Grow Your Podcast By Advertising in Podcast Apps
When you're looking to promote your podcast, it's good to ask yourself which commodity you currently have more of: time or money.
If you have more money, investing in paid ad placements can be an effective strategy for promoting podcast content and getting more subscribers.
But when you're looking to buy ad space, the platform you choose makes all the difference. Because even though many outlets sell ad spots, not all these platforms have the right audience for podcast promotion specifically or result in new subscribers—the ultimate goal of a campaign.
That's where third-party podcast apps come in. Podcast listening apps like Overcast and Podcast Addict sell ad space to podcasters to help you get your show in front of an audience interested in your specific content.
Before we break down each app's ad options, let's look at why these third-party apps perform better than traditional digital ad strategies for podcast marketing.
Traditional digital ads vs. podcast apps
Like we alluded to before, there are a lot of places to buy ad space online: you could run a Facebook ad campaign, distribute a paid promotion via Instagram, or purchase ad space on Google.
And while social media platforms can be a great way for podcast hosts to build a following and promote content, running ads on these outlets isn't necessarily the most effective option to get more listeners. Here are a few reasons why.
#1. Not the right audience
Even if you tailor a Facebook ad to reach your target demographic, most people on social media are scrolling to see pictures of their friends and family, not to get a podcast recommendation for an episode that could be 30 minutes or an hour long.
And even if you purchase a Google ad, so your podcast shows up in search engine results, people are likely looking for a quick answer to their question, not a whole podcast episode on the topic.
Unlike social media platforms, people using third-party podcast apps are typically loyal podcast listeners who are in the right frame of mind to view an ad for new podcast content.
#2. Complicated to use effectively
Despite their popularity for certain types of marketing, traditional digital ads are complicated, and there are many things to know to make money on the deal (and a lot of ways to lose money if you don't know those things).
So if you aren't a seasoned professional marketer, podcast apps are a much more straightforward way to promote your show and get a worthwhile return on your investment.
#3. Difficult to track subscribers
When you track a digital ad, you generally measure its success based on the number of clicks or traffic generated. But the ultimate goal of podcast promotion and digital marketing is more subscribers, not necessarily more traffic to your podcast website or landing page.
Because these ads aren't made for podcasters specifically, there's really no way to accurately gauge how many subscribers you get from a campaign.
But podcast apps make it easy to see how many new listeners your ad generates and make it easy for users to subscribe to your podcast and stay up-to-date on all your new episodes.
The best podcast apps to promote your podcast
These third-party apps are both podcast players and podcast directories, similar to Apple Podcasts and Spotify, but often with improved usability and search features that help podcast listeners narrow their search.
Below are the top podcast apps that run podcast ad campaigns, and while they're each different in their own way, they function similarly: you pay the platform a certain amount, and they place your ad (usually in the form of an image with a short, written description) within their app.
Each app also gives you a rough estimate of the results you can expect from each category (but these are just estimates, not guarantees).
These outlets vary mainly in their ad rates, types of ad placement, and duration of the campaign. Here's a quick breakdown of how each service works to help you run a successful podcast ad.
Overcast (iOS) is one of the most popular podcast apps to use for podcast promotion. All their ads run for 30 days after the purchase date and vary in price based on the demand and saturation in a given category.
When you run an ad through Overcast, users see a picture of your artwork displayed in their Now Playing screen and their Add Podcast directory. Listeners can tap the ad for a short description of your podcast and then choose whether or not to subscribe.
If you go to Overcast.fm/ads, you'll see a chart where you can pick your podcast's category and see the price for running a month-long ad.
Overcast does sell out of ad spots, but you can opt to have them notify you when they get more slots available if your category is sold out.
Of course, picking the right category is important because it helps target your ad, so it gets in front of your target audience. So be patient and wait it out if there are no slots available in your category.
Once you purchase your ad, Overcast will email you a link where you can track its performance for 30 days.
The podcast in this example illustrates the results of a podcast in the leisure category with a month-long ad run. You can see the podcaster ended up spending $8.33 for each new subscriber, and gained a total of 30 new listeners by the end of the 30 days.
Once you make your ad purchase, the Overcast team reviews your podcast and usually approves requests within 24 hours.
Note: Even though the ad stops running after 30 days, the site is still processing information from the campaign, so you'll likely see your data change a few days after the ad stops running.
Podcast Addict is an excellent option for Android, desktop, or iOS users and is similar to Overcast in its setup.
