DTC 104: 📦 Podcast advertising for DTC brands
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

No one ever thinks about the lonely media buyers 😭

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Adidas, O2 Recovery, Walker Brothers, Rise & Fall, What Do You Meme?, Grüvi, and Glo Science.

In this newsletter you’ll find: 👇

🎙 The inside scoop on podcast advertising.

🧲 Magnetic false lashes with Glamnetics Margaret Fortner.

❌ The BIGGEST Facebook ad creative mistakes.

Read till the end to learn about our new course: DTC Scale School! 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss out. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Podcast advertising

Have you ever questioned what the ROI of a podcast ad is?

We spoke to a couple brands that have dabbled in podcast advertising to learn their tips and best practices.

Let’s dive in 👇

The types of podcast ads:

There are several types of podcast ads, but it depends from show-to-show which ones are available. For general awareness, here are the types you can expect

Pre-roll ads: 15-30 seconds long and run before or after the show’s intro.

Mid-roll ads: 30-90 seconds and occur about halfway through an episode.

Post-roll ads: 15-30 seconds and play just before or after the closing credits.

Live read: read by the host while recording the show, and often introduced organically when chatting about a relevant subject.

Pre-produced: There are two types of pre-produced ads:

  • Sponsor produced: Like a traditional radio ad, these feature high production value and various elements like music or sound effects.
  • Host read: Read from a script that’s written either by you or the podcast’s team that edited into the podcast after the show is recorded.

The type of ad you choose depends on your brand, the podcast, and your audience.

Selecting a podcast that’s a good fit for your brand 🚀

Elianna Goldstein, the Co-Founder of GETmr, has dabbled in a few podcasts. As a skincare line with a focus on men’s sports, she tested advertisements across three different sport-related shows.

Elianna’s advice for brands choosing a podcast to advertise with:

  1. Ask your customers what they listen to. Also suggest a few podcasts you’re considering advertising with, and see if customers have heard of them.
  2. Always ask the podcast producers for info about their demographics.
  3. Listen to a few episodes of the podcasts you’re looking to advertise with yourself first.
  4. Listen to the other advertisers on the podcast and ask yourself if they have a similar customer base.

What kind of budget do you need for podcast advertising?

It really depends on the size of the podcast’s audience. The more well-known the podcast, the pricier it gets.

"For the smallest test with a mid-sized audience, I would say setting a budget for at least $1,000-1,500. But for the larger shows you're likely familiar with, those can run up to $40-80k spend minimums," shared Elianna.

9 tips for podcast advertising 👊

1️⃣ Is your audience the type to listen to podcasts?

Figure out if your customer base are even podcast listeners in the first place.

Ask them through surveys or on social media, but this is step number one.

2️⃣ Know where podcasts sit in the conversion funnel before setting your goals

Every channel has its own set of metrics and strategies, and podcast advertising is no different.

Since listeners may not have heard about your brand before, they’re likely not at the conversion stage yet. Keep that in mind when planning your KPIs.

"Unlike email marketing, you're not going to have someone listening who is already on their computer looking to purchase. In that way, it's a great top-of-funnel and awareness tool," said Elianna.

3️⃣ Run and repeat tests to see where you can double down

Similar to how you run paid advertising on social media, run tests with varying copy and language with your podcast ads to learn what works best with the audience. Then, double down to drive the most ROI.

Be patient - it can take multiple tests until you figure it out.

4️⃣ Keep your podcast choices related to your niche

Some podcasts may have an attractive audience: there could be hundreds of thousands of listeners, or maybe you personally like the content. But this doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for your brand.

Rather than targeting the most popular podcasts, choose ones that are specific to your niche.


T-23 days until Black Friday. 😱

It’s crunch time, Marketers. But it's not too late to implement some easy wins.

Like SMS! 📱

If you’re not texting your customers yet, you’re missing out on some serious potential (and falling behind competitors).

  • 90% of text messages are read within three minutes
  • 54% of consumers want to receive promos via text (it’s true!)
  • 61% of marketers increased their SMS marketing budgets in 2020

But is it actually possible to set up a text program by Black Friday?...

You betcha.

With Klaviyo, you can get SMS up and running in just five steps.

Seriously, it’s that simple. Do this today, and your post-BFCM self will thank you. 🙏

👉 Check out Klaviyo’s step-by-step guide (with videos!) to build an SMS holiday campaign that crushes.

