Can You Hear Me Now?

If you’re listening to WXYZ, Pandora, Spotify, or SiriusXM the answer is almost certainly ‘yes.’ That’s but one way audio advertising stands separate and apart from display. 

Now, if I said, “Can you see me now?”, more than half of you would have to admit ‘no.’ That’s according to new research undertaken by Google to determine online ad-viewability. That report states that 56% of online display ads are not seen by consumers. Ever. 

The good news is that the Gordian Knot that’s vexed CMOs forever has finally been cut. The answer to that age-old lament, “I know half of my advertising isn’t working. I’m just not sure which half,” is in. The half of the CMO’s ad budget that doesn’t work is the (more than) half that’s never even seen. The bad news is that like eggnog and mistletoe, Display is a hard habit to break.



There are too many damn ads on terrestrial radio. Many terrestrial broadcasters agree. Some are experimenting with decreasing the length of commercial breaks. The fact that this is an issue for listeners like me and broadcasters like them tells us we agree on one thing — audio ads, for better and worse, get noticed. 

Whether radio has “too many” ads is a matter of taste and perspective. Twelve minutes of advertising in an hour is 20%. Maybe that’s a lot. Maybe it isn’t. While Web viewing isn’t as finite and linear as time, I feel confident that more than 20% of it is covered in ostentatious flashing, whirring, expanding display ads and click-bait passing itself off as content. 

That’s just the 44% that’s viewable. God knows what lurks beneath the fold. 

Audio advertising is always above the fold, always the only thing in the spotlight, and fits seamlessly in a mobile-powered world. 

Google’s rightly called out a problem. Viewability, with its primary symptom, banner blindness, is very unhealthy for advertisers and audience alike. There’s just such a glut of display, the ghost of Darwin is rewiring our brains to kick back data from the optical cortex while browsing most sites. Then there are the parts our eyes never even get a chance to take in.

My advice to advertisers sick of waste is to crank up the tunes. It’s growing, mobile, targetable and accountable. It gives your brand and your message voice. Literally. Best of all it gives that voice what it desperately craves. Ears.
4 comments about "Can You Hear Me Now?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 10, 2014 at 8:10 a.m.

    I don't think that it's fair to say there are too many ads on radio when the norm for TV is 25% of its time is devoted to commercials versus 20% for radio. When one considers that a far higher proportion of radio ads are 60-second messages, not "30s" and "15"s , as are common on TV, the actual number of sales pitches per hour aimed at the audience is far greater on TV. The main problem for radio is that advertisers want eyes and ears, not just ears.

  2. Jim Alkon from CRN, December 10, 2014 at 9:59 a.m.

    One way to establish what's fair and what's not when it comes to radio ads is to ask listeners what they think. We did - and here's our full survey: A couple of highlights: traditional ads are one of the least effective strategies to reach listeners; and very few people are still paying attention after the first ad in a series of ads. Check it out.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 10, 2014 at 11:47 a.m.

    I'd be really interested to see some reactions to the CRN study Jim referred to, above, by someone representing traditional radio outlets. What say you radio guys and gals?

  4. Patrick Reynolds from Triton Digital, December 10, 2014 at 11:48 a.m.

    Ed, I agree with you. That was my point about context. Is 20% so much when compared to other media? I don't think so. Even if that is a shortcoming, the format's strength is undeniable.

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