And a medium where revenues have always remained resilient because there’s no competition for the user’s
attention while they engage with the messaging.
Last month, I was re-introduced to this medium at the 4th annual Rain Summit Europe in London. It does exist and it is of course audio.
When I say I was re-introduced, I don’t mean that I never listen to commercial radio. I’m woken every morning by digital radio, and I stream audio via podcasts. What I mean is that my professional focus has for too long been on digital display, while audio advertising has largely been left behind.
However, more people than ever are now consuming radio and audio on digital sources.
According to estimates by Rajar’s Measurement of Internet Delivered Audio Services (MIDAS), 17 million people stream digital audio in the UK every week.
Since 2013, digital audio streams have increased 97% year-on-year and now account for somewhere in the region of 15 billion streams.
This inventory scale has been achieved without any of the issues around fraud and viewability that display embroils us in. Plus, it spans multichannel ranging from digital radio and social networks to podcasts and music streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. From a programmatic perspective, this is also a great new source of audience data.
So why aren’t we embracing audio more programmatically?
It could be because we don’t know enough about listener behavior and whether they react differently to an ad that comes as part of using a free streaming service compared with say, an ad on Kiss FM.
At least with display, there’s a measurement mechanic in place in the form of click-through-rates. With audio on mobile devices, you’ll always get high listen-through-rates but demonstrating the real worth of the ad is, for most publishers, still a long way off.
It is, however, the perfect time to reinvent audio advertising and there’s real signs that it’s starting to happen. The audio landscape is ripe for a dynamic approach that principally targets the behaviors and emotions of the listener. If the right ad can be produced in real-time, according to where the listener is and what they’re likely doing, then the resulting audio could have a real emotional and meaningful impact.
Just this month, Spotify has opened up its inventory to programmatic media-buyers with a private marketplace offer. The music streaming service has a 75 million-strong user base and a wealth of first-party data, allowing it to offer age and gender targeting generated by both listening and subscription data.
Advertisers can also target Spotify audiences based on their declared activity, such as ‘Workout’ and, according to user playlists.
This is a huge stride towards offering unique audience insights and better performing ad formats to marketers. Programmatic has a new member in its eco-system to drive effective results.
Now, it has a real opportunity to show its true potential by transparently targeting our ears, as well.