Apple Podcasts shows have found a new way to advertise in your mobile games, and it's working

Apple Podcasts subscriptions
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We’re all used to ads and paid promotions in the apps and the games that we play on our best iPhones — and thankfully, it seems like some podcasters are finding that they’re becoming more successful thanks to adverts baked into our mobile experiences.

According to Bloomberg, there are now ads that help gamers earn in-game items that advertise and direct users to different podcasts and other services: But how do they work?

In-app ads?

I bought my 13-inch iPad Air for one very specific purpose — to read comic books on a big, colorful touchscreen that I can manipulate with my finger rather than a disconnected trackpad. As part of my endeavor, I’ve installed a lot of different comic book apps, from the official Marvel and DC apps to apps like WebToon and Tapas, which let you read comics written by independent authors and artists. While the former two apps have a monthly payment plan to keep them going, the latter two are powered by in-app purchases, and ads.

While many of the long-strip comics on Webtoon and Tapas are free to read, paying creators through ads that you watch, some are not. These require you to use a kind of premium currency (the name of which, of course, is different in both) so that you can keep reading. There are two ways you can get a hold of these coins — one is through paying, real, actual money for it, and the other is through using a form of in-app ad to get your webcomic fix.

If you head over to the pages in the apps that let you earn the currencies, you’re shown a lengthy list of different products and services, from other games to bath bomb discounts. Click on one of these, and you earn you coins, and the advertiser gets a potential new customer. The bit we’re interested in here, however, are the podcast ads that appear on the list of ads for users like me — because the ads that podcasters can pay to have on the platform seem to be working.

The podcast difference

Transcripts Apple Podcasts iOS 17.4

(Image credit: Apple)

Bloomberg says that it’s all powered by a service called ‘MowPod’, and while my experience comes from illustrated literature, most people will come across it while trying to earn currency or items for their favorite mobile games. For us, it works just as described with my webcomic apps — for podcasters, it’s a paid-for service that aims to get more listeners to your show.

You join the platform, and then you get links on those pages so that potential listeners can earn currency in their favorite apps and games. It’s not, apparently, a massively advertised part of the ad-driven platform, instead being offered to a select few podcasters. And, crucially, it seems to be working.

6 of the top 50 podcasts on Apple Podcasts appear to be using this method of advertising, so there seems to be some merit to the service. It’s not free, of course — podcasters have to pay $5 per new listener from the ad, with a minimum spend of $5,000. 

The boost provided by the service, however, doesn’t seem to be to everyone’s taste. Some users are finding that the extra listeners given by the ads are only temporary, as the new listeners soon unsubscribe from the podcast — once they’ve got their in-game item, perhaps.

Either way, in what is becoming a rapidly more difficult world in which to get your content in front of the right people, this method could stick around or disappear entirely when something new comes along.

I’ll still need my webcomic fix though, as will many others — whether we continue to listen once we’ve got our currency, however, is down to the quality of the pod.

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Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.