Is Your Podcast Big Enough for Advertisers?

your ad strategy determines your profitability

When is your podcast big enough to get advertisers? This is a question I get all the time. And it’s a tricky answer because technically you can get advertisers on day one of your podcast. Want to find out how?

In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss…

  • How to measure your episode downloads
  • Using dynamic ad insertion versus baked-in ads
  • How to get started with programmatic ads
  • The benefits of doing direct sales with advertisers

what type of ads are best for your podcast?

Discover the difference between the two different types of ads you can insert in your podcast episodes.

Sunny Gault | Podcast Coach and Mentor | Independent Podcast Network

Episode Transcript

When is your podcast big enough to get advertisers? This is a question I get all the time. And it’s a tricky answer, because tactically, you can get advertisers on day one of your podcast. Want to find out how? Take it away, radio man. Podcast Your Business.

Hello, hello. Welcome to Podcast Your Business. I’m Sunny Gault. I am a podcast coach and a mentor, and had been podcasting for a very long time about 17 years. I’m also the founder and CEO of a company called Independent Podcast Network. You can check us out, I have a ton of free material for you guys there. But today, I am here to help you create amazing podcasts for your business. And we do this by mastering the five P’s of podcasting. Yes, the five P’s of podcasting. This is something I created to help podcasters just like you kind of figure out the podcasting space and make sure that you’re hitting everything and doing everything you need to be doing right to have a successful show. So the five P’s are prep, plan, produce, promote, and profit. So when we talk about prep this is even before you start your podcast, we want to dive into why are you doing this in the first place? Is this really the best way to get your message out? Plan? We want to talk about the look and feel for your podcast. How often are you releasing episodes? What’s the format of your show? All that good stuff produces how you actually create the content, whether it’s an audio or video podcast, promote is how you tell everybody about it, and try to get them to subscribe and listen or watch your podcast. And finally profit. That’s how you make your money. Right? How do you make money with this show that you’ve created and make it work for you?

So Mr. radio man, what are we talking about today? Profit? Yes, you sound so serious when he says that, doesn’t he? Yeah, you probably guessed from today’s episode title, we are talking about profit because we’re talking about working with advertisers. Now I feel like I need to make a disclaimer off the top of today’s episode to say that working with advertisers is not the only way to make money with your podcast. If your podcast specifically promotes your business, you may just want to run your own ads that promote your own products or services or courses or whatever you’ve got going on. In fact, last week’s episode was all about how to promote your business within your podcast. So the reason we did that is because I realized there’s gonna be some people like Ah, don’t want to work with advertisers. And that’s totally fine. Listen to last week’s show. If you’re kind of on the fence, this is going to be a good episode to find out what are some different ways you can work with advertisers? And what do your download numbers need to look like in order to consider that. Now you can do both. So it’s not only promote your own stuff, and don’t promote anybody else’s stuff we do both on this show this show is a really good example. Throughout the episode, I promote what I can do to help you guys, right, but during those brief little commercial breaks, you hear ads as well. So we’re kind of a hybrid, and you may decide that’s what you want to do. Alright, so what are we going to talk about? In today’s episode? First, we’re going to talk about how to measure your episode downloads. And what I mean by that are, are you looking at the downloads per episode? Or are you looking at your downloads per month, we’re gonna dive into that because you got to know the difference between the two. And especially if you’re going to start talking with advertisers, they need to know what those numbers are. Okay. We’re going to talk about using dynamic ad insertion versus baked in ADS. I’ve talked about this before. But just in case you haven’t heard some of the other episodes, we’re going to do a quick review of that, because that’s also going to play into what your numbers have to be. We’ll talk about how to get started with programmatic ads. And then we’ll wrap things up with talking about direct sales, and how to work directly with advertisers and what they are looking for. Okay. And we’ll get started with all of that right after this quick break, which may feature advertisers.

