November 2021

How to record great podcast ads with Ads by Anchor

Discover how to monetize your podcast with Ads by Anchor and best practices for host-read podcast ads.

When starting a podcast, creators have a lot to think about: their podcast topic, how to name their podcast, and their equipment and setup, to name a few of the major considerations. Landing sponsor partnerships and recording podcast ads are likely not at the top of the list, if at all.

Enter: Ads by Anchor, the full-service podcast monetization platform that enables creators to make professional ads, so earning money to help grow your podcast isn’t a mysterious afterthought. The Ads by Anchor options give creators the flexibility to read their own ads that promote Anchor, called Ambassador ads, or create open space for sponsor-read ads wherever they want within episodes, known as Automated ads. Premium sponsorships are a combination of Ambassador and Automated ads, offered to podcasters with higher listener engagement so they can read sponsor ads themselves.

We built Ambassador Ads to make podcast advertising easy and efficient for everyone, no matter your experience level. In addition to its user-friendliness, this means making sure every podcaster is empowered to retain their creative freedom.

Ambassador Ads use host-read podcast ads, which are proven to be the most effective type of podcast advertising, generating higher brand recall, plus purchase and recommendation intent. They also allow the host to speak directly to the listener in a way that feels right for their show.

If you’re not experienced with podcast advertising yet but are nevertheless intrigued, Ads by Anchor is an accessible and flexible place to start. With that in mind, here are some tips we’ve found work well for podcast advertising and can help you make the most of Ads by Anchor.

Give yourself some background

Podcasters with access to Premium sponsorships can make their ad-reads go the extra mile with advanced preparation. Once you get your match and see the script, pause and learn about your sponsor so you’ll be able to speak naturally about their products and services. Click through to the company’s website and check out their social channels, and think about how you might (or already do!) use the product in your own life.

Ambassador Ads are a great way for podcasters to apply their knowledge and first-hand experience with Anchor before reaching the Premium sponsorships stage.

Make your podcast ads authentic

Think about what it’s like to listen to podcast ads. Which ones do you skip? Which ones grab you and make you want to keep listening? Which ones have led you to products you want to buy or use?

Anchor Ambassador and Premium sponsorships are part of your podcast and are in your voice, so make these host-read ads your own, and think about how they fit into the rest of your show. Your ad read itself should sound as natural as possible. Don’t be afraid to stray from the script and rephrase things as you would say them yourself. Throw in your own impressions of the platform, product, or personal anecdotes related to the problems they respectively solve.

For some people, it can be helpful to write your own script. Using the script provided by the sponsor or Anchor as a guideline, develop your own recording that’s unique to you and your show. Just be sure to keep it light, flowing, and conversational, and try to avoid sounding obviously scripted (unless, of course, that’s the tone of your show).

Abby Norman, the host of the “Let Me Google That” (LMGT) podcast, enlists the help of a personal resource to aid in delivering her ads authentically. “Sounding ‘real’ is tricky when you’re just talking to yourself. I actually read the ads to my dog, like I’m trying to get her stoked about it. Maybe it’s a little bit ‘fake it until you make it,’ but I think it makes it sound a lot more natural than me trying to do full-on Official Podcaster Voice, which just isn’t me.”

Photo by Anna Sian, courtesy of Abby Norman

Be strategic with your placement

When placing the ad slot into your episodes, think about how and where it will land. An ad placed in the middle of your episode is called a mid-roll, and Ambassador ads require them for episodes longer than 10 minutes. If you place a mid-roll ad, try to find a natural breakpoint. If you upload your podcast and it’s all one segment in the episode builder, you can use our split tool right in the app to create a break for your ad spot.

Otherwise, pre-roll ads play at the top of your episode, and post-roll ads play at the end. When selecting your ad placement, whether it’s an Ambassador or Automated ad, be mindful of the content of your show. If your episode is short, sweet, and upbeat, it may make the most sense to place a pre-roll ad to get the ad part out of the way while getting the most traction from it. As for Abby, “I always do it right after the intro before the main content because LMGT’s episodes run pretty short.”

