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  • Writer's pictureRon Jaworski

The new generation of native advertising

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

In many ways, native advertising is a blessing for news outlets and publications that rely on advertising for a significant part of their revenue. It’s a bit of a paradox, really: standing out by blending in but advertising platforms like Outbrain and Taboola are nothing short of rocking it.

Still, the world of native advertising holds other, perhaps lesser-known options that present the next generation – audio, in particular – and bring more refinement in terms of user experience and more options for monetization.

I’ve written before about native audio advertising so you’re forgiven if you think we’ve been down this advertising path before, but spare me four or five minutes and I’ll very possibly surprise you with a few native advertising options you may not be aware of. You listening? Let’s go.

Native Artificial Intelligence

In these days of an ongoing audio revolution, readers are turning into listeners and content creators of all sorts are looking for ways to audiofy their content. Due to advances in machine learning and text-to-speech (TTS) technologies, digitized voices are increasingly more lifelike, up to the point of no distinction.

The possibilities of audio as a content channel have broadened, paving the way to the widespread use of formats such as audio articles and voice skills/actions. There is also a huge benefit of reduced production time and costs when it comes to long-form audio content such as audiobooks.

Adding an audio experience to websites by converting all content into audio has become a new revenue stream as ads are worked into the listening experience. And while most of the audio ads today follow certain design and formula (15 or 30 seconds long, placed before or during content playback), featuring a professionally narrated voiceover and accompanying music and sound effects, they are discernibly advertisements.

That is in no way a bad thing but a new type of native audio ads ups the notch and has an entire audio track – the ad and the actual content – read in the same AI voice. Hence, the transition between the two is seamless.

Contextual ads weaved into the listening experience

Audio advertising has gradually advanced to the mainstream level of targeting capabilities seen with its display and video counterparts. Driven by the programmatic technology behind it, advertisers can now target and serve ads based on a variety of data points, ranging from the usual area and demographics to more advanced such as specific interest, topic, genre, and other, more granular information.

Besides the ability to target a user in the right place at the right time, reaching users within the right context is crucial for connecting with audiences in an authentic and immersive way. The next-gen ads provide an option to contextually insert ads relevant to the topic the content consumed is about. In doing so, it’s filling a gap in the customer journey that occurs with a screen-first approach. In the near future, I expect dynamic audio creation to fully kick-off for even more contextual ads.

On a relevant note, the measurement of audio ads is following in line and now includes measuring brand favorability metrics like ad recall, brand awareness, consideration and purchase intent, and so on. Advertisers have a large volume of actionable insights for the optimization of their audio campaigns, in some cases even their video and YouTube campaigns.

In my humble opinion, these ads work great when there is a seamless transition between numerous audio tracks in a playlist. For instance, we offer a product called Trinity Pulse which is a content discovery unit that highlights bursts of a publisher’s top trending audio content (audio articles, flash briefings, podcasts, even radio shows from across the Internet) based on continuous learning of the most relevant content.

These audio content recommendations provide a story-like way to engage with the listenership across different desktop and mobile devices, and native advertisements slide in there perfectly in a natural, narrative-driven way. They are a de facto part of the content and are permanently integrated, which reduces the odds of skipping ads – an important factor to consider.

Visual ads weaved into the listening experience

The beauty of native advertising via audio is not only that it comes in different formats but you can combine it with different forms of advertising for maximum effect. One such form is a branded text to speech player that features a brand’s logo. Visual messaging is presented on the player itself, seamlessly blending into the user experience.

Here’s an example of a player that includes a brand logo:

Here’s an example of an audio player that includes a brand logo.

Ad sequencing

Ad sequencing is not that much of a novel thing in the advertising world. What is new is its implementation in audio.

Basically, ad sequencing provides a way to tell a story in stages. Having 15 or 30 seconds at your disposal sometimes isn’t enough, especially if the ad is story-driven or dealing with a more comprehensive or complex topic. As such, you can gradually build brand awareness and then drive listeners to a specific call to action.

Sequencing ads is particularly useful when trying to tell a story or present information in a specific order. Naturally, short-form audio content such as audio news articles and flash briefings don’t allow much room so ad sequencing fits more with podcasts and long-form content as found on websites like, particularly considering people like continual storytelling built over time.

Bonus: Weaving in marketing content

The idea here is to repurpose existing marketing textual content into audio and integrating it naturally as a part of the playlists of listeners

Let’s say that someone is listening through their daily news updates and their primary interest is technology. A tech brand’s marketing collateral can be added to their playlist in a contextual and native way, facilitating a new level of audio-based native marketing and advertising. The audio version of sponsored content if you like.

Taking a step further (final thoughts)

As countless media houses and brands scramble for the eyes and ears of highly coveted Millennials and Gen Z-ers, the media landscape continues to evolve at a fast pace.

The above examples present just a small segment of the audio landscape and the possibilities it offers for advertisers. As the ability to reach people through audio continues to grow, we can expect additional features with an aim to help advertisers take full advantage of the growing audience opportunity.

Make sure you’re following me on Twitter for ongoing updates, tips, and industry takeaways!

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