Podcast Ads: Pre-roll vs. Mid-roll Conversion Rates

Explore the advantages of pre-roll vs. mid-roll podcast ads, conversion rates, and strategic recommendations for advertisers. Learn about the key drivers of conversion rates and the debate between the two types of ads.

When diving into the world of podcast advertising, brands face a crucial decision: Pre-roll vs. Mid-roll ads. Here's a quick breakdown to guide you:

Here's a quick comparison:

Factor Pre-roll Ads Mid-roll Ads
Length 15-30 seconds 60-90 seconds
Placement At the start In the middle
Listening Rate Higher Lower due to potential skips
Messaging Focus Brand introduction Detailed storytelling
Cost Higher Lower

Both ad types offer unique advantages. Pre-roll ads capture immediate attention, ensuring maximum reach, whereas mid-roll ads provide an opportunity to deliver more persuasive and comprehensive messages. Brands should choose based on their campaign goals, budget, and the nature of the message they wish to convey.

What are Pre-roll Ads?

Pre-roll ads are the short messages you hear right at the start of a podcast, within the first minute. They're quick, lasting about 15-30 seconds. Here's what you should know about them:

Pre-roll ads are good for:

But, they don't give you much time to talk about what you're offering.

What are Mid-roll Ads?

Mid-roll ads appear in the middle of a podcast. They're longer, usually 60-90 seconds, and are added during editing. Here's the scoop on them:

Mid-roll ads are great for:

However, there's a bigger chance people might just skip these ads, especially if they're long.

In short, pre-roll ads are best for getting your brand known, while mid-roll ads give you more time to convince people to buy. Looking at things like how many people listen to the whole ad and how many people take action afterwards can help you decide where to put your ad.

The Debate: Pre-roll vs. Mid-roll

When we talk about where to put ads in podcasts, we're really looking at two main spots: before the podcast starts (pre-roll) and in the middle of it (mid-roll). Let's break down what each of these means and which might help get more people to buy or engage with what's being advertised.

Pre-roll's Positioning Drives Early Brand Awareness

Pre-roll ads are the ones you hear right when you start listening to a podcast. They have a couple of advantages:

But, since they're at the start, it's also easy for people to skip these ads.

Mid-roll's Duration Allows More Persuasion

Mid-roll ads come in the middle of the podcast. They have their own benefits:

Still, some think the shorter pre-roll ads might actually get more people to buy or take action.

The Million Dollar Question: Which Converts More Listeners?

People can't seem to agree if pre-roll or mid-roll ads make more listeners buy something. But, a survey found that 82% of people did something after hearing pre-roll ads, compared to 47% for mid-roll.

Here are some important things to look at to see if an ad is working:

Trying out ads in both spots can help figure out which one works better depending on what's being sold, how the ad talks to the audience, and what the goal is. But one thing is clear - podcast ads are generally better than ads on social media at getting real results.

Conversion Rates Overview

Let's talk about how we know if podcast ads are actually working. Conversion rates tell us what percentage of people do something after they hear an ad, like visiting a website or buying a product.

For those putting ads out there, a high conversion rate means their message is hitting home and encouraging people to act. This is important because it shows the money spent on ads is worth it. Plus, it helps them figure out the best way to talk to their audience.

On average, podcast ads get a conversion rate of about 4-8%. But this can change a lot depending on several things like how long the ad is, where it's placed in the podcast, how closely it matches the listeners' interests, and how clear the call-to-action is (that's the part where they tell you what they want you to do next).

Key Drivers of Conversion Rates

Keeping track of how well podcast ads do is more than just counting how many people listen. It's about seeing if those ads are really helping the business. High conversion rates mean the ads are on the right track. Always looking at the data and making changes to do even better is key.

Pre-roll Ads: Pros and Cons

Pre-roll ads are the short ads you hear right when a podcast starts. Like everything, they have their good and bad sides.

Advantages of Pre-roll Ads

Disadvantages of Pre-roll Ads

Comparison Table

Factor Pre-roll Ads Mid-roll Ads
Length 15-30 seconds 60-90 seconds
Placement At the start In the middle
Listening Rate More people listen Fewer people, some skip
Messaging Focus Getting your brand known Telling people to buy something
Cost Pricier Cheaper

In short, pre-roll ads are great for letting people know about your brand right away, but they don't give you much time to talk. Mid-roll ads give you more time to explain things and encourage buying, but not everyone will listen to them. Think about what you want to achieve, how much you can spend, and what you're offering before deciding if pre-roll or mid-roll ads (or both) are the way to go.

Mid-roll Ads: Pros and Cons

Mid-roll ads are the ones you hear in the middle of a podcast. They have both good and not-so-good sides.

Advantages of Mid-roll Ads

Disadvantages of Mid-roll Ads

Comparison Table

Factor Pre-roll Ads Mid-roll Ads
Length 15-30 seconds 60-90 seconds
Placement Beginning Middle
Listening Rate Higher Lower
Messaging Focus Branding Direct response
Cost per Listen Higher Lower

In short, mid-roll ads let you say more since they're longer and placed in the middle of the podcast. But, there's a chance fewer people will hear them. Think about things like your budget, how well you can track results, and what the podcast talks about when choosing between pre-roll and mid-roll ads.

