Ads are an important part of any podcast show, especially if you wish to monetize. But what is an effective ad placement that can get you a high conversion rate? In this episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard point you to the untapped potential of post-roll podcast advertisements. Did you know that there is a very high conversion rate to post-roll ads for psychological reasons that you may not have considered? In fact, it’s the most undervalued that you should be charging for more. Tom and Tracy break down the whys here as well as offer great tips on how to make the most of those ads. Don’t miss out on these great nuggets today!
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Tips For Effective Ad Placement: Harnessing The Untapped Potential Of Post-Roll Podcast Advertisements
I’m excited to talk about ads because this is so much fun time. We never get to talk about this enough because not everyone takes ads on their shows, but we talk about ads and we mean promos. Let’s make sure that we emphasize that as we go and do the show.
There is certainly nothing wrong with third-party ads. You can engage advertisers and put ads on your shows if you want to. You can make some money at that. We’re more in favor of promotions because we find, especially in independent podcasters, that they tend to do much better with promotions, especially if they’re in business in some way, advertising their own stuff than they do with third-party ads.
We are going to talk about Tips for Effective Ad Placement: Harnessing The Untapped Potential Of Post-Roll Podcast Advertisements. Anybody who is familiar with the term post-roll is probably doing a mental double-take thinking, “You’re talking about what?”
That’s why I put it in the title here. That’s why we did this. We could have teased you and said, “Tips for Effective Ad Placement, the ad spot you never thought about,” or we could have come up with the title like that. We didn’t because we wanted to put the post-roll out there for you to think about. That is the key here.
What we’ve done is in our company, Podetize, we have an ad mixing system. We think of it like a promo mixing system because we want our business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients to use it like that to bring relevant promotions ads, JV, affiliations, or whatever it is that you might be doing. It could be outside advertisers, third-party ads as we call it, but doing something that’s in a very specific resource to your listeners that you might be creating a promotion or ad for.
When we look at that and when we say ads here, we want you to think of promotions and ads, and sometimes we’ll flip back and forth and call them promos. What we’re saying is that there is a very high conversion rate to post-roll ads for psychological reasons that you may not have considered here. That’s what we want to talk about. These are some of the most underutilized, underestimated, underfunded, underpaid, and undervalued ad spots. You should charge more for a post-roll ad spot.
That’s our opinion and our view because the conversion rate is higher. That’s what we found from doing that. Let’s talk about ad spots. Why don’t you talk about the different positionings because some people may not even be familiar with what the term post-roll means? I want to be careful here because we’re not talking about the streaming services that stuff adds on the front and back. Those are not pre-roll and post-roll by real definitions that we’re using here.
Here’s the issue and like many different terms in the podcasting ecosystem or industry, different terms mean different things to different people. The most common one you probably read us talk about on here if you’re a long-time reader is sometimes somebody will refer to their show and they mean their episode that was published, but their show to other people is the whole podcast, and all the episodes or they refer to their podcast and they mean, “Did you hear my latest podcast?” They’re talking about their episode and not the show as a whole.
Terms mean different things to different people and this gets even more confusing and is very true about ad placement or places where you might put ads. This is an ad term placement according to Podetize, Feed Your Brand, and us. Generically, it is true. Pre-roll ads typically tend to mean somewhere very early in the episode. Some systems will mean, “That’s at the very beginning. It’s the third first thing you hear before the episode even starts. We don’t agree with that.” A pre-roll ad is something that occurs pretty early, maybe within the first five minutes or right after the intro.
There’s no absolute rule as to when that is. In fact, in the Podetize system for placing ads or marking ad spots, you are allowed to define where a pre-roll ad is on your own. There are some good reasons why you may want to define certain ad spots as pre-roll as opposed to mid-roll or post-roll ads because then you can decide what ads go in those locations in general.
You can decide the value of those ads differently so you can sell them for different rates.
Even the large ad houses that are selling high-volume ads will seek out to buy only pre-roll or mid-roll ads, or whatever it ends up being. Pre-roll generally earlier in the episode. Mid-roll generally means anywhere from after pre-roll. It could be after five minutes, but we tend to see them somewhere in the 20% or 25% way through an episode all the way, then to maybe 75% to 80% of the episode. The podcast owner, producer, or whoever is in charge of the show has the ability in the world of advertising on Podetize or monetizing in Podetize to choose what those ad spots are. There are no absolute hard and fast rules.
As an example, my Binge Factor episodes are broken up in a way that makes the mid-roll spots obvious. I define pre-roll as right after the formal introduction to the music. If I ran an ad spot, I would run a pre-roll right there before I’ve ever introduced the episode, my guest, or done anything, then I do an introduction of my guest and there’s a natural break before I go to the interview where I throw to the interview. I consider that my mid-roll one or my spot one for my mid-roll, then I do the interview and I have another mid-roll spot marking right before I go to my closing thoughts about what I learned from this guest.
