Digital Commercials: The Many Channels You Can Advertise On

Commercials aren’t just for television. The digital world has many, many opportunities for commercials. If you’ve pursued just about every type of marketing avenue and are running out of ideas, or just need a new and fresh approach to your marketing strategy, I highly recommend giving digital commercials a try.

Any industry can find some type of benefit in advertising commercials online. As long as you have an audience online, you have a demographic to reach through commercials.

You may be thinking how could I be qualified to create and advertise a commercial? Chances are, you already have all of the resources you need. Create short video clips using b-rolls, or footage from Adobe Stock videos. Hire a voiceover that has the tone to represent your brand. Add the branding to the video and voila!

Sure, it’s a little more complicated than that, but you get the gist. You don’t necessarily need to have an entire production team to create an effective commercial, but you do need a thoughtful storyline and call to action.

The below platforms are just a few of the many ways to try advertising with digital commercials. Get your video and commercial produced and give one or two of these types of advertising a try.

YouTube Commercials

YouTube advertising isn’t just for the big brands. Although, 100% of the Top 100 businesses continue to advertise on YouTube, small businesses and start ups can capitalize on YouTube with branded commercials. The best tactic to help make YouTube commercials work for your business is to keep it going. Don’t just run one commercial, quantify if there was ROI, and then run for the hills.

YouTube marketing takes time. There are millions and millions of people on YouTube so it may take a couple of tries before your message sticks.

You can contact one of YouTube’s video experts to help get you started with advertising 1-855-500-2756 or you can do it yourself. Here’s how to quickly and easily upload a video commercial to YouTube:

  1. Upload your video. Make sure you’ve put a lot of thought into your designated commercial video before uploading it to your YouTube channel. The video you chose needs to have a clear call to action and quality production. Don’t just chose a random video from your channel. Have thought put into the video and embed a clear marketing message.
  2. Define the ad settings. Once the video is uploaded to your YouTube channel, you’ll then designate the target audience and daily spend budget. YouTube offers pretty detailed targeting so you can get specific with the audience by designating the preferred gender, age, location, interests, and even setup a remarketing audience.
  3. Launch the advertisement. It really is as simple as three steps, but there’s a lot of steps to take inbetween to help improve the conversions on your commercials. YouTube has an entire page dedicated to their recommended tips for helping improving views, click-through, bidding, and more.

Podcast Commercials

Advertising on podcasts looks completely different than advertising on YouTube. There’s a few different ways to advertise on podcasts, whereas YouTube you’re looking at just a commercial and link. On podcasts, you can have the host of the podcast talk about your brand, do a pre-recorded segment video that plays during commercial breaks, sponsor an entire episode, or have banner ads on the podcast website.

Podcast advertising, in whichever form, is a great option to try for brands because the podcast audience is only growing. More and more people are listening to podcasts and more and more hosts are creating podcasts for very defined niches.

A big benefit to podcast advertising is how niche of an audience you can target. Dedicate commercials and advertising spots on podcast channels that make sense for the brand. It wouldn’t make sense for Quickbooks Self-Employed to run a commercial on a podcast for stay at home moms, but it would for an entrepreneur channel.

When trying to decide which podcast show makes sense to advertise on, ask yourself which podcasts are your audiences listening to? For example, an investing company would want to host a podcast commercial on either a stock trading, political, or financial retirement focused podcast.

There are several companies out there who can help you land a spot on a podcast. is one of the many that allow advertisers to chose commercial spots based on podcast genres. Rates for podcast commercials are fairly affordable, as well.

Music Streaming Commercials

Taco Bell is one of the many companies who advertise commercials on music streaming services like Pandora, SoundCloud, and Spotify. In one campaign that Taco Bell ran with Pandora, they did just about everything right.

The campaign promoted the new Breakfast to Late Night menu to millennials. Taco Bell took the time to do research on their demographic and find out just about everything there is to know about millennials. One of the biggest pieces of info that stood out to Taco Bell was how mobile-first their audience was.

That meant the campaign had to be mobile-focused. Taco Bell sponsored listeners one-hour of uninterrupted music on mobile in exchange for brand engagement with their video commercial. In return, Taco Bell received:

  • +28% lift in message association against the “breakfast defector” tagline
  • +16% lift in product association
  • Exposed respondents were +26% more aware of the biscuit taco than unexposed respondents
  • 15% more likely to visit a Taco Bell location
  • 1 in 7 exposed listeners who visited a Taco Bell location returned within 10 days

Millennials aren’t the only audience using music streaming services, though. Verto analytics, a data and analytics company, did a research that found the demographic to range quite a bit:

  • Pandora’s user base is dominated by women and users younger than 50 years old:
    • 44% Millennials
    • 33% Gen X
    • 20% Baby Boomers
    • 3% Silents
  • Spotify’s user base:
    • 54% Millennials
    • 26% Gen X
    • 16% Baby Boomers
    • 4% Silents
  • SoundCloud’s user base:
    • 35% Millennials
    • 24% Gen X
    • 26% Baby Boomers
    • 15% Silents

Each music streaming service has their own set of steps and guidelines for creating commercials and advertising with. You can get more information for Spotify’s commercials here, Pandora’s here, and SoundCloud’s here.

To give you an idea of cost, Video ads have an average CPM of $15-25, and audio ads average $8-12, with rates being lower for mobile ads. Visual ads can be as low as $5 to $7 CPM according to WebpageFX.

Pop-Up and Auto-Play Video Ads

I do not recommend pursuing these types of video ads. They are one of the most annoying ad types for a user and can completely interrupt the user’s experience and cause them to leave. If you’re not sure what type of ad I’m referring to, these video ads usually appear on larger websites in the news industry.

You’ll click to read more of an article and be redirected to a website. Before the website even finishes loading all of the way, a video starts playing. Sometimes these videos are pop-ups, other times they’re buried somewhere on the website and you can’t find where the noise is coming from without scrolling and searching.

This type of ad doesn’t gain the users attention as much as it does their annoyance. Instead of spending your ad dollars on spots like these, try YouTube commercials, podcast ads, music streaming commercials, or social media videos ads.


About Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward is a Corporate Speaker for SEMrush, an EPIC all-in-one tool designed to make life simpler for digital marketers. Ashley is passionate about helping businesses and individuals gain longterm ROI through teaching content marketing and social media tactics. With over 6 years in the digital marketing industry, Ashley brings first hand experience and case studies to inspire marketers around the world to better their strategies using the SEMrush platform and unique marketing tactics. She regularly speaks at workshops and conferences like Pubcon, RetailGlobal, SMS, and more. Ashley is also a contributing writer to industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and AuthorityLabs.

Filed under: Internet Marketing, Strategy