The Impact of Host-Read Ads on Podcast Advertising Effectiveness

podcast advertising effectiveness - Podbean

If you’ve been looking into podcast advertising for any amount of time, you’ve probably come across the term “host-read ads.” 

These types of advertisements involve a podcast show host reading the advertisement script as opposed to an announcer or professional actor. Often the host will promote the product or service and even add a comment or two about their own experience with the product. 

Many businesses swear by host-read ads, and in the age of influencer marketing, where companies are paying money to have big names promote their products, it’s understandable. But do host-read ads have that much of an impact on podcast advertising effectiveness? 

Let’s take a look.

What are host-read ads? 

Before we break down the impact of these ads in the podcasting industry, let’s first cover what they are. A host-read ad is when a podcast host reads an advertisement and endorses a product in their own words. 

These differ from announcer or radio-style ads which involve a voice actor reading the advertisement script. Due to their personalized nature, host-read ads are often a bit pricier than announcer advertisements but many sponsors use them as part of influencer marketing campaigns

Influencer marketing for those newer to the concept is when businesses pay a celebrity or social “influencer” such as a YouTuber, TikToker, or in this case a podcaster, to promote their product to an existing audience. 

With the rise of social media, many companies are leveraging the credibility and popularity of content creators in their niche for increased brand awareness and affinity. 

Why are podcast ads so effective? 

Let’s look at what factors drive the effectiveness of podcast advertising in general. Podcast advertising is incredibly effective for three main reasons: high audience engagement, niche targeting, and listener trust. 

High audience engagement

Podcast audiences are engaged in the content they listen to. 2019 US podcast industry stats revealed that the majority of podcast listeners tuned in to their favorite shows to be entertained, or to learn something. 

With this, we see that audiences are in tune with what the podcast host is saying. A recent 2023 survey from Edison Research demonstrated that 46% of monthly listeners aren’t bothered by ads. So ads played during an episode get a similar amount of engagement as the podcast itself, especially if the product or service is relevant to the listener and related to the content. 

Niche targeting 

Podcasting is incredibly niche. While there are many similar shows within a niche, each show’s audience forms a community of people with similar interests, hobbies, and listener demographics. With podcast advertising, companies don’t have to spend time and money locating and reaching their niche audience.

The nicheness of podcasts makes it easy for marketers to pick a few similar shows to run their ads on. 

Why run an ad on a radio or TV just hoping your audience will see it, when you can present it directly to a community of potential customers? With thousands of listeners and downloads, ads are guaranteed to reach thousands of ears. 

Listener trust

Trust is the biggest factor contributing to podcast advertising effectiveness. Influencer marketing campaigns, including host-read ads, leverage this the most. Host-read ads only work because audiences have built trust in the podcast host over time. 

Trust is the cornerstone of any marketing or branding campaign. Listeners trust that a podcast host will only run relevant ads on their show; this pillar is best demonstrated in the case of host-read advertisements. 

An advantage of podcast advertising is the opportunity to transform it into an influencer marketing campaign whereby the podcast is not just hosting the ad for audiences to hear, but the host is the influencer promoting the product or service to their listeners. 

Do host-read ads influence podcast advertising effectiveness? 

We often get asked if host-read ads really make that much of a difference. The truth is, it depends. Host-read ads are great since they make use of the most effective marketing strategy in the business – word-of-mouth marketing. When a host reads your advertisement it is like a personal recommendation to each individual listener.

This said, studies have shown that oftentimes, announcer-read ads are just as effective. Results of a recent 2021 study on US podcasting revenue conducted by the International Advertising Bureau, showed that a shift to announcer ads is proving to be an efficient and effective method. 

In 2019, 66% of ad revenue came from host-reads while only 27% was from announcer-read ads. However, in 2021, numbers have changed quite drastically with 55% in host read revenue and 40% in announcer read. 

Potential disadvantages of host-reads 

While host-read advertisements have their long list of benefits, there are some drawbacks that advertisers should note.

  • Less control. These ads give you less control over your advertisement. You can direct the host with a guideline, but beyond that, the podcaster receives the script, and they will read it and ad-lib personal experience. 
  • It can be pricier. Sometimes host read ads will cost more to run since podcasters have to do more to integrate them. The cost will depend on the ad slot and the specific podcaster you work with. 

Should my business consider implementing host-read ads? 

The podcasting industry is growing rapidly, with more and more people listening to podcasts. 

If you’re wondering whether or not host-read ads will work for your business, consider what you’re selling and who your target audience is. Host-read ads can often boost the effectiveness of podcast ads, but it’s worth considering the context to determine if paying extra cash is worth it. 

Advertisements for products with a lifestyle or lifehack focus that can be easily recommended tend to do better as host-read ads. However if your product is geared more towards fields like legal aid or financing and is more jargon-heavy, it may be better suited to have an announcer read them. 

Overall it depends on your company’s specific goal and your comfort level with the podcaster. If the host has had the opportunity to use your product it may be worth it having them endorse it in their own words.  

Interested in running host-read ads? Try Podbean today. 

If you want to reap the benefits of podcast advertising for your business, try Podbean Ads Marketplace today. Our platform connects hundreds of businesses with hundreds of podcasters according to their niche, so you will be sure to find the right podcast platform to promote your brand. 

We provide the option for sponsors to run both host-read and announcer ads. Podcasters who can toggle “host-read” all have monthly downloads of over 10,000 to ensure sponsors are getting the most for their money. 
Sign up today to see why hundreds of businesses advertise on Podbean.

1 comment on “The Impact of Host-Read Ads on Podcast Advertising Effectiveness

  1. This is one of the best posts I’ve read on this forum. The information in the article helped me understand more about a new topic that I had never known.

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