Host Reads vs. Targeted Campaigns

Published June 12, 2020

One of the more frequently asked questions of first-time advertisers is simply this; what are my options and what type of campaign is right for me? The answer depends on several variables including your product or service, your budget and your desired target demographic. Let's run through some of the more common forms of advertising, so that you feel better prepared to take on that first campaign.

  • The most common form of podcast advertisement remains the host read, and it's exactly like it sounds. You, the advertiser, identify a particular podcast(s) and provide the host with a set of talking points or script to execute an advertisement on your behalf. Podcast audiences tend to be extremely loyal, and having your message given out by the host – a trusted voice – is powerful. Some clients may require strict language in their advertising for legal purposes. In that case, a script (to be read verbatim) may be the best option. When such restrictions don't apply, we advise utilizing talking points and allowing the host some freedom in how they craft your ad spot. A read that sounds organic to the show, and less like an advertisement, is typically viewed as more desirable and less of a turnoff to listeners.
  • A targeted campaign may be a better fit for advertisers looking to reach a very particular audience. It might also prove the best option for advertisers looking to scale their campaigns programmatically, avoiding the need to locate and purchase 100s of different shows. As an example, Company X may wish to target a female demographic in the 18-45 age demographic. They could identify podcasts with content appealing to this demo and purchase host reads across all desired shows (a fine option). Alternatively, they could purchase a targeted campaign in which their pre-produced ad spot (not host read) plays across 100s of shows, but only for individuals matching the advertiser's targeting criteria – in this case, females aged 18-45. Targeted campaigns involve buying a specific audience, rather than particular shows, and there are hundreds of potential targeting criteria available including age, geography, behavioral characteristics and much more. As another example, a tech company may wish to target 'IT Decision Makers' in specific markets across the U.S. Or an insurance company may want to target individuals "in the market for auto insurance" within specific states. A targeted campaign would allow both companies to achieve their respective goal without needing to locate, vet and purchase multiple shows. In the case of the insurance company, it's also unlikely they would find a single podcast bringing together a large audience of those in need of insurance. A targeted campaign allows them to strategically reach those individuals for whom their message is relevant.

We'll have more details on these types of campaigns in future blogs. If you're interested in exploring a podcast advertising campaign for your company, please contact

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