Pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll ads - What are they and how to use them?

Before Dynamic Ad Insertion, podcasts were generally monetized by adding baked-in ads to the audio. Pre-recorded or ...


Before Dynamic Ad Insertion, podcasts were generally monetized by adding baked-in ads to the audio. Pre-recorded or spoken by the hosts, they have been placed at very different points in a podcast episode. Not only the ad itself, but also the position of the ad can have an essential impact on the success of a campaign.

In audio, but also in other media like television or video streams, based on the position of the ad, ads are called pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll:

  • A pre-roll is played at the very beginning of an episode. Chances are high that a listener also actually listens to the ad. 
  • A mid-roll is placed during the episode. Usually a break or a topic change is used to place that kind of ad. 
  • Finally, post-rolls are placed at the end of an episode. Post-rolls have high chances of being skipped or simply not listened to, as they come at the very end. 

The good news is that prices for post-rolls are lower, which potentially attracts sponsors on a budget. Certainly a few bucks is better than no bucks, right?

Not only the position of an ad, but also the reach within a specific target group has a direct influence on the money a sponsor is willing to pay to place ads in your podcast. 

If your podcast does not have a huge reach yet, but your content and listeners are a perfect match to the sponsors' products, you can aim at charging more for the ads. With the Podigee Analytics and especially the Listener Insights, you can learn a lot about your listeners and use these insights when you talk to your sponsors. 

Placing Ads with the Podigee Dynamic Ad Server

There are a few definitions and some terminology that you need to understand when placing ads. But do not despair! You will see that it is pretty intuitive.

When using Podigee, you can have 3 dynamic “layers” in your audio:

  1. The naked audio file (without any ads), also called “naked content” or just “the content”
  2. The intro and the outro (often used as jingles)
  3. The ads (pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll)

To make this a bit more visual, please see the following image: 


Tip: Always upload your episodes without any baked-in ads or jingles and use the intro/outro function and the Podigee Dynamic Ad Server to dynamically enrich the content. Only then will you be able to replace ads or jingles without manual editing.

When it comes to mid-roll placing, we simplified the concept as much as we could. All positions are relative to the naked audio file (or the naked content). This means if you have an intro setup in Podigee and now want to place a mid-roll, you don’t have to calculate the position on your own, Podigee will handle that for you. 

If you want to place the ad exactly 2 minutes after the episode begins, just enter 00:02:00:000 as the position of the mid-roll. 

Tip: You can place mid-rolls with a millisecond accuracy allowing you to use even short breaks in your recordings for placing ads.

Reading the above you might now think that you can only have a pre-roll before your intro. But we don’t want to limit your options here: if you would like to play your intro first and your promotion afterwards, no problem. Just place a mid-roll at position 0. Your intro will be played first, followed by the ad and the episode content.

The visualization above demonstrates how easy it is to set up ads or promotions at exactly the position you want to place them. There is also no limit on ads in one episode. Just use common sense to avoid annoying your audience!

Finally, even if your sponsors change, you only have to set up the ad positions once. We will dive deeper into this topic in one of the upcoming blog posts.

But what about chapter marks?

Just add chapter marks as usual - they just work. You don’t have to worry about the position, when ads are added to your episode. Podigee will handle them fully automatically. Chapter marks and mid-roll positions are handled similarly. 

You always enter the position relative to the naked content. 

Tip: Even if you decide to add an ad or promotion after the chapter marks are already set, there is no need to adjust the timestamps of the chapter marks.


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