Podcasts cater to specific and niche interests in a way that, by its very definition, is hyper-targeted. This makes podcasts a cost-effective way to find like-minded supporters who share your values.
Reaching potential supporters and converting them into donors is a vital activity for charities of all sizes. And one highly effective way to reach an extraordinarily diverse group of people is through the medium of podcasts.
Many charities already produce regular podcasts, but to reach as broad a potential audience as possible it makes more sense for charities to advertise on third party podcasts. That’s because the popularity of podcasting has exploded over the last half a dozen years, with podcasts now devoted to almost any subject you can imagine. In fact, 44% of the population of the UK has listened to a podcast, according to podcast marketing company Acast, and 20% of Americans now listen to at least one podcast each month, according to AdvertiseCast, another podcast marketing company.
There are two obvious reasons for the huge rise in podcasts’ popularity:
There is no doubt that podcasts are popular and ubiquitous, but it’s also true that podcasts present an effective way for charities to get their messages across in advertisements in these podcasts.
In part that’s because podcasts tent to be highly engaging since the subject of each podcast series is one that audiences are interested in (as they have chosen to listen to that podcast). In fact, Acast data shows that 80% of people who start listening to a podcast listen to the entire show.
People also tend to listen to podcasts which are hosted by people whose opinions they trust and whose values they share. That means they are likely to be receptive to advertising messages which – implicitly or explicitly – are endorsed by those hosts by virtue of being in the podcast.
As a result, podcasting advertising appears to be far more effective than many other forms of advertising such as clickable online ads: The average display ad click-through rate is just 0.06%, according to DoubleThink, while an Acast study found that 76% of listeners said they had followed up on an ad or message they had heard in a podcast.
This is backed up by a study by Hawke Media which found that 71% of podcast listeners said that they had visited a podcast advertiser’s website. 78% also said that their opinion of an advertiser is more positive when they hear it mentioned in one of the podcasts they regularly enjoy.
The first digital strategy decision you need to make is how big your charity advertising campaign is to be. If you want to start by advertising in just one or a few podcasts then you can approach each podcaster individually. If you want a much larger campaign you may be better off using a podcast advertising company such as AdvertiseCast, Acast or Midroll. These can help you choose podcasts and arrange for advertising placement. These companies will generally also offer a choice between "baked-in" advertisements, which are often read by the podcast host during the show’s recording, or "dynamic" advertisements, which are slotted into the content afterwards. This allows you to change your messages at any time, and potentially even allow you to vary your message by things like the geographic location of the listener.
Podcast advertisements are much like radio adverts, and the precise contents will vary depending on what message your charity wants to put across and who your target audience is. But a good template to use might be:
If you approach a podcast host directly then, in theory, there are no limits to how long your advertisement may be or where it is placed within the ad. But standard advertising formats appear to have evolved for podcast advertising, and commonly these are a 15 second pre-roll advert, which appears before the start of the podcast, and a 30-60 second mid-roll advert, which appears 30% to 70% of the way through a podcast. Some podcasts also feature short post-roll adverts at the very end of the show.
The cost of a podcast advertisement can vary widely depending on the popularity of a show, but a good guide is between £7.50 and £40 per 1,000 downloads of the podcast within 30 days of its release.
More specifically, John Lee Dumas, host of the Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast, estimates the cost to be about:
Some podcasters will offer volume discounts to encourage a relationship with advertisers, and anecdotal evidence suggests that repeating your marketing message (or a variation of it) over the course of a number of podcast episodes can significantly improve the results of a campaign.
Selecting the right podcasts to advertise on is likely to be critical to the success of your charity’s campaign, so the first step is to have a clear understanding of who your intended audience is. This may be something general like men between the ages of 40 and 60 or young women under 30, or it may be people with an interest in the environment, or animals, or almost anything else.
Only when you have a clear idea of who you want to target can you start looking at specific podcasts which are likely to appeal to that audience. You can find candidate podcasts by searching in podcast directories such as iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.
Podcast advertising companies may be able to provide significant help with your podcast selection by using data that they have collected about their stable of podcasts which they provide advertisements for.
As an alternative to placing adverts in podcasts your charity could also consider: