It could be time for programmatic audio’s time in the sun.
The growing popularity of mobile audio streaming and podcasts, along with the pressures on display advertising, is putting programmatic audio front of mind for both buyers and sellers.
“Programmatic is becoming a cornerstone of any audio plan,” said Jo Blake, Havas Media’s head of publishing and outdoor.
Here is a view of the current state of play:
When it comes to audio, music streaming services like Spotify and SoundCloud are front and center. Spotify makes its mobile audio inventory available for advertisers to buy via private marketplaces, courtesy of agreements with AppNexus, Rubicon Project and The Trade Desk. But to scale its advertising business, the music platform has begun opening its inventory to open marketplace bidding in the U.S. and has seen a flurry of demand from advertisers, according to Marco Bertozzi, Spotify’s vp of sales for Europe
Spotify targets audio ads using the logged-in data from its 100 million monthly listeners on mobile. Now the platform is testing desktop targeting. Spotify has put targeting based on listener moods and music preferences at the center of its pitch to advertisers. One of its features, “Workout,” matches music with the pace of a listening while listeners are jogging. Advertisers can get involved with these via “Branded Moments.”
Rival music platform SoundCloud has also recently partnered with Rubicon Project to automate its video and audio inventory, and has a similar agreement with U.S. digital audio tech platform Triton Digital. SoundCloud claims it reaches more than 175 million users per month globally. Its ad-supported offering is available in eight markets including the U.S., U.K., Ireland, France and Germany.
Legacy media players
Traditional companies also pushing into the space. News U.K. last September acquired Wireless Group, which owns TalkSport and Virgin Radio, to boost audio revenue. TalkSport owns the global audio rights for the English Premier League, content that’s coveted by advertisers.
Major radio broadcasters Bauer and Global Radio have also diversified their programmatic audio options for advertisers. Global Radio’s digital audio exchange “Dax” lets advertisers target audio campaigns across all digital streaming services, albeit for fixed-price rather than biddable buys. The Financial Times as well as BuzzFeed uses Swedish podcast platform Acast to monetize its podcasts.
Display’s loss is audio’s gain
Display advertising is under pressure, undermined by fraud, ad misplacement, poor viewability and ad blocking. That’s not to say advertisers will drop display in favor of audio, but the timing is fortuitous.
Spotify’s Bertozzi believes that industry ad standards will have to rise this year and that services that offer logged-in listener bases will be in pole position.
“Formats that are more likely to be brand-safe and listened to or viewed will win out,” he said. “On Spotify, where users are always logged in and people are listening 80 percent of the time through headphones, audio ads will become ever more popular, and if you overlay strong targeting and data, then you have a great sell.”
Havas Media, for one, plans to grow its audio budget from 5 percent to 12 percent by the end of this year. “We don’t spend enough on podcasts given the prolonged engagement rates they get,” said Blake.
Advertisers will start to move away from cookies to targeting people based on mobile IDs, and Spotify, with a big mobile audience, is positioned to take advantage of that shift, Bertozzi said.
Still, advertisers will have their challenges. Users of Alexa skills and Google Home apps may have no patience for a sponsored message, said Andrew Shebbeare, co-founder and chief product officer at Essence.
“Brands can’t just step into that place without having been given permission for that device, or the owner will reject it,” he said.
Fireball taps into streaming, Instagram to reach Gen Z of drinking age
To drive reach and awareness with Gen Z, spirits brand Fireball last month increased its digital video output on Instagram and streaming sites like ESPN, Peacock and Hulu with 15-20 second ads. It is the cinnamon whiskey’s first creative campaign to market to Gen Z, as many are now of legal drinking age. (The demographic […]
Why regulators are still at odds over ad tech data privacy standards
The problem with attempts to bring order to online advertising’s data industrial complex is how loosely written the rules are.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Amazon holds untapped marketing potential for brands, agencies
Digiday's survey revealed a huge difference between how brands and agencies are spending on Amazon and other retail marketing sites compared with how confident they are that those channels drive marketing success.
SponsoredHow marketers are tailoring data-driven creative to engage audiences on CTV
Gabriela Maestre, vice president of creative solutions, Tremor International As the end of the year approaches and marketing teams look to finalize their 2023 budgets, many are wondering how to ensure their ads are set up for success in the months ahead, appealing to unique audiences whose media consumption habits continue to evolve. Advances in […]
How brands like Pepsi and American Eagle are investing in original sound marketing on TikTok
Pepsi announced a partnership with singer and actress Chlöe Bailey on Tuesday to release a new version of the song “Footloose,” encouraging TikTok users to join a dance challenge using the sound.
Evil Geniuses is using its DEI-friendly profile to win business from brand partners like Bud Light, HP and others
Evil Geniuses’ DEI-focused branding allows it to serve as a more palatable alternative to esports organizations embroiled in controversy.