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The Pros and Cons of Host-Read Podcast Ads

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

Podcast advertising revenue is on the rise, having topped $1 billion for the first time this past year by totaling $1.4 billion, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau

That figure marked a 72% increase from the previous year, and this year’s projection is set to top $2 billion. The revenue is further projected to cross $4 billion in 2024.

The report also states that podcast advertising revenue is growing faster than the total internet revenue advertising market. That’s a notable trend for marketers to know.

Companies are recognizing the importance of placing their advertisements within podcasts, leading to an increase in the “other” categories of brands that advertise within podcasts. Think of the “others” categories as those that are not the predominant heavy spenders. You’re seeing more and more brands and companies join the fold that previously passed on podcasts.

Advertisements within podcasts can take several forms and your brand may have a preference based on what you are selling. Mid-roll ads are still the most popular, per the reports, while host-read advertisements produce the most revenue among the podcast advertisement types.

Programmatic advertisements are projected for just 8% of U.S. podcast advertisements, according to Marketing Brew.

We’re going to focus on host-read advertisements and look at the pros and cons for this type of advertisement as you prepare for your next podcast marketing campaign.


Host-read advertisements are still at the top of the food chain and for good reason.

A host vouching for the brand brings a certain realness and authenticity that goes beyond what most would think of as your typical ad.

Listeners trust that host and may align with their core beliefs. Hearing the host praise a product will make it stand out more to their listeners.

The podcast host’s personal touch can also differentiate the advertisement from others, which is an important distinction. Companies want their advertisements to stand out.

You are trusting that person’s brand and value to help sell your product, and with the right personality and flair, it can do wonders. People are more likely to buy the product upon hearing how it works from someone they trust than just a generic advertisement.


There are two main cons to host-read advertisements.

The first is the lack of control throughout the creative process. Brands may not be able to approve the final message. This could potentially create issues.

Bill Burr’s promo for Shari’s Berries–worth a listen but beware it’s NSFW–is a prime example of where the advertisement clearly was not what the company intended. However, the absurdity of that advertisement actually led to it producing success in financial results

There are plenty of examples, though, where the brand and the podcast host just are not the right fit for one another and the advertisement doesn’t land.

Podcast executives told Marketing Brew that usual protocol is that host-read advertisements are not presented ahead of time, although there are sometimes requests. One company said it will vary the advertisements to keep it fresh, which obviously prevents predetermined scripts.

Some brands will provide notes on the company to help the host, including statements or words that they would prefer not to be included. But, clearly, that is not full control.

Then, there’s the cost.

Host-read advertisements do cost more, according to Marketing Brew, so you need to have the financial resources to pursue this ad type.

Some host-read advertisements can cost $10,000-$75,000 for a 60-second advertisement. Having to spend that type of money for an advertisement is not feasible for every company.

We always stress at Digicom that you need to operate within your means. While landing a big podcast star to read your advertising is obviously a goal, if it’s going to destroy your budget it makes more sense to pursue other podcast ad types that fit within your financial situation.

We hope these details have helped you learn more about host-read podcast advertisements and whether or not they will be a fit for your brand and your company. Keep checking Digicom for the latest articles, tips, and strategies for your upcoming marketing campaigns!


Well, aren’t we glad you asked! We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements, provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.


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