Mid-roll vs. Pre-roll: What’s the Best Place for a Podcast Ad?

a woman recording a podcast ad

We talked in a previous blog about why you should think about investing in podcast advertising and what to consider when getting started. To recap, podcasting is an exciting new space offering a wealth of opportunities for advertisers to raise brand awareness and grow their networks.

Once you’ve decided to move forward with podcast advertising, one of your most important considerations should be your ad placement options. In this blog, we’ll break down  the most important factors of pre-roll ads vs. mid-roll (and even post-roll) ads, including cost, reach, ad style, and more.

Mid-roll vs. Pre-roll: Catching Your Audience’s Attention

Mid-roll ads and pre-roll ads are pretty much what they sound like. A pre-roll advertisement is usually about 15 seconds long and gets played before the actual content of the podcast begins. A mid-roll advertisement, on the other hand, is about a minute long and usually plays near or at the halfway mark of the podcast – generally 40-70% of the way through the show.

Each podcast advertising option has its pros and cons, and there is no right answer to which is definitively “better.”

Many advertisers prefer pre-roll ads because they believe that an ad appearing in the first 25% of a podcast is most likely to be heard by audiences. Others prefer mid-roll ads because audiences are likely to be engaged in other tasks and won’t take the time to skip through them.

There is data to back up both of these positions, and ultimately your decision will come down to a combination of financial and brand factors.

1. Cost & Reach

Many view the 25% of a podcast as prime real estate for advertising because conventional wisdom says the first few moments of a piece of content will reach the most people. Despite this reasoning, mid-roll ads tend to cost more than pre-roll ads.

This is because, as noted by BluBrry, people are more likely to skip over ads that play at the beginning of a podcast than those that play in the middle. In other words, a mid-roll ad typically reaches the most engaged or receptive members of a given podcast audience.

So, when considering mid-roll ads vs. pre-roll ads, you’ll need to find a balance between your budget and the podcast audience you want to reach.

2. Pre-recorded vs. Live Read

There are two main styles of podcast advertisements. In the typical style, a pre-recorded advertisement is simply played before or between segments of the show. In the “live read” style, the podcast host reads the advertisement themselves. Though mid-roll ads are more often done in the live read style than the pre-recorded style, both types can appear as either pre-roll or mid-roll ads – it just depends on the podcast.

There are conflicting opinions on which type of ad is better. While many argue that live read ads make for a more seamless listening experience, some listeners report reduced feelings of trust in a podcast when advertisements feel too much like endorsements.

3. Your Podcast Network Options

When it comes to both ad style and ad placement, you will be somewhat limited by the types of shows you’re looking to advertise on. These will be determined by your industry, product/service, and target audience.

Usually, a podcast sticks with one style of advertisements over the other. So, a podcast that uses live read ads will typically only use live read ads and vice-versa. You may have more flexibility with the timing of ads – for example, a single podcast may offer pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll placement options at different prices.

That said, podcasting has become so popular that no matter your industry or audience, with a little hard work, you’re sure to have enough options to suit your budget and needs.

Final Thoughts: “Downloads are king.”

Whether you end up going for mid-roll or pre-roll (or even post-roll) ads, know that an important factor in whether your ads get heard is simply whether the podcast was initiated. According to more data from BluBrry, “85% of the time when someone initiates listening to a podcast episode, it is ultimately 75% – 100% downloaded.” In other words, if lots of people push “play” on a particular podcast, most data reflects that those people are listening to most, if not all, of it.

So, if your budget isn’t quite midroll-friendly just yet, don’t worry! You can make up for it by advertising on a fairly popular show within your target niche.

An Agency Can Help

Podcasting may be new, but advertising isn’t – at least not to us. Just like radio and TV, podcast advertising is a business, and we’re excited to help you navigate that business. Get in touch with the Bloom Ads team today to get started with podcast advertising.

The Benefits of Podcast Marketing (& Tips to Get Started)

a man recording a podcast

Over the past few years, the popularity of podcasts has grown enormously. In 2019, there were approximately 88 million podcast listeners in the United States alone, and 61.1 million American families consider themselves to be “fans” of podcasts. 

Podcast listening numbers have increased 42% globally since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and more and more people are discovering content via this medium. It’s a great place for advertisers to reach a more tech-savvy, educated consumer.

In today’s article, we’ve compiled some of the top benefits of podcast marketing and a few tips for getting started. If you’d like to amplify your brand to a broader, more targeted audience, this is a great place to start. 

