Podcast Advertising

Podcast Advertising 101: Dynamic vs. Baked-in Ads

Podcast advertising has evolved over the 20 years that podcasting has grown. We’re seeing everything from episodes sponsored by specific advertisers to entirely branded shows. The introduction of dynamically inserted ads has only helped to fan the flames of growth. But the question remains: which ad format will come out on top? Will it be the tried-and-true baked-in method or the new kid on the block, Dynamic Ad Insertion?

What are Baked-in Ads?

Podcast advertising has been around since nearly the beginning of podcasting as a medium. It all started with advertisers and podcast hosts working directly together. The podcast host would talk about the brand during the recording of their show. The audio would then live forever on that episode. This is what’s known as a “baked-in” ad. For example, if you listened to a podcast episode from four years ago with baked-in ads, then you’d hear the ad that was originally recorded during that time. It’s kind of like a time capsule!

Baked-in ads are still prevalent today with many podcast hosts opting to continue inserting ads in this way. But a newcomer to the scene has drastically changed how podcast ads are served.

What are Dynamically Inserted Ads?

Put simply, dynamically inserted ads are ads that are inserted individually for every listener. For example, Listener A might hear a Programmatic ad about cars while Listener B might hear a Programmatic ad about cookware. The ads selected depend on several factors to deliver the most profitable ad at that time.

The technology behind Dynamic Ad Insertion calculates what ad would be best to place in that ad spot for that specific listener. At RedCircle, our system prioritizes ads based on the highest CPM, whether or not there are Host-Read campaigns to fulfill, and much, much more. This means that no listening experience is the exact same. Listeners could go back years into a podcast’s catalog and hear an ad about an event happening near them that same day.

The Pros & Cons of Both

While both types of ad formats help you to monetize your show, they each come with their own set of pros and cons.

Let’s take a look at baked-in ads first.

Pros of Baked-In Ads
  • One-and-done: Baked-in ads don’t require upkeep. You simply place the advertisement in your episode during the editing process and that’s it.
  • Familiarity: If you’re already used to editing your podcast, then it’s not too hard to learn how to edit in ads. You can also skip the editing altogether and make the advertisement part of your script.
Cons of Baked-in Ads
  • Stale content: Since you’re permanently adding in audio to your episodes, there’s no easy way to go in and change that. You probably won’t want to re-edit your episodes every time you get a new ad deal. This is also disadvantageous to advertisers as listeners may hear outdated information.
  • Less money in the long run: Baked-in ads may run forever, but that doesn’t mean the money does. Advertisers typically pay a flat fee upfront for a set number of impressions. But if the ad is heard past the set number of impressions? Well, you don’t get paid for that.
  • Can’t monetize back catalog: Once a baked-in ad is placed, there’s no taking it out. The spot is forever occupied by that advertiser. New listeners often binge podcasts’ back catalogs as they want to catch up on the content. You’re missing out on monetizing their downloads if your back catalog is populated only by baked-in ads.

Now let’s take a look at the differences with dynamically inserted ads:

Pros of Dynamically Inserted Ads
  • Paid for every impression: Dynamic ads allow you to earn revenue for every impression you get. There’s almost always a fresh ad for listeners to hear that puts money in your pocket. Host-Read campaigns that hit their agreed-upon impressions stop the very moment they meet the agreed numbers. This means a spot for another ad opens and is filled immediately by another dynamic ad. And all without lifting your finger.
  • Monetize your back catalog over and over again: Remember what we said about new listeners binging your back catalog? Having dynamically inserted ads means that you’ll earn money for their impressions, too.
  • Easy editing: Many hosting platforms that use dynamic ad insertion, like RedCircle, have a fairly easy way to add advertisements to a show. Our platform, for example, allows you to simply drag a pin to where you want an ad to play in your episode. And that’s it! The associated “placeholder audio” should already be assigned to that pin. Our system will recognize the placement and drop in an ad.
  • Relevant ads: Dynamic ad insertion allows for a higher level of targeting. Listeners hear a timely, relevant ad which creates a better listening experience.

Check out our blog “The Benefits of Dynamic Ad Insertion” for even more reasons to try dynamic ads!

Cons of Dynamically Inserted Ads
  • Unfamiliarity: Learning a new system after growing accustomed to another one can be an overwhelming experience For many, dynamic ads are new and something they don’t have much experience with. That unknown can cause a bit of anxiety and confusion when it comes to using the software.
  • Some light maintenance: This typically only applies to custom dynamically inserted audio. Similar to baked-in audio, if you want to make a change you need to do a small bit of editing on the platform. For ads in particular, though, the one-and-done mentality is still here. You add the insertion pins to your episodes and then that’s it. Your episodes are all set up and can be monetized for as long as you wish.

Now, we may be a bit biased but it’s not untrue that dynamic ads can do more for a podcaster. But it’s all up to you to figure out which ad format best suits your show. No one knows your podcast the way you do!

Interested in monetizing your while also keeping your current host? Check out OpenRAP to learn more!