Both the proliferation of smart speakers and the popularity of podcasts are pushing advertisers to think harder about audio.

Advertisers are now seeing voice as more than a novelty or fad, said Stephanie Preyer, business director at voice-based marketing agency Rabbit and Pork said on an Advertising Week Europe panel. “It’s becoming a key part of the marketing mix and marketers are seeing how actions and skills might well become the first touchpoint in a consumer journey.”

“We have more arguments internally about audio than we do about visual campaigns because it’s an emotional thing and is difficult to get data on,” said Simon Valcarcel head of creative and media at O2 during a panel.

Podcast, rather than voice opportunities, sparked the most interest from advertisers at the event. Ads, sponsorships and branded content are the main ways to advertise around podcasts, though each one is proving hard for advertisers to adapt to, revealed Elliott Millard, group managing partner at OMD EMEA. But podcast advertising is still a new enough medium to encourage advertiser investment without much proof of a return on investment, he said.

“Historically, it’s been easy to make the argument that podcasts can get you incremental reach on a radio campaign but there are some challenges I think in terms of how effective that exposure will be,” said Millard.

Some advertisers either want to shoehorn sales messages into podcasts irrespective of the theme, said Joe Copeman U.K. country manager at podcast platform Acast, while others repeat the same mistakes they make with influencers by getting them to promote messages that are off brand. For branded content, advertisers are often surprised when they’re told it’s unlikely it will be as widely listened to as those produced by publishers and professional producers, said Copeman.

“If you’re trying to get a million listeners from a branded podcast then as an advertiser you need to forget about it,” said Copeman. “But if you’re trying to measure the number of people who go to your Natwest site after listening to the podcast then that could work well.”

According to research carried out by audio analytics platform Veritonic, 75 percent of host-read ads on podcasts are read by men. Partly this is because the legacy of radio broadcast has a more traditional leaning, said Scott Klass, svp of marketing at Veritonic. In the last year, studies from Veritonic clients in the U.S. like audio broadcast network Westwood One and Pandora are heralding the benefits of female-read ads that tend to perform better when it comes to eliciting an emotional response, driving brand recall and intent to purchase.

Three questions with David Amodio, digital and creative leader, Channel 4.

How are tests for Channel 4’s subscription video-on-demand service, All 4 + going?
We did tests before Christmas where we sent messages to a small group of registered users to take part and pay £3.99 ($5.21) for an ad-free version. That was really to test the pipes. This second phase is we have recruited another group of users [in February] to test the appetite to see if we’ll promote to all consumers. The offering itself is identical [to All 4] but ad-free. At the moment there’s no exclusive content but that’s not to say there won’t be in the future. We’ve already put all our back catalog on All 4. But we’re keen to test, it’s purely to see if there’s an opportunity for it.

How would you manage the two business models of an ad-funded version and an ad-free version?
We’re keen to test the appeal of this offering while our viewing is in such good health and digital ad revenues are growing. As long as you make enough inventory you’re in harmony, but if you’ve sold out of inventory you can’t miss out on that potential ad revenue.

How much is All 4 inventory is growing?
Our viewing is in really good health, last year views were up 26 percent. We’re in a good position to do this as an experiment.

Quotes of the Day:
“The problem with [Apple’s subscription product] is it’s not the industry doing something about it. As an industry, we’re about to hand over — again — control, power and engagement and the model of subscriptions to Apple. And that will become a challenge. The Washington Post and New York Times have said no. But there are 45 million people using Apple News globally, it’s a brilliant product, but it will begin to be the most convenient way to consume news. The money, a 50-50 split between Apple and the publishers, is distributed through scale, time spent and traffic, which is the wrong behavior, once again.” — Katie Vanneck-Smith co-founder, Tortoise

“I would love people to start caring about attention, about whether people saw an ad, not viewability because anyone can make an ad viewable, but how much time they have spent with the ad or the content. These are the things that matter rather than some of the ridiculous, meaningless metrics that were created in the world of the early days of the internet to justify direct response advertising. We just haven’t moved on.” — Hamish Nicklin, CRO of The Guardian

  • LinkedIn Icon