Agency vr Network

Podcast Advertising Network or Podcast Ad Agency?

When navigating the world of podcast advertising, it’s common to encounter the terms “podcast advertising network” and “podcast ad agency.” These two entity types, while integral to the industry, function very differently. Understanding these distinctions can help you make informed decisions that are tailored to your needs, whether you’re a podcaster or a podcast advertiser.

Here are a few key definitions you should understand when looking to sponsor podcasts or monetize your own.

Key Definitions

Agency: An ad agency represents the interests of clients, which can include brands looking to advertise. Services offered by podcast advertising agencies often include media planning, negotiations, copywriting, scheduling, reporting, invoicing, and payment processing. Podcast ad agencies like ADOPTER Media provide comprehensive support, covering all these areas.

Network: A podcast advertising network consists of a collection of podcasts that are distributed, monetized, and have their ads sold by a single company. Networks often specialize in a specific niche, ensuring that their shows share similar themes or styles, creating a cohesive content environment. Podcast Ad Networks like Audioboom, Libsyn Advertising, or Midroll (SXM) may handle ad sales and scheduling on anywhere from dozens to hundreds of podcasts, and there are thousands of individual podcasters who also act as their own de facto networks.

Roster: This is a list of shows that can be sold by a point of contact (POC). Roster shows are often not exclusive, meaning they may be listed with multiple networks or agencies. For exclusive access, it’s important to verify the specific roster.

Platform: Podcasts are available on platforms like YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. There are multiple buying platforms for pre-produced audio ads, but if you wish to purchase host-read endorsement ads (the most effective), you’re going to need to work with a network or podcaster directly.

Choosing the Right Partner

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Deciding whether to work with an agency or a network depends largely on your experience and goals.

New Advertisers: If you are new to podcast advertising, a full-service agency can provide the expertise and resources necessary to achieve high-quality results quickly. Agencies can help you identify the best content, manage reporting, and handle payment processing, saving you time and effort. They also ensure that your advertising contracts have favorable terms and protect your brand from potentially damaging placements. Podcast ad agencies also have an unfair advantage, in that they have their finger on the pulse of the medium as it evolves.

Experienced Advertisers: If you have some experience and success with podcast ads, you might consider working directly with a podcast ad agency to scale and optimize your efforts. Agencies have expertise in managing all of the moving pieces of simultaneous ad campaigns, and they’re at the forefront of change in the industry, often involved in refining standards and avoiding controversies.

New Podcasters: Podcast Advertising Networks work on a % of ads sold, which means they’re most interested in working with podcasts who have a decent-sized audience. Requirements vary, but usually it’s best to pursue a network once your listens and/or views are over 10,000 per episode. Given that podcast ad rates are calculated on a CPM basis, this will give them a decent commission on each sale.

Experienced Podcasters: Your Network will look out for your interests to help maximize the revenue your podcast can generate. They’ll also help manage your ad schedule and invoicing, and provide a single point of contact for routing advertiser requests from direct advertisers and agencies. Additionally, they’ll ensure that your podcast is being sold at a fair but competitive price to reduce unsold inventory.

Podcast Ad Agencies vs Podcast Advertising Networks

Agencies represent the best interest of their clients (advertisers and podcast sponsors). Networks offer expansive access to a variety of shows. However, it's important to understand that networks primarily advocate for their podcasters and aim to maximize ad revenue across their shows. This means you’ll need to be diligent in understanding ad terminology, campaign structures, ad types and results metrics.

When working with a network, be prepared to manage aspects like ad audits, air checks, impressions, and data reviews. Networks may not offer the same level of detailed guidance as agencies. For example, if an ad doesn’t run as scheduled, an agency will follow up to ensure a "make good" (compensation for missed ads), whereas you may need to handle this directly with a network.

Agencies bring added value through their extensive data and experience, plus they often have considerable leverage given their combined buying power. They make decisions based on numerous tests and data points, reducing the risk of ineffective ad placements. Agencies also offer additional services like air checks to ensure your ads run correctly and intervention if a host’s content negatively impacts your brand.

With networks, we work with many partners who offer top-tier service, but ultimately your experience may vary depending on how much you spend and what results you’re hoping for.

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Both agencies and networks play crucial roles in the podcast advertising ecosystem

Both agencies and networks play crucial roles in the podcast advertising ecosystem. For podcasters, networks are essential advocates, supporting their shows and driving ad revenue. For brands, agencies provide a strategic advantage, managing the complexities of advertising and ensuring campaigns are effective and aligned with brand goals.

Ultimately, whether you choose to work with a network or an agency depends on your specific needs, experience level, and campaign objectives. By understanding the distinct functions and benefits of each, you can make a more informed decision and achieve better results in your podcast advertising efforts.

For quick reference on the go download our key features docs for agencies and networks!

Agency Key Features   Network Key Features



We believe in data-driven results and are dedicated to helping everyone make better decisions and advance their work using a platform trusted by Fortune 500 companies and beloved regional brands alike. Have a question about podcast advertising or YouTube sponosrship? Connect with us and we will be happy to help!

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