insights into the world of healthcare marketing—with a little life mixed in


“Serial.” “The Joe Rogan Experience.” “This American Life.” Take your pick from the thousands upon thousands of titles available. It seems as though everyone has listened to and has deemed his or her favorite podcasts.

Born from the digital audio boom of the early 2000’s, it wasn’t until Apple introduced podcasts to iTunes in 2005, that this audio medium really began to take off. At that time, there was an estimated 8,000 podcasts on the internet, which Steve Jobs was quoted as describing as “’Wayne’s World’ for radio.”

But it was “Serial,” which hit the market in 2014 that caused podcast listening to climb. A  weekly, serialized investigative journalism show hosted by NPR’s Sarah Koenig, “Serial” marked the point that the general public really began to pay notice to this brave new world of digital audio. And after being downloaded 340 million times, it remains the most popular podcast of all time.

With all this growth comes an opportunity for advertisers to hone in on their intended audiences on podcasts. Anyone who has listened to a podcast has surely heard the likes of Hello Fresh, Purple, Blue Apron, ZipRecruiter, SimpliSafe, or dozens of other brands that are harnessing podcasting’s reach. And, according to a 2019 survey, more than 30-percent of daily podcast listeners have actually completed a purchase after hearing a sponsored ad.

Once you’ve identified your product or service’s target audience and found an appropriate podcast (or network of podcasts, i.e. Wondery, NPR, Cadence 13, The New York Times, etc.) on which to reach that audience, there are a few more decisions to make in terms of placing your message.

The first is where to place the ad. Advertisers can choose from three different positions: 1.) Pre-roll, which plays prior to the content’s start; 2.) Mid-roll, which plays between segments of an episode; or 3.) Post-roll, which plays at the end of an episode.

Next is the delivery method. Do you want your message baked into the content so that everyone who listens hears the same message? This method is often served by the show’s host reading the advertising message (some podcasts even include host endorsements), which is delivered less like an interruption and more like part of the show’s fabric.

The other method borrows from online advertising’s programmatic capabilities, using targeted and dynamically inserted messages. This method uses a listener’s previous online behavior to insert advertising content on-demand, which enables precise scheduling, targeting, and measurement capabilities.

Some brands are thinking beyond the traditional methods of podcast advertising, and have even created their own branded content and shows. Nike, for example, has a podcast called “Trained,” that talks about the various training methods, tips, and tricks that elite athletes use, positioned in a way that the everyday runner, tennis player, or athlete can use for their own success. The iconic chain Trader Joe’s even introduced its own podcast, during which it speaks to how each of its self-branded products are developed and even how they’re named.

Today, there are an estimated 660,000 different podcasts available to download and a total of 28 million estimated episodes from true crime to self-help to sports and recreation to fictional stories that hearken back to the old days of pre-TV radio shows. Got a favorite topic? There’s a podcast for that. Got a product or service to sell? There’s a podcast (or podcasts) for that, too.

If you want to explore the world of podcast advertising as an opportunity for your business, contact us, and we’d love to help.

We’re a Bunch of #HealthRaisers

We’re a healthcare branding agency that’s committed to raising health. We raise questions. We raise expectations. We raise the bar in what’s possible for healthcare branding, marketing and consumer engagement. And when it’s all said and done, we’ve been known to raise a glass or two in celebration of healthcare brands well launched, messages well received, and lives made better through the work of our clients. We’re a bunch of #HealthRaisers, and damn proud of it.

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