Gumball’s Essential Glossary of Podcast Advertising Terms

New to podcast advertising? Here are 26 terms you should know to successfully navigate the world of podcast ads, CPMs, impressions, mid-roll ads, and host-read ads.

illustration of an open book with words like aircheck and cpm floating outside of it and a magnifying glass over the term dai
Brush up on the A to Zs of podcast advertising and host-read ads. 

There are a lot of industry-specific words, phrases, and abbreviations used in the world of podcast advertising. CPMs? Pre-rolls? DAI? It’s a lot to wrap your head around.

Whether you’re dipping your toes into the waters for the first time or simply refreshing your memory on that one word you should know by now (don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss), we have you covered with our glossary of essential podcast advertising terms.

A to Zs 

of podcast advertising

Ad copy: Aka script or talking points; the text provided by the advertiser as a guide for their ad.

Aircheck: A clip of the podcaster’s ad read used to verify that the spot has been recorded and gone live in their episode as scheduled. Once uploaded, these clips are available for the advertiser to listen to when necessary.

Blackout: Episode dates that podcasters can exclude from their ad schedule for various reasons (e.g. not recording an episode that week due to vacation).

CPM: Aka cost-per-mille; The price an advertiser pays per every 1,000 impressions their ad receives.

CTA: Aka call to action; A line in an ad read that directs listeners to act on an offer.

DAI: Aka dynamic ad insertion; rather than being baked into the content, dynamic ads, or dynamically inserted ads, are inserted into episodes by the hosting site and can be run in any episode throughout the catalog. That means even if a listener downloads a five-year-old episode, they’ll still hear the most current, relevant ads. Because ads are constantly rotating, ad inventory for any part of the catalog can remain available.

Embedded: A type of ad that is manually edited into the episode file using editing software. Embedded ads are “baked in” to that episode forever (unless you manually remove it later).

Gumball: A premium marketplace where advertisers can connect with and buy host-read ads from podcasters. Used by advertisers like Athletic Greens, Helix, and Audible and creators like Nicole Byer, Amanda Knox, and Carl Tart.

Host-endorsed: An ad in which the host speaks about their personal experience with a product or service.

Hosting platform: A site that stores a podcast’s media files online and provides an RSS feed that allows the podcast to be distributed. Examples include Anchor, Art19, Megaphone, and Omny.

Host-read: An ad that’s read directly by the host of the podcast rather than a producer or voice actor. Gumball’s favorite kind of ad.

IAB: Aka Interactive Advertising Bureau; an organization that develops technical standards, solutions, and research in the realm of digital marketing. If a podcast hosting platform is IAB-certified, it means the platform uses audience measurement methodologies approved by the IAB.

Impressions: The number of times an ad is played, regardless of any interaction with the ad. One listener can account for multiple impressions of the same ad.

Live-read: A type of ad recorded live during the recording of an episode.

Makegood: A free ad to compensate for a purchased spot that failed to meet contractual requirements such as incorrect placement or ad duration.

Mid-roll: An ad that falls around the halfway point or between 40%-70% of an episode.

Personal experience: A first-person endorsement of a product or service.

Pixel: A snippet of code that gathers information about a user on their device, including the type of device used and IP addresses. In podcasting, pixels are used to track ad impressions on dynamic ads across different episodes.

Post-roll: An ad that falls within the last 5-10 minutes or the very end of an episode.

Prefix: A short URL added in front of the podcast media file link in order to measure episodic downloads and track ad impressions. While many hosting platforms provide analytics, prefixes offer independent, third-party reporting.

Pre-roll: An ad that falls within the first 5-10 minutes of an episode.

Producer-read: An ad that’s read by a producer of the podcast.

Programmatic: A cost-effective process that uses algorithmic software to buy and sell ads across multiple ad exchanges and networks and place them in front of targeted audiences at the right time. In a nutshell: a publisher puts an ad impression up for “auction” on a Supply-Side Platform. An advertiser offers a bid for these impressions on a Demand-Side Platform (DSP). On the DSP, the advertiser can also set audience targeting preferences. The highest, most cost-effective (as determined by algorithms) bidder wins the ad impression and the ad is served to the user.

Promo code: Aka vanity code; the custom link or code in the CTA that gives listeners a special offer and helps advertisers track how many listeners acted on the offer.

Reach: The number of people who have listened to an ad. Even if one person listens to an ad 100 times (which means 100 impressions), the reach would still be one.

Simulcast: Aka simultaneous broadcast; when a podcast is distributed in both audio and video form.

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