The main difference between the platforms is that Podcast Addict has two types of available ad placements: those that appear on the main screen where users search for new podcasts and ads that appear within a specific category for a more targeted audience.
Once users tap on the ad, they're brought to a description of your podcast where they subscribe, browse episodes, and read reviews.
For pricing information, go to PodcastAddict.com/ads and past your RSS feed into the search bar at the bottom of the screen.
Once you enter your RSS feed, Podcast Addict shows you the categories appropriate for your podcast so you can choose the campaign that's right for you. Like with Overcast, you'll get a link to track your results.
For more details, you can reach out to [email protected].
Pocket Casts (iOS, Android, and desktop) offers paid ad placement in their Discover section for creators who need a little help getting seen.
Pocket Casts is a pricier option, however, with one-week ads costing $2,000. To place an ad, you have to have at least two episodes and artwork that meets Apple's (formerly iTunes) image requirements.
The site also suggests making any needed improvements to your overall quality before submitting, as this will greatly affect the success of your ad run.
After you submit your podcast to Pocket Casts, you can reach out to [email protected] to request a paid placement and get more details on how their campaigns work.
Podbean (iOS and Android) is one of the top podcast apps in the Apple Store and Google Play Store, and can be used with Amazon Alexa, too.
The platform doesn't have self-service ad placement option likes Overcast or Podcast Addict, but once you submit your podcast to Podbean, you can reach out to the team at Podbean for ad pricing information.
Your content must be appropriate for all ages and approved by the Podbean team, which usually takes around three business days. And as always, your podcast has a higher chance of being accepted if it meets basic industry standards for audio and artwork.
The benefit of using Podbay (iOS and Android) is you don't have to buy a 30-day campaign. The downside is, the daily price is higher than you'd pay per day to run a month-long ad on an app like Overcast. But if you don't have the budget for a long campaign, Podbay lets you purchase daily ad spots for $25.
Spending $25 a day is not only pricey, but running an ad for only several days probably isn't long enough to see any significant results. But again, if you just want to dip your toe in the water of podcast advertising, this is an alternative to a month-long campaign.
Other apps that will promote your podcast
These apps offer various promotional opportunities and ad placements to boost your listenership; they just work a little bit differently than the apps mentioned above and require either an application for approval or that you reach out to their team via email for more details.
Castbox (iOS, Android, and desktop) provides promotional opportunities like being featured in their Editors' Picks or getting a banner feature spot on their homepage. They do have audience size and content requirements and only select a small portion of the applications they receive.
To be considered for a Castbox promotion, you must submit your own podcast to Castbox and claim ownership of it. They also require that you mention Castbox in your Twitter profile bio and add a Castbox badge and embedded player to your podcast website.
If you meet these basic requirements, you can fill out their Feature Application Form for consideration.
To apply for a banner feature spot, you must have at least 1,000 subscribers on Castbox alone. To be featured in the Editors' Picks, you must have at least three published episodes.
You should hear back from Castbox within two weeks of submitting your application with the next steps.
Podcast Republic (Android, & desktop) is a popular podcast listening app specifically for Android users. Once you add your podcast to their directory, you can reach out to the folks at Podcast Republic to get your featured on the website and Android app.
Again, Podcast Republic's site doesn't detail their advertisement process, but you can reach out to them at [email protected] to learn more.
PlayerFM (Android and iOS) is a great directory for podcast visibility because of its tailored search engine features, and they also offer ad spots to podcasters.
The PlayerFM site doesn't currently provide a lot of information about how their ad spots work, but you can reach out to the team at [email protected] for more details.
PodLP is a podcast app for KaiOS, the third most popular operating system in the world. When you list your podcast on PodLP, you get your show in front of people in countries who might not have access to it via iOS or Android.
Once you're listed, you can reach out to PodLP at [email protected] to run an ad campaign. Keep in mind this isn't a mainstream podcast audience, but it's an excellent tool to boost your visibility in other parts of the world.
There isn't a lot of information available yet on this option, but this Reddit article might help you get a better idea of other podcasters' results so far.
More podcast marketing strategies
Of course, there's a limit to what podcast apps can do. Because even if you have all the money in the world to invest in ads, it won't get you very far without great content and you can't buy your way to a loyal podcast following.
As always, the most important aspect of successful podcasting is genuine passion and interest in your show's subject matter. But promoting your show using podcast apps is a great way to get your content in front of a new audience and attract subscribers who fit your target demographic.
For the ultimate guide to podcast marketing, feel free to check out the top 50 marketing tactics podcasters use to promote their own shows.