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Stop Advertising On Podcasts, Unless….

The current (60 second) ad rate for podcasts is $25 per 1000 listeners.

This doesn’t seem so bad, but if you are going to spend money on advertising you want people to hear/see it, right?


Let’s pick a reasonably successful podcast, one that has 1,000,000 listens a month.

$25 per 1000 per 1,000,000 listeners.

Clickity clack on my calculator.

That’s $25,000.

A month.


Well, maybe your company is doing (really) well and it’s worth it to pay $25k a month.

Keep in mind a general rule of thumb is to spend 10% of your gross on advertising. If $25k a month is 10% of your gross a month, then congratulations, you are doing something right.

But advertising on podcasts isn’t one of them.


Let’s look at consumer habits. Heck, let’s look are YOUR habits.

How many podcasts advertisements have you listened to, ever? And when your phone is too far from you to skip ahead doesn’t count. I mean, an ad comes on and you actually listen.

Once? Twice? Never?

I NEVER do (except one podcast. More on that later). EVER. Why would I? I have a fast forward button. Who wants to listen to ads?

TV shows had this issue and figured out a way around it already.

Streaming services force you to sit through ads. Granted, they tell you exactly how long they will run, and you can get up and do other things in the meantime, but they are playing no matter what. So those companies know that their ad that no one wants to watch played “X” number of times.

Out of those 1,000,000 podcast listeners, how many times did the ad get heard?

Who knows?

That’s the problem.

1. No one listens to ads

2. Even the ones that fall through the cracks are hard to quantify

So, what are you paying for?

Now, there is something to be said for “Appeared on….” on your website and social media, but is it worth THAT much?

I have worked for companies that paid BIG TIME podcasters $25k to “randomly” mention their product on the podcast 3 years ago and they are still riding that coattail.

But did they pay for a 60sec ad? Nope.

Do you see where I am going?

There is nothing wrong with paying for advertising on podcasts, but there is a way to do it that is actually effective. And there are specific podcasters that make it effective.


I am going to give you 4 examples of advertising on podcasts. Granted, these are podcasts I listen to. I know there are other ones that also do a good or bad job, but these styles transfer no matter who is doing them.

#1 BAD

There is a marketing company some place, getting their clients to advertise on this podcast, showing them the podcast downloads and getting their clients all excited telling them they are reaching millions of people a day.

They aren’t.


Because you can skip them.

How do I know they are being skipped besides me skipping them?

They keep changing the way they run the ads.

They used to run ads for 2 minutes, then 2.5, then they piled them on at the beginning and end of hours (they split the show into 3). Then they started running no ads in between segments, then 2, then 2 minutes’ worth, all in the attempt to trick the listener into to catching one by mistake because you didn’t know when the show was coming back.

Pretty smart, but it still isn’t working.


The same issue that The Herd is having The JRE was having before they went exclusively to Spotify. People would just skip the first 6-9 minutes of the show, when Rogan read all of the ads, to get to the interviews.

What did they do to “solve” this issue? Spotify put the ads during the show.

Problem solved?


They also made each ad individual, meaning you have to physically fast forward each ad individually.

Problem solved?

Kind of.

Even though you don’t actually listen to the ads, this technique does force you to at least SEE the product names, which is something.

You don’t listen to the WHOOP! ad, but you did see WHOOP!

You don’t actually listen to the Square Space ad, but you see Square Space.

See what I mean, it’s just OK.

Coincidentally, this is also the podcast where one of my clients paid to have their product placed during his show (which is fantastic). It sounds like he is just talking about some great product he uses (which he may be), but it doesn’t come off like an ad AT ALL. It’s like your buddy is telling about an awesome new toy he found.

What happened? Products MOVED.

Definitely something to think about in all advertising. How can you run an ad that doesn’t feel like an ad?


These guys do an amazing (obviously, it’s their heading) of incorporating their ads across all of their social platforms. You are paying for the ad, but they push it on YouTube, their podcast (obviously), Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

They recently struck a deal with Tito’s Handmade Vodka and not only placed the Tito’s logo on their podcast thumbnail (so you can’t miss it), but they started a social media sharing space on Twitter and IG where their fans actually show their drinks made (or about to be made) with Tito’s on game day! They make it so you can’t miss it AND want to participate.

They also ran a similar strategy with a local restaurant chain ( They took pictures at the restaurant, talked about it throughout their podcast so it didn’t feel like a traditional ad, and then have their fans share pictures of their experience at the restaurants on their Socials.

It’s perfect.

This is the kind of thing you SHOULD look for when approached by a podcast or if you are reaching out to one.


Tim’s ads are done in a traditional sense, live and during the show, but because he is funny, he can go WAY off script.

And when I mean WAY off script, like companies got pissed and pulled ads.

He is a comedian. Comedians push the boundaries.

In fact, he pushes the boundaries so much, and is SO funny, I listen to every single ad.



Because I have no idea what he’s going to say, but I know it is worth it.

This is the only show that I listen to every single ad, every single week, every single time.

Whether it’s Magic Spoon (, Better Help (, Ridge Wallet (, or Sheath Underwear (, I listen to them all.

He is hilarious and rarely stays on the company’s script (which everyone else just reads).

Some of these ads are so funny, I wonder why he doesn’t cut them out and post them separately on his Socials. It would be great for the companies and could add a higher tier for ad fees.

Be Smart

Don’t just look at numbers. They may look like one thing but they are NOT as powerful as advertised. The podcasts that can advertise your company without feeling like an ad, or the ones that incorporate and incentivize Social sharing around your product, or the ones that are so entertaining you don’t want to skip them are the ONLY ways to go if you are looking to run ads on podcasts.

There are great ones out there, but throwing money at a problem never solved anything.

Be smart.

- Joey


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