Dynamic ads & other creative ways to monetize podcasts


Even 5 years ago, if you asked someone what a podcast was, there was a high chance that they would not understand what you were talking about. During those times, it was quite difficult for the podcasters to earn a healthy income. But time, as they say, is the only constant variable in our world. With time, everything changes. So did the general awareness about podcasts.

Podcasts, in the last 2 years or so, have gained momentum. More and more people and brands are getting involved in producing them. There was an issue earlier that not all of them could spare time out to write their thoughts. Now with the advent of audio as a medium to exchange ideas, it is much more convenient and practical for them to do so. But still, what’s more exciting is the growth rate of the audience. Edison Research estimates that 67% of US population listens to podcasts every month.

Monthly Podcast listening has grown to 67 Million (Source: Edison Research)

While audience growth is growing steadily, the advertising revenue of podcasts has been growing exponentially A market that was completely unheard of then, now generates an advertising revenue of about $314 million – a rise of 86% YoY. If it continues at the same rate, by 2020, the figure will touch the $1 billion mark. This speaks volumes about how much money is rolling in the podcasting industry.

However, not everyone who enters the podcast market becomes a millionaire overnight. It is a cumulative effect of months and sometimes years of hard work. But once the rudder is set right, one could navigate their way into the money stream as well.

In this blog, we will tell you some methods to get advertisers and sponsors for your podcast


This is the easiest method for monetizing your podcast and almost 64% of all ads are direct response ads. Once you have a proper audience base (typically exceeding 2000) who regularly listen to your podcasts and download them, you can contact different people and companies to sell ad space within your podcast.

Direct response ads are ads where the host will read out the ad and give an unique link or a promo code at the end. That way, advertisers can use the unique promo codes to track the results of their ad campaigns.

The key here is to understand your audience niche and then approach companies that would love to reach out to that niche. e.g If your podcast is around parenting, your audience would love to hear from a baby monitoring camera company like CocoonCam but not from a website building company.

Sometimes if your niche is very lucrative, the sponsors might themselves contact you, even though it’s a rare scenario in today’s cut-throat world. You can explore podcast advertising networks like Midroll to kickstart your direct response ads sponsorship.

2. Dynamic ads

Dynamic ads are the ones that you see on YouTube before the video starts playing. Based on the content of the video or the viewer’s preferences, YouTube automatically selects and plays the ad. Unlike direct response ads, where you have to manage the entire process of finding sponsors, managing payment etc, here the network (in this case Youtube) manages the sponsorship process for you and takes a cut of the revenue.

A number of networks are now  working on a same service for podcasts and we will see them led by Spotify and Pandora. They will analyze the content of the podcast and then decide which ads to serve before the episode begins. The only risk here is you have no control over which ads are played and may be a big turn-off for your audience.

3. CREATING A membership site with content from podcasts

When you have guests come on to your podcasts, they discuss tips, ideas etc that can be repurposed into unique content. The episodes are always free to hear but the transcript can be available only to members who pay a small subscription every month on your site.

As the amount of content you have grows, the content in episodes can be repurposed into e-books, long form blogs or even courses that your audience would love to pay for. All you have to do is curate it and arrange it in a digestible format that people can easily consume where ever they are. You already have the audience, you just have to increase the average revenue per listener.

This is likely the future of podcast monetization – a subscription based relationship with the audience that is direct. This is a primary motivation for building Spext – to repurpose amazing content in media for creative dissemination.  

4. Build an email list

Building an email list is one of the best things that beginners can do right from the get go.
It is always advisable to get more and more of your audience into signing up for your podcasts so that you have an active mailing list.

When you have made some name for yourself, you can use this mailing list for various purposes.

For example, let’s say you have decided to join hands for affiliate marketing with e-commerce sites. For each sale that is done through your link, you will get a fixed commission (generally varies between 8-15%, depending on the product category and value). You can send along these links using your mailing list.

You can even send your product details or your latest offerings to your regular audiences using the mailing list.

There are a host of other things that can be done with an active mailing list, hence it is extremely important that you build one and start keeping track of your audience if you want to succeed in the long run.

5. Survey your audience and create a product that they like

Once your audience enters the 5 digit zone, you can try this method. You now have a sizeable audience that is quite niche. Bring out the hidden entrepreneur in you, and send your customers a survey to know which category or types of products they like.

Suppose around 5,000 people say they like home decor products. You can then search for the same home decor products and start selling them to your audience. If that is not possible, you can always partner with an entrepreneur who manufactures the products that your audience wants. Since you already know what they like and what they don’t, you will be a great asset for your partner and it will be much easier for you to get the sales rolling.

This is the method which is followed by many successful podcasters, like Tim Ferriss, and you can see some of them have gone on to become millionaires in a relatively short period of time.

Like other media, monetizing podcasts is a tough challenge but thinking differently, experimenting with business models and creative packaging can go a long way

Anup is the co-founder of Spext. When not listening to podcasts, he can be found doodling ideas, reading esoteric books or trying to make puns – only half of which are decent.

About the author

Anup Gosavi

Anup is the co-founder of Spext. When not listening to podcasts, he can be found doodling ideas, reading esoteric books or trying to make puns - only half of which are decent.

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By Anup Gosavi