Horizon: Audio Is The Next New Thing In Performance Media

Media mix and attribution models can be great tools for planning the relative ROI of various media, but they're only as good as the data that goes into them. And that means that media lacking dynamic, empirical data for measuring results can get downgraded -- as the case may be, upgraded -- in media plans and budgets.

Thats what performance media agency Horizon Next has been discovering for the past several years it has been working with an innovative consumer tracking technology developed by ArtsAI, which has been enabling it to measure when people are exposed to audio ads that drive them to a client's commerce site and take an action there.

The data has been rich enough to influence how Horizon Next -- and its clients -- view the value of audio media formats like podcasts and streaming audio that can utilize ArtsAI's tracking pixels, but they plan to begin leveraging a new solution being offered by ArtsAI -- now part of Claritas -- that can even track the ROI of analog radio broadcasting. And for that matter, linear TV broadcasting too.



That solution, which is still in development, essentially utilizes a calibration panel enabling ArtsAI and its customers to correlate the ad exposure and purchase behaviors of consumers in an opt-in panel with ArtsAI's digital tracking pixel data.

In the meantime, Horizon Next this morning is announcing that it has begun ingesting the ArtsAI data into its proprietary "Intersect" model, which already has similar commerce tracking data for linear video and OTT (courtesy of Inscape) and for digital display advertising (courtesy of LiveRamp), and the integration now enables the agency to measure the relative ROI of radio 

"For us, that’s a huge game-changer," says Lauren Russo, executive vice president-managing partner, innovation & performance audio at the agency, adding, "We’ve never had a significant seat at the table from an audio perspective."

In an off-the-record demo, Russo took me through a live example of an anonymous Horizon Next client's performance across the media channels measured alongside audio in its Intersect model, and as you might expect, audio overall generates a much bigger return per ad dollar spent.

"The audio cost-per-visit is $3.62 compared to $5.63 for linear video and $4.82 for OTT," she explained at one point, noting, “Ultimately, this is the gold standard: What was the cost-per-lead, or the cost-per-sign-up."

Russo would not disclose the explicit impact of the new audio data on its media plans, but she confirmed that it has meant a "double-digit" increase in average client audio budgets.

"We're seeing increased investment [in audio] because of this," she adds, "It's changing the media plan."

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