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Is Your Podcast Advertising Working? Here Are 8 Ways to Find Out

Last updated on

June 2, 2024

Is Your Podcast Advertising Working? Here Are 8 Ways to Find Out

Discover if your podcast advertising efforts are paying off with our six expert-backed tactics. From consumption rates to ratings and reviews, we dive into the data that matters most and where to find it.

Tianna Marinucci


 min read


While podcasts come in many different shapes and sizes, the overarching goal is typically the same: grow your audience

Put another way, the true measure of success for podcasts lies in engaged listeners—people who not only tune in regularly but stick around throughout the episode and recommend the show to others. 

One effective strategy for expanding your podcast's audience is through podcast advertising.

Yes, that's right. Podcast advertising isn't saved for just brands looking to grow, it's also a great marketing strategy for podcasters to expand their reach and build audiences.

Astonishingly, more than 70% of listeners can recall podcast ads heard over recent months. By strategically placing host-read or talent-read podcast ads that cater to your target audience, you can attract new listeners likely to engage with your content.

However, tracking the effectiveness of podcast advertising campaigns goes beyond download numbers. While thousands of downloads may seem impressive, they typically don’t translate to long-term engagement.

In fact, many podcast advertising services can artificially inflate download numbers, only to see them plummet once the campaign ends. So your podcast traffic might temporarily spike but your actual audience hasn't grown.

So how can you really see the impact of podcast ad dollars on your show's growth?

In this blog, we’ll answer just that.

Let’s dive into 8 ways to determine whether your podcast advertising campaigns resonate with the right audience and... well, work. 

What is podcast advertising?

Let's start with answering the question, what is podcast advertising?

Podcast advertising involves placing promotional content within podcast episodes. This is done through methods like:

  • Host read ads: Where podcast hosts read or freestyle an audio ad on the spot.
  • Pre-recorded ads: Some advertisers or podcast hosts want to record the audio ad prior to a podcast episode. Therefore, they'll record an ad and place it into the show during post-production.
  • Dynamically inserted ads: Known as dynamic ad insertion (DAI), these audio ads are typically pre-recorded and through third-party tools, automatically inserted into a podcast.

This has become a popular advertising strategy due to the engaging format of podcasts and their ability to communicate messages to targeted, niche audiences.

How to find out if your podcast advertising is working

 Now that we're all on the same page with what podcast advertising is, let's dive into how to find out if these marketing campaigns are working for you.

Analyzing your podcast's performance

First, let's explore how you can analyze a podcast advertising campaign's performance from your own podcast analytics.

1. Audience engagement and consumption rates

Instead of focusing on podcast analytics like downloads and followers, podcast experts are suggesting creators emphasize engagement-based metrics, like consumption rate or listen-through rate.

There are a few reasons for focusing on these valuable insights:

  • You can buy traffic, but not audiences: Anyone can buy downloads or followers, but engaged listeners are priceless. Focusing on engagement podcast analytics rather than vanity metrics gives you a clearer sense of your podcast's performance with a target audience.
  • What good is a follower who never listens?: The number of downloads or followers you have may indicate a popular show on the surface, but it won’t tell you how many people actively listen to your content.   
  • Engagement metrics have depth: The number of followers you have won’t tell you which parts of your content your listeners enjoyed most, what your most popular episode was, or which segments missed the mark.

We suggest monitoring your consumption rate and drop-off points closely, as these podcast metrics will indicate that the audience your ads have reached is not only clicking and checking your show out but actually listening for (hopefully) the duration of your episode. 

Here are a couple of things to look out for in your podcast analytics:

  •  Are many listeners dropping off at the same time? This could indicate that a particular segment needs to be tweaked or the conversation got too far astray.
  • Are many listeners dropping off within the first few minutes? This likely means that your intro needs some tweaking or your podcast advertisements didn’t accurately set listener expectations for your show.

CoHost Tip: If you’re looking to keep your listeners engaged longer, here’s our complete guide to reducing podcast drop-off rates.