I’ve never met a podcaster who was opposed to making money with their podcast. But I do get some big questions. The two biggest ones are how do you do it? Without selling yourself out? And I think that’s an entirely separate episode we’ll have to explore down the road. The other big question is, how soon can you get started? So let’s talk about this. Now. The answer to today’s title. Is your podcast big enough for advertisers to answer that we first have To start with how you’re measuring your podcast audience, are you looking at the total amount of downloads per episode, or per month, your downloads per episode are going to be lower. Because when you’re looking at your monthly downloads, that is an aggregate of all your downloads for all the episodes you’ve ever done for that podcast, within a 30 day period, when I switch from focusing on downloads per episode, and instead focused on my downloads per month, I 10x my podcast revenue data and I did a whole episode on this, you guys is one of the first few episodes for this podcast. So check that out, just search for 10x, my podcast revenue, please listen to that episode on exactly how I did it. But I’m gonna give you a little bit of a spoiler alert here, I did that by using dynamic ad insertion versus baked-in ads. So let’s talk about this a little bit. Because you really need to know the difference. There are some advertisers that are only going to work with people that do dynamic ads. And there’s other advertisers that don’t really know the difference between the two. I’ve never met an advertiser that would only work with someone that does baked an ad. So let’s break this down. What are dynamic ads, dynamic ads, use technology to place pre produced ads in your show, you can change or remove those ads whenever you want. Because you’re literally going through, you put these little ad markers in your show, so you determine where the brakes are going to hit. Okay. And then when it’s time to create an ad, if it’s a direct sales ad, you go in there, you record the spot and you tell it exactly where you want it to go. You can switch up the ad as many times as you want, which is really nice for advertisers. And you can pull it at specific times. So if the app, you know, the ad campaign has done, why are you still promoting that advertiser, you probably shouldn’t be because they’re not going to be paying you anymore, right? So provide you with this kind of flexibility. But again, it uses technology. And this goes back to who your podcast host provider is because you have to have a podcast service provider that enables dynamic ad insertion, and they are not all created equally. Okay, so that’s dynamic ads.

Baked-in ads. That’s how a lot of people get started, this is how I got started, I got started doing baked in ads, because it was easier to do. Okay. And again, you may not have a podcast host provider that allows you to do dynamic, what are baked in ads, usually what happens is, when you’re recording your podcast episode, you just record the ad naturally into the show. Okay? So whenever it’s time to take a break, you just say the ad, maybe you pre write it, maybe you’ve got bullet points doesn’t really matter. The thing is, is that it is in your podcast, and it is not coming out of your podcast, unless someone physically goes in there and edits the file. Right, they gotta go in there and edit your episode to remove that that is a huge pain in the butt. As you can tell, I’m very biased on which you should choose. And like I said earlier, I ended up 10, fixing my revenue when I switched from doing baked in ads to dynamic ads. So I have a whole handout that I’m going to promote. I’m going to tell you guys a little bit about it now, but also at the end of the show, I’ll remind you, that goes through the pros and cons of dynamic ads versus baked in ads, so you can make an educated choice on what you think is best for you. But I will tell you my professional opinion is if you are serious about working with advertisers use dynamic ads. That’s my almighty voice, okay, because you’re going to make more money. Now, I will tell you, there are some people that will say, Oh, well, it doesn’t sound as natural, you know, so therefore the conversion isn’t as strong. Trust me, trust me, you you do give up a little bit when you do dynamic ad insertion. That is true, you know, you may not be able to make the amazing smooth transition, you could if you were recording it in every episode, but you’re gonna make far more money. And it’s not. It’s not just about the money. But that’s part of it. That’s really what we’re talking about today is working with advertisers and having that conversion work for the advertisers as well. So again, professional opinion, use dynamic ad insertion, but I’m going to give you a handout so you can make an educated choice, okay. But you have to understand this language, because advertisers are going to ask you these kinds of questions and in order to answer the question of today of hey, do I have enough downloads in order to be able to look for advertisers we got and we got to be using the same language okay.

