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Man with headphones listening to music on smartphone on the street: audio ads

How Audio Ads Play a Role in the Marketing Remix

November 16th, 2017   ||    by Callie Wheeler   ||    No Comments

Think audio ads are a fixture of past generations? Think again. The audience for audio hasn’t disappeared—in many cases, it’s just moved on from radio. Online streaming services offer listeners a personalized music and podcast experience, and that same personalization carries over into advertising with programmatic audio ads.

Garnering deep data on listeners’ preferences through streaming data, social logins, and profile information, services like Spotify and Pandora provide advertisers an opportunity to reach an increasingly fragmented consumer base.

Personalized and Programmatic

Programmatic audio advertising has been around for over a year, but the argument for adoption has only grown stronger. As Digiday reported in February 2017, Spotify offers its more than 100 million mobile users to advertisers.

This provides those advertisers the opportunity to create personalized advertising not only targeted at the individual, but based on what they’re listening to—and likely doing—the moment an ad is served. Want to catch a fitness enthusiast while they’re on their nightly run? Try delivering the ad while they listen to their “Cardio Mix” playlist.

This concept is consistent with the direction advertising has been taking for years now: moving toward purchasing inventory based on audience rather than content or channel.

Digital Display’s Mobile Competition

Traditional radio spend has been in decline, as AdExchanger reported in April 2017. But marketers are projected to continue increasing their spend on audio ads, borrowing from other categories to meet this increasing market. Advertising spend on audio passed $1.1 billion in 2016, with much of the credit going to an industry-wide focus on mobile advertising. Mobile advertising as a whole grew 77 percent this last year alone.

As digital display advertising faces challenges from ad blockers and deals with issues of fraud and viewability, audio’s growth seems inevitable. Users’ mobile data allowances are changing, and adoption of streaming services is increasing, enabling the category to grow among advertisers looking for brand-safe, mobile options outside of display.

What About the Mix?

Spotify reports 80 percent of music listeners use a streaming service, according to AdNews, while podcasts have been growing in popularity year over year. So does this mean audio should be advertisers’ main focus moving forward? While most headlines emphasize new advertising options over traditional venues, experienced advertisers know that doesn’t work.

Audio ads should be part of the media mix alongside television for advertisers seeking personalized, programmatic inventory. Audio provides a unique opportunity to reach consumers at specific points in time—while exercising, working, or commuting, for example—while television offers a way to reach engaged consumers visually.

The two pieces are a natural fit for an omnichannel marketing strategy, along with digital display, native advertising, and more. The main lesson the industry is seeing over and over is simple: Personalized, targeted advertising options—like automated TV buying—are winning over their channel- and content-based counterparts.

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