For more serious episodes that touch on difficult, emotional, or provocative themes, you probably wouldn’t want to place an ad for, say, underwear in the middle. Use your content as context to guide your ad placement in a thoughtful, logical way that doesn’t feel intrusive to the substance of the show or hinder its impact.

Automated ads are dynamic, meaning sponsor-read ads will fill in a designated spot, and different sponsors can claim that space depending on the listener. This allows you to keep generating revenue from old episodes because they’ll still be able to run new ad campaigns. If you have multiple sponsors, the one with the highest cost per thousand (CPM) will always be prioritized.

Give podcast ads a strong setup

When recording the rest of your episode, think about how you set it up, so the listeners know they’re hearing an ad, but it still flows with the cadence of your show. Maybe you want to say something like “we’ll be right back,” or maybe you want to create a cliffhanger to return to after the ad.

Keep in mind that with Automated ads specifically, make sure the setup when you cut to the break is neutral and free of specific sponsor references, as your ads will change with each campaign you’re running.‍

Have a clear call-to-action

Keep your call-to-action very clear and distinct, so if your listeners want to act on your ad, it’s extremely easy for them to do so. If there’s a promo code or URL, repeat it two or three times, and spell it if that would help clarify. Also, double-check before recording to make sure you have the correct spelling for any promos or websites. Consider saying the call-to-action at the beginning of the ad, in addition to the end, to maximize its impact.

Transparency is key

Being honest with your listeners about why you’re advertising in the first place can go a long way in establishing credibility and authenticity. It may help if your audience understands that the ads are part of what makes your podcast possible in the first place. So it’s OK to thank the sponsor for supporting the show!

This applies to Ambassador ads as well. Since the purpose of these ads is to increase the awareness and exposure of Anchor, the creators who use the platform can authentically and confidently speak to their own experience with it.

“I like that it feels personal and naturally flows with the podcast itself, which has been part of Anchor since it was in beta all those years ago! It feels more authentic to be like, y’know, this podcast was born here and we’ve stayed here all this time,” says Abby.

Photo by Anna Sian, courtesy of Abby Norman

Best practices for Anchor Ambassador ads

Ambassador ads provide a great entry point for podcasters who want to start making money and familiarizing themselves with monetization. Any creator can qualify once they reach 50 listeners. This creates another way to support your production efforts to grow your audience.

Ambassador ads give creators the opportunity to promote the platform they use to make their show and sharpen their ad recording chops at the same time. This way, as your show and audience grow, you’ll be ready to take on sponsorship opportunities.

Make your Ambassador ads reflect your unique experience with the Anchor platform and communicate your personal takeaways from regular use of the tool. Based on her experience, Abby says not to get too in your head about the minutiae of the recording process. “Don’t get hung up on the details at first. Don’t constantly be thinking about how long it should take you to read it—you can always edit out pauses later.”

She also says to channel the excitement at the prospect of monetizing your podcast to power your ad read. “Imagine you have a friend (or maybe you really do) who would like to start a podcast and ideally make some money, and you’re like ‘I have just the thing!’ Then, capture that ‘energy’ and try to imbue it into your recording.”

Get started with Ads by Anchor

The Ads by Anchor podcast monetization suite gives creators the tools to experiment with for the best ways to grow their podcast. Any creator with 50 or more listeners can start making Ambassador ads now. Any creator can sign up for the Automated ads beta waitlist, which is the quickest and easiest way to drop in third-party sponsor ads with no negotiation required.

Monetizing your podcast can fuel its evolution, as well as other endeavors that are meaningful to you, like making a social impact. For example, Abby uses the money she earns from her podcast ads to help fund grants for high school students where she lives. “In addition to just being able to keep doing the show, it feels really great to know that Anchor has supported me in pursuing this passion project and now I get to turn around and do that for someone else.”


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