Benefits of Podcast Marketing 

Any discussion of implementing new marketing strategies should begin with a big fat “Why?” WHY should you commit ad spend to podcast marketing? WHY is podcast advertising so effective? WHY should podcasting become a part of your digital marketing strategy? As a business owner or company leader, you are trained to challenge given information and ask these kinds of questions. 

In case you need a little more convincing, here are some of the top reasons to incorporate podcast marketing into your brand awareness strategy.

Reach new audiences

Whether you’re starting your own podcast, partnering with a podcast producer, or being a guest on someone else’s podcast, you are expanding your reach. Podcasts are easily searchable by topic. If you focus your podcast work on topics that are of interest to your target demographic, you can reach listeners who could turn into potential customers.

For example, if you run a yoga apparel business, you may want to reach out to a variety of podcasts that center around conversations about yoga and offer yourself up as a guest. You can provide them with expertise, and in return, they can provide you with a highly targeted audience. 

Be more than a business

Podcasting helps build your brand beyond being just a business. When you speak on a podcast, listeners hear you, not as a company, but as a person. That kind of authenticity is highly compelling for customers. When they can hear why you started your business and why it’s important to you in your own words, they feel a closer connection to your company. This can shorten the sales cycle considerably and, depending on the level of connection a listener feels to you, can help solidify the loyalty they have to your brand.

It’s a lot easier than video

In the 21st century, there is no avoiding multimedia when it comes to content amplification. One of the benefits of podcast marketing is that it’s a lot easier to produce than video marketing. Creating high-quality videos requires a lot of equipment, technical know-how, editing skills, and manpower. 

A poorly shot video can often be more detrimental than it is helpful. Podcasting equipment isn’t a huge investment upfront (it just requires a good quality microphone and headphones), is more intuitive than video for first-timers, and doesn’t require too many hands to operate.

Tips for Getting Started with Podcast Marketing

If you’re thinking about getting started with podcast marketing, doing your due diligence and researching the space – including its key players – is crucial. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you venture into the world of podcast marketing.

Partner with a reputable podcast producer

While there is a big demand for podcasts, the industry is also highly saturated. Starting your own podcast with no podcasting experience can make it difficult to stand out from the crowd.

Instead, we recommend partnering with highly recognized podcasting brands like Wondery, NPR, and iHEARTMedia. These podcast producers already have the tools in place to promote your work. They won’t take just any podcast and advertisement campaign, so you’ll have to develop something truly compelling and original. Getting them to greenlight a project will ensure your podcast or ad campaign is on the right track. 

If you’re on a tight budget, here are a few smaller podcast editing and production companies.

Be a guest on a reputable podcast

As we just mentioned, starting a podcast from scratch can take a lot of work. It’s a lot easier to place an ad or be a guest on an existing podcast than it is to start your own from the ground up. If you do the former, you can leverage the podcast’s existing listenership and social audience.

Becoming a guest is a lot like any influencer or media outreach. You should begin by researching relevant podcasts that have existing audiences. Create a pitch that highlights your expertise, experience, why you’d be a good fit, and some topics you could bring to the table. The more you customize your pitch to the podcast, the more likely the show is to have you on. Once you’ve landed a spot, be sure to promote it on your social media channels, tagging the podcast and podcast host. 

Research the best type of podcast ads 

When it comes to podcast advertising, there are two main approaches an advertiser can take: advertising during obvious commercial breaks or advertising during segues where one of the main speakers promotes a brand themselves (think: Howard Stern promoting the Squatty Potty, or Joe Rogan promoting bone broth.) There are pros and cons to each, but many listeners prefer the latter (mid-roll) over the former (pre-roll) – mid-roll ads tend to feel more organic and less intrusive or forced. 

The more likely listeners are to be actively listening to the ad, the more it’ll cost the advertiser. Pre-roll ads are typically sold for 25% less than the corresponding mid-rolls, so if you’re on a tight budget or aren’t sure if podcast advertising is right for your company, pre-roll ads might be a good place to start. 

Of course, audiences listening to pre-roll won’t be as actively engaged as they would be if your ad is naturally incorporated into the middle of the podcast, so that’s something else to consider. When it comes to deciding if pre-roll or mid-roll is right for you, there’s a lot to think about, which is why our final tip is to work with an agency. 

An agency can help 

While this all seems (and is!) simple enough, pitching podcast producers, finding reputable partners, and deciding at what point in a podcast your ad should play can be a time-consuming effort. Working with a media buying and planning agency can help you reach the right contacts quicker. They can also help secure spots for you on bigger, better podcasts. If you’re already convinced about the benefits of podcast marketing and would like to get started with a team of podcast advertising experts, get in touch. We can assist you with landing podcasting spots as well as designing your media campaign for podcast advertising.

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