Why Podcasts are the Best Advertising Channel for Startups
September 21, 2023


Back in the 1980s, radio advertisers turned somersaults when qualitative research helped them find radio stations that were 6% more likely than the competition to reach college graduates.  Today, such a broad statistic is laughable, as third-party data now makes it possible to deliver an audio ad to (for example) Women 35-44 who are employed part-time, have a child aged 11-15 in their household, and have been to a Dairy Queen location in the past 90 days.

Just as mailing list data for decades made it possible to drill down to precise audience segments, research aggregators with names like Eyeota, Iotame, and Skydeo now bring this same pinpoint precision targeting to audio.  And the results have been nothing short of remarkable.

In campaigns where an advertiser runs the same message on traditional radio and programmatically-placed digital audio, the ROI from the digital campaigns nearly always outperforms the former.  And that’s despite of the fact that the CPM for programmatic audiences can cost several times more than traditional media.  This precise audience delivery also allows you to use insider lingo and offers in your message that you’d never use in a general market advertisement.

It’s been a game changer.  Not too long ago, a marketer targeting plumbers would take a guess at which Rock or Sports station would have the best chance of delivering plumbers, knowing that, at best, only 1% or 2% of any station’s audience would reach plumbers.  Today, that same advertiser can place a programmatic audio buy that will only serve ads to the 345,000 Americans who identify themselves as plumbers, fitting and repairing pipes and other apparatuses of water supply.

Not every advertiser needs to spend extra for a programmatic buy.  A fruit juice brand targeting mothers will do just fine on a Soft Rock station or a “Ladies Chat About Life” podcast.  But an advertiser targeting new mothers with the 101 products relevant to a newborn’s needs will love the efficiencies of delivering their message to the 100% correct audience.

At present, programmatic buying tactics allow you pick from thousands of audience qualifiers across digital audio platforms, including streaming services (like Spotify and Pandora) and many podcasts.  And while you may not reach 100% of the nationwide target you’d like to reach, you’ll probably run out of marketing budget way before you run out of qualified listeners to touch through programmatic audio.

Mark Lipsky is CEO and Creative Director of The Radio Agency, a national advertising agency 100% focused on creating and managing sound advertising campaigns through the medium of radio. You can reach him at [email protected].