Is Podcast Advertising Influencer Marketing?

If you’re on social media, there’s a good chance you’ve seen influencer marketing in action. According to SproutSocial, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements or product mentions from online influencers. In this case, the brand is borrowing the “influence” of the creator to market their product. 


But what does it have to do with podcast advertising? 


Well, it depends on who you ask. It’s a debated topic in the podcasting world whether or not podcast advertising counts as influencer marketing, but if you were to ask us at True Native Media, we’d say it does. 

What is podcast advertising?

To put it simply, podcast advertising is the ability for a company to buy ads or sponsorships on a podcast episode. The thing that makes this type of advertising so powerful is the relationship the host has with their audience. 


Podcasting is an incredibly intentional medium. There’s no podcasting explore page, which means listeners can’t just stumble upon a show. Instead, they have to know exactly what they’re looking for and make the active decision to listen to the show. Since listening to a podcast is so intentional, it’s the perfect space for advertisers looking to reach consumers. 


The intentionality of podcasting also creates a situation where the listener trusts the host and their recommendations. They spend at least one hour a week listening to this host, so of course they’d check out a product they recommended. Since the listener trusts the host, the ad becomes a recommendation from a friend instead of an ad they’d tune out.

“It’s just such an actively engaged media that I think if you find the right fit, the right host, or the right content, it really is a perfect match.”

Sarah Marini, Athletic Greens 

How is this related to influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is so effective in today’s digital world because creators are relating to their audience in a way they haven’t before. Audiences aren’t reading about their favorite influencer in a magazine or waiting to hear about them in an interview; instead, they’re going right to the source and hearing it from the influencer themselves. 


Social media allows influencers to peel back the current and speak to their audience directly. In this case, a podcast is just another medium for this connection. 


The term “influencer” might bring a very specific image to mind, and this image might not match your favorite podcast host – but we’d argue that most podcast hosts are influencers. The hosts have carefully nurtured their community and are now in a position where their audience trusts them.


You could say the host has “influence” over them. 

What are the unique challenges of podcast advertising?

One obvious challenge with podcast advertising is you don’t have the same luxury of showing the product that you do on other platforms. If you’re a makeup brand, you can’t ask the host to do a “get ready with me” to show off the product like you would on TikTok or Instagram. Instead, you’ll have to rely on the host to be able to paint a picture with their words. As a brand, you’ll have to learn what kind of language works best to craft a story and how to bring people in and make them fall in love with your product. 


As with influencer marketing, it’s vital that you trust your podcast host and allow them creative freedom during the ad read. They know their audience best, and they’ll know what to say to ensure your brand resonates. 


Additionally, it might be your first instinct to partner with the biggest show, the same way you’d want to partner with the biggest influencers. A bigger audience means more people to buy your product, right? 


Well, not necessarily. 

“When you think of the people on Instagram that have a hundred million followers, their audience isn’t necessarily engaged. They’re usually just a bigger name… People follow them because they’re celebrities or athletes. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that they care what they’re doing or what product they’re using. They’re not always sharing their everyday lives – they’re ups and downs. And I think that’s the same with audio, right?

Sarah Marini, Athletic Greens 

It’s important not to overlook smaller shows when you’re developing your advertising campaign. A lot of smaller shows have strong connections with their audience, and this connection means they have a lot of influence in their community. When you’re deciding on shows to work with, it’s important to take a holistic approach and look at the host as a creator. If they’re taking the time to build an engaged and dedicated audience, they might just be the perfect show for you. 

If you’re looking to learn more about how podcast advertising is solidifying itself as influencer marketing, be sure to check out our episode of The Podcast Advertising Playbook featuring Sarah Marini, the Senior Manager of Partnership Operations at Athletic Greens. 

If you are interested in buying podcast ads but have no idea where to start, read this article, Podcast Advertising Best Practices Every Marketer Should Know, and contact us at


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