I have another mid-roll spot there. Right after my closing thoughts, I have my post-roll spot before my outro runs. That’s my formal. I can fit 4 ads into what is about a 45-minute show. It doesn’t seem overcrowded. It seems that natural breaks. These are some things that you want to think about. That post-roll spot is key. I think of it both as my mid-roll two, which is pretty close to the end. It’s like 5 to 10 minutes from the end. My mid-roll two and my post-roll as my most valuable ad spots. The reason for this is what we want to talk about. That’s what we want to get to.
You could define pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll how you want. Other people find them in different ways, but so you understand generally where they are.
Thinking about it as in the last 10% to 20% of your show, if you’re running an ad spot, this is where the conversions happen. I know the prevailing attitude from a lot of coaches out there hocking podcast launches, programs and all kinds of podcasts coaching services is that you should make your offer right up front. The reason is that they think you’re never going to get any listeners who are going to listen all the way through.
They want to make sure that you slam them in the face with an ad, a promotion with an offer and that’s all that they hear because they don’t believe you have great content. They don’t believe you’re going to follow through. They think you’ve got to push it out there as fast as possible. That is not what we found happens. When you have great bingeable content and people are listening again and again, they want to get into your content quickly. They’re frustrated by the bombardment of ads at the beginning. You’re disrupting their process for choosing you. That creates a sense of dissatisfaction with your show. That’s not a good thing. They chose to come and listen to you. What do you do? You sell them in minute one. That’s part of the mindset problem right there.
There are many advertisers that will say, “I don’t want to pay for any ads unless it’s the first thing people hear because I want to make sure they hear my ad. I don’t care about anything else in your show.” That’s their attitude. Spotify’s entire monetization system of ads is built around that whole concept.
In fact, their stats are built around that whole concept because they don’t care if you get past a minute of listening. They don’t measure getting past 60 seconds because all they measure is that you got the ad.
It’s disheartening when you see the tech behind it, see the details as I did, and realize, “Spotify stats aren’t providing you any different of a record of a listen for anybody that listened to 1, 60, or 120 minutes. A stream is a stream and it doesn’t matter. You have no idea.” That is disappointing and disheartening. Clearly, they only care about ads being put in those first 60 seconds so that they can get paid for.
You are podcasting for different reasons, all of you podcasters out there. These aspiring ones, I hope you’re going to choose to podcast for a different reason. You’re going to podcast because you want to deliver your fabulous message and great content to the world. You want to get your voice heard out there. You want your message to have an impact. When you’ve delivered that impact, what if, at that point, you made them an offer of what the next thing is? They listen to this. They learn something, “What’s next? What is in their mind at that moment in time? What’s the next podcast episode I might listen to? What’s the webinar that I could take to learn more about what I learned about? What resource could I be using to take advantage of this tip I just heard?”
That’s where mid-roll two to post-roll ads are the last 20% of the show. When you’re presenting something in there, my mind is open to what’s next. That’s why the conversion rate is so much higher, assuming your ad or your promotion is relevant to what I heard or relevant to why I’m listening to your show in the first place because it might be that.
As long as it’s that, there’s no reason I’m not going to say, “This fabulous host served me for 40 minutes and now they’re telling me that this is another episode that I should listen to or they’re referring me to another podcaster I should listen to. They are offering me an opportunity to sit on a webinar or get on a call with them and learn more. Why would I not do that at that point in time?” It’s the law of reciprocity, but I also have an open mind to what I’m going to consume next and do next. I’m ready for it. You didn’t disrupt the process of what I chose to do and I set my mind to listening to your episode, not in the post-roll.
Not to mention, when you think about it, the people who have listened through to everything and maybe, let’s say, for the sake of argument, 75% of the people who started listening to an episode get all the way through it. Statistically, we often see a lot more than that. Even 85%, 90%, 93%, and 95% of people will listen all the way through the majority of an episode. Let’s say 75% or 25% didn’t. Those are the people that have stuck with the show.
They’re getting a lot of value. They are more meaningful to you as a podcast host. They’re listening to you. They like you. They want to hear more. They’re going to listen to an ad you run there late in that episode, be attentive, and are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer as long as what you’re offering is at least someone in alignment with why they’re there to listen in the first place.
