Podcast Advertising Agency: What It Is & Our Top 10

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Don Draper and Joe Rogan walk into a bar…

There, they make the greatest podcast advertising agency the world has ever seen, er, heard.

Not the best punchline, but you get the idea. Today, we’re talking about podcast advertising agencies: what they are, who they help, and the best ones in the game.

Let’s answer your #1 burning question first:

What is a podcast advertising agency? A podcast advertising agency matches advertisers with the podcasts that best align with their brands. They identify shows with audiences that match the advertiser’s target market, plan ad campaigns and report on the success of those campaigns.

Here’s Dan Sanchez with more on podcast advertising (aka, sponsorship).

The top 10 podcast advertising agencies are…

AGENCYSHOWS/BRANDSEXCLUSIVE NETWORK
1. MidrollOffice Ladies, Literally!, The Oprah Winfrey ShowYes
2. AuthenticThe Daily, This American Life, Stuff You Should KnowYes
3. MegaphoneDeep Cover, Making Sense, Revisionist History, In the DarkYes
4. HeadgumThe GOAT Show, Doughboys, Dead Eyes, Drag Her!Yes
5. EarwolfComedy Bang! Bang!, Fake the Nation, Getting Curious, How Did This Get Made?Yes
6. AdvertiseCastDarknet Diaries, Phil in the Blanks, Real NarcosYes
7. PodcastOneThe Adam Carolla Show, Cold Case Files, The Dr. Drew Podcast, Court JunkieYes
8. PodSearchADPod Save America, Life is Short w/ Justin Long, Science Rules!No
9. Ad Results MediaMarTech Podcast, The Dan Patrick ShowNo
10. True Native MediaGhostrunners, Smart Passive Income, History That Doesn’t Suck, Motivation MovementYes

That’s just the quick view. To get a deeper dive into each of these podcast advertising companies, click on the agency name.

Otherwise, keep reading to learn what a top-tier podcast ad agency should offer.

What a Podcast Advertising Agency Does

A podcast advertising agency is an ad agency that focuses on everything podcasts. They match advertisers with shows that align with their target markets, similar to television or radio ad agencies.

If you’re a brand in search of the best podcast advertising agency, make sure they offer all five of these components:

1. Strategy

This is particularly important if you’re new to podcast advertising. The agency you partner with should assist with your ad strategy and build a plan that fulfills your business objectives.

The types of podcasts and audiences you’re targeting should be determined in the strategy phase.

🤖 A Peek Into the Future: As Spotify continues to futurize the advertising framework for its podcasts, a new targeting feature is coming to town. Spotify Audience Network is still in the works but will soon allow advertisers to target specific listeners instead of shows. So that’s legit.

2. Creative

A good podcast advertising agency will help you with the creation of your ad.

Most digital advertising agencies are used to visual and text ads like those for Facebook or Google. However, they’re less likely to know what all goes into an audio advertisement. That’s why you should seek out a podcast ad agency.

[READ/WATCH: Want the whole shebang instead? Here’s what to look for in a full-service podcast agency (we think).]

Your agency partner should help you decide on a script that vibes with your brand, the podcast, and its audience. The other creative element you’ll need to make a decision about is the voice reading your ad.

Recent data show that host-read podcast ads drive better brand recall than non-host-read ads. The other options are to hire a voice actor or recruit someone from your organization to do it.

Or, maybe your Uncle Rick has a nice voice. He could read it.

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3. Ad Placement

There are three options for podcast ad placement that your agency should help you choose between: Pre-roll, midroll, and post-roll.

A pre-roll ad happens before the episode and a post-roll ad occurs at the end of an episode. These two options normally cost less because listeners are less likely to hear them compared to a midroll ad. Midroll ads occur during the episode and are oftentimes longer and more expensive than the other placements.

4. Network Advantages

If you already have a podcast in mind that you’d like to advertise on, you may have to partner with a specific ad agency. Some shows only work with particular agencies.

The upside to working within an ad network is that many of the shows have similar audiences. So, if you’re able to advertise on one podcast, there are probably more shows like it that are working exclusively with that ad agency.

Kind of a two-birds-with-one-stone thing.

5. Reporting

Although it currently isn’t very easy to report on a podcast ad’s success, it’s still important that your ad agency has some way of estimating the ROI.

Unless you go with a direct response ad format (e.g., use code FANCY for 10 years of free Fancy Feast), there’s no concrete way of knowing how many impressions your ad is making.

In other words, it’s a good idea to go with a direct response ad and landing page approach if you want some serious reporting from your ad agency.

🤖 A(nother) Peek Into the Future: Instead of mixing in static ads that can’t be updated, Spotify has plans to stream the ad audio file. These updates are all part of Spotify’s new audio ad marketplace.

Top 10 Podcast Advertising Agencies

Now that we know what podcast advertising agencies do, let’s look at the leaders in the space.

