Why even use a podcast agency?

Before I started at Incremental Media, I asked myself the same question. Now I know the answer.

Nearly every marketer has had a bad experience with an agency.  I’d argue many brands think of it as a bad word in our industry.  That’s why so many agencies are now “consultancies” or “marketing partners”, but the reality is, whatever you want to call them, when it comes to podcast advertising, podcast agencies will drastically increase your likelihood of success in podcasts.  Here’s why:


This is really the most important reason.  If you’ve never run podcast ads before, or even if you have, agencies have data from dozens of brands in a wide array of categories, plus they have access to competitive intelligence tools that cost tens of thousands of dollars to get access to.  

I can’t tell you how many times a brand has approached us and said “We are a beauty brand we should run on beauty podcasts” or “I listen to The Skinny Confidential can we run on that podcast?”.  

If a brand has any data on what types of influencers work well for them, that’s extremely helpful for an agency to know, but otherwise brands should lean on podcast agencies for their recommendations.  

As I talk about more in this article, there are some podcasts that just work.  No matter what brand we put on them they hit conversion goals for a brand.  They are good partners, they have reasonable CPMs, and they are willing to give added value to help improve results.  That’s the type of insight an agency will have that a brand just entering podcasts never will.  


Agencies buy at huge volume, get massive discounts on CPMs, and brands benefit from that volume.  Many people often ask the fee to work with us, which is a totally fair question, but the reality is, unless an agency is charging egregious fees, they will save you a lot of money. Agencies in other channels like social or search are typically providing a service and charging a fee for their services, so the value of their services can be debated, but that’s a conversation for another time.  

How to serve the ads

What podcasts and podcast networks serve the ads in a way that lead to the best conversions?  Do your ads run in just the most recent episode of a podcast or back catalog inventory too?  Should you do host-read ads, voice-talent ads, or both?

These are the types of questions an agency helps you answer.  

Frequency & Pacing

This is one of the most common questions we get.  There’s a critical way to space out podcast ads so you don’t “kill the golden goose’ and wear out a show too quickly.  Podcast agencies know the sweet spot and they will set up your campaign appropriately.  


Last but not least is time.  Marketers are asked to manage more than ever these days, and podcasts are an extremely time consuming channel, from sending out samples to setting up attribution to having kick off calls with each of the podcasts.  Agencies can take 90% of this off your plate, so you can focus on the million other things you have to do.

When I moved agency-side I was as big of a skeptic as anyone on the value of an agency, but I can now confidently say, for more niche channels like podcasts, you are significantly hurting your chances of success in podcasts by trying to go at it alone.  

Eric Smith is the SVP of Growth at Incremental Media.  Want to share your thoughts or pick the brain of the author of this piece?  Email Eric Smith at esmith@incrementalmedia.com.

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