It came to me from someone that I was interviewing on The Binge Factor who was asking me this question, “Won’t they stop listening to the episode if you run it at the end?” The reality is if you run it right before your formal outro and you’re doing it in your own voice, it’s not a separate ad that is a stock ad that came from a company. It’s in your own voice, host-read, and you’re transitioning essentially from the final part of your content into this ad.If you start to see lots of early crashes, you really need to rethink your advertising at the beginning of your show. Click To Tweet
They haven’t clicked move on. They haven’t gone forward. They’re stopping and still listening. As long as it hasn’t transitioned into the outro itself, then you’re in a good place. My feeling is if you’re using a service that only allows you to slap promos on to the end, and it’s why we invented our system the way that we did after that music and outro goes, you’re done, they are going to skip it because the minute they hear that cube music if there are binge listener, they’ve already heard it before they move on.
They probably only listen to it once. They’re not listening to your outro at that point. They’re ready to move on to the next episode. If you can get them right before they’re ready to move on to that next episode, get them to move on to another one of your episodes and go search for it, or get them to move on and check out something else that you’ve got, you’ve captured their attention. Right at the moment, they’re ready to do something else. That’s ideal.
Not only that but if you plan this out right when you record that host red ad, you can record before the ad part right in that ad MP3 file. When it gets put in maybe before the episode is completely done, not immediately before that pre-recorded outro, you can say, “There’s a little bit more for you. Don’t go away. I want to share this important message with you.”
“Don’t go away yet.”
Put some context and even you can have fun with it. I am a big fan of making ads fun because people don’t mind listening to them. There’s probably another whole episode we can do on making them fun. If you make it fun and say, “I do have someone to share with you, but there’s more. Don’t switch off because you think this is the end of the show because it’s not.” You can have some fun and do that. It’s your show. Do what you want and do it in your style that you’re comfortable with but have some fun with it and put that context. Let people know there’s more.
When I put in mid-roll ads, I recommend putting it either at a transition point where your listeners know there’s something else coming, that there is more that pays off from this episode or you ask your guest a question that you’re waiting for the answer and then the ad comes in and say, “We’ll hear the answer to that question right after this important message. Don’t go away.” Have your message and like, “Let’s get back to hear the answer to that question,” or whatever.
You have the ability to record if you want. That’s part of the ad. If you ever pull the ad out, that context isn’t there. No one is like, “Where I’m supposed to look? What was that? I don’t get it.” I’ve heard episodes where people recorded a throw to an ad within the main episode and then the uncertain ad. When there’s no ad there, the throw makes no sense. It says, “We’ll be back right after this important message. We’re back,” and there’s no ad, which is absurd. All that should be in the ad that’s inserted.
As long as you have a plan to spot for it, that’s the way that I do it because there are natural breaks. It helps you. It makes it a little cleaner. You always know where it’s going to go and then it makes it cleaner for you to decide how to record your ads. You don’t have to think about it because it’s not different in every single episode. The time spot might be different, but the conceptual or organizational spot is the same.
The last thing I want to touch on before we head out of this subject is saying to you, that thinking clearly about your audience’s experience is something we don’t do enough of. Understanding that we have people who come into our show for the first time, what is their experience of it? If their experience of it is that you’re all about the ads, “It says to me that your podcast is a vehicle for advertisements and I am being pushed to consume, not served. I am less likely to subscribe to your show as a new subscriber. I might still try it out, but I might not. I might crash out of it right there.”
That is a sign. If you start to see lots of early crashes, you need to rethink your advertising at the beginning of your show, the promos that you’re doing, the length of your intro, and the whole thing. What is the experience before they’re getting into your content? If you’re not getting a lot out of your show, and/or I get this a lot from hosts, people come to you and say, “What is it that you do?” That says to me that you did not do a good job of offering them something, and yet you served them well, and they want more from you. Didn’t we not make that mistake in our 3D Print Podcast? People would be like, “How can I hire you? What do you do?”
We never talked about it on the show because we were in the business of offering anything for 3D printing services. We didn’t think about it. We were there offering the show. It made us sit back and think about the idea that when you’ve served someone, they want to find a way to reward you and if you’re not making an opportunity and offer for something, then you’re not giving them a chance to give back to you which they would like to do. You’re missing that opportunity.
The other part that I want you to think about is YouTube is out there doing, promoing, and pushing end cards and related content. If you think about it, there are these little cards up there. It goes and links to another video and does that. They know when you do it at the end, it does better than if you do it at the beginning because they’re not ready. They’re watching the video. They’re not ready to click off.Post-roll is the position you want to reserve for yourself or your partners, for someone that you really believe in. Click To Tweet
YouTube has invested a lot of money. They’re giving a lot of promotional opportunities, mixing and matching, allowing you to do this and keeping you going to the next video and they’re doing this through their end cards and info cards. They even offer it on Shorts. That’s how valuable that ending opportunity or offer is. If YouTube is doing this, it is powerful.
