There’s a lot of overlap between podcasts and YouTube channels. YouTube is definitely interested in the momentum and excitement of podcasts. In the past year, they’ve hired a Director of Podcasting, Kai Chuk. Plus, Podnews published YouTube’s slide deck of plans for podcasting, showing they plan to “ingest RSS feeds directly.” Right now, YouTube is working hard to make sure people with anything to promote can buy into their YouTube Ad Sales program.
This platform has at least 2.6 billion active users. Collectively, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music have 50 million subscribers. Plus, it’s the second largest search engine. This means that a significant number of people would rather find out if there’s a video about a topic, rather than any other media type.
If you want to promote your podcast to more people, YouTube is a good place to do it. But, like most advertising strategies, it requires attention to detail, and it costs money. So, should you advertise your podcast on YouTube? Let’s take a closer look at the process and find out how to make this fit.
Easiest Way to Advertise Your Podcast on YouTube
The simplest solution is to make a companion YouTube channel for your podcast and post highlights from your episodes. You can do this with audiogram software, like Headliner, or basic video editing software like iMovie. Your podcast logo works well as a static image, but services like Shutterstock can add pizzazz. Make sure that your video has a clear call to action, so the audience will know they can get more information from your podcast’s web page or website.
For people who use YouTube as a search engine, as long as the topic is clear and described effectively, this provides interested folks with a sample of your podcast’s value. Then, they can go to your site or search in their favourite podcast listening app for more.
But, this depends on people either searching for your podcast and/or its topic, or an algorithm serving it up to people that search for similar videos.
There’s no doubt that YouTube has increased how many ads they display on a regular basis. If you want to take advantage of that, we’ll press on.
Advertising Your Podcast on YouTube
Google owns YouTube, so the first thing you’ll need to do is sign up for Google Ads. Google’s Support department offers a comprehensive, step-by-step walkthrough of how to set up video advertising. Rather than repeat that, I’ll show you the broader steps and how you can fine-tune the details for podcast advertising.
Your Podcast Advertisement Video
The length can vary from six seconds to a minute or more, depending on the type of advertising campaign you want to create. If you don’t already have a podcast trailer, make one. As long as it shows:
- the title
- who it’s for
- what it’s about
- how to listen
then you have enough data for the audience to make an informed choice. Make sure you have something specific for the user. Don’t let it be easier for them to click “skip ads” than to follow your call to action.
Four Things You Need To Know
Once you have your video, there are four things you’ll have to have ready. They are:
- What’s your goal for the advertising campaign (i.e., “get 100 new email list signups” or “50 new followers”)
- How much you want to spend
- When you want the campaign to start and finish
- Who you want to reach (age, gender, region and language)
If you’re not sure of these answers, you’re just starting your podcast, or at a point where you have fewer than ten episodes, take that trailer and do some cross-promotion with like-minded podcasting peers, instead. It’s less expensive and builds good karma.
Your Podcast Goals
Google’s advertising is meant to sell anything. You need to customize the process so it fits your podcast.
The first question they ask is your goal, and the answers are multiple-choice. Not all of the options will fit a podcast, though. These options will narrow down choices you can make later.
If you feel unsure about your goal, they recommend you select “Website Traffic,” and lead users to a specific URL. This could be your podcast web page or a “listen now” page on your podcast website. Fortunately, by leading users to a particular URL, you accomplish many of the same goals as the other categories, with more flexibility in ad format choices.
How Much Do You Want To Spend?
Your bid strategy determines not only how much you’ll pay to advertise your podcast on YouTube, but what action you hope the user takes. You’re telling YouTube that you want to pay by one of the following:
- Cost per view (CPV)
- Cost per impression, or 1,000 views (CPM or cost per mille)
- Conversions or cost per action (CPA). This appears to be another way of saying cost per click, i.e., when a user clicks on the video ad for more information.
You can set a daily budget (how much you’re willing to spend per day during your campaign) or a total budget for the campaign. This lets Google ads optimize your campaign performance, planning for high-traffic or low-traffic days.
The only way to know for sure how must it costs to advertise your podcast on YouTube is through trial and error. However, most people who have tried it say that it costs between ten to thirty cents per view or action.
Influencer Marketing Hub said that “the cost of reaching 100,000 viewers is [about] $2000.” Bear in mind that this means reaching, not a guarantee that they will go to your URL and become a fan of your podcast.
For that kind of money, you could make a companion YouTube channel of your podcast highlights. Would it have the same rocket fuel behind it that Google Ads puts behind YouTube Ads, though?
Timing Your Advertising Campaign
If your podcast is launching or finishing a season, that can help you choose when to time your ad campaign. Another good reason for particular timing is if you have an upcoming milestone, or if you’ve interviewed a special guest and you plan to publish the episode on a particular date.
To Whom Should You Advertise Your Podcast?
Targeting is vital for any ad campaign, and you want to consider your existing audience and your podcast niche first. Pick the language your podcast uses (English, for example) and the region that’s most likely to have an appreciative audience. You can also choose content exclusion settings, such as videos for mature audiences or for kids.
You need to set ad groups and sub-groups, which have similar themes. For example, let’s say your podcast is about mythology and folklore, and you want your podcast to come up when people search for related topics. So, if your main ad group is “Greek Mythology,” your sub-groups could be Zeus, Dionysus, Hera, Aphrodite, Mount Olympus, and so on.
