Big Podcast Energy: What is it and How to Get it

Nov 17, 2022

Forget about massive shows, long ads, and large budgets. Campaigns with big podcast energy use strategy and scale—and the right network—to reach their goals.

There are some big podcasts out there, with even bigger names. We’re talking Office Ladies, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, and StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson. And with inventory for these shows often selling out, it’s easy to develop a bit of podcast envy. But advertisers of all sizes need to remember something very important—it’s not just the size of the podcast that makes campaigns successful, it’s how you use your ad spend.

Big podcast energy (BPE) isn’t about running the longest ads on the biggest shows or brands with the deepest pockets scoring all the space. BPE is about strategy with swagger: flexibility, format, position—and yeah, the right podcast network. 

If you want to extend your campaign into all the right places, here’s how to get BPE.

Do Some Networking 

Podcasts are like potato chips; listeners can’t have just one. They listen to multiple shows a week.1 Crime Junkie fans don’t just get their fix once a week and stop listening to podcasts. No, these fanatics are always on the hunt for more true crime content. And, in the case of Crime Junkie, Audiochuck is there with a growing catalog of shows for brands to advertise on. From host reads to announcer reads to brand reads, you can reach the same audiences drawn to the biggest shows with similar shows from the same company.

Big Podcast Energy with Inventory Source Targeting

Chase Some Longtail Content

In the biz, we call the shows that listeners love (though they may not be on your radar) longtail content. For every huge hit like Pod Save America there are similar shows that its audiences listen to, making them a great opportunity for brands. Whether you combine show-level ads with ads running on a podcast network or you just do the latter, the right media partner can help you reach similar audiences at scale. For example, we’ve mapped content based on everything from genres and publishers to interests and behaviors to help you reach your ideal audiences.

Big Podcast Energy with Longtail Content

Score with Strategic Targeting

You know what’s more important than the shows (of any size) you advertise on? The audience you reach. And people are more complex than their favorite show or even their favorite genre. Science lovers also listen to comedy, and when parents drop the kiddos off, they switch over to news. Hyper focusing on one show or type of show can cost you potential customers. 

When you approach your podcast advertising campaign, be sure to define who your customers are in terms of demographics and interests. Your media partner can help target your campaign to reach customers across the shows, genres, and even episodes they enjoy. That way, you can reach moms when they’re listening to a wellness podcast as they jog and when they’re indulging in some celebrity gossip as they cook.

With SXM media, you have a whole suite of targeting options to help you reach the right audience by category, context, behavior, show, or partner network.

Big Podcast Energy with Strategic Targeting

Flex Your Format

In podcast advertising, it can seem like host reads are the gold standard. And there’s a good reason for that. Host reads leverage the intimate nature of audio and the trust listeners have for the hosts of their favorite shows. But they aren’t the only ad type—and they’re not the only effective format. When Stitcher and Signal Hill Insights teamed up for a brand lift study, announcer-read ads contributed significantly to brand lift and unaided recall. When the study compared announcer reads to Stitcher benchmarks, they performed at or above show-level benchmarks. 

Using a variety of podcast ad formats allows brands to scale their campaigns across the podcast ecosystem, extending reach beyond the show level and providing opportunities to reinforce brand messages with the audience.

Big Podcast Energy Scale with Announcer Read Ads

Longer Doesn’t Mean Better

For years, the industry assumption was that longer ads are the way to get your message across and achieve campaign goals, especially with host reads. But the results of that Stitcher and Signal Hill Insights study left even our jaws on the floor—15s announcer-read ads generate just as much recall and awareness as 60s. These shorter ads are also 1.8 times less likely to be skipped and scored the highest for authenticity. 

No matter the ad length, they’re all effective, but some lengths are more effective for some KPI than others. While shorter ads are great for capturing attention, longer ads drive lower-funnel metrics and allow brands more time to dig into the details.

Big Podcast Energy Ad Length Across the Funnel

Change up Your Positions

Conventional wisdom holds that you want to get your ads in the middle (of the show), but don’t count out the sides. Yeah, mid-roll ads are top performers, but pre- and post-roll ads make a measurable impression. We recently partnered with a national home furnishings retailer to run a Claritas attribution study to learn which ad position brings the most value in a podcast campaign. 

Though mid-roll ads generated the most activity, all ad positions saw a lift in both incremental engagement and purchase conversions. The study did more than just prove pre- and post-roll ads have real, measurable value. These ad formats also make campaigns more cost effective. Mid-roll ads are often the most expensive ad position. This study found that a plan made up only of mid-rolls would have cost 24% more to achieve the same number of purchase conversions.

Podcast ads are effective in any position

BPE is all About Strategy and Scale

Big podcast energy isn’t about the biggest shows or the longest ads or having the deepest pockets, and it doesn’t happen in just one position. Campaigns with BPE use strategy and scale—and the right network—to reach their goals. 

With the SXM Podcast Network, you have your choice of ad types and lengths and a kick-ass creative consultancy in-house (Studio Resonate). And we offer a full suite of targeting options to help you focus on the right audiences across shows, networks, genres, and episodes based on who they are and what they’re into. Oh, and it doesn’t matter where your customers listen (seriously, on Apple, Spotify, iHeart, wherever), your ads will reach them.

Are you ready to add some BPE to your campaign strategy? Let’s talk.


1. Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2021, Base: Total U.S. Population 12+; Smart Speaker Owners 12+

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