Why Audio Advertising is Making So Much Noise

by Toccara Baker

Posted on 05-02-2019

Audio adver­tis­ing was one the hottest top­ics recent­ly at Adver­tis­ing Week Europe, with experts from O2, For­mu­la, the IAB and Essence on pan­els dis­cussing the best way to lever­age the medi­um. The sen­ti­ment amongst the indus­try is that dig­i­tal audio is more than just a pass­ing fad, and brands are lin­ing up to take advan­tage of the pos­si­bil­i­ties on voice, pod­casts, and dig­i­tal radio.

The top­ic has been steadi­ly gath­er­ing pace since 2018, with sev­er­al plat­forms launch­ing pro­gram­mat­ic audio adver­tis­ing capa­bil­i­ties over the course of the year. Most recent­ly, Spo­ti­fy has shown its own com­mit­ment to audio with the acqui­si­tion of two pod­cast­ing net­works, and it seems there’s even more to come with the com­pa­ny announc­ing plans to spend up to $500 mil­lion on pod­cast-relat­ed deals.

Is it any won­der audio adver­tis­ing is mak­ing so much noise? The poten­tial of audio is huge. For one thing, dig­i­tal audio is undoubt­ed­ly on the rise: 77% of US audi­ences are cur­rent­ly tun­ing in, and in the UK, dig­i­tal audio ads are pro­ject­ed to rep­re­sent a £1 bil­lion mar­ket by 2023.

How­ev­er, it’s not just the size of audi­ences that’s inter­est­ing, it’s also the way they are lis­ten­ing to audio. Close to 80% of audio con­tent is con­sumed while users are in places that visu­al media can’t reach, like run­ning in the park or com­mut­ing in the sub­way, mak­ing the chan­nel more ‘mobile’. In addi­tion, audio con­sump­tion is often embed­ded in mul­ti-task­ing, with users stream­ing dig­i­tal radio while doing the laun­dry, or lis­ten­ing to a pod­cast while cook­ing din­ner, mak­ing audi­ences less inclined to skip through adverts. Not only does audio offer the poten­tial to reach audi­ences at moments when they were pre­vi­ous­ly unreach­able, it also presents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with them while they are a cap­tive audience.

How­ev­er, the most excit­ing fea­ture of audio adver­tis­ing is its unique poten­tial to reach users through emo­tion­al and mood tar­get­ing. With dig­i­tal audio, brands can serve ads while users are tun­ing in to mood-based playlists. Brands can reach con­sumers with mes­sag­ing that aligns with the mood they are cur­rent­ly in, like run­ning shoes while they’re lis­ten­ing to a work­out playlist, or tis­sues while they’re lis­ten­ing to breakup music!

At Adobe, we have recent­ly launched self-ser­vice audio adver­tis­ing buy­ing with­in our Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud plat­form, so that our users can deliv­er tar­get­ed adverts to audi­ences based on their spe­cif­ic pro­file. We have part­nered with some of the largest pre­mi­um dig­i­tal audio con­tent providers – Spo­ti­fy, Sound­Cloud, TuneIn, and iHeartRa­dio – to offer adver­tis­ers access to over 1 bil­lion streams of pro­gram­mat­ic audio ads across devices. We see audio as an excit­ing and impor­tant ele­ment of an omni-chan­nel media buy­ing approach, and the Adver­tis­ing Cloud plat­form allows users to uni­fy tar­get­ing, report­ing, and cost across their entire media buy – includ­ing audio – with­in one sin­gle platform.

Our cus­tomers are already try­ing out the new fea­ture, and the feed­back so far is pos­i­tive. One com­pa­ny, British mobile phone retail­er Mobiles.co.uk, test­ed audio adver­tis­ing as part of their Black Fri­day cam­paign “Oh My Deal”. Mobiles.co.uk found them­selves in a noisy space dur­ing the Black Fri­day sales peri­od, and were look­ing to try some­thing new. Audio was just one part of an omni-chan­nel strat­e­gy which also includ­ed paid search, dis­play and social.

Audio place­ments on Spo­ti­fy allowed Mobiles.co.uk to reach a new cat­e­go­ry of poten­tial cus­tomers in a high­ly tar­get­ed way. Mobilies.co.uk used mood-based tar­get­ing to engage with users while they were lis­ten­ing to playlists asso­ci­at­ed with spon­tane­ity and assertiveness.

This was a first for Mobiles.co.uk, and in some respects the ven­ture was chal­leng­ing. Audio adver­tis­ing cre­ative is not as easy to tweak and opti­mise over time as oth­er for­mats, so the com­pa­ny need­ed to get their sound record­ings com­plete­ly in order pri­or to the launch. Work­ing with the brand, we were able to take the lead and guide Mobiles.co.uk through the entire process, offer­ing them easy intro­duc­tions to agen­cies, and keep­ing them updat­ed on the campaign’s progress at every stage.

In terms of results, Mobiles.co.uk couldn’t have been hap­pi­er. The audio com­po­nent of the cam­paign yield­ed 340k+ impres­sions, 337k+ com­ple­tions, at a rate of 98.85%. This was in line with results on oth­er for­mats, show­ing we had tar­get­ed the right demographic.

Audio adver­tis­ing is a space filled with excit­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties. Our cus­tomers are already ben­e­fit­ing from the pow­er­ful tar­get­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties on the for­mat, and now that Adobe’s self-ser­vice capa­bil­i­ties are online the suc­cess sto­ries are only going to grow. Per­son­al­ly, I can’t wait to see what the future of audio holds – for con­sumers and advertisers!

Topics: Digital Transformation, Ad Cloud, Advertising Week Europe, Audio Advertising, Customer Experience, customer success, Mobiles.co.uk, Soundcloud, Spotify, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA