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Programmatic Audio Set to Make Sweet Sounds for Advertisers

July 15th, 2016   ||    by Duane Craig   ||    No Comments

Something very telling has happened for the programmatic audio advertising marketplace and it signals a coming-of-age for the medium’s future. In the latest version of the API Specification used for selling and buying ads, OpenRTB 2.4, digital audio is now a separate object within the protocol. That means sellers can now specifically offer audio impressions for sale and avoid the confusion of offering audio through the video object.

Programmatic Audio Gets New Powers

Not only are programmatic transactions simplified, but now there are industry standards specifically for audio. New creative attributes include auto-play, user initiated, and an on/off button. There are also specifications intended for audio, including feed type and volume normalization. The new “Exp” attribute makes it possible to account for delays between the auction and when an impression happens, making it easier to buy and sell while boosting efficiency.

Historically, audio hasn’t fit well with programmatic. It’s not a visual medium so it doesn’t lend itself to display advertising. Audio is often delivered via apps and that limits using desktop browser cookies, retargeting, and after-the-fact attribution. Audio’s custom ad sizes also haven’t yet worked with programmatic. However, the recent changes to the OpenRTB specifications and the growing list of private marketplace offerings with deep pockets of data signals that this year could be a turning point for programmatic audio.

Audio Is Everywhere

Besides the buzz about audio’s rising place in the programmatic landscape, as reported in AdExchanger, there are other telltale signs that programmatic audio is poised for more acceptance. Audio is a natural fit for mobile, and it’s pervasive quality reaches people wherever they are and during all types of activities. According to Mashable, more than half of Google searches happen on mobile and at least a third of mobile searches are related to the searcher’s location. That makes programmatic audio ripe for inclusion in a brand’s programmatic mix. As people constantly consume digital audio, brand messages delivered through audio reinforce preceding messages and increase effectiveness.

Unique Data

Audio’s data runs deep because ubiquitous platforms, like Spotify and Pandora, have held on to subscription models where people are logged in when listening. That provides them with individualized data points that go beyond age and gender. Jana Jakovljevic, head of programmatic solutions for Spotify, was quoted in The Drum saying the service has “people’s ears” and along with psychographic data, advertisers can now target according to a listener’s activities. There are disadvantages that come with relying on people using solely their eyes, so audio automatically has a leg up. Viewability issues disappear right along with fraudulent clicks.

The sound of audio being bought and sold using programmatic processes is already in the air. With the new specifications for audio in the OpenRTB standard there is more evidence all mediums are moving toward programmatic buying and selling, making it just a matter of time before the tipping point is reached and programmatic moves to the mainstream.

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