Breaking Down the Types of Podcast Ads in 2022 with Examples

In the debate between which is better – host live-read ads that are baked-in to the show or pre-produced (host read or voiced over) ads that are likely bought programmatically and dynamically inserted – Ad Results Media believes they are both critical components within your overall media mix.  They work to augment one another’s inherent strengths and deliver even greater results when run in tandem.

For the advocates of host live-read ads, they tout the incredible persuasive power of personality-driven media and the trust that podcast listeners have in the hosts they listen to. We know this to be absolutely true. In fact, according to the Super Listeners 2021 research study, 49% of podcast listeners say they believe that the podcast hosts that they regularly listen to actually use the products they mention during their shows.*

However, team programmatic believes the ease, buying efficiency, and targeting capabilities that buying and placing ads programmatically offers outweighs some of the benefits that personal endorsements deliver through live host-read ads.  With the industry moving largely toward both audience-based planning and buying, running programmatic podcast ads offers a more turn-key way to reach a brand’s target audience through audio.

We’re going to be breaking down the different types of podcast ads and will provide best-in-class examples of each to help you understand how they can be effective.

Podcast Ad Formats, Placement Types & Examples

Podcast Ad Types

    • Host-Read

Host-Read ads are audio ads that are read by the host of the podcast.  They can be served dynamically or baked-in but are always read by the host of the show they are placed in.

    • Produced

Produced ads are audio ads that are pre-produced by the advertiser in a similar way to more traditional types of advertising where the final ad creative is provided to the media owner.

Podcast Ad Delivery Methods

    • Baked-in

Baked-in ads are a permanent part of the episode's audio file. These are sometimes called “embedded” or "evergreen" ads.  A "feed drop", where an entire episode of a show is published on a different show's RSS feed, is usually considered a baked-in ad as well.

    • Dynamic

Dynamic ads (also called “dynamic ad insertion (DAI)” or “dynamically inserted audio”) utilize programmatic advertising technology to target your ad in specific episodes as they’re being downloaded or streamed.  Dynamic ads are also called audience-based buying.

Podcast Ad Placements:

  • Pre-Roll Ad: an ad placed at the beginning of a podcast episode
  • Mid-Roll Ad: an ad placed near the middle of a podcast episode
  • Post-Roll Ad: an ad placed at the end of a podcast episode

For more details on the primary ad types:

Host Read, Baked-In Ads

Ad Type: Live, Host Endorsed

  • Pros & Cons
    • Pros: 
      • The ad is executed live during the show and feels very organic.
      • The ad read will be in the host’s voice and include a personal endorsement which goes a long way with podcast listeners and bolsters the  connection with the audiences.
    • Cons: There is a bit less creative control for the advertiser
  • What makes one good?
    • True enthusiasm and a strong endorsement from host
    • Personal stories or experiences
    • CTA clearly stated and repeated 

Ad Type: Live, Host Read (Not Endorsed)

  • Pros & Cons
    • Pros: The ad read will be in the host's voice and will feel native to the show’s content. The ad read is controlled by the advertiser.
    • Cons: There is no personal endorsement and audiences can tell the difference between endorsed and non endorsed in most cases,
  • What makes one good?
    • A great script! Clearly communicate the key product or service benefits that will appeal to the show’s audience 
    • CTA clearly stated and repeated 


Host Read, Dynamically Inserted Ads

Ad Type: Pre-Produced, Host Read

Pros & Cons:

  • Pros: 
    • Still in the host’s voice
    • Dynamic ads can be an effective tool for promoting limited-time sales/ offers/ messaging.
  • Cons: There is limited flexibility in ad delivery and generally do not receive additional listens outside of the original contract

When and why?

  • When there is a limited time sale/ offer/ message – including holidays, seasonal messaging, new product launch
  • To gain access to an exclusive show 
  • Turn-key flexibility and easy buying process

Produced Podcast Ad Types & Examples

Ad Type: Pre-Produced, Producer Read

  • Pros & Cons 
    • Pros: 
      • The producer's voice is usually a voice the audience is familiar with and can still be endorsed 
      • Dynamic ads can be an effective tool for promoting limited-time sales/ offers/ messaging.
    • Cons: It is not the host who carries a higher degree of trust and relatability
  • What makes a good one?
    • A great script! Clearly communicate the key product or service benefits that will appeal to the show’s audience 
    • CTA clearly stated and repeated 

Ad Type: Pre-Produced, Third-Party Voice-Over

  • Pros & Cons:
    • Pros: The brand can have a lot of control over messaging, production, voice talent, etc. 
    • Cons: It is very clear to listeners that it is an ad making it easier to tune-out
  • What makes one good?
    • Write the copy/ script specifically for produced spot that follows creative best practices
    • Avoid using a music bed


Wrap-up: What Makes a Great Podcast Ad?

To help develop data-driven creative best practices, we developed SoundGrade, our proprietary podcast ad grading methodology and reporting infrastructure. We analyze a variety of key criteria in the context of their ability to deliver on each individual ad’s desired goals.  Each client and campaign are unique and our flexible measurement framework empowers our team of dedicated analysts to deliver customized creative reporting with actionable guidance.

Pre-Campaign Launch

  • Evaluation of brand safety and brand suitability to ensure the brand’s ethos and message are firmly aligned with the show’s, and its audience's core values.  Brand alignment is paramount for a successful ad campaign.

Post-Campaign Launch

  • Some of the key evaluation criteria we include are:
    • Endorsement Quality
    • Delivery
    • Spot Length
    • CTA
    • Production Quality

How to Write Great Podcast Ad Copy


Ad Results Media has the unique ability to centralize a fragmented industry into one touchpoint.  We offer multi-platform audience access across many different content and network vendors versus dealing with multiple points of contact, including:

  • Single point of contact for thousands of creator and media outlets
  • Streamlined order entry and billing capabilities
  • Dedicated media analyst team specializing in audio performance analysis
  • Proprietary SoundGrade platform and entire department dedicated to ad grading, ads compliance, and brand safety
  • Dedicated Creative team for all ads development and ads trafficking
  • Dedicated team for client and new host onboarding calls to ensure brand message, tone, feel and call to action is perfect.

If you are interested in hearing more, please reach out to Ad Results Media and we will get back to you!