What's happening in this podcast ad I'm hearing?

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Welcome to The Yard, a blog by Backyard Media that explains the podcast industry and podcast advertising.


Today we're talking about podcast ads. We've talked about them a lot, but what does a great podcast ad actually sound like? What should sponsors expect their ads will sound like, and how can they help out podcast hosts by providing good ad scripts? The best way to start to answer these questions is by listening to actual podcast ads. So, today we're looking at some recent examples of ads that we've run on episodes of our Backyard Media podcast partners.


Our first ad is from our podcast partner The Lonely Palette, a podcast that tells unexpected stories about art and art history. In this episode's pre-roll ad, host Tamar Avishai mentions a few of her sponsors before the content of the show starts. Take a listen below:

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So, what's going on here?

First, Tamar opens up the ad with a personal anecdote. She says that "passwords are a freaking hassle" and mentions that she has a shoddy setup for her own password management. This approach makes sense for Tamar, because during her show she takes a straight-talking approach with her listeners when discussing art criticism, usually a very esoteric topic. Tamar is leaning on her brand that she's developed to convey the ad in a way her listeners expect.

At 0:23, the sponsor's ad script comes in. Tamar does a great job of spelling out the sponsor's name, as well as clearly emphasizing particular words in the script like visual password manager and NSA-approved. She makes it clear what Valt.io does and how safe it is. Tamar also recommends the service by mentioning the part of Valt.io she likes the most, which makes sense given her show - she's a visually-minded art historian, so she particularly enjoys Valt.io's photo-based encryption. Tamar comes back to her anecdote about her unprotected password document to end the recommendation part of the ad.

Finally, and most importantly, Tamar tells listeners where they need to go. At 0:50 and 1:10 she gives listeners the special URL where they can download the application (emphasizing here that it's free) and the "carrot" that is part of every direct response ad. That is, if listeners use her special URL "valt.io/lonely", they can be eligible for a free $100 gift card.

Gift card drawings are a newer type of direct response ad - more often you'll hear a promotional code for a percentage off a customer's order. But because Valt.io's service is free, they got creative and worked with Backyard Media to offer listeners something else - not only a free, useful application, but the chance to win free money. Backyard Media is able to test out new strategies like small ad buys with our sponsors because of our strong podcast partnerships. If you're new to the podcasting space, we have the flexibility to test a variety of different ad delivery methods and see what works best for your product.

Alright, now let's look at our other ad for today. This next ad is from our podcast partner First Mondays, a podcast from law professors Ian Samuel and Dan Epps. First Mondays is the premiere legal podcast that examines the cases currently being heard at the Supreme Court. In this episode's mid-roll ad, Ian and Dan take a break to talk about Helix Sleep. Listen to the ad below, and notice how it differs from The Lonely Palette's pre-roll ad:

First Mondays Logo Large.png

So, what's going on in this one?

Ian Samuel starts off immediately with the sponsor's ad script, but the interesting part of this ad is the interplay between the two hosts. Ian begins with explaining how Helix can improve listeners' sleep through its customizeable mattresses and the value of the product. Then, Dan transitions to the direct response portion: "go to helixsleep.com/firstmondays and take their simple two to three-minute sleep quiz..." Dan takes the baton and mentions the recognition Helix Sleep has gotten from news outlets.

Back to Ian, now, at 1:15, who explains the process for getting the mattress. This is important, since Helix's product is a bit more complicated than a software application like Valt.io, and some potential customers might be reluctant to go through with a purchase without knowing the whole process. So, Ian takes the time to explain the process from start to finish, starting with survey and then to delivery and a funny aside about the mattress unfurling from its box. He also explains the 100-night refund guarantee, one example of a "must mention" detail that's part of Helix's podcast ad script. While hosts can customize a podcast ad so it fits in with the style of their show, they will always make sure they hit the sponsor's "must mention" selling points. 

Finally, Ian repeats the direct response part, the URL, and mentions the $50 credit that listeners will get toward their order. And with that, Dan transitions back to the case discussions.

One thing to note in this ad, if you listen closely, is the way that both hosts speak during the ad read. Ian, for example, is using his signature explanatory style to highlight the nuances of the topic at hand - usually this is Supreme Court case law, but here he's talking about misconceptions about people's mattresses and why different people need different mattress designs. This helps listeners stay engaged with the podcast ad like it's part of the show's content. They come to First Mondays for explanations of difficult topics, so this ad is par for the course given Ian's style.


Ready to partner with one of our excellent Backyard Media podcasts and add podcast advertising to your marketing campaign? We can help you get started today - contact us to learn about advertising with our podcast partners.

Backyard Media is a marketplace for podcast advertising. We connect content creators of all shapes and sizes with awesome sponsors, providing them with the resources they need to do what they do best. Everyone wins.

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