What is Dynamic Content & Ad Insertion in Podcasting?

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Unsure what dynamic content and ad insertion or DIA means in podcasting? Maybe you’ve heard people in the industry talking about it but have never been 100% what it means. Don’t fret, we have your back. This article will explain what it is, how to use it for your podcast and the main benefits.

AMIE Module 2.0 is live in the Captivate dashboard! Insert three pieces of content for each pre, post and mid-roll slot, plus our DAX integration. Watch the explainer video:

As a serious independent podcast creator, it’s important that you have a full toolkit available to help grow your audience, monetize, simplify workflows and make certain processes quicker and easier. Dynamic content and ad insertion is a great example of this.

What is Dynamic Ad & Content Insertion and why is it important?

Great question!

In short: with dynamic content and ad insertion, or DAI, podcasters more easily make edits to new and existing episodes, to make sure the content is up to date, without having to record the whole episode from scratch.

Podcasters can mark areas within episodes (pre, mid and post roll), where dynamic content and advertising can be inserted using a piece of software. For Captivate users, this piece of software is called AMIE (more on this later). As its pulled in dynamically, even episodes that are already published can be updated. There’s many situations where this comes in handy, and not just for advertisers and sponsors (again, more on this later).

Dynamic Insertions vs “Baked-In” Content & Ads

To better understand dynamic content or ad insertion, let’s talk about content or ads that is “baked-in”.

“Baked-in” refers to the practice of advertisements, sponsorship messages or other content segments being read out by the podcast creator during the recording of an episode.

Once published, these are then ‘baked-in’ parts of the audio and removing or replacing them typically involves re-recording and/or re-editing the entire piece of content, a time-consuming process that is often too cumbersome to achieve and hinders monetization opportunities for audio creators.

For example, a podcaster might secure a deal with a local or niche sponsor to partner with them on four episodes and where the podcaster sells them a “pre-roll” and a “mid-roll” ad slot per episode.

The podcaster will then agree on a script and a call to action with the sponsor (usually asking the listener to go to a page on a website) and, as the podcaster records their episode, they’ll read the scripts at the relevant places whilst doing the recording.

They then go ahead and publish that episode as normal and the ads are “baked-in” to the audio content.

This is a really common way that serious independent podcasters make money: they’re leveraging their audio influence to close a deal and then offering a host-read advert, or multiple adverts, in their content.

Having content that is “baked-in” doesn’t really give podcasters much flexibility, as that content will stay there, unless you re-record and then re-edit. This is where dynamic content and ad insertion comes in to save the day, as rather than baking certain messages into the content, you are dynamically inserting the content, which can be changed if needs be!

Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll & Post-Roll Podcast Content Explained

We’ve mentioned pre, mid and post roll a couple of times, but what do we mean?

When it comes to sponsorship and advertising, this is usually sold in “slots”. A “slot” is just a location within your episode where an ad will appear. In the podcasting world, slots are usually called pre, mid or post roll.

Other types of content can also be dynamically inserted pre, mid or post-roll, maybe you want to tease content of other episodes, ask listeners to find you on social media, shout about an event you’re involved with etc. The options here are endless!

  • Pre-roll – any content that is placed before your main episode content begins and before any audio from your episode is played.
  • Mid-roll – any content that is interspersed within your content. We call these “mid-roll, in-content” here at Captivate because we think it’s a little more obvious.
  • Post-roll – any content that is placed after your episode content has finished.

There’s a little flexibility in these terms that you might come across, too.

For example, a true pre-roll plays before any other content but for a podcaster who sells ads themselves and reads them out (either baking them in or dynamically inserting them later), they may class an ad within the first few minutes as a pre-roll because it comes before the main content of the episode.

The same goes for post-roll: where true post-roll plays after all other audio has finished, a podcaster who has sold a post-roll ad to a sponsor directly may class an ad after their content, but before their outro, as a post-roll.

The important thing to remember here is that there is no right or wrong or need to worry about that jargon too much, you’ll work with sponsors and ad partners to make sure that the ads are in the right place.

Speaking of jargon, there is one more acronym that you need to know:

  • CPM – this stands for “cost per mille”. “Mille” means “thousand” so this really boils down to “cost per thousand” and in podcasting, this means “the amount of money that someone will pay you to advertise on your podcast, per one thousand downloads of each episode within 28-days of release.” Note: sponsors are usually not interested in cumulative monthly downloads, sorry!

For example, your podcast receives 5,000 downloads per episode within the first 28-days of its release. A sponsor is willing to pay $30 CPM (aka, $30 for every one thousand downloads) per ad slot. You have one ad slot in your episode and so that advertiser will pay $150 per episode. You’ll then probably give a little to the ad partners as commission and make a fair sum for that episode.

Note: average CPM rates vary so much in podcasting and change so frequently, I have used this as a fairly realistic example. Also note, not all advertisers pay the same rates nor are ad locations valued the same (e.g. a pre-roll is usually more expensive than a mid-roll, and a mid-roll is more expensive than a post-roll).

Ad partner adverts and even agency ad partners (discussed below) are priced like this, but if you’re selling your own advertisements you don’t necessarily have to stick to this method of valuing your audience.

Many serious independent podcasters understand their value as audio influencers in a tight niche and sell their sponsor slots on a fixed-price basis regardless of downloads.

You may decide, for example, that you’d like to generate $500 per episode and offer two ad slots (maybe a pre-roll and a mid-roll), so you decide to find direct sponsors and sell each slot at $250 regardless of the number of downloads you receive per episode.

This is really common for podcasters with smaller numbers but who have generated really loyal, passionate audiences in a tight niche.

