Podcast Advertising

Podcast Advertising Glossary

Here is a quick and simple list of common podcasting terms, acronyms, and phrases that are helpful to know when you’re getting started advertising on podcasts. 

Ad Copy

This is also often referred to as the ad script or talking points. Ad copy is the brand’s messaging that they provide podcasters. It can take different formats, whether it’s a script that podcasters read word for word or bulleted talking points that give podcasters the freedom to personalize the message. Here’s a guide to writing great ad copy! 

Ad Inventory 

This is the total amount of space or remaining ad spots that a podcaster has available at any given time.

Ad format 

The ad format determines the type of ad read and how the ad is inserted. 

Host-read ad

Host-read ads are read by the podcast host (or producer) and are the most common and traditional way of advertising on podcasts. The way that host-read ads get inserted into podcasts has evolved and changed over the last few years. Instead of being “baked in” or directly edited into the episode, now almost all major publishers and networks dynamically insert their host-read ads into the episode. 

Pre-recorded ad

Pre-recorded ads are similar to traditional radio ads. These ads are recorded and supplied by the advertiser and are dynamically inserted into the episode. They are also significantly less expensive than host-read ads with a typical CPM of $3 – $11. 

Ad position

The ad position determines where in the episode the ad will run. There are three different ad positions in a podcast: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. 


Pre-roll ads run before the episode starts or within its first few minutes and is generally  between 30 – 60 seconds long. Depending on the placement, pre-rolls can sometimes be skipped over so they are typically priced slightly less than mid-roll ad spots.


Mid-roll ads run halfway through an episode and are usually a little longer and more in depth than a pre-roll or post-roll placement. Listeners are most engaged through the middle of an episode and make mid-rolls the most expensive and most effective ad placement.


Post-roll ads run within the last few minutes of the episode or directly after the end of the episode content. Post-roll placements are typically shorter in length and priced the lowest because listenership tends to decline slightly by the end of an episode. 

Ad Spot 

Ad spots are the limited number of time slots within a podcast episode that brands can purchase for advertising. 

Baked-in ads 

Baked-in ads are a part of the actual podcast episode and are either read live by the host or directly edited into the episode. Bake-in ads will always live within the content and everyone that downloads that episode will always hear the same ad.

CPM Rate 

Podcast ads are generally priced by a CPM rate or the cost of an ad per 1,000 listeners. For a host-read ad, the average CPM rate starts around $25 for a 60 second ad spot. Pre-recorded ads have much lower CPM rates that average just a few dollars.

Call to Action (CTA) 

Typically one of the last things a podcaster mentions in an ad spot, the CTA tells listeners how to take the next step and make a purchase. A CTA should include the brands website, a promo code, and mention any special offers or discounts.  

Direct Response campaign

The most common type of podcast ad campaign that is tracked by advertisers with a unique promo code or vanity URL. 

Download Numbers

The average number of downloads an individual podcast receives, which estimates the number of people that listened to that episode. This metric is used to estimate how many people an ad will reach. 

Dynamic insertion 

Technology that stitches together and serves an audio file to the listener at the time the episode is downloaded. When ads are dynamically inserted, listeners may hear different ads when they download an episode. 

Insertion Order 

The final step in the ad proposal process, an insertion order means that the podcaster is obligated to deliver the ad per the terms of the agreement. 


An advertiser can request a free rerun of an ad spot to make up for a previous cancellation or error by the podcaster. 

Promo Code 

Also referred to as a coupon code, special offer or vanity URL. An unique identifier or code that podcasters mention with the call to action and encourage listeners to enter during checkout. The main purpose is to help measure the performance of each individual podcaster and the overall ad campaign.

Product sample

Free product or services provided to a podcaster by an advertiser before the launch of an ad campaign to allow the podcaster to get familiar with the product and brand. 

Tracking pixel 

A third-party podcast attribution product that connects a podcast’s downloads to activity on your website to give both the advertiser and the opdcaster additional insight into the effectiveness of a campaign. 

Now you know the lingo, it’s time to launch your first podcast campaign. Want to learn more? Check out Podcast Advertising Basics: A Marketers Guide and Is Podcasting Advertising Right for Your Brand? for more help getting started with podcast advertising. Or dive right in and sign up to start advertising with RedCircle.

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