How audio advertising can significantly expand your brand’s reach

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Advertisers and brands leave a significant amount of reach and brand awareness on the table with extremely high impact. You guessed it, I’m talking about audio advertising. Remember the early days of Facebook when you could reach an audience of thousands at a ridiculously low cost? Now are the days of sonic boom.



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According to WARC (World Advertising Research Center), there is a large gap between the time spent on audio and its advertising spend, as only a fraction of the total marketing budget is spent compared to other media. Audio is an underutilized opportunity, and that’s about to change.

In 2021, digital audio advertising recorded the highest year-over-year growth with a 57.9% increase to $4.9 billion in the US alone. No other digital advertising channel has grown faster. In addition, earnings were twice that of display advertising. Globally, the entire segment is projected to reach $6.78 billion by the end of the year.

Related: Why audio is the future of customer engagement

Why sound?

Audio advertising works surprisingly well because of its inherently familiar and immersive nature. It easily leverages storytelling so people don’t feel bombarded with advertising messages like they do with other media.

Data shows that audio is the most immersive medium that triggers recall, trust and connection (yes, ahead of video). It is also widely regarded as credible across the spectrum — more credible than other media sources.

Digital audio ads generate more engagement and emotional activation than other forms of media. A study by Spotify and Neuro-Insight found that digital audio was more likely to engage long-term memory for both details and memories, as well as increase emotional intensity — more than radio, TV, social media or digital video.

A recent study found that ad engagement increases with each audio exposure across categories, platforms and industry types. Even after 10 or more exposures in a week, the immersive experience increased without erosion, making every sound impression count.

Thus, audience exposure to audio messages consistently delivers significant benefits to brand equity and sales. As immersion increases with additional ad views, so does purchase and brand sentiment. This is more proof that audio is a very effective tool when it comes to driving people through the funnel and getting them closer to the point of purchase. Additionally, the strong emotional impact and drive to take action also resonates globally across different platforms and devices.

For example, about half of smart speaker owners are likely to respond positively to advertising through these devices, according to the 2022 Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research. Of those who have heard ads on a smart speaker, 53% said they would respond, while 48% said they respond better to smart speaker ads compared to hearing an ad elsewhere and are likely to consider the brand .

Related: How to Make Podcasts Your Secret Weapon for Promoting Your Business

The opportunity in programmatic audio advertising

By programmatic audio advertising, I mean the automated sale and insertion of ads in audio content. Like its video and display counterparts, programmatic audio enables a data-driven approach that produces more precise targeting, measurement and retargeting to execute optimally performing campaigns.

Dynamic advertising insertion, or DAI, plays a key role here in terms of ad placement at scale. It’s an automated and seamless process that offers advertisers the ability to run ads in both live linear programming and on-demand content. As a result, they can quickly adjust messages if needed, while also allowing audio content publishers to monetize previously published content.

The advertising opportunities here go far beyond podcasts (the channel that most naturally comes to mind when you think of modern audio advertising). For example, audio articles are a potentially lucrative programmatic advertising avenue that literally didn’t exist four or five years ago. Leading publications around the world are bringing audio experiences to their readership in an effort to boost reach and retention through native audio solutions.

For all media stakeholders, this is very important because unlike other digital advertising channels, programmatic audio allows for an audience-centric buying approach rather than focusing on content or screens as most advertisers are used to.

Related: The What, Why, and How of Programmatic Advertising (and 5 Tips for Using It)

Because now is the time to tune in

Aside from the dynamics of an underutilized channel (which I touched on above), audio is arguably one of the key drivers of further innovation and, subsequently, brand adoption. Brands are free to experiment with delivering their creative efforts in a new, yet familiar way.

Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, such as synthetic voices for specific types of content (eg news), which increase the level of expressiveness, digital audio advertising is becoming even more accessible and faster. There is no extra cost to produce and all published content can easily be converted to audio and then have the ads embedded natively.

Add to this the increasing sophistication of the adtech behind programmatic advertising and the highly targetable nature of audiences. This is important because in an increasingly saturated and video-overloaded advertising environment, consumers often have unrealistic expectations of ads targeted at them.

In other words — it’s access to unique media that offers laser-focused segmentation and contextual ad targeting based on the content users are listening to. The way things are going right now, the audio market will not only grow, but offer entirely new opportunities for revenue, such as more content creation options, better tracking, optimization, and broader monetization of audio inventory.

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