Podcast Advertising: Pre-roll or Mid-roll?

By: Erica Bystrom

What is a better placement for a podcast ad?  Is it best to be in one of the first ads before the podcast show begins or later on in the middle of the program?  This is a question we address at our agency with our clients and their podcast campaigns.  The answer is….it depends!  There are different factors to consider for both options.  It’s important to have all the information to make the best decision for your advertising needs and goals.

Pre-roll podcast ads are normally shorter in length.  A typical pre-roll ad is :15 or :30 seconds long.  The ad gets played before the podcast show begins.  There is reason to believe that the majority of the podcast audience will hear this ad as it’s at the very start of the show.  They are also less expensive than mid-roll ads.

A Mid-roll ad is a longer endorsement.  In our experience, one minute long at a minimum.  In most cases, the ad will go significantly longer than 60 seconds with a live read by the host.  The mid-roll ad plays anywhere from 40%-70% of the way through the podcast show.  While pre-roll ads may be at the very start and when audiences first begin…mid-rolls are higher priced not only because of ad length but also because data shows that ads are less likely to be skipped at this time as the listener is most engaged in program.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to downloads for podcasts and their ads.  Blubrry reports that 85% of the time when someone initiates listening to a podcast episode, they complete 75% – 100% of the show. This makes us highly confident that a client’s ad will be heard whether pre-roll or mid-roll.  With direct response clients at BDM, Inc. we are able to run test campaigns and learn what makes most sense for each client and their needs.

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