Podcasters, Your Ad Network Should Work for YOU

As a podcaster, I understand how tempting it can be to sign up with multiple podcast advertising networks—with the idea that it must be better having more folks working to sell your show’s ads. But my experience in the industry says otherwise.

In fact, you’ll be better off choosing one really good company (may I suggest Midroll?) to be your exclusive representative to advertisers. Let me explain why.

The Path Begins With the First Show

The first podcast ads I ever sold were for my own show. I didn’t know much about podcast advertising at the time, other than—I wanted advertisers, and I wanted to do well by those advertisers, so that they would keep on sponsoring my podcast.

But oh, the things I didn’t know. How should I price the spots? Whom should I sell to? What was the right inventory to make available? How could I make my reads perform best for advertisers?

Then I took on my second show. And then my 15th. And then my 50th.

By virtue of growing my network—and, to an even larger degree, by merging my network with Midroll’s last year—my knowledge and expertise in the podcast advertising space grew exponentially.

I learned what advertisers had been paying other shows, so I understood the marketplace and pricing much better. I had access to hundreds of ad reads per week, and could understand which styles delivered the best results. I saw a variety of ad inventory levels, and learned which sold best and which worked best.

It’s that institutional knowledge at Midroll Media that makes us appealing to podcasters and advertisers alike; each group knows we have hard-won experience informing us about what works and what doesn’t, and we work hard to serve each group well.

Why It’s Smart to Go Steady

We’re not the only folks in the podcast ad sales market, of course. And sometimes, when we’re talking to new shows about joining our ad network, they pose an interesting question: The podcasters wonder whether their shows would be better served by aligning themselves with multiple podcast ad networks, not just ours.

At first blush, that seems like a pretty smart theory: You could gain the benefits of even more experience in the space, and have more representatives working to fill up your show’s inventory.

But those theoretical benefits are vastly outweighed by the very real negatives associated with having your show represented by multiple ad networks.

Our goal is to help podcasters make money for their shows while providing real, tangible value for advertisers. We are best able to achieve that goal when we’re the exclusive representation for the shows whose ads we sell.

One key problem with relying on multiple ad networks is marketplace confusion, resulting in more work for you. Each company has its own approach, and its own pitch, and they’re not going to be coordinating with each other. That part is up to the podcaster. When the same advertiser hears different pitches for the same show, that can muddy the waters pretty quickly.

And relying on multiple ad networks is really bad for the podcast’s earning potential. Once advertisers realize a show is sold by multiple networks, they wisely use that fact to their advantage. Just last week, I received an email from an advertiser about one of the few shows we still represent non-exclusively:

“I’d really prefer to book these spots on the show with you. But [a Midroll competitor] offered the spots at a CPM that was $1 cheaper. Can you beat that price so that I can give you the business?”

While I appreciated the sentiment—the advertiser wanted to give me and Midroll the business—I get paid by the podcaster, and thus I work for the podcaster. Underbidding a competitor to score an ad campaign helps my company’s bottom line in the short term, but does so at the expense of the podcaster and the podcasting industry in general.

Going forward, that’s why Midroll Media is focused on exclusive relationships with podcasts. That allows us to better serve both advertisers and podcasters alike, avoids marketplace confusion, and, of course, helps us attract an ever wider pool of advertisers looking to reach our unique, exclusive shows.

So even if you decide not to pick us—trust me on this: You want just one company repping your podcast’s ads.

Comments 1

  1. Jordan Harbinger

    Great point. It’s easy for an advertiser to leverage deals knowing your bottom line(s) are at stake. At that point, the podcaster is essentially betting against himself. Bad move.

    -Jordan Harbinger
    The Art of Charm Podcast


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