcasts, with 76% of listeners saying that they have taken some form of action due to a podcast ad, like visiting a site, making a purchase, or starting a subscription.

The nature of podcasts allows for more effective advertising on a number of levels. For one thing, there is the nature of the listener, who is usually doing something else while listening to a podcast, since it has no visual component. Whether it’s driving or bathing or housework, the user usually has their hands too busy to skip any advertisements or endorsements playing during their podcast, making for an audience that is actually listening to your marketing.

The nature of podcasts themselves makes for good advertising opportunities. As outlined above, there are a lot of ways you can make your mark on the listener, from endorsements to mid and pre-roll ads. Plus, where most forms of online advertising only guarantee a matter of seconds before a user can skip it, which they are more likely to take you up on. Only 12% of listeners said they will always skip ads, and 33% said they never skip ads.

Affiliate marketing in particular gains a lot from podcasts. Podcast hosts are quickly becoming the newest and hottest influencers, who are very open to elevating their brand and business with affiliate deals.

You can measure for yourself whether your investment is paying off with promo codes, vanity URLs, surveys, pixels, and more.

For more affiliate marketing advice, take a look at our blog, or for a more personalized approach and expert advice, book a free call with a member of our team.

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