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Podcast CPM - How to earn from your podcast

Whether podcasting is your hobby or a fully fledged business – here's what you need to know on how to get ads on your podcast & monetise it. Learn more.

Noor Hammad • Fri 3 July, 2020

For some, podcasting is a hobby, for others a side-gig and for a few, a fully fledged business venture – here’s what you need to know about monetizing your podcast no matter which category you’re in.


As you start to build your audience, advertisers may show interest in your podcast.

Podcast ads usually take one of three forms:

  • Traditional Ad Reads
  • Custom Segments
  • Sponsored Episodes

Traditional Ad Read

You read a script, usually for 30 seconds at the start (“pre-roll”), during (“mid-roll”), or at the end (“post-roll”) of your episode.

How you get paid

This format is usually paid on a CPM basis.

CPM stands for “cost per thousand (M) impressions”. This means you are paid a fixed amount for every 1,000 times an ad is downloaded by your listeners.

This rate is agreed up front with the advertiser and ranges from tens to hundreds of dollars per thousand downloads.

Here’s an example of a traditional “pre-roll” ad read for UberEats…

Custom Segment

Usually longer in duration and less “scripted” than a traditional Ad Read, a custom segment provides more value to an advertiser and is common in “influencer” style relationships.

You devote some time, usually between 30 - 180 seconds, to talk about a product / service in your show.

This can take many forms, from an ad lib about your experience with an advertiser’s product or service, or an interview with a representative from the advertiser.

Here’s an example of a custom segment for Google Nest Hub Max on podcasts by The Parent Brand…

How you get paid

Like traditional Ad Reads, this format is usually paid on a CPM basis.

However, as there is more effort in the creation of a custom segment and it typically runs longer than a Traditional Ad Read, podcasters will usually add a flat rate “production fee” on top. As with the CPM, this fee is set at your discretion.

This is where you record an entire episode that revolves around an advertiser’s product or service.

How you get paid

Much like a custom segment this includes a flat rate “production fee” plus CPM.

The CPM should reflect the fact that the advertiser is accessing your audience for the length of an entire episode.

Alternatively, you could charge a single flat fee based on your typical episode listener numbers.

How Whooshkaa Helps

There are a number of factors you will need to weigh up when considering advertising in your podcast.

Can you demonstrate that you have a regular, consistent audience to an advertiser?

The industry standard for podcast audience measurement is called IAB Certification. The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) is an independent body that audits and certifies the accuracy of analytics providers.

Advertisers trust IAB Certification because it is a rigorous and independent standard.

Whooshkaa is IAB Certified for both podcast delivery (listeners) and advertising delivery (ad impressions).

You can download a copy of your past analytics in Whooshkaa to demonstrate the size of your audience to interested advertisers and use our ad technology to help forecast how many ad impressions you will likely deliver over a campaign period.

Beware podcast hosts who use fluffy language to describe their analytics such as IAB "Compliant" or IAB "Aligned". Less scrupulous hosts use this language to give the impression that they meet the IAB standards without committing to being audited and certified.

Only "IAB Certified" podcast hosts have been independently audited by the IAB and have the right to display the IAB Tech Lab compliance seal.

Whooshkaa is fully IAB Certified for both podcast downloads and advertising.

Can you deliver dynamic advertising?

Advertisers only want their ads to be heard by potential customers. For example, it’s of no value to an advertiser who only serves customers in California, to have their ad heard by listeners in London.

Similarly, advertisers may want their ads heard by listeners on a certain day of the week, or time of day.

Advertisers are generally willing to pay more for ads served at the start or middle of an episode (pre-roll and mid-roll) than at the end (post-roll).

In order to accommodate these requirements you need sophisticated dynamic audio advertising technology.

Whooshkaa includes access to Campaign Manager – our dynamic advertising insertion technology – to provide you with the tools to do all of the above and more.

With Whooshkaa Campaign Manager you can build, deliver and report on dynamic advertising campaigns without needing to pay for and integrate a third party technology.

When you deliver an ad campaign using Whooshkaa, you’re using the same technology we use to dynamically insert ads for the world’s biggest brands.

Can you provide advertisers with reliable post campaign reports?

When charging a CPM for ad delivery, advertisers will want to know that they have received the number of ad impressions (“listens”) they are paying for.

Whooshkaa provides you with IAB Certified advertising reports that show exactly how many ad impressions were delivered, so you can calculate the appropriate cost to charge advertisers.

This makes billing advertisers a simple, trustworthy process that will keep them happy and ensure you get paid accurately for the advertising you deliver.

Advertising FAQs

How many listeners do I need to run advertising?

As a rule of thumb, advertisers generally want above a few thousand, regular monthly listens.

If you are getting 5,000 listens per month regularly you may want to approach advertisers directly to see if they have interest in sponsoring your show.

If you have over 10,000 listens per month Whooshkaa’s advertising sales team may contact you to offer opportunities with advertisers we work with.

Can I run my own ads in my Whooshkaa hosted shows?

Yes, of course.

Each Whooshkaa account comes with access to Campaign Manager, our dynamic advertising insertion technology and a quota of ad impressions you can use each month.

Whooshkaa does not take a cut from any advertising you sell on your own shows.

Can Whooshkaa sell advertising spots in my shows to advertisers?

If you regularly deliver 10,000 listens or more a month we have an advertising sales team that can include your podcast in relevant advertising deals we negotiate.

Whooshkaa splits the advertising revenue from these campaigns with you – you retain a majority share of the revenue.

Do I have to run ads in my show / can I refuse advertising offers that Whooshkaa brings me?

Yes of course, you can choose to host your show entirely ad free.

You also have the right to refuse any advertising opportunities we may bring you.

On Whooshkaa, you control your show.

Premium Content

When people think about monetising podcasts, they typically think of advertising.

However, another great way to monetise your show is to offer premium content to your most loyal subscribers.

This may take the form of:

  • Early access to episodes
  • Early access to entire shows
  • Bonus episodes
  • Q&A episodes

Or any other additional content you make available to paying subscribers.

How Whooshkaa Helps

Whooshkaa gives you the technology to deliver premium content via our Private Podcasts feature.

Whooshkaa Private Podcasts allow you to create individual, private feeds for paying subscribers.

Only invited subscribers receive access and you can choose to publish unique content, like the examples mentioned above, to those private subscribers without it showing up in your standard podcast feed.

Your premium subscribers can listen in the same apps they already use, there’s no special listening apps for them to download.

Every Whooshkaa plan comes with a monthly quota of private subscribers which you can sell at any price you choose.


Whether you’re a hobbyist or a full-time podcaster, Whooshkaa gives you the tools you need to monetise your podcast in any way you choose.

Ready to get started?

Create your Whooshkaa account and start monetising your podcast.

Author: Noor Hammad

Noor Hammad

Noor is the Chief Marketing Officer at Whooshkaa. He is passionate about SaaS technology and all things audio.

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