Don’t be put off by the download numbers required to make CPMs work for you, they don’t have to be the only way that you make money podcasting.

How Does Dynamic Content & Ad Insertion Actually Work?

Using a podcast hosting platform like Captivate and its AMIE (audio monetization and integration engine) technology, you simply upload your podcast, as usual, set your normal publishing preferences (date & time, any episode cover art, etc) and then use a waveform that has been generated from your audio to tell Captivate where to insert content dynamically and what content to insert.

Adding Mid-Roll Dynamic Ad Insertion Slots to Episodes
Using Captivate’s AMIE technology to manage pre-roll, post-roll and mid-roll dynamic content insertion

Where Does Dynamic Content and Ads Come From?

There are three places that dynamic content and ads come from:

  • You – you record content yourself and upload to Captivate. Then, you choose where to dynamically insert it in your episodes. This is great for when you secure your own sponsor or work with an agency to find sponsors, and that sponsor wants you to produce the advert. This can be called “host read” advertising and can also be used to promote your own products or services.
  • Someone else – you may find and close your own sponsor deal or work with an agency to do so and the sponsor may choose to produce and record the audio for the advertisements themselves. They’ll send you the audio files to upload to Captivate and then to dynamically insert into your episodes.
  • An ad partner – this part can get a little complex but in its most simple form: a host like Captivate will integrate with an ad partner such as DAX (Digital Ad Exchange). These ad partners work with thousands of brands, companies and products that wish to advertise on podcasts. You can choose to insert an ad from these companies into your episodes in any of your ad slots and decide what parameters you’d like to set for this. You’ll receive revenue for this on a CPM basis.

You can also build campaigns with specific parameters (types of ad, dates to run the ads for and financial settings) that gives you a true sense of “dynamism” with your podcast monetization.

How Much Content Can I Have in One Episode?

As much as you like, and you can choose whether each slot inserts content that you have uploaded yourself or an ad that comes from an ad partner like DAX.

Ads can be chained together to follow on from each other or, in the case of mid-roll (remember, that’s “in-content”) adverts, can be inserted at various points throughout your episodes.

The important thing to remember when it comes to advertisements in your podcast, though, is that your job is to create an enjoyable audio experience for your listeners. Too many adverts and even poorly placed ads can detract from that experience so be wise with your use of dynamic ad insertion.

Creative Use of Dynamic Content Insertion

While it is great for inserting ads, there are so many creative ways to use dynamic content insertion to make your workflow even easier. Here are some examples!

Editing Audio Files

AMIE’s ad painter allows you to essentially overdub sections of your audio file – this means you can update any aspect of your episode or correct a mistake without affecting your episode analytics or having to reupload. Nice!

Internal Promotions

Got a new show, course, website or merch? You can dynamically insert a pre, post or mid-roll advert across your entire back catalogue to promote your new content. You don’t need a sponsor to use our innovative content insertion tech.

Adding a default intro or outro

Bored of saying the same podcast introduction for every episode? Simply create your perfect podcast intro, complete with music, notables and CTAs, upload it to your content library and set it as your default pre-roll. It will then be automatically inserted before all of your podcast episodes. The same applies to your outro – just set it as your default post-roll.

Using Captivate’s Dynamic Content Insertion with Your Podcast

AMIE is Captivate’s dynamic content insertion technology.

Standing for “audio monetization & integration engine”, AMIE is a complete suite of dynamic content tools that are included for free on every Captivate plan.

Captivate’s dynamic content insertion technology allows you to easily manage all elements of your dynamic content choices from one, simple interface. AMIE gives you the ability to manage pre-roll, mid-roll (in-content) and post-roll content within individual episodes and en masse across your whole podcast catalogue.

Bulk dynamic content editing with Captivate

When developing AMIE, we knew that being able to manage pre & post-roll, mid-roll slots and even the ability to ‘paint and replace’ baked-in advertisements was vital to the busy, working podcaster like you.

Captivate’s innovative “Ad Painter” allows you to identify and ‘paint’ the regions of audio where baked-in ads exist within an episode and, either individually or in bulk, replace them with new content that Captivate seamlessly “stitches in” to the existing episode.

We also made it really easy to bulk manage all of your content, from pre and post-roll to mid-roll, across your entire episode catalogue using Captivate’s bulk ad editing tools.

Dynamic content insertion doesn’t have to be complicated and it certainly should not be reserved for the “big” podcasters or those who try to keep podcasting complicated.

All podcasters should have access to a diverse range of podcasting tools to help them to grow and monetize their audio influence. Captivate’s core mission is to help the serious independent podcaster to achieve just that.

Check out our help articles which go into more detail about AMIE. For example, we have answered common AMIE FAQs and have a collection of articles that cover different aspects of AMIE.

Are you a serious indie podcaster looking for multiple and diverse ways to grow and monetise your audio influence?

Try Captivate’s dynamic content insertion for free, for 7-days, now!

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Known as "That British Podcast Guy", Mark is one of the United Kingdom's original podcasting experts. He is Managing Director & co-founder of podcast hosting, analytics & monetisation platform Captivate.fm which was acquired by Global in 2020 and is known worldwide as an insightful, thought-provoking and actionable podcast industry keynote speaker. Mark has educated on podcasting and delivered thought leadership at events including Podcast Movement, Podfest, Harvard's "Sound Education" and many more. His focus is on helping people to achieve their own podcasting goals and on improving the podcasting industry for the long-term. Twitter: MrAsquith. Instagram: MrAsquith. Podcast: The Podcast Accelerator.

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