Now I mentioned this in kind of the intro for today’s show, but you can start making money on day one with your podcast. That is absolutely true. Now, you’re probably not going to make a ton of money. But the question of how many downloads do I have to have is very, very minimal, truly, you’re just not going to make as much money. So there’s a couple of different ways you can do this, you can do this through affiliate ads, which I’m not going to talk a lot about today, a lot of you are probably already familiar with affiliate programs. So you know, that’s not guaranteed money. And so I don’t want to talk about stuff that’s not guaranteed money in today’s podcast. So with affiliate programs, yes, if someone buys the product that you recommend, then you can earn some revenue from that. But let’s kind of stay to the course today of stuff that is guaranteed programmatic ads, have you heard of this, before? Programmatic ads are ads that you don’t create for your podcast, somebody else creates them for you. They can be produced by the advertiser. Sometimes they are produced by AD teams or sales teams. So I’ll give you an example of this. You guys have heard me talk about Megaphone. It is our preferred podcast host provider for all the shows on our network. And one of the things I really like about them is they have an internal sales team and creative team and the creative team. When it you know, when an advertiser wants to work with the shows on megaphone, the creative team will create a spot for the shows that are going to participate in it. So it’s more of a podcast ad, it doesn’t sound like it was just grabbed from radio or TV or something like that. So that’s something you have to consider with programmatic ads. But it runs in the spots that you’ve designated. So as part of doing dynamic ad insertion, I mentioned this earlier, but you have little ad markers in your show, that tells the system, okay, when I want to play an ad, these are the available spots, in theory where you could run that ad, it’s not just going to play anywhere, by the way, don’t use any kind of programmatic ads that are just going to randomly play wherever they want. I was actually talking to a podcast earlier this week. And that was the trouble, she had a podcast host provider where she was doing dynamic ads. So she had her own ad markers. And she told the system, you know where those ads could play. But then the podcast host provider had free rein to just go in there and drop whatever ad they wanted to wherever they wanted to. So she could be having a very heartfelt story on her podcast. And it could be interrupted with some sort of ad about insurance or whatever. I mean, it was actually even worse than her situation, because some of the ads were really inappropriate. And she’s like, What am I going to do? So please, you know, when you’re when you’re looking to use a podcast host provider, and they bring up the idea of programmatic ads, it is a great way to start earning money with your show, but make sure that it’s going to happen at appropriate times. And the best way to do that is through these ad markers for dynamic ad insertion that I was telling you guys about with programmatic ads, you are going to make less money than you would in working directly with advertisers. Okay, but the nice thing is, you’re not really doing any additional work, you are creating your episode, you are putting those little ad markers in your show, again, for dynamic ad insertion is what I’m talking about now. And then they’re filling the spots as it’s available, you’re not having to do additional voice reads or anything like that, it’s just going to naturally happen. I do recommend that you have the ability to do exclusions, for advertisers. So in the case of Megaphone, you can go into your megaphone account. And there is a drop down of all the different types of you know, advertisers they work with, not by name, it’s by category, but you can go in there and check whichever ads, the type of ads you don’t want running on your show. So you could check off all politics or religion. You know, I don’t know, if you had something against technology or you know, alcohol, tobacco, things like that. Those are the common ones that people check off. But that allows you some flexibility. Now, what you’re not going to be able to do is say, oh, I want to work with this software company, but not this other software company. And they’re not going to ask you in advance. Can we run this out on your show? It’s programmatic it’s going to automatically happen and you’re probably not going to find out who the advertisers are in real time. It may be a month or longer before you know. So just want to throw out some of these things. But that is the easiest way to start making money with your show. I live Early did it with podcast your business from day one, I put the ad markers in my show. And I didn’t have a lot of people listening. But that’s okay, I still made a little bit of money on programmatic ads, usually, there’s some sort of ad revenue share between you and the podcast host provider, it can be up to 50% or more. So that’s just something to consider. Again, you’re not putting a lot of effort into it. But they’re going to take a big chunk.

