Podcast advertising; programmatic vs host-reads?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Over the last few years, there has been a plethora of information about the acceleration of podcasts and podcast advertising.  However, identifying the channel opportunity and actually knowing how to get started can be two very different things.  Many brands have limited budget and resources and therefore media needs to be efficient.  It is not always as simple as testing both programmatic advertising and sponsored host-reads before continuing with the one which is most successful.

The benefits of podcast advertising have been proven in many studies.  We know that listening is powerful and sparks imagination: psychologists talk about audio as a medium that creates a theatre in the mind as the listener recreates the story visually while they listen to it.

Listener behaviour is quite unique in podcasting.  It is very rare for a consumer to just endlessly play podcasts in the background as they would radio; instead, their listening is ‘on demand’.   This means that they are very engaged with the content that they are listening to.  This is not only because they have people telling them a story directly into their ears, but also because they have chosen to listen this content, at this exact moment in time. In a world where consumers are bombarded with marketing messages from brands on multiple devices at the same time, this engagement can be used to cut through all of the clutter and allow your brand to shine.

So, how can you work out whether podcast advertising (programmatic) or sponsored (host-reads) will be best for your brand…..?


Firstly, what is that you are trying to achieve?  Having clear objectives enables you to determine the best channel to achieve them.  Podcast sponsorship and programmatic advertising will both be useful to raise brand awareness.  But, if you have specific objectives or audiences in mind, then it might that one of these is most appropriate.


Who are you trying to talk to? Many audiences, particularly younger generations, are difficult to reach through traditional advertising channels.  These audiences have a greater propensity to consume content in ad-free environments.  But, just because podcasts are a growing medium and hugely successful doesn’t guarantee that they will be listening to podcasts.  So, take the time to ensure that your target audience listens to podcasts to ensure you are making the right decision.

So, where does that leave you? Once you know your objectives and your audience, there are a few simple things to consider about each form of podcast advertising to determine the best option.


  • Pure podcast advertising is best if it is part of a greater campaign for your brand e.g. you already have an asset (30 sec advertisement) which you are using across other channels (such as radio).
  • Buying media within podcasts extends your reach into your core audience and connects with them whilst they are engaging with content.  There is also a proven multiplier effect with adding podcasts to an existing media plan.  Reaching them via multiple channels will increase their opportunities of exposure and ultimately brand recall.
  • One of the core benefits of podcasting is that consumers listen ‘on demand’ and therefore they are more likely to be engaged and are responsive to your brand message. Within this medium, it’s possible to purchase media to a specific target audience or even buy advertising against individual shows (usually at a greater cost).
  • 51% of podcast Super Listeners agree that they are more likely to respond to advertising messages within podcasts than other forms of media.


  • Sponsorship is a more bespoke form of advertising for your brand.
  • The sponsorship usually includes host-read advertisements about your product or service. The host/s of a show already have an in-built audience listening to their podcast who are likely to be actively engaged in the content. Therefore, this can be a highly effective way to make a new audience aware of your brand, or even to purchase your product. The key here is that the sponsored read needs to be authentic and natural (see our briefing tips for podcasters). Plus the brand itself must be one that listeners can convincingly associate with the host.
  • The Super Listeners survey identified that 49% agree that the hosts are ‘actual’ users of the products or services that they are selling/talking about.
  • If a single podcast, or a few select podcasts, help you to reach the audience that you are targeting, then sponsorship is a great solution for you.  And the results will be more effective than pure programmatic ad spots. The cost of sponsorship is determined by audience size so if you are sponsoring a major podcast you will need tens of thousands of euros to sponsor it.  If your budget is much smaller, there are some great podcasts that can achieve your bullseye target audience for a fraction of this.  Our team at Audiomy can help you find the right podcast across the DACH region to sponsor, whatever your budget (as yes, even as low as €1,000).
  • If you need more evidence, take a look at What are the benefits of podcast advertising? To learn how it can be a simple, efficient and effective channel to meet your marketing needs.

Once you have reached your decision, you need to think about what your message is. Take a look at our article: How to brief a podcaster to create engaging content for your brand? to ensure that you make the most of this opportunity!

Booking your podcast media to grow your brand’s reputation and audience can be complex.  At Audiomy, we can help you to identify the best media strategy for your business, select the most appropriate podcasts to reach your audience and deliver it all through a single point of contact. Simply speak to the team today by filling in the form below.

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