The problem with repeat ads
Connor Finnerty
In podcast advertising, marketers must be mindful of frequency to maximize campaign engagement - "more" isn't always the answer. Read our latest blog post to learn crucial considerations about reach, frequency, and ad creative for your next podcast campaign.

March 16, 2023

Has this ever happened to you? You’re listening to a great podcast episode with compelling content that has fully engaged you, only to have your experience interrupted by an ad that was not read by the host and was irrelevant to the story you were enjoying. Even worse, that same ad was repeated multiple times throughout the show, even though you got the message the first time. 

If so, you are not alone. With the rapid rise of podcasting as an entertainment medium, many publishers are placing the same ad multiple times on one show so that listeners hear the message often. While in theory, the idea of having an ad play more often to make listeners more likely to act makes sense, in practice it’s a dangerous, and we’ll say it – lazy, campaign strategy.

Why repetitive ads can work against you

Listeners have a high overall opinion of podcasts compared to other mediums, but repetitive ads can blunt that advantage and create a negative listener experience.  

Podcasting has set itself apart from other advertising mediums because of its high engagement with the audience – listeners develop close bonds with the hosts of their favorite shows. A survey from Signal Hill Insights asked 1,500 podcast listeners about the attributes that they associated with advertising mediums. When measuring core attributes, podcasts stand out compared to all other ad mediums for being interesting, informative, relevant, and trustworthy.

The results show the unique values that podcast advertising can bring to a marketing campaign. However, when asked if advertising mediums were “repetitive," podcast ads ranked close to other mediums. Having repetitive ads can lead to an unpleasant listener experience, and hamper ad effectiveness.

Repeating ads too often can turn off listeners 

Hearing an advertisement too often can annoy listeners and disrupt their experience. Podcast audiences have stated that they do not like repeated ads and feel that they detract from the listening experience. According to a survey from Voices, more than half of respondents were annoyed when podcast ads: 

• Interrupted the podcast’s flow 

• Were too repetitive 

• Were too excessive  

These were the most common complaints among respondents. 

Podcasts skyrocketed in popularity due to the quality of storytelling and the unique, intimate connection between the host and the audience. Repetitive ads not only annoy listeners because they’ve already heard the message multiple times (possibly in the same episode), but they interrupt the story and can sever the connection with the host.

In Q1 of 2022, the average podcast listener was exposed to an ad 6 times, which led to ad conversion rates reaching their lowest level ever (results courtesy of the Podsights Benchmark Report for Q3 2022). Repeating ads too often (too high a frequency) leads to diminishing returns, undermines the art, weakens the connection between the host and the audience, and generates negative business results and ROI for the brand.

What podcasting approach should brands take instead?  

It’s possible to respect what listeners want from a podcast experience and still have your message reach a responsive audience.

What is the right advertising approach? It’s an art and a science. Podsights recommends that advertisers have listeners hear ads between 2 and 5 times to achieve optimal results without overexposing your brand. Marketers need to be sure that a wide range of listeners can hear their ad and remember it, but not so much that they start tuning out the message. Rotating ad creative is another solution to ad fatigue. If you determine that a high-frequency campaign is right for you, changing ad creative every other placement can help keep listeners engaged.

This quote from Erwin Ephron, the father of modern media planning, remains sound advice: 

“Remind the many, don’t lecture the few. Most advertising usually works by reminding people about brands they know when they happen to need that product.” 

It may sound simple, but in practice, it can be difficult for a marketer to determine the right amount of ad frequency and how wide their reach should be.

Podcasts are a popular and growing advertising medium, but there are varying factors in creating the right strategy for your business. It may seem intimidating, but you don’t have to figure it out alone. If you’d like to invest in podcast advertising and get help on a tailored ad approach for your needs, reach out to us. Soundrise can help you create an engaging podcast campaign that will resonate with your target audience without exhausting them.

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