Aditya Kuber
Guest Article

The best practices for brand integrations in podcasts

Our guest author lists some ideas to propagate your brand, but also stay out of the way.

Remember ‘Binaca Geetmala’? Probably the OG brand integration in audio. Over time, it became a status symbol. Immortalised by the timeless voice of Ameen Sayani, this template was repeated many times over the next few decades. Call it sponsorship or brand integration, the takeaway for ‘Binaca’ continues even today!

As consumption evolves, though, integrations can get smarter and deeper. With audio, there’s a lot of opportunity to unobtrusively place your brand into a show and win the listener’s hearts. 

A recent study by Triton-VTION tells us:

1. Podcast listeners are willing to listen to ads.

2. Ads often lead to purchases.

3. Podcast ads grab attention.

One key attribute remains strong, though - users don’t want to be disturbed too often during their listening experience.

So, here’s some ideas to propagate your brand, but also stay out of the way!

1. Host reads: About as old as podcasting itself, a host-read is a simple mention of your brand. This works very well, since it is a part of the host’s speaking flow. It usually isn’t skipped, carries high trust and recall with it and sits in the content forever. Best used for monologue or conversation type podcasts. 

2. Sponsored segments: It is another simple, but effective way to put the brand out. Your brand, plus the right content segment, equals a win. This also allows content to be pulled out in a modular format for promotional purposes and pushed across other digital channels.

3. Story ads: Podcast listeners spend longer than other digital channels consuming content. 20-30 minutes is not a big deal. To break the monotony and prevent fatigue from setting in, mid-roll ads work well. These can be storified to be between 20 and 30 seconds and when you connect it with listener attributes and behaviour, it’s a great solution.

While the above drive strong brand recall, there are some best practices that one must keep in mind. 

1. Don’t overdo it! There is always the temptation to add multiple mentions. This can get jarring and put listeners off the messaging. Remember the listener is engaged for long periods of time, so, it’s okay to space out the messaging. Podcast listeners are also loyal to their shows, so, you will have ample opportunities to reinforce your message.

2. Include a clear CTA: The action you want the audience to take, should be called out clearly. Avoid including a phone number, since most listeners will be consuming the content passively (in a car, playing it in the background) and may not have the opportunity to write down a number. The best CTA will be a short web URL or a coupon code coupled with a web destination.

3. Links in description: Thanks to other social platforms, ‘link in bio’ is a well-understood method. The parallel to this in podcasts is ‘link in description’. This is clickable, takes the user to the desired destination and is easy to access for the listener. Most creators will not have a problem including this in their show description, so, make good use of it.

4. Use social media. Most podcasts have a social media presence and will drive their listeners to a platform from here. Make this a part of the deliverables and leverage the reach the creator can offer. 

Podcasts are a growing medium and there is ample opportunity to experiment. Creators and listeners alike are open-minded, and willing to be part of new ideas. Depending on the audience you are targeting, more opportunities will present themselves, once you speak with the creators - remember they know their audience best!

The author is co-founder and CEO of Ideabrew Studios.

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