Now let’s talk about direct sales ads. And this involves working directly with advertisers. Either you are literally talking to the advertiser directly, or you’re working with a third party company, some sort of sales team, to act on your behalf. Now, you can do programmatic ads, in combination with direct sales ads, that’s what I encourage podcasters to do to make more money with their shows. When we’re talking about about direct sales ads, let’s break down the numbers for this. Because you’re probably not going to get direct sales ads on day one with your podcast. And that’s because the advertiser wants to see some proof of oh, I’m going to work directly with you, what are your download numbers. And on day one, most of us can’t really say, what our download numbers are going to be, unless this is tied into something else. And you can prove numbers otherwise, because it’s going out to X amount of people, and you got a newsletter list that has this. But for most of us, we’re just getting our feet wet here. Okay. Now, when I first started doing ads, direct sales ads, this was with my parenting shows I’ve told you about. I was at least a year into producing content before I ever tried to sell anything. Now this was many, many years ago. I’m not saying you have to wait that long. But it is important to focus on your content before you freak out about sales. It’s direct sales, okay. And that’s what I did. It was a full year. And what I did is I knew what topics were coming up for my shows and I tried to find advertisers that I could do a little segment with and inserted into the show, as it was related to the topic. So for example, let’s say I was talking about babywearing. Literally, I think this was the very first ad that I ran was for someone, you know, company that created that little carriers for moms and dads to you know, where their babies. And I didn’t even know what to charge I was kind of you know, making stuff up out of thin air, the podcast at the time was getting between 700 to 1000 downloads per episode. And I charged them for a short interview that I did, which I think once I edited it, it was about less than five minutes long. I charged them $500. And I was practically doing backhand springs when they said yes to it. But it was a lot of work. It was a lot of work. And I learned later down the road that there was easier ways to do this, that gave them a much better return on their investment. But that’s how I got started. So you can do this completely on your own selling directly to advertisers. And you can make a profit that way, you’re probably not going to do it from day one.

Now, the other option is to work with ad sales teams and or networks in order to have them sell on your behalf. And a lot of times when you do this, at least this is the case with Independent Podcast Network, my company, we allow you to still sell your own stuff. So we come alongside and we help you. But if you still wanted to work directly with an advertiser, you should be able to do that. So that is something to look for. If you’re working with an ad sales team or a network, make sure you can still sell your own stuff, because that’s really where you’re gonna make a lot more money, right? Because you’re not splitting the cost or you know, there’s no ad revenue share fees. Now I have done some research, because I’m in the business of helping small to medium sized shows, find advertisers for their podcast is one of the things that I do. And I have called around to many, many, many ad sales teams out there. And I will tell you that most of them will want your show to have, at least the minimum I’ve ever seen is 10,000 downloads per month in order to work with you. But even that was like I mean, I really had to do some digging to find someone that would do 10,000 most times they weren’t 10 to 20,000 per episode, which come on sounds crazy. You are wanting to work with the top 1% or less, if that is your standard. So that prompted me to do what I do for IPN. So I’m just going to take a few minutes and tell you what we do just in case your podcast falls into this category because I truly do want you guys to make money with your podcast through advertisers if that’s what you decide. So through IPN my company And we can work with shows if they have at least 5000 downloads per month. Okay, we cover all of your hosting costs, we use megaphone, so we cover all of those costs for you. We even format your episodes and prep them for dynamic ad insertion. So remember, when I was telling you about the ad markers, that’s a prep process, you’ve got to do through the episodes, and we pay our editors to do that for you. Then when ads come in, we take 20% We make money when you make money. That’s it. We don’t give you any upfront costs. So okay, that’s my plug. I’m not going to say anything more about it. But I want you to know that options like this are out there. They’re out there with my company. Perhaps there’s other companies out there that can offer you something similar. So it doesn’t hurt to ask right? Do a little bit of digging, and see what you can come up with.

Okay, so real quick review. When can you start making money with your show? Technically, day one, with programmatic ads, perhaps with affiliate ads. If you don’t have programmatic ads, and you’re really talking more about working directly with advertisers, then it just depends on how quickly you can grow your audience. In general, I would say 500 downloads per episode or 5000 monthly downloads to get started. But hey, maybe you could prove me wrong. I would love for you to let me know if you do. Okay, we’ll be right back.

If you guys are still on the fence, not shirring whether you should choose dynamic ad insertion or baked in ads, I have a free handout that I’m going to give you guys the link is below. You don’t even have to give me your email address. It is a absolutely free download. Please check it out. It will definitely help you make this decision. And I also encourage you to check out our website I have a ton of free resources there blog posts, podcasts episodes, just like this one videos, more handouts, and I even have free podcast courses. So if you’re brand new to podcasting, there is no reason you should have to spend any money to get up and running. Just go to the website, grab the content for free and then I hope when it is time for you to make money with your show that you consider working with us. Until next week….remember, podcasts are awesome!

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