Why Adam Buxton’s approach to podcast ads resonates with his audience
July 2nd, 2024, Christien Pheby

Why Adam Buxton’s approach to podcast ads resonates with his audience

Many podcasts treat advertising as a necessary evil: the boring bit that interrupts the interesting bits. This is, in some respects, fair enough: listeners don’t load up Off Menu because they want to hear Ed Gamble talk about how great Airbnb is, and they aren’t tuning into The News Agents because they want to hear Emily Maitlis promote HSBC .

The Adam Buxton Podcast takes a different approach with its ads: it uses a range of different voices, formats, and jokes to engage its audience – winning praise from marketing publications such as The Drum for its “lovingly crafted” marketing.

So why does Buxton’s strategy work for his audience? And could brands buying ad space on podcasts benefit from a less generic, and more tailored approach to advertising? YouGov Profiles data can shed some light.  

They’re also most likely to be aged 35-54 (66% vs. 36% of regular podcast listeners). Three in ten listeners are aged 18-34 (30% vs. 46% of podcast listener), and just 5%  are aged 55 or older.

This may not be too surprising: Buxton has been active in UK media in various forms since The Adam and Joe Show in the 1990s, so it makes sense that his audience might mostly live in this age range. 

Adam Buxton listeners are receptive to – and cynical about – advertising 

Buxton’s audience has an attitude to advertising that might seem contradictory at first. On the one hand, most feel bombarded by advertising (71% vs. 67% of podcast listeners) and think it’s a waste of time (57% vs. 43%). They exhibit greater distrust for TV ads than the general audience for podcasts (50% vs. 43%) and feel like marketing generally doesn’t reflect their lifestyle (60% vs. 51%). 

But they’re also more highly attuned to advertising than the average podcast listener. By 59% to 53%, they say they often notice adverts while on public transport; by 57% to 41%, they say they often notice adverts in newspapers and magazines. They’re also more likely to say that advertisements outside the home affects how they see a brand (45% vs. 29%).  Half (49% - compared to two-fifths of podcast listeners) say advertising helps them choose what to buy.  

And while they might think ads are a waste of time, a majority will make exceptions for the right kind of ad. Two-thirds (65%), compared to 56% of regular podcast listeners, want ads to entertain them; an expectation Buxton – with his parodic, handcrafted approach – may well fulfil.  

Most also say they enjoy watching ads with their favourite celebrities (51% vs. 34%), and Buxton, who injects his own personality into his sponsored jingles, could be benefiting from this. The sense of specificity in these commercials may also work to his advantage: by 46% to 36%, his listeners say they’re more likely to engage with ads that are tailored to them.  

By blurring the boundary between regular content and advertising, Buxton may be creating a more cohesive and appealing listening experience for his fans – and in doing so, increasing the benefits for his sponsors. His is not an approach that will necessarily work for every podcast (not every podcast audience is largely comprised of 35-54 year old men) but there may be better use of the ad space than forcing the hosts to feign enthusiasm for ride-hailing or e-commerce apps. 

Methodology

YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Great Britain is nationally representative of the online population and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles

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