💸 Podcast Ad Pricing: Most podcast ad networks operate on a cost-per-mille (CPM) standard. CPM measures the cost of reaching groups of 1,000 listeners. If an agency’s average CPM is $25, it costs $25 to reach 1,000 people. A typical CPM runs from $18-$50, but can certainly be more for big-name shows.

1. Midroll

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Might as well start out with the big guns. Midroll is a behemoth of a podcast ad network. They work with big-time shows like My Favorite Murder and WTF w/ Marc Maron.

If you join forces with Midroll, you might be able to get a name like Conan O’Brien or Heather McDonald to endorse your brand for all of their listeners to hear.

  • Notable Shows: Office Ladies, Literally!, The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: Yes

2. Authentic

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With 13+ years in the podcast advertising game, Authentic has made a name for itself as a top-tier podcast ad network. As an exclusive network, Authentic only works with what they deem as the highest quality podcasts.

The team at Authentic also claims that it’s worked with “more brands in podcasting than any other company.” So there ya go.

  • Notable Shows: The Daily, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: Yes

3. Megaphone

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Megaphone — recently acquired by Spotify — is maybe the most forward-thinking ad agency in the bunch. Working with brands like Walmart and Microsoft has put Megaphone on the top of many advertisers’ lists.

Their Targeted Marketplace offers targeting listeners at scale, seriously actionable insights, and dynamic ad insertion to keep things fresh.

  • Notable Shows: Deep Cover, Making Sense, Revisionist History, In the Dark
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: Yes

4. Headgum

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If you’re an advertiser with a sense of humor, Headgum could be your ad network. A small, scrappy bunch of professionals, Headgum works with fewer podcasts than some of the other networks. But those shows get the celebrity treatment nonetheless.

  • Notable Shows: The GOAT Show, Doughboys, Dead Eyes, Drag Her!
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: Yes

5. Earwolf

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Earwolf might be another podcast ad agency that you’ve heard of. Another comedy podcast network, Earwolf builds strong relationships with its creators and advertisers.

Backed by Stitcher (which was recently acquired by Liberty Media), Earwolf is one of the most imaginative and entertaining networks out there.

  • Notable Shows: Comedy Bang! Bang!, Fake the Nation, Getting Curious, How Did This Get Made?
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: Yes

6. AdvertiseCast

advertisecast-podcast-ad-network-logo

Unlike most of the ad networks in this list, AdvertiseCast makes signing on as a publisher super easy. It explains why there are literally thousands of podcasts available for advertisers to choose from.

Plus, AdvertiseCast gives you the option to manage your own campaign, or to sign on for their end-to-end campaign management.

  • Notable Shows: Darknet Diaries, Phil in the Blanks, Real Narcos
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: Yes

7. PodcastOne

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PodcastOne is a full-service podcast advertising agency that’s partnered with over 200 popular podcasts and 90+ big-time brands. Their goal is to offer the best podcasting experience ever as they see 2.1 billion downloads each year.

PodcastOne also boasts an episode completion rate of 86% across all of their shows. That means your ad will likely be heard on either end of the episode.

  • Notable Shows: The Adam Carolla Show, Cold Case Files, The Dr. Drew Podcast, Court Junkie
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: Yes

8. PodSearchAD

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PodSearchAD helps advertisers find the best shows and the best audiences for their budget. This podcast advertising agency works with any kind of podcast you’re interested in partnering with.

With over a decade of experience in the podcast ad space, PodSearchAD helps advertisers manage every aspect of their campaign.

  • Notable Shows: Pod Save America, Life is Short w/ Justin Long, Science Rules!
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: No

9. Ad Results Media

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The team at Ad Results Media specializes in audio and podcast advertising. They help their partners build the best media plans in order to achieve business objectives.

With a proprietary audio results database, Ad Results Media creates custom campaigns tailored to goals and budget. Plus, they can create custom reports according to your specific needs.

  • Notable Shows: MarTech Podcast, The Dan Patrick Show
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: No

10. True Native Media

true-native-media-podcast-ad-agency

True Native Media represents podcasters and advertisers alike. Their team assists advertisers with every aspect of their campaign while blending it with their existing marketing strategies.

True Native collaborates with hand-selected podcasts to ensure quality in multiple genres. You can have your pick of shows in categories like Health, Business, Parenting, and more.

  • Notable Shows: Ghostrunners, Smart Passive Income, History That Doesn’t Suck, Motivation Movement
  • Host-Read Ads: Yes
  • Exclusive Network: Yes

Be a Podcast Advertising Pro

There are a ton of options out there for podcast advertising agencies (except for the Don Draper/Joe Rogan collab I’m waiting on).

When you’re searching for the right podcast ad network for your brand, keep in mind that they should offer the whole gamut: strategy, creative, ad placement, network advantages, and reporting (even if you don’t need it all).

For more on podcast advertising, subscribe to B2B Growth on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Emily Kingland

Lead Writer at Sweet Fish Media

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