There is nothing I love more in this world than Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise. Tears, laughter, back-stabbing, heartfelt reconciliations, it has everything you could possibly want from a reality tv series and more. In fact, there is so much narrative to unpack—seasons upon seasons of it—that I’ve started branching out into the Bravo community to find other like-minded fans eager to discuss the latest episode. Enter “Comments by Bravo,” a spin-off podcast from the hugely popular Instagram account “Comments by Celebs” that spotlights the Real Housewives universe.
In one of the podcast’s most recent episodes, hosts Emma Diamond and Julie Kramer explained they actually cut their Christmas break short to record a bonus episode because there was just so much happening they had to, well, comment on. Since the episode was unscheduled, there was no pre-planned advertisement to run, so Diamond gave a freebee shoutout to a listener’s business during that ad space. This listener, Sabeena Ladha, was a fan of the podcast and had DM’d the hosts on Instagram to ask if they could promote her vegan cookie dough business, Deux, on air. Diamond and Kramer were not just excited to hype up her brand, but honored that she even thought to ask, resulting in a spontaneous 45 second gush session over Deux that sold the concept of vegan cookie dough better than any ad Ladha could have bought.
There are a couple marketing lessons we could pull from this incident — the power of social media, the importance of community-building, the magnetism of authentic ‘word-of-mouth’ brand promotions — but the one I want to focus on is perhaps the simplest of all: the value of a podcast ad.
Let me explain. Ladha got Diamond and Kramer’s attention through Instagram, the social platform that launched their careers in pop culture and still remains their brand stronghold today. The hosts’ five separate “Comments by” accounts have amassed over 2.1 million followers. So, if Instagram is Diamond and Kramer’s bread-and-butter, so to speak, why did Ladha specifically ask to be featured on their podcast? My guess is that Ladha understood that podcast ads have a staying power unparalleled by Instagram, or any other social platform for that matter. In a world where most media consumers go above and beyond to avoid watching ads, podcast listeners actually listen.
In 2018, podcast provider Midroll/Stitcher conducted a survey of over 150,000 of its users to better understand their demographics and media consumption habits. The study found that, by and large, listeners dodge traditional video or print ads whenever possible: 63% sometimes or always ignore TV commercials; 61% sometimes or always ignore billboards; 59% sometimes or always ignore radio commercials; 66% sometimes or always ignore digital ads; and 86% subscribe to a premium video service, where they are exposed to few or no ads.
However, this nightmarish trend does not seem to apply to podcasts. 81% of surveyed listeners reported they sometimes or always pay attention to podcast ads. Even better, 60% said they bought something from those ads— jumping to 72% for listeners who have tuned into the same podcast for four or more years. Multiply these numbers by the 16 million people who currently consider themselves “avid podcast users” in the United States, and you’ve got some pretty spectacular engagement and conversion opportunities ready for the taking.
Ad relevance does matter, especially for established podcasts with a committed fanbase behind them, but this is where experts like Babcox Media can step in and help you connect your brand to the right podcast. We produce fourteen different podcasts on the automotive aftermarket, which has given us invaluable insight into who our listeners are and what matters most to them. If you are interested in sponsoring a podcast episode, or learning more about podcast ads in general, please give us a call today. We want your message to be heard.
Maddy Leddy is a Digital Marketing Intern at Babcox Media, focusing on direct marketing, content creation, and social media. A Shaker Heights native, she received her B.A. in English from Boston College and her M.A. in English from the University of Oxford.