Podcast Advertising: How to Get on Podcasts without Spending Anything

Lately, podcasts’ popularity exploded almost as much as cryptocurrency. They’re consumable everywhere with smartphones these days. And what has followed as a result of this trend is podcast advertising.

At the same time, you can leverage the trend without spending any money.


Podcast tours. You secure an interview with a show that your audience is likely listening to.


It’s maximum exposure with zero advertising cost.

And you can talk for 30 minutes to an hour on a podcast, rather than just for a quick 30 seconds.

It can also give you content to use in other formats down the road. (Or even content you can use for podcasts and talks.)

Here’s a playbook on how to get yourself on tons of podcasts:

1) Leverage your network to source shows

Find out which shows somebody in your network has appeared on before.

Reach out to them for an introduction.

2) Use other founders’ benchmarks

Look for podcasts that hosted founders or spokespersons of companies similar to yours.

After that, try to reach the host through someone in your network or with a personalized pitch.

3) Don’t pitch your product

Just focus on providing value and the rest will follow.

Podcasts are about the very top-of-the-funnel. It’s all about awareness.

Your goal should be to improve their lives, educate them on a problem, and/or entertain them.

4) Track everything and stay organized

This has benefits that extend beyond tracking metrics.

If you’re using your name, your company, or both, track the number of Google searches over time as you get more and more exposure.

Marketing tools like Ubersuggest, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can help you with this.

5) Practice and look for feedback

Start with smaller shows to practice your interview skills.

Like with anything, the more you do it the better you’ll get.

Understand what people like and get comfortable.

6) Maintain the relationship with the host, even after the show

Send them a gift to show your gratitude.

Not only do people appreciate these gestures, but content creators can give you access to other platforms you can tap into.

Then, go back to step one and repeat.

Podcast ads work – but for how long?

Fum is a company that sells smoking cessation devices. Fum has been killing it with podcast ads.

They went from spending $3,000 a month at the beginning of the year to $30,000 by the end of it.

Podcast ads are “our number one revenue source,” says Fum PR manager Adam McNeil.

But, according to McNeil and other successful podcast advertisers, things are changing due to 3 factors:

Big shows getting licensed & acquired

Fum advertised on a show which doubled their price after it was acquired.

Acquisition often results in instant price hikes.

Dynamic ad insertion

If you advertise on a smaller show, you can get the host to say your ad. Your ad will be visible for as long as the podcast episode is available.

This is not the case with dynamic ad insertions.

Here the podcast episode is suddenly interrupted, someone (usually other than the host) tells your ad creative, and you get charged on a CPM basis.

Big brands are getting into podcast ads

And they bring their big budgets, which means higher ad prices for the rest of us.

Our take

This is totally expected. Podcast ads, like any other acquisition channel, is not immune to the law of bad click throughs.

Marketing is heavily about adaptation, and we’re pretty sure you will be one of them if you’re reading us 🙂

Podcast ad revenue growth

According to this IAB report, podcast advertising is crushing other channels when it comes to ad revenue growth.

To put it into perspective: Digital advertising revenue went up by 30% last year. Podcast advertising grew by 72%… more than twice that number.

What’s driving this growth

  • Dynamically inserted ads are taking over: Ads being read by podcast hosts are beginning to replace pre-recorded sponsored ads. They now take up to 84% of the space.
  • Increasing number of pre-rolled ads: Ads placed before the actual podcast content rose by 10% since 2020.
  • Optimal ad length: More than half of podcast ads are now 15-30 seconds long, about 20% longer than two years ago.

Why we care: Podcast advertising is getting better, and ad revenue is expected to triple in the coming years… which means this channel is poised for explosive growth.

If your audience listens to podcasts, now’s an excellent time to start running your own podcast ads.

Don’t let software pick where your ads will show up

Not in podcasts, at least.

The reason

The targeting abilities of podcast ads are still limited. Several people have complained to The Verge about this.

Some real-life examples

A children’s podcast advertised a TV show called “The Sex Lives of College Girls.”

An Exxon ad appeared on a science podcast advocating green energy.

Ouch, and ouch.

Before software, things were pretty simple

You’d simply get in touch with the podcast host and they would read your ad directly.

Your ad would then stay live “forever,” meaning as long as the podcast was available online.

Dynamic ad insertion changed this.

Instead of your ads appearing “forever” on a podcast episode, they would change dynamically for each listener.

Personalization is one of the most common marketing trends and it’s becoming easier with technology.

The idea is to turn podcast ads into something like Facebook Ads:

  1. You pick your target.
  2. The software picks the podcasts to show your ad to.

And you’re golden.

There is a ‘small’ problem

Podcast ad targeting is far from accurate.

Spotify‘s ability to show your ads to the right people is inferior to Facebook’s, for example, which has much more data about its users.

Our Recommendation

Try negotiating direct contracts with podcast hosts until programmatic podcast targeting improves.

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