Pat Reese, Chief Media Strategist, Rooster Strategic Solutions
Recently I saw a link for the “Top 50 Ag Podcasts.” After I got past the fact that James Arnold’s excellent “Rooster Cast” wasn’t included*, I must admit that I was a little surprised to find so many different podcasts focused on farming.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. Podcasts are big business now, obviously. More than 120 million listeners tuned in to a podcast last year, a number that’s expected to grow by 20 percent or more in 2022. Once the domain of true crime stories and tales of the paranormal, podcasts today cover nearly every topic imaginable – including agriculture.
Marketers have taken note. Podcast advertising is expected to hit $500 million in 2022. Advertisers love the fact that listeners are invested participants. Nearly 80 percent of listeners listen to all or most of an episode, including the ads. In fact, one recent study found that podcasts generate recall scores that are four times better than display ads, and more than 60 percent of listeners consider purchasing after hearing podcast ads.
This got me thinking: Should agriculture companies designate a larger slice of their media pie to podcasts? The short answer is yes, and for the following reasons.
It’s the right audience. Much like radio listenership – and the farmer population, in general – podcast listeners tend to skew a little older, with nearly half of listeners aged 35- to 54. And this audience is engaged, even with the advertising. According to one study, 33 percent of listeners say they “never or rarely” skip the ads in podcasts, compared to more than 90 percent who regularly skip video ads, particularly pre-rolls.
You have a lot of options. Traditionally, there are three slots in a podcast where marketers can place ads. Pre-roll ads, which appear at the beginning of a podcast, are typically shorter, 20- to 30-second spots. Mid-roll ads appear in the middle of a podcast; these are typically the longest segments, 60 seconds or more, and the most expensive. Post-roll ads at the end of the episode, like pre-roll ads, are typically shorter. Some advertisers choose to purchase multiple slots, using a post-roll spot in addition to a pre-roll or mid-roll ad to reinforce a message or repeat an offer.
Marketers can also choose “baked-in” or dynamic advertising. Ads that are read live by the host – and are therefore “baked-in” as a permanent part of the recorded episode – have several advantages. For one, podcast listeners tend to form strong, trusted relationships with the host, much like a dedicated radio audience. Having the host read your message adds some authenticity, particularly if the host can discuss using your product or service firsthand. For this reason, host-read ads tend to cost more than dynamic or programmatic ads.
Dynamic ads are prerecorded and inserted by a server, which has pros and cons. For marketers, dynamic advertising provides a lot more targeting ability to match specific listeners with different ads, as well as ensuring that your ads are always up to date. For instance, if your ad includes a limited time offer or coupon, dynamic advertising lets you run the ads during the promotional period, but listeners who pull up an episode weeks or months after the original air date won’t hear them. Dynamic ads are generally cheaper than host-read ads, but as they’re pre-recorded by necessity, they tend to sound more like an interruption in the podcast than ads read by the episode’s host or hosts.
For those marketers willing to think outside the box – beyond pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll options – there is a nearly unlimited list of ways to get your advertising message into a podcast. Sponsoring an entire show or a single episode; scripted product placements; paid in-episode interviews with your subject matter experts. These are just a few of the creative ways advertisers can interact with a podcast audience.
It won’t break the bank. If you want to, you can spend a lot of money very quickly on podcasts. For instance, Amazon spent $3.4 million on podcast advertising – in December. Having said that, small and medium-sized companies can successfully advertise in podcasts for a lot less. I’ve seen several articles report standard CPM rates (cost per thousand listeners) of $30 to $50 per ad. In my experience, it costs less than that to partner with a good ag podcast, but it’s a good rule of thumb. Honestly, finding the right partner is typically a larger barrier to advertising on podcasts than the price. A good agency can help you evaluate the offerings and navigate the rate cards to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Go ahead, dip your toe in. If you’re not already advertising on podcasts, I hope this article gives you a few reasons why you might want to try. If you have any questions about podcasts or need some help finding and negotiating with the right ag partner, I’d love to have a conversation.
*Sign up for the Rooster Cast! I’m pretty sure the reason it wasn’t included in the Top 50 Ag Podcasts is because technically it’s a “MicroCast,” which means each episode lasts around 70 seconds. If you’re interested in digital marketing and sales topics focused on agriculture, it may be the best 70 seconds you spend! Sign up for the Rooster Cast: Spotify, TuneIn, Alexa, Google, the Rooster web site, and Apple podcasts.