Podcast Advertising: The Pros and Cons of Geo-Targeting

Kat Shereko, Content Team Lead

Thanks to mobile devices and major streaming platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, podcast creators now have a rather holistic breakdown of their listeners – including their geographical location. And while the podcasting industry is still deciphering and fine-tuning their internal targeting capabilities, podcasting networks have started partnering with third-party data providers to reach even more specific audiences; right down to those that reside in a given zip code.

In this blog post, we’ll share everything we currently know about geo-targeting through podcasts, in hopes of helping you decide if this is right for you and your brand.

What is Geo-Targeting?

Geo-targeting enables brands to target consumers based on their geographic location. This means that a company can target-and customize-their marketing efforts to an audience based on their country, state, metro area, and zip code.

While location-based targeting isn’t a novel idea, the practice in relation to podcast advertising is not yet very well understood. Additionally, the nature of how podcasts are consumed creates some potential limitations of geo-targeting. Unlike a typical ad, podcast ads are not always served in real-time. Listeners can download a podcast on the go and listen to it at a different time and in an entirely new location – which may cause podcast geo-targeting to be a little skewed. Despite this, geo-targeting podcast ad placement is still on the rise, with brands taking advantage of the opportunity to customize a campaign for a very specific audience based on where they live.

Geo-Targeting Ad Placement Formats

In our blog post on podcast advertising formats, we explained the difference between the two types of ad placement formats: baked-in and dynamic. If you’d like to experiment with both ad placements for your geo-targeting campaign, here’s what we recommend:

  • Baked-in – work with hosts that have a strong local following (think of your local radio station or a well-known sports team).
  • Dynamic – work with podcast networks that have geo-targeting capabilities.

Keep in mind, finding podcasts that cater to a local demographic takes some work. If you’re short on time or don’t have the capacity to research local podcasts, dynamic ad placement with podcast networks is the next best thing. And while your ad may not get the host-read endorsement of a baked-in ad, podcast networks allow you to distribute your message to a much larger audience, without the vetting hassle.

Maximizing Your Geo-Targeting Reach

As mentioned above, working with hosts that have a strong local following can be incredibly time-consuming. To identify podcasts that are a good fit for your ad, you may be required to do a lot of manual vetting and outreach. And even once you’ve done all of that leg work, there’s no guarantee that their audience size will be substantial enough for a campaign.

If geo-targeting is your primary campaign objective, consider working with podcast networks to maximize your reach. Based on our research and experience, here are the networks that we’d recommend:

Depending on which network you choose and what other campaign objectives you’d like to target, here are some of the other targeting parameters in addition to geographic location that those networks can offer:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Education
  • Marital status
  • Interest (e.g., business, history, science, sports, true crime, etc.)

But keep in mind, the more targeting parameters you choose to include in your campaign, the smaller your reach will be. And smaller targeting pools often lead to a higher ad spend.

Is Geo-Targeting Right For You?

If you’re not quite sure if geo-targeting should be your primary campaign objective, consider the following geo-targeting pros and cons:

The Pros of Geo-Targeting with Podcasts

  • Grows local presence
  • Drives traffic to brick and mortar stores
  • Great for brands that are impacted by seasonality
  • Creates hyper-targeted audience segments

The Cons of Geo-Targeting with Podcasts

  • Hyper-targeting audience segments tend to be more expensive
  • Baked-in ad options are limited
  • Host-read endorsements are more rare
  • Podcast networks are still figuring out how it’s done

In Conclusion

If you think that podcast geo-targeting might be the next step in your advertising strategy, working with a podcast network may be a worthy investment to reach a new audience. With the help of podcast networks, advertisers are able to geo-target podcast listeners at scale. And while the ad read may not always result in an organic host endorsement, podcast networks allow you to test different audience segments and learn whom your brand resonates with the most.

And again, geo-targeting for podcast advertising is still gaining momentum; we’ll continue to watch how podcast networks can leverage geo-targeting to maximize the success of advertising campaigns.

Still trying to decide if podcast advertising is right for you? Check out our Digital Marketer’s Guide to Podcast Advertising for more information.

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