(PS: If you already have SMS set up, review Klaviyo’s guide to make sure you’re not missing anything.)

Podcast advertising – Part 2

5️⃣ Get creative with copy

Elianna suggests working with the hosts of the show to find an interesting angle for your ad.

If you write the ad in a way where customers don’t feel like they’re being sold to, they’ll pay more attention to what the hosts are saying about your brand.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your approach -- it’s how ya stand out.

6️⃣ Send products to the hosts beforehand

If you want the ad to feel super organic, give the hosts a sample of your product. This will help them create the material for your ad and speak to it more truthfully.

Elianna suggests treating the podcast's hosts like influencers.

"The hosts usually have social media profiles on Instagram, Linkedin and otherwise that they can promote you on as well."

7️⃣ Leverage your friendships and connections

Fred Perrotta, the Co-Founder at Tortuga, a travel backpack brand, ran a host-read ad with a show where the host was already a customer of Tortuga:

"I provided a few talking points and the details of the discount. The host did the rest. This worked well for us because the hosts were existing customers and friends.

So the ad was really a testimonial about why they used Tortuga as their luggage and what they liked about the brand and product,"

8️⃣ Switch up your ad placement for best results

Frequent listeners of podcasts will know when the ads are. If the show has an ad in the first two minutes of every episode, a lot of common listeners will skip it.

If there’s always one at the end, listeners will likely turn off the episode before.

The solution is to switch up your ad placement between the beginning, middle, and end so they run at different times from show to show.

"Since we were advertising on travel podcasts, the ads could be included anywhere in the episode that made sense. This helped to avoid a situation where the ads are always at the start of the episode so listeners are trained to skip the first minute or two," said Fred.

9️⃣ Commit to a longer-term spend

Since podcast advertising is very top-of-funnel, customers may need to hear about your brand a few times before they decide to convert.

AKA, paying for an ad in just one or two shows won’t drive a ton of results.

Instead, aim for the longer-term game by supporting a series of episodes across different shows for a few months, at least.

Measuring the success of your podcast ads

Podcast ads can be a bit difficult to measure the ROI of since there aren’t immediate conversions per episode.

If you use a few tracking techniques across the customer journey you can get a good idea of how they perform:

  • Add UTM codes to any links the podcast is sharing on the episode landing page.
  • Create a custom discount code, like "FRESH20," that’s exclusive only to podcast listeners, and see how often the code gets used.
  • Add a post-purchase survey on checkout pages, and add "podcast" as an option for the period of time that you're running ads on the show.

Think about adding podcast advertising to your mix in Q1 of 2022 and if you’ve tested podcasts ads before reply to this email and let us know!


Driving sales during Q4 has become extremely difficult and expensive for DTC brands.

iOS updates are still challenging marketers, and learning how to navigate a new platform like TikTok can be overwhelming to say the least. 😩

So this year, you'll need some new strategies to close out 2021 strong.

That's why you need this guide for advanced ads strategies in 2021, which has the best emerging strategies for TikTok + Facebook that you need for Q4 success. ✨‍

🤔You'll learn how to:

  • Lower your CPA by advertising on TikTok.
  • Achieve higher ROAS through influencer whitelisting.
  • Scale high-performing UGC production. (Hint: this should be your #1 priority!)

Whether you're new to paid ads or a seasoned pro, you don't want to head into the holiday season without it.

👉 Download Insense's guide here and get ready to crush Q4.


We’ve said this before but we MUST say it again.

The biggest mistake brands make with their Facebook ad creative is being too brand-oriented.

Differentiate your paid from your organic content and recognize that they have different goals.

Nike is a perfect example. Check out their product-focused ads compared to their social feed:

Social feed:

Different goals require different content.

If you’re running conversion objective ads, Facebook doesn’t care about your brand or the lifestyle you’re trying to sell.

They care about finding the people most likely to buy your product.

Your creative needs to increase motivation or decrease friction.If your content doesn't do either of those things, it's likely going to fail. 🥴

We’re not saying that strong branding is a redundancy. In fact, we’d stress the opposite.

However a hyper-reliance on branding in DTC media buying won’t allow for scale.

We’re also not saying that your Facebook Ads have to be scrappy UGC and your organic has to be aesthetically pristine lifestyle images.