2. Monitor ratings and reviews

It’s hard to name a more engaged group than those who write reviews. They not only feel strongly about your show, but they also feel the need to vouch for your content (or tell you where you can improve).  

Monitoring your podcast's ratings and reviews during the time of your podcast advertising campaigns will give you valuable insights into how listeners are resonating with your content. If it's standing out to them, and whether they'll keep coming back for more.

If you’re having a hard time gathering ratings and reviews, add a CTA at the end of each episode to tell listeners where to rate and review. Sometimes it’s easiest to just ask for what you want! But we will say, don't ask audiences to rate and review your podcast within your ad placements. This will come off as inauthentic since you're asking them for a favor without providing them anything value in return.

3. Unique listeners 

While download numbers can be inflated due to repeat listens or binge-listening sessions, unique listener metrics provide a much clearer picture of your engaged audience.  

Here’s why: downloads represent the total count of plays lasting at least 60 seconds—every instance a listener engages with your content, regardless of whether it's a first-time experience or a repeat play. 

Conversely, unique listeners offer a distinct count of individual audience members tuning in to your show. If a listener revisits your podcast multiple times, it registers as a single unique listener but it would track as multiple downloads. See the difference?

In the context of podcast advertising, although impressive download counts may hint at a popular show, the unique listener data provides a more accurate depiction of the audience's size and loyalty. During podcast ad campaigns, keep an eye on not only your downloads climbing but also unique listeners. It's common to have more downloads than unique listeners but you don't want too large of a gap, especially during podcast advertising campaigns.

CoHost Tip: To learn more about the difference between downloads and unique listeners, check out our full blog article. 

Analyzing your podcast ad performance

Next, we're going to explore how you can measure the performance of your actual podcast ad within your podcast advertising campaign.

4. CoHost Tracking Links 

CoHost Tracking Links allow you to gain visibility into which of your marketing and/or podcast advertising channels drive the most downloads and which are underperforming. Some of these channels might include:

  • Social media
  • Newsletters
  • Guest promotion
  • Ad placements

Using tracking links in your marketing campaigns drastically improves the insights you can gather from your podcast analytics.

With just one link, you can tap into all download sources (think Linktree for podcasts), making CTAs short and simple.

For example, say you just launched a new episode. You can create a tracking link for that episode for your own promotion and your guest's promotion. From here, promote that tracking link across your normal marketing mediums such as LinkedIn, Twitter (X), Instagram, newsletters, etc. Then, go into your tracking link analytics dashboard and see how many users clicked that link and then downloaded the episode. Your podcast analytics will tell you which marketing medium that listener came from.

For podcast advertising or other advertising channels, you can use a tracking link within the actual ad itself as a CTA. This can be done by adding it to the show notes or episode description of the podcast your ad placement lives on.

As mentioned above, CoHost tracking links are extremely useful in your day-to-day podcast marketing efforts. Leverage CoHost tracking links so you can attribute which podcast marketing efforts are working and which you can put on the back burner.  

5. Reviewing podcast ad impressions

Within the realm of podcast ads, you can track both impressions and unique impressions. Similar to downloads and unique listeners, impressions track all of the impressions that your podcast ad may receive. If I hear your podcast ads twice, that's two impressions. But on the other end, unique impressions only track a listener once. So again, if I listen to your podcast ads twice, it only counts as one unique impression.

Measuring ad impressions is helpful to get an understanding around:

  • The reach of your podcast ads
  • Whether your ad spend is effective

6. Analyzing podcast ad frequency

And lastly, measure your podcast's ad frequency. This is the number of times your podcast ads have been served to an individual listener.

There's a fine line between ensuring a listener hears your ads more than once but also not spamming them with your ad multiple times a day/week. Although there is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach to ad frequency capping, it's important to have an understanding of your goals, your audience preferences, and how long your campaign will be running in order to set an optimal frequency.

