iHeart audio ads: Best Practices

Guidelines and examples for musicians creating an iHeartRadio audio ad.

Show.co’s simple Ad Builder tool helps you reach new audiences on major streaming platforms like iHeartRadio and Spotify, as well as premiere music websites like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, MTV, etc.

Because you can target listeners based on geography, genre, and radio station, iHeartRadio is a great place to run audio ads that will drive:

  • regional ticket sales
  • more spins on a particular station
  • deeper exploration of your music catalog

When you’re ready to create your first iHeartRadio ad campaign, follow the tips below.

Your iHeartRadio audio ad campaign at a glance

  1. Create a new campaign in Show.co; if you don’t have a Show.co account, set one up by following the “Free Marketing Tools” link within your CD Baby dashboard
  2. You target the musical interests and location of the listeners that you want to hear your audio ad
  3. Upload an audio ad and corresponding image
  4. Choose the destination URL for the ad (where do you want the listener to go after hearing the ad?)
  5. Set a budget and duration for the campaign
  6. Show.co will serve the ad to your target audience on iHeartRadio, and you’ll see real-time data about the results

Create an audio ad today

Your music and message can reach a huge audience on iHeartRadio, so we’ve put together a list of best-practices to make sure your audio ad is approved for placement and optimized so you get the most return for your budget.

How to record your iHeartRadio audio ad

  1. The length of your ad should be exactly 30 seconds and in WAV or MP3 file format.
  2. Your ad should begin by fading in your background music (typically 2-3 seconds into the ad).
  3. Depending on the length of your “Voice Over,” your ad should start with roughly 15-20 seconds of music and, if applicable, include the lead verse or chorus of the song.
  4. Add your Voice Over (VO) around the 15-20 second mark. Your VO should be 7-10 seconds long.
  5. IMPORTANT: When writing the script for the VO, include a call-to-action. A call-to-action is mandatory in all audio ads and directs the listener to do something, such as “click on the banner to follow me on Instagram.”
  6. At the end of the VO, bring your background music volume up for a second or two and then fade out.

Sample scripts for iHeartRadio audio ads

Below you’ll see a few examples to give you an idea of how to script your own audio ads. Put these in your own words, in whatever style is most authentic to your artist brand.

When you’re releasing a new single, you might say:

“Hey, it’s [artist name] and you’re listening to my new single, [song name]. Head over to my [website/social media page] to hear more.”

When your new single is being played on a particular radio station, you might say:

“Hey, it’s [artist name] and you’re listening to my new single, [song name]. If you like what you hear, give [station name] a call at [phone number] and request to hear more”.

When you’re releasing a new album, you might say something like:

“Hey, this is [name] from [band name] and you’re listening to our new song [song name] off our latest release, [album name]. Click the banner to hear more.”           

When you’re on tour and targeting a specific city, a typical ad would say:

“Hey, this is [artist/band name] and I’ll/we’ll be performing on [date] at [venue] in [city, state]. Click the banner below to buy tickets now!”

When you’re on tour, you could say:

“Hey, this is [artist/band name] and you’re listening to my/our new single [single name]. I’ll/we’ll be performing live in venues across [country/state/region]. Click the banner below to check out exact dates and buy tickets now!”

Additional tips to get the most from your audio ad on iHeartRadio:

  • Remember to state your artist and single name clearly, as well as the name of the album, playlist, merch, or concert dates you’re advertising.
  • Avoid using too many voices. Multiple voices in the audio ad can confuse the user.
  • Avoid using sound effects. Keep the listener focused on your music and what you’re trying to sell.
  • Preview your audio ad before finalizing. Click on the play button in the Ad Preview section of Ad Builder to confirm that your ad is correct.
  • Lastly, be creative and have fun!

iHeartRadio advertising guidelines

iHeartRadio has foundational policies governing the kinds of content that can appear in audio ads and accompanying banners. Please read ALL guidelines to ensure that the ads you create will pass the mandatory auditing process.

  1. Avoid all banned content. The following are considered prohibited content:
    • Pornography, Nudity, Obscenity, or other “Adult” Content
    • Hate Speech or Defamatory Language
    • Sale of, or instructions for creating, guns, bombs, ammunition, or weapons
    • Displaying fake errors to induce user action, or messaging that implies knowledge of a user’s computer or operating system
    • Sale of drugs, illegal pharmaceuticals, or paraphernalia
    • Charging for government forms and services
    • Enabling or Permitting Piracy
    • Misappropriation of Copyright, Trademark, Trade Secret, or Patent
    • Executes or Downloads Files without User Interaction
    • Content that intends to, or does, induce user action through misleading appearance or behavior, including, but not limited to, creatives that mimic video players, functional buttons, errors or warnings about viruses, missing codecs, and corrupt disks.
  2. Audio ads must be no longer than 30 seconds, must be submitted as either a WAV or MP3 file, and may not exceed 6MB in size.
  3. Your audio ad must include a Voice Over with a Call-to-Action.
  4. Associated banner ads must be a 640×640 pixels, either JPEG or PNG file format, with a maximum file size of 500KB.
  5. Your iHeartRadio ad may not link to a competing streaming platform such as YouTube, Apple Music, Deezer, etc.
  6. Your iHeartRadio ad may not link to an iHeartRadio page.
  7. Your ad may not contain a destination URL using a shortlink such as bit.ly, SmartURL, etc.
  8. Your destination URL must be a live page. Ads that link to pages that generate 404 errors will not be accepted.

Create an iHeartRadio audio ad for your music today