It isn’t a zero-sum game and scrappy isn’t synonymous with shitty. It’s possible to diversify your library in a branded way.

Hims is an excellent example of balancing branded and lifestyle aesthetics with scrappy UGC in their Facebook Ads:

Bottom line: don’t put your brand in a box, and don’t be afraid to experiment and diversify your library.

Thanks to the Pilothouse Facebook team for this tip!


Back by popular demand, this week on the pod we chatted with previous guest Margaret Fortner, now the Head of Growth at Glamnetic.

Glamnetic has revolutionized the beauty game and transformed the $1B false eyelash market with a magnetic eyeliner that allows for superior lash function and durability.

Maybe it’s Maybelline, maybe it’s... magnets?! 🧲

Here are (just a few) takeaways from this glam-packed pod.

‍The Takeaways: 👇

🤯 Wait, how many SKUs?...

Glamnetic carries over 70 lash varieties, ranging from different sizes, shapes, colors, and lengths!

This level of variety is something most brands can only dream of, and keeps existing customers coming back time and again.

Where do they get the inspiration for all this iteration?

For one, they’re constantly communicating with customers, whether it’s in their Facebook Group "Glam Fam" or via surveys. This allows them to continue creating new products to better serve their customer’s needs and wants.

They also keep a pulse on the beauty industry in other countries so they can capitalize on trends and continue to be a first-mover in the space. 🚀

🎨 How to succeed with podcast ads:

Margaret let us in on her philosophy for investing in podcast ads (which can sometimes feel like a never-ending moneysuck when starting out).

She recommends taking one "big swing" per batch of podcast ads—where you’re willing to spend more on one podcast that has a large audience.

However, most of what you’re investing should be a few different smaller podcasts where you have a better chance to capitalize.

If the big player doesn’t pan out, you’ll still have the others to fall back on. But if it does… 💸

🎨 The most common A/B testing mistake:

Not acting upon your results!

"The most important—and hardest part—is making sure you’re tracking all [the different] tests appropriately, discussing why they worked and why they didn’t, and actioning on them."

If you’re running a lot of A/B tests across different platforms,it helps to have a company-wide communication structure in place to continue to discuss results and implement changes.

Otherwise, things can easily fall through the cracks.

"We make sure to track super closely what worked, and have a conversation about why we think it worked and how we can iterate that moving forward to make sure we’re pressure testing that variable that we think has been impactful."

Seriously, this pod goes way more than just skin-deep...

👉 Listen to the full episode with Margaret of Glamnetic here!

DTC Scale School

Cue the drumroll, please!

We’ve created our first comprehensive course -- Scale School: Facebook and Instagram Ads in partnership with Pilothouse Digital

It’s available today, exclusively for DTC Readers in the world’s first REVERSE Black Friday Sale.

Scale School is a five module (25 video / 6.5 hour) digital course that covers the entire creative and platform based approach that Pilothouse takes when strategizing, launching, scaling, and optimizing customer acquisition campaigns

Look over the shoulder of high level media buyers and creatives who’ve forged these tactics through millions of dollars of profitable ad spend a month with clients like Snow Teeth Whitening, JBW Diamond Watch, Vessi, TruEarth and more.

Learn more about what’s covered in
Scale School and what it can help you achieve!

Quick Hits

☕️Why Peet’s Coffee redesigned it’s loyalty program.

🤯 Facebook announces new 'Meta' corporate title, aligning with the next stage of digital connection.

🤑 Amazon's ad business shows resilience against broader revenue challenges.

🥷 Facebook scammers are hacking accounts and running ads with stolen money.

💸 TikTok is testing a new direct tipping feature with select creators.

🎥 Instagram makes links in stories available to all accounts.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🧲 Wildstorming the Beauty Space – Glamnetic's Head of Growth Margaret Fortner Returns!

♻️ Learn how Fussy Deodorant Lowers Blended CaC with Cofounder Matt Kennedy.

🦷 Spotlight Oral Care Goes Viral on TikTok with Cofounder Dr. Lisa Creaven and VP Marketing Siobhan Nolan.

🧵 Cornering the $4.2B Quilting Market, with David Mifsud from Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Thomas Schreiber, Tina Donati, Kelsey Hess, and Rebecca Knight.

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