Collectively, consumers today find themselves in unprecedented but perhaps also powerful times. Whether safely returning to pre-pandemic routines or continuing to socially distance as variants pop up, the lasting effects of the past two years remain with us all. This shared experience has changed the way that people relate to private and public spaces, and altered many routines and activities. As all of us begin to view things from an adjusted perspective, there is added weight to the most previously mundane of experiences, such as commuting to work or going to the gym.
In turn, we’ve seen some interesting trends in digital media behavior and consumption. While CTV has received a great deal of attention due to dramatic increases in viewership, audio has seen growth as well. According to data released by Edison Research, weekly podcast listenership has increased 17% since last year. Meanwhile, audio streaming service Spotify has seen a 30% increase in ad-supported monthly active users. At AUDIENCEX, we’ve seen programmatic audio advertising insertion orders steadily increase over the years, a trend which saw an additional bump during the pandemic.
As many find themselves now craving little moments of normalcy, we expect to see further increases. While returning to those previously mundane activities like commuting or going to the gym, or even indulging in long-delayed travels, people are likely to bring audio along as accompaniment, whether in the form of music, podcasts, or audiobooks. With so many constraints still in place, many find themselves yearning to explore and grow, with audio channels providing a powerful opportunity to discover new topics and perspectives, new artists, and new stories. This has created an engaged audience, particularly for advertisers who have relevant and meaningful messaging that can forge valuable consumer connections.
At the same time, digital audio ad inventory has continued to become more sophisticated. It’s now possible to buy and sell audio ads programmatically, complete with audience targeting similar to other programmatic channels. This means that the selling and insertion of ads into audio content is now automated, similar to programmatic display advertising, enabling advertisers to buy targeted ads from all major audio publishers on a single system. The same audience targeting parameters can then be used across video, mobile, and cross-device campaigns, or data from partners can be used to target specific demographics or interests. Premium digital audiences can be strategically targeted against traditional broadcast metrics, including geography, time of day, and format.
Digital audio also provides features such as frequency capping and real-time optimization, making it as agile as other channels.
Some Best Practices for Programmatic Audio
It’s helpful to keep some key creative principles in mind when working with programmatic audio advertising placements.
Consider your tempo. For 30-second ads, aim for 55-75 words. For 15 second ads, try 40 words. Most speech rate guidelines will tell you that “slow” speech is around 110 words per minute; however, the average radio and podcast host is reaching the 150-160 words per minute mark. Slowing your tempo adds a layer of engagement in the mind of a listener and builds the sentiment that they’re being spoken to directly, not assaulted with a verbal barrage to be mentally glossed over.
Be conversational. Audio provides a unique intimacy to help you connect with audiences. Use a tone of voice that you would when speaking to a friend or loved one. Practice recording your ad/brand’s key message as if you were having a conversation well before drafting a script. Use that conversational recording as your guideline to ensure that the language and messages being used are clear, engaging and accessible.
Include a call to action. Give listeners a chance to engage. A direct call to action drives higher performance.
Tell a story. Transport the listener through the use of subtle effects and environmental imagery. Is your narrator on a beach with the sound of cool breezes rushing by? Are they a friend reaching out with a helping hand, a calming voice and a subtle background score? Harness the power of audio to set the stage for the narrator and create the environment you want the listener to experience when receiving your message.
With thoughtful programmatic targeting, digital audio is perfectly positioned to connect ever more fully with audiences. As people are searching for engagement, eager to discover new ideas and experiences, we are in a perfect moment for advertisers to reach out and communicate effectively with the right users. And, by following through with an omnichannel retargeting strategy for a fully holistic, consistent approach, it’s possible for any brand to remain top of mind and cultivate relationships with consumers.
If you’d like to learn more about programmatic audio advertising and how it can work for your marketing needs, feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to connect you with our team of expert strategists who can help you reach your campaign performance goals with a strategically sound, omnichannel approach.