Everything You Need to Know About Dynamic Ad Insertion
April 30, 2021
Podcast advertising and monetization is the top question for many podcasters, whether their listenership is big or small. We have good news – selling ads on your podcast is easier than ever before with dynamic ad insertion. Whether you’ve been running ads or are just getting started, this blog lays out everything you need to know about dynamic ad insertion.
Podcast Advertising Basics
Before we walk through dynamic ad insertion, let’s review common types of podcast advertisements. In each episode, podcast advertisements can range in different formats, positions within the episode and frequency. Ads can be placed at the beginning, middle or end of a podcast episode, also known as pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll. Pre- and post-roll ads typically run 15-30 seconds, while mid-roll ads can run for a minute.
Here are a few common ad formats:
- Host-read ads: these ads are the most common format because they are read by the host and therefore more trusted by listeners. According to Edison Research, 33 percent of podcast listeners pay more attention to host-read ads over pre-recorded ads. The advertising company will often provide a script for the host to read or talking points that the host should include in the ad. The host can either work the ad into the conversation or record the ad at another time and insert it into the episode file.
- Pre-recorded by an advertiser: the advertising company will provide a pre-recorded spot for inclusion in the podcast episode file. These ads can also be dynamically inserted into the episode at the time of download (more on this later).
What is Dynamic Ad Insertion?
Now that we’ve covered a few podcast advertising basics, let’s dive into the newest format of podcast advertising – dynamic ad insertion. With dynamic ad insertion, the podcaster leaves markers within the episode where a pre-recorded ad can be inserted and then ads are placed in when a listener downloads the episode. As the podcaster, you get to choose what pre-recorded ads you want inserted in each episode. These ads could target a specific audience or be more general – it all depends on what ads are available at the time of download. This allows you to record the episode in advance and sell ad inventory later.
Benefits of Dynamic Ad Insertion
There are many benefits to using dynamic ads over traditional static ads. Considerations and benefits for dynamic ads include:
- Streamlined Episode Planning. With dynamic ads, you can focus on producing the episode without worrying about having an ad ready during production. Before recording, plan out your episode and make a note for where ads could be inserted into the episode at the time of download.
- Easier Ad Inventory. Whether you have an advertising team selling ads or you’re doing it yourself, digital ad insertion alleviates the stress of needing to sell ad inventory before you start recording the podcast episode. Instead, you can record and produce the episode in advance and then focus on selling ad space.
- Less Manual Tracking. Since ads are automatically inserted where you mark ad spots within the episode, you don’t need to keep track of ad files, which ads are used and where the ad is at within the episode.
- No More Expired Ads! Dynamic ad insertion makes it easy to remove ads from aired episodes. For example, let’s say a company you sold an ad to in an old podcast episode is no longer in business or offered a special with a past holiday like Valentine’s Day. If the ad wasn’t dynamically inserted, you would have to edit the full episode and re-upload it. With dynamic ad insertion, you can easily turn off the ad campaign and plug in a new one.
Downsides of Dynamic Ad Insertion
While there are many benefits to dynamic ad insertion, there are a few downsides to keep in mind.
- Not (Yet) Widely Available. While it’s true podcasts of any audience size can use dynamic ad insertion, not all podcast hosting companies currently offer it. Dynamic ad services also differ from company to company, so check with your hosting company for any additional details for their dynamic ad insertion service.
- Potentially More Expensive. For hosting companies that do provide dynamic ad insertion, some include it in their service costs, but others tag on an additional cost to apply dynamic ads to your podcast. Make sure to check with your hosting company to see what extra charges may apply.
- Not as Engaging. While you have more targeting abilities with dynamic ads, the trade-off is that your ads may be less engaging to your audience. The main reasons for this are the host is less involved with the ads and the ads aren’t as cohesive with the episode’s content.
With these benefits and downsides to dynamic ads in mind, it’s up to you to decide if you want to try dynamic ad insertion.
Tracking the Success of Your Ads
No matter what type of advertising you use on your podcast, measuring the success of your ads is incredibly important. Using analytics is the best way to measure advertising success. Here are a few core metrics that are important to track:
- Ad downloads: the number of downloads where listeners played through an ad
- Aggregate listener metrics: some podcast apps provide in-depth metrics for each listener. Metrics could include listener location, IP address, listen time, and device.
- Conversion: the action you want the listener to take. The conversion depends on the specific ad, but the most common conversion is getting the listener to go to a website or make a purchase, many times with a coupon code that can be tracked back to your podcast.
- Episode downloads: the number of downloads of your episode
- Exposure: the number of times podcast listeners hear the ad
When tracking these metrics, it’s important to evaluate which ads performed well and why. Did ad A perform better than ad B? Did targeting one podcast perform better than targeting another podcast? Which ad within the podcast performed better: pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll? Did multiple ads in an episode work better than a single ad? Make notes of the ads that performed well and try to replicate those ads on future episodes.
There are also metrics you can track to measure the success of your episodes and podcast as a whole. To learn more about podcast metrics, read our podcast metrics blog and our deep dive into podcast subscriptions and downloads.
No matter if you’re a podcast advertising pro or you’re just getting started, we recommend giving dynamic ad insertion a try. Need some help? Q’d Up can help you plan and produce your podcast and provide advertising expertise. Let us partner with you and take your podcast to the next level. Contact us today to get started.