Analyzing whether you're reaching the right audience

While the podcast analytics and advertising data above are extremely important, we also want to ensure that your podcast ads are reaching and resonating with new audiences. 

Here are two audience insight tools that can help you verify this:

7. B2B Analytics 

CoHost’s B2B Analytics shows you exactly which companies are tuning into your show including their size, location, and industry. This information is even available on a per-episode basis, so you can see which content-specific companies or industries value most. 

Here are a few ways creators are using B2B Analytics to monetize their podcasts

1. Retarget advertising: Creators can use company lists from CoHost's B2B Analytics to craft targeted retargeting ads. By addressing the specific needs of interested companies, you can boost conversions and build stronger relationships.

2. Enhance sponsorships: Gain insights into the companies tuning into your podcast, and use this data to pinpoint those that align with your content and audience. Focusing on companies with a shared target market can improve the chances of securing sponsorships that resonate with your listeners.

3. Verify your corporate audience: If you’re looking to reach specific companies, locations, or industries, B2B Analytics can help you verify your ads are reaching the right audience.

8. Advanced Audience Demographics 

CoHost’s Advanced Audience Demographics allows users to uncover key details about their listeners through insights like age, social media habits, income, hobbies, pets, and more.

Here’s how podcasters are using this information in their advertising strategies:

1. Verify your content is reaching your target audience: If you’ve partnered with a podcast or network to get in front of your target audience, you’ll want to make sure these are the people actively tuning into your series.

2. Enhance sponsorship sales with comprehensive listener profiles: Before a sponsor decides to advertise on your podcast, they need to know that it will get them in front of their target audience. By having deeper insights into your audience's demographics, you’ll be able to provide sponsors with comprehensive listener profiles. 

The best podcast advertising tools


Megaphone, owned by Spotify, is a leading podcast hosting and monetization platform that offers a comprehensive suite of tools designed to optimize revenue strategies and streamline campaign management.

In terms of monetization, Megaphone by Spotify has two stand-out options:

  • Spotify Audience Network: Monetize unsold inventory by tapping into the expansive reach of the Spotify Audience Network. This feature ensures that even your back catalog can generate revenue, providing a steady income stream from episodes that continue to attract listeners.
  • Paid Subscriptions: Engage your most loyal fans with premium RSS feeds, offering them exclusive content in exchange for a monthly or annual subscription fee. This diversifies your income and deepens your connection with your audience.

Libsyn Ads

Like Megaphone, Libsyn Ads has an extensive ad network of over 1,500 podcasts, reaching more than 200 million listeners monthly.

On top of that, the platform offers:

An intuitive online portal: This allows you to research and order ad inventory easily. You can review detailed show information, host backgrounds, ad pricing, CPM rates, audience reach, social reach, and demographic data.

A.I. Transcribed Air Checks: This capability allows you to see target air dates and published dates, listen to your audio ads, and view any extras included with your ad purchase, such as social media mentions.

Triton Ad Platform (TAP)

Triton Ad Platform (TAP) offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to streamline campaign management, enhance targeting, and maximize returns.

Here are a couple of things that set the platform apart:

Data Connect: By packaging audio as a targeted sale, TAP's Data Connect feature enables advertisers to reach specific demographics, whether in digital or local broadcast markets.

Real-time inventory forecasting: Understanding when and where your ads will be most effective is critical. TAP’s real-time inventory forecasting considers station break patterns, historical impressions, spot delivery, contending campaigns, targeting parameters, frequency capping, and more.

Audience > traffic 

To truly gauge the impact of your ad dollars on your podcast audience, it's crucial to focus on quality over quantity. Look for signs of genuine engagement, such as reviews, website visits, or a high consumption rate, to determine whether your campaigns are resonating with the right audience.

By understanding how to identify and reach the right listeners, you can ensure that your podcast advertising efforts yield tangible results that contribute to sustainable growth.

If you’re interested in learning more about how CoHost’s podcast analytics and audience insights can help you reach your advertising goals, reach out to our team.

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