Find the Podcast Enthusiasts
YouTube has broad demographic settings, such as age, gender, and household income. These are assumptions, based on what the users have clicked in the past and the postal code of the IP address. When you make these choices, as always, consider your podcast niche first. But, according to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial report for 2022, and Improve Podcast’s Podcasting Demographics 2022 report, people who are interested in podcasts tend to be:
- mostly under age 55, with the majority aged 12-34
- more than half are educated, with at least a four-year college degree
- living in households where the total income is at least $100K (and in households with income starting at $75K it’s growing).
Even if your podcast niche is meant for retirees or unemployed people who never attended college, it’s more likely that when you advertise your podcast on YouTube, it will reach people interested in podcasts who might recommend it on your behalf to your target audience. It’s a stretch, though.
Google will ask you to pick the household income, but they ask what income bracket your target audience inhabits. What does this mean in terms of income brackets? The median household income in the US is just over $67K/year and £31,400 in the UK. For the purpose of advertising your podcast on YouTube, pick as many income categories as you can, unless your podcast is targeted to people in a specific income bracket.
What Ad Format Should You Choose?
This is where the choices you made about your goal and your bidding are important. Some of these ad formats support different goals, but not others.
Skippable, in-stream ads
These are one of the most common ad formats. Your video has to be at least 30 seconds long. You pay when a user watches either at least 30 seconds of your video (CPV) or clicks on it for more information (CPA), whichever comes first. Whichever goal you chose at the beginning, this ad format will fit it.
Non-skippable, in-stream ads
These are also among the most common ad formats. Your video has to be 15 seconds or less, and you pay per impression, or after every thousand views (CPM). TIf you selected “brand awareness and reach” as your initial goal, this is a good format because it doesn’t require conscious interaction on the user’s part. If you simply want to get your podcast’s title, logo and one-sentence description in as many people’s minds as possible, this is your format. However, because the ads are un-skippable, they might cause a bit of resentment among users.
In-feed video ads
These ads have a thumbnail image with some text. YouTube displays these alongside related YouTube videos, on their mobile app’s homepage, and on YouTube search results. If your goal is product sales or brand consideration, this format fits because it’s more specific and targeted to the user’s search terms. You’re charged per click.
These are a shorter version of the non-skippable, in-stream ads. The video has to be six seconds or less, you pay via CPM bidding (when your ad has one thousand views or more), and the goal is brand awareness and reach. These are good because the user can’t skip them, and the brevity makes the viewer a little less resentful. But, your video has to be memorable, interesting and clear in six seconds or less.
These play with the sound off (unless the user interacts), only on mobile devices. They appear on websites and apps that are Google video advertising partners, but not YouTube. If you’ve ever tried to look something up on a web browser on your phone, and while you tried to read it, a video started playing in part of the browser screen (or if you let a video play during an app-based mobile game), you’ve seen one of these Outstream ads. These are supposed to be good for brand awareness. Google charges you if the user watches at least two seconds of the video.
One could guess that since these ads only play on mobile devices, it’s just a few clicks for the user to start listening to your podcast. But, they come up when a person is in the middle of doing something else (reading a website or using an app, not perusing streaming content). In my opinion, a podcast ad wouldn’t be effective in this format.
Transcribe Your Podcast Advertising
YouTube has its own AI-based transcription, but it’s not 100% foolproof. To make sure your content is clear and consistent, take the time to transcribe your own podcast advertising video, and use it instead. Many people watch YouTube with captions if they’re commuting or want to understand the subject more clearly. If you own your message, then own your words.
Enter a call to action and URL because this all has to land somewhere
Where Are You Going With This?
The URL you enter for your ad campaign is the Emerald City to your video ad’s Yellow Brick Road. You’ll want to measure your ad’s effectiveness. Tracking parameters help you see where your traffic is coming from, such as mobile devices, smart TVs or desktop computers.
Once you’ve named and submitted your campaign, it will take about 24 hours for approval. You can see the status of your campaign in your Google Ads dashboard.
What Makes An Effective Podcast Advertising Video?
There’s no one key that unlocks all doors, but here are a few things to keep in mind.
Videos with a square layout, like these in Headliner’s Gallery, are easy to share on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well as YouTube. A vertical layout, where the frame is taller than it is wide, is good for YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok. Both layouts are good for wherever people consume video, whether that’s on a mobile device, a desktop computer or a smart TV.
Harmon Brothers is an American ad agency that makes ad campaigns so compelling that they were more memorable than the products presented. Their ads almost always start with a story, whether a familiar fairy tale or simply a clever character. Story is key to their advertising campaigns. Their ads have enough high-stakes fun to power videos of any format, whether a six-second pitch or a six-minute tale.
Podcasters can use storytelling elements to engage audiences.
Should You Advertise Your Podcast on YouTube?
According to the Edison Super Listeners survey, over 50% of respondents said they consume podcasts via YouTube, and 19% find new podcasts through YouTube. YouTube can be a very effective tool for engagement. But, the YouTube Ads system, and the cost, might not be effective for independent podcasters.
An advertising method specifically for podcasters is Overcast advertising. if you want to advertise your podcast targeted specifically to people interested in listening to podcasts, this is a safer option. The cost is less. Overcast targets the ads by topic. The user can click on your ad to start listening right away.
YouTube is most effective if you make your own channel. Repurpose your content with highlight videos or even a cartoon, and use it to expand your audience. if you want to invest the time and effort in advertising your podcast on YouTube, go for it! However, there are other ways to use YouTube to grow your podcast, and you should probably try those first.