The Ads That Get Podcast Listeners Talking and Buying

BY Rachel Cagle
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Podcasts are the new up-​and-​coming advertising medium consumers can’t get enough of. Over 106 million U.S. consumers will be among avid podcast listeners by 2021, according to eMarketer data. That’s a 16% increase year-​over-​year, when compared to 2020. This growth is also expected to be reflected in marketing spend. This year, advertisers will spend approximately $782 million on podcast ads. And that amount is expected to increase to more than $1 billion next year.

However, not all podcast ads are created equal.

Podcast Ads

There are two types of podcast ads. There are those that are read out loud by the host and those that are not. Your client may not think that there’s much of a difference between the two, but there definitely is.

Think about the podcasts you listen to for a moment. Why do you listen to them? A primary reason is probably because you trust the host. They have obviously done plenty of research into the topics they’re discussing to earn such a loyal following of podcast listeners, including you. The host’s opinion matters to the listeners; that’s why the audience is listening to them!

Now think about the ads surrounding the podcast, if you even pay attention to them. There’s nothing personal about the pre-​recorded content that is aired either before, during, or after the podcast. Honestly, those types of ads seem like they’re running only because the podcast’s host will earn revenue, not because the host actually cares about the product or service being advertised.

Which of these types of ads do you think will generate the best response from podcast listeners and, therefore, give your client the biggest return on their money?


According to data from Nielsen, when a podcast ad is spoken by the host, it has a 67% higher rate of being automatically liked by podcast listeners compared to ads spoken by someone else. Not only that, ads spoken by the podcast host are also more likely to influence listeners to take action in three ways.

  • Seeking out more information on the product or service: 60% more likely than ads spoken by someone else
  • Inclination to purchase the advertised product or service: 50% more likely
  • Giving recommendations for the advertised product or service: 50% more likely

Data on Podcasts Listeners

10.5% of U.S. adults have heard an advertisement mentioned on an audio podcast within the last 30 days that has led them to take action, according to AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel. The most popular types of podcasts among Podcast Ad Responders are sports talk (32.7%), political talk (29.2%), and newscasts (24.7%). They’re also 134% more likely than other consumers to listen to shock talk shows (such as Howard Stern). And these are just generalities.

If you want to know what percentage of your client’s target audience took action after hearing an ad mentioned on an audio podcast, check out their profile on AudienceSCAN. You can also identify which types of shows you should be pitching your product or service ads to in hopes of the host directly recommending your client’s product.