The Reality Of Podcast Advertising


I’m not sure if there’s a hotter topic to touch on in podcasting then advertising. We’ve gotten a number of emails from podcasters over the past few months with tones ranging from innocent newbie questions to strong demands for higher CPM rates.

I wanted to start this thread to make some common sense statements on podcast advertising and provide a place for discussion on the topic.

  • In spite of what some mainstream outlets are saying, the market for podcast advertising continues to grow. We’ve seen a number of reports out there that point to the stagnation of the flow of money into podcasting. Here on Blubrry we’ve launched our biggest deals over the last few months. So we’re seeing much more interest along with actual revenue growth in 2007.
  • The dollars for most podcasters are small, but they’re much more than any blogger was making two years into the medium. Dave Winer started blogging in 1997. How much money were bloggers making in 1999? Podcasters are earning a lot more now than bloggers were then.
  • Large companies are approaching podcast advertising tentatively. Of course they are. Companies with large ad budgets have a lot to lose. It’s very easy for an ad exec to go to TV, radio or mainstream web outlets with a campaign. Those are established channels that are considered low risk. Podcasting on the other hand is a higher risk investment. Even still, dollars are flowing into the space. The early days (and it is still the early days of podcasting) of all media movements see tentative investment by the major players.
  • Podcasters have the power to influence sponsors at all levels. Every time a sponsor has a good experience (and by ‘good experience’ I mean one that produces results) they will be more confident about increasing their investment and they will probably tell others. So podcasters who have sponsors go a long way to improving the bottom line of the whole industry by working hard to get positive results for their sponsors.
  • Those who take the time to build a loyal audience and work on selling will be the most successful podcasters financially. How much influence do you have over your audience? Your sponsors will know when you run a campaign. Campaigns that result in low return for the advertiser are usually a factor of a combination of low audience influence and low sales effort. If you have influence over your audience and work on selling for your sponsors then you’ll probably have good results.
  • Building a substantial, highly influenced audience base takes time and effort. We’re in a very ‘now’ society. Word spreads fast and people can gain a modicum of fame relatively quickly if all the right forces are in play. This leads us to thinking that this is what success is all about. The fact is that the podcasters earning the most money via podcast sponsorships are the ones who have continually produced shows on a regular basis for two years or more.

    Shows like Rocketboom, Keith and the Girl and Geek News Central have been incredibly consistent over the last couple of years. They have hundreds of episodes and many thousands of loyal audience members. They’ve worked very hard to get there. You’ve worked hard too, but it may take more time and effort to pay off the way you want it to.

Our goals here are to help build a community of passionate podcasters while providing real opportunities to earn some money from your podcasts. We don’t promise the world but we do hold ourselves to a high standard. You can help us to land bigger deals by creating great value for the current sponsors who’ve been intrepid enough to make an early investment in this new medium. What do you think?