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  • Writer's pictureRon Jaworski

Extending audio campaigns with display advertising: two new ways to monetize

The age of digital audio continues full speed ahead as more publishers and advertisers are increasingly putting their eggs into the audio basket. Constantly growing listenership and its subsequent monetization are among the key links in revenue strategy on both media isles, powered by the cheap cost of entry.

Media budgets are all too precious these days and no penny can go to waste. Faced with the inevitable coming of the third-party cookieless era, publishers are turning to audio content as that additional boost to revenue.

I have some good news on how that is going.

Where consumers go, advertisers are bound to follow. Global spending on advertising and audio, in particular, is projected to grow this year. Audio revenues are forecast to increase 7.2%, with online audio experiencing the largest year-over-year growth at 25.6%.

There are numerous untapped digital audio opportunities, as every media player these days strives to drive greater budget effectiveness. I’ll be focusing specifically on two fairly creative ways to tighten up those monetization tactics using audio players.

1. Display ad audio player

This audio player can transform into a display ad for a true double bill.

In its initial form, the player can run audio advertising but can also turn into a display banner some 7 to 10 seconds after being loaded, but not clicked on. The idea here is to go beyond the standard audio and display solutions and take your monetization tactic up a notch by fully utilizing your site’s traffic and real estate.

An AI learning algorithm optimizes the timing and relevant audience for the display ad, making sure everything is contextual. There is an option to create your own sponsored message, as well as insert a custom CTA leading to the landing page of your choice.

Keep in mind that the player needs to sit at a predefined position, separate from the ad space, thus working around banner blindness (more on that later on). The bottom line is that the display ad player effectively combines both worlds to maximize the revenue potential of every impression.

Now, I bet I know what you're thinking:

"But Ron, you're an audio company - how can you say that?"

If we're being honest and transparent about our work, we have to.

Sometimes, people don't listen. Maybe they don't realize there's an audio player embedded above the text. Maybe they're simply not auditory learners and prefer to read. Whatever the case, some people choose to primarily use their eyeballs and that's perfectly ok. After all, we are a predominantly visual species so it makes sense.

Mixing display with audio advertising into a single unit is an attempt to make the most out of your digital real estate and short attention spans.

2. Branded player

If you’re more of an audio purist at heart or not interested in shape-shifting of any sort, then the branded player will likely suit your tastes better.

This is the perfect mix of branding, advertising, and audio content, as the player has an added visual element with a clickable logo during playback that boosts user engagement.

Two messages are placed in the audio stream - a sponsorship ad and a mid-roll ad, much like in the podcasts. You can create your sponsored message and customize the call-to-action any way you want to lead to a specific landing page. All of this is supported by performance tracking and statistics so you can keep track of your KPIs and make tweaks as needed.

At Trinity Audio, we see the branded player as a novel, yet natural way for visitors to not only stick around longer but also become interested in a brand.

Trumping the banner blindness with audio

Excuse the pun, but one would have to be utterly blind to be oblivious to the fact that banner blindness has grown into a full-blown epidemic. SEO Tribunal’s data from 2019 states consumers are blind to 92% of online ads, and you can bet your annual ad revenue that the percentage hasn’t gone down since.

Younger generations have been raised in today’s attention economy, growing up in various digital contexts. From an early age, they've been subjected to countless advertising messages, which likely improved their resistance to anything promotional-like. Arguably, this is the reason why younger generations don’t care that much about the efforts made to get their attention - certainly not like their older peers.

So, publishers must meet the strict online standards expected by audiences, especially young people among them. They are ad-blind because they constantly witness the wrong content in wrong contexts.

Those who want to overcome the ad blindness of Millennials and Gen Zers need to understand where to connect with them, while advertisers need to understand the context of their value proposition. 

That being said, digital audio is one of the best locations for advertisers to connect with younger people as that’s where they hang out these days. They’re audio’s biggest fans, as in the US alone, 87% of those aged 12 to 34 listen to online audio every month.

The effectiveness of audio ads is another major reason why advertisers are rapidly matching consumer enthusiasm around digital audio. Its intimate and immersive nature means listeners are more responsive and trusting. Of course, the granular targeting capabilities of adtech help a lot as the segmentation of most audio types by topic, genre, demographic, behavioral, and contextual data means advertisers can find relevant audiences in no time.

When you throw display ads in the mix, either as a complement or a substitute for those who are not big on listening, there’s something for everybody. How is that not a win-win situation?

The best of both worlds

Call me an incorrigible optimist but I’d like to think it’s refreshing to have an advertising solution where you don’t have to worry about experimenting with location, size, content layout, and the usual shtick that comes with display ads. With the branded player and its display-oriented cousin, there’s no guesswork.

That is just one of the issues here. Perhaps the main challenge publishers are facing now and will continue to face in the foreseeable future is how to expand and better communicate to advertisers the value of audience data at scale. With the right tools and partnerships, publishers, especially smaller ones, can capture a huge amount of valuable traffic and, subsequently, more revenue.

In that regard, audio players come as a real saving grace. Generally speaking, they are one of the understated ways first-party data can be solidified. Having an audio player embedded across different browsers, devices, and platforms offers the possibility to merge all user data. The vast majority of users are open to sharing their data in return for a personalized experience so audio can be a significant link in collecting and enriching first-party data.

The unique ability of digital audio to connect with virtually every demographic means it won't disappear anytime soon, which is good news for all media stakeholders. It’s something to think about, at the very least.

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