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the power of host read ads in podcasts

The Power of Host Read Ads in Podcasts

While podcasts may be a relatively new medium of advertising, host-read advertisements certainly are not. 

Host-read advertisements have long been a favorite advertising approach on radio. Radio hosts and podcast hosts alike are engaging and tend to feel more authentic to their loyal listeners. If they endorse a product, their listeners usually trust them. 

But podcasts have something on radio. Podcast hosts appeal to very targeted audiences who share similar interests, lifestyles, careers or niche hobbies. They can choose from a range of topics: real estate investing, freelancing, motherhood, food, education, arts & entertainment,  and anything that sparks their fancy. 

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Podcast ads, especially host-read ads, fit these targeted audiences even better than radio ads. 

Listeners feel a personal connection or affinity towards podcast hosts. They can even keep them in line if they endorse something that rubs them the wrong way.

This sense of authenticity and relevance makes host-read ads as powerful as ever. 

How does host-read advertising stack up?

It was a natural transition for advertisers to take live read spots on radio and apply the approach to podcasts. That’s why most podcast ads are host-read. 

Percent of Podcast Ads that are Host-Read chart

Overall, the majority (63 percent) of podcasts are host read. Almost half of Podcasts (49 percent) had the vast majority (at least 8 out of 10) of their ads read by the host. 

On the opposite end, the other most common bucket was having less than 20 percent of the ads read by the host. 

This polarization shows that many podcasts adopt a strategy of the host reading the ads or not, with very few operating in the middle. 

How does host-read advertising perform compared to standard advertisements?

Research confirms what we already know intuitively. Host-read advertisements on podcasts consistently outperform nonhost read ads. A study from Nielsen found that host-read podcast ads were  “significantly more likely to be described by respondents as authentic and believable, and less likely to be felt as forced.” 

Making the medium even more attractive to advertisers is the fact that host-read ads are longer than non host-read ads. The average host read ad lasts 48 seconds, while standard, pre-recorded ads average 27 seconds. 

In other words, host-read podcast ads lend both authenticity and extra real estate for advertisers. This may be, in part, why advertisers that have their ads read by the podcast host are 3 percent more likely to renew their ad buys after the initial placement.