Comparative Analysis

Conversion Rates by Placement and Category

A 2022 report shows that ads at the start of podcasts (pre-roll ads) usually convince more listeners to take action, like buying something, compared to ads in the middle (mid-roll ads). Here are some specifics:

So, while ads at the start generally do better, mid-roll ads can shine in certain areas.

Campaign Performance by Number of Publishers

The more podcast shows you advertise on, the better your ad does, for both pre-roll and mid-roll ads:

This means spreading your ad across more shows helps a lot. Although pre-roll ads still lead, mid-roll ads also gain from being on more podcasts.

Purchase and Lead Conversion Rates by Category

When we look at ads that lead directly to buying something vs. getting someone's contact info:

This shows that while start-of-podcast ads are generally better at getting people to buy or sign up, mid-roll ads have their moments, especially in getting people's contact info in some industries. It looks like the longer mid-roll ads are good for getting people interested, but not always for immediate sales.

In short, lots of things like where your ad goes, what you're selling, how many shows you're on, and what you want your ad to do can change how well it works. Trying different strategies is the best way to find out what's effective for your podcast and audience.

Why The Shift?

Let's look at why ads at the start of a podcast (pre-roll ads) usually do better than ads in the middle (mid-roll ads):

1. Attention Grabbing

Right when a podcast starts, that's when listeners are tuning in and haven't gotten into the story or topic yet. That's why they're more likely to hear and remember ads played at the beginning. Ads in the middle have to fight harder for attention because listeners are already caught up in the podcast.

2. Avoidance

When an ad comes on in the middle of a podcast, it's easier for listeners to just skip over it. But with pre-roll ads, even if listeners try to skip, they're likely to catch some of the ad anyway.

3. Branding vs Direct Response

Ads at the start are great for letting people know about a brand quickly. Ads in the middle can give more details about a deal or product, but because they feel more like a sales pitch, people might tune out.

4. Tracking and Analytics

It's trickier to figure out how many people are actually listening to mid-roll ads. Since everyone who plays the podcast hears the pre-roll ads, it's easier to get accurate numbers on how many people are listening.

Even though ads in the middle can work well in some situations, the timing and shortness of pre-roll ads make them better at getting people's attention and helping brands track how well their ads are doing. As more people listen to podcasts, expect to see brands focus on placing their ads at the beginning where they can really make an impact.

Strategic Recommendations for Advertisers

Based on what we've learned about pre-roll and mid-roll ads in podcasts, here are some straightforward tips for when to use each type:

Use Pre-Roll Ads To:

Pre-roll ads are great for getting your brand's name out there fast and getting listeners to do simple things like checking out your website. Use them in podcasts that your ideal customers are likely to listen to.

Use Mid-Roll Ads To:

Mid-roll ads give you more time to talk about why your product or service is awesome. They work well in podcasts that focus on your industry and have listeners who really dive into the content.

Best Practices

By switching between pre-roll for getting noticed and mid-roll for more detailed messages, and keeping an eye on things like how many people click on your ad or use your promo codes, you can make your ad campaign even better over time.


When we talk about where to put ads in podcasts, it's pretty clear:

Pre-roll ads usually get more people to act. They're the first thing you hear, so they catch your attention before you get lost in the podcast. They're short and sweet, which is great for getting a brand's name out there. Plus, it's easier to see how well they're doing because you can track them better.

Mid-roll ads give you more time to explain things. You can share stories or more info about what you're selling because these ads are longer. They might cost less for each person who listens, but there's a bigger chance people will skip them. And, it's harder to figure out how many people are really listening.

Using both types of ads can be smart. Start with quick pre-roll ads on lots of different shows to make people aware of your brand. Then, use longer mid-roll ads on specific shows that really fit what you're selling to talk more about your products.

Keep trying different things and see what works best. Mix up where you put your ads, how long they are, and what they say. Always look at the numbers to see what's working and what's not. This way, you can get better at reaching people who might want to buy what you're offering.

In the end, both pre-roll and mid-roll ads can help you reach people who listen to podcasts. The trick is to use them in the right way, based on your budget and what you want to achieve. And always, always keep an eye on the results to make sure you're getting the most out of your ads.

What is the average conversion rate for podcast ads?

On average, about 4.4% of people who listen to podcast ads will take some action, like buying something or visiting a website. This number can change based on what you're advertising, how well the podcast matches your target audience, and how many people are listening.

Is pre-roll or mid-roll better?

Both have their ups and downs. Pre-roll ads, which play at the beginning of a podcast, are great for making people aware of your brand. They're more likely to be remembered and can make people think about buying. Mid-roll ads, on the other hand, play in the middle of the podcast and have a better chance of being listened to all the way through. This makes them good for ads that need to be seen in full.

What is the difference between pre-roll and mid-roll podcasts?

Mid-roll ads are those that appear in the middle of a podcast episode. They're one of the main ways to advertise on podcasts, along with pre-roll (at the start) and post-roll (at the end) ads. Each type has its own time and place during the podcast.

What is the average cost for a 30-second advertisement on a podcast with 1000 listeners?

Listens or downloads 15-second ad 30-second ad
1000 $12.50 $18.00
5000 $62.50 $90.00
10,000 $125.00 $180.00
20,000 $250.00 $360.00

This table shows how much it costs to place a 15-second or 30-second ad on a podcast, based on the number of people listening. The more listeners, the higher the cost.

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