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. A typical advertiser is not interested in the post-roll at all. It’s a big missed opportunity. In many ways, it should be a position that they pay more for rather than the pre-roll because if you think about it, early in the episode, you get your pre-recorded intro, which everybody is used to hearing and they’re not that attentive and listening yet. Do you throw a purely either before that or right after that? Sure, people are going to hear it, but are they really listening?
I do this all the time. You’re right about that because I’ll turn on a podcast while I’m doing my hair and makeup in the morning. I do it all the time. I turn it on and put it on my vanity, and then I walk over to the sink while the intro’s playing and brush my teeth. I’ll come back by the time the content starts.
I bet you wouldn’t even notice the difference in that moment between the pre-recorded intro and an ad that isn’t the actual host welcoming you to the show and doing your thing. To you, it’s all background, white noise waiting for the real thing to start.
I’m not bothering to fast forward. I’m not being active. I’m doing something else that’s distracting me at that moment in time because I can. By the time I’m sitting down, doing my hair, I am listening to it. I’m not blow-drying my hair while I’m listening to my podcast. This is such a valuable position. This is the position you want to reserve for yourself or your partners, for someone that you believe in their product or their service, for the nonprofits you can get behind, for the resources you know people love and it’s going to serve your community.
Save that post-roll for the thing that you can make most valuable for your audience and for the person who’s doing the promo or the advertisement and, hopefully, you in that process. Think this thing through. If you have a service that is putting stuff on the very front and back, I hope that you’re making a lot of money because if you’re not, this is destroying your audience. This is destroying the listening experience for you. It is not serving you. It is making them a lot of money and making you a fraction of that.
The reality is it’s the reason why advertisers in a programmatic advertising sense, which is what the vast majority of those are, if you hear the word programmatic ads, understand that means the cheap seats.
It’s quantity over quality.
It’s not where the real money in podcasting is made. I have a flesh back to Spaceballs with the merchandising where the real money of the movie is made. It’s not in the programmatic ads. There’s a lot more value for your advertisers and listeners. It’s my own show. I set the price for my show. I’ll say, “Advertiser, you want that post-roll spot? That’s the most coveted spot. It doesn’t matter that only 75% of the plays are going to hear it. Those are the people that are going to take action. You need to pay more for that spot.”
That’s how I do it. If you set it up right and you show them the stats, you say, “Look at my Apple Podcasts analytics,” which is admittedly better. You can print it out and show it to somebody and say, “People are listening through 92% of all of my episodes. We have that postural ad before 92%.” They’re all going to hear it. They’ve got such value during the episode. They’re listening and paying attention much more than they are in the first few minutes of the show.”
I guarantee you, if you’ve got 92%, you have the majority of people doing 100%. You have this random few who started an episode. You are probably getting 100 % listen-through.
They’re probably more than 100% of who you’re real listeners are. The percentage comes down because you’ve got people who listen to the first couple of minutes and stop listening. That throws the average off right, but it wasn’t for them. If they’re not listening, fine. I’d rather you have a couple hundred raving fans getting value from every episode and every word you say than have 10,000 casual listeners who are never going to understand, get value, or take action on anything you recommend. There’s a nice middle in there. A lot of podcasters achieve that.
It’s better to start small, grow steadily, provide value, get value back in a meaningful way and that’s what we’re talking about here with these ads if they’re for your own stuff but can easily be for third-party sponsors too. It’s maybe more of a flat fee arrangement for a campaign that’s 60 days long. It’s not tied to the number of listens potentially, but that’s up to you. Not every ad service works that way. There are pros and cons in different options. Our message is about the value proposition of the post-roll ad. That’s the big thing. It is all misunderstood.
Also, it is undervalued everywhere. Think that through as you decide when you might make your offer of opportunity, even if you’re doing it in a call to action, then you’re doing it amid the regular show and you’re not even using an ad spot. Save it for the last 20% of the show. Make your offers and calls to action. Suggest your opportunities for resources, webinars, and other things in the last 20% of your show. You’re going to erase your conversion rate. I know it. Our numbers everywhere show it. There is nothing about that that is Fuzzy Math here. This is definitively the best spot to make an offer.
Thank you so much for reading. We hope you got some great value.
If you want to follow up this episode with another great episode, I’m going to make you that offer right now to show you how this works. I’m doing it within rather than in an ad spot. The next best episode that you can go to is How Podcast Advertising Creates Effective Ads And Promotions That Bring Results. In that episode, we will give you some framework on advertising and some of the ways to get better results from what you’re doing in that promo advertising world. That’s my suggestion for the next episode you should read. Thanks, everyone, for being here. We’ll be back and we will be doing another great episode for the future.