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  • Writer's pictureRon Jaworski

What is digital audio advertising?

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

People can’t get enough of digital audio, it seems.

Whether it’s podcasts, audio articles, streaming audio, online radio, or audiobooks, there is more listening and more time spent consuming through ears than ever before. With a cheap cost of entry and constantly increasing listenership, more and more brands and publishers are turning to the audio landscape to establish a foothold in a medium that can expand their reach, engage their audiences, and create more revenue.

Naturally, advertisers are following. The advancements in AdTech, primarily led by the growth in programmatic advertising, have intrigued many about the possibilities that digital audio offers.

But before I delve into those possibilities, let’s cover the basics first:

What is digital audio advertising?

One could say this is a more effective and less annoying version of traditional audio advertising heard on radio, customized to deliver a message at the right time and to the right people within the right context – all thanks to the breadth of data it leverages.

In most cases, we’re talking about programmatic audio advertising – automated selling and insertion of ads in audio content. It enables a data-driven approach that provides advertisers with more accurate targeting, measurement, and retargeting to execute campaigns with great(er) efficiency.

Why is digital audio a big deal in advertising?

The mainstream level of digital audio consumption follows a wider pattern of a constantly-connected lifestyle where audio plays a more central role due to its convenience. The shift in media habits and growing audio inventory creates a massive opportunity to take advantage of the momentum and reach highly targeted and unique listeners with audio advertising.

Hence, the value of digital audio in the advertising world is perhaps best reflected in the following aspects:

  1. Growing audience – in the US alone, 192 million or 68% of the population listens to digital audio each month, which is an increase of some 3 million compared to 2019.

  2. Strong engagement – audio ads are more than 2x as likely to lift purchase intent and information intent than display ads, also driving 24% higher recall. Plus, 43% of consumers find voice ads on smart speakers less intrusive compared to TV, print, online, and social, while 42% find them to be more engaging. And – 39% of people who heard a voice ad later went on to purchase the item.

  3. Broad targeting capabilities – granular targeting based on a variety of data points: demographics, user behavior, geolocation, interests, and even some audio-specific things like genre type or playlists.

  4. On-the-go friendly – audio provides particularly easy access to people on the go who are less likely to stop what they’re doing and mute a 15- or 30-second ad compared to a display ad.

  5. Screen independence – audio content doesn’t need a screen to impact the listeners as the ads play and can be heard whether the screen of the device in question is off or on.

  6. Difficult to block – it’s a lot harder to block an audio ad than a display ad, especially if it’s a native audio ad as an AI-powered tool can hardly discern what is an ad and what is the meat of the content.

  7. Broad demographics – digital audio is consumed across different age groups, particularly in the highly coveted Gen Z and Millennials age groups where 86% of people listen on a monthly basis.

Infite Dial report

Audio formats advertisers can leverage

There is no shortage of options to tailor messaging and deliver it in a way Internet users will embrace and enjoy. In short:

  1. Recorded audio ads – featured in standard lengths such as 15, 30, and 60 seconds, these come with three basic placings: pre-roll (before audio content), mid-roll (during a section), and post-roll (after), and can be dynamically inserted. More unusual types include Pandora’s Short-Form Audio format that features ads anywhere from 4 to 10 seconds long.

  2. Companion display ads – static banners that are paired with the audio ad track and displayed while the content is playing.

  3. Native ads – most associated with podcast advertising as they are often read by its host. There is no set length and these ads can be permanently integrated into the program (in a non-programmatic way) or dynamically and contextually inserted within audio content such as audio articles in the aforementioned three placings.

  4. Audio ad pods – a one-by-one set of two or more ads within the same content.

  5. Rewarded audio – native to video games, these are audio versions of their video counterparts where a 5 to 15 seconds long in-game audio ad track offers an in-game bonus/reward to the user upon completion of a specified action.

  6. Voice-activated ads – interactive ads with specific calls-to-action that prompt a response from the listener just by speaking and help establish a closer connection between the advertiser and the listener.

  7. Innovative formats such as ShakeMe format from AdsWizz where listeners are invited to shake or tap their phones in order to trigger an action while listening to an audio ad.

The industry isn’t staying put, though, as innovations are surfacing up in the never-ending quest to deliver a more targeted, engaging, and ultimately effective digital audio advertising experience.

For instance, we at Trinity Audio are about to launch Player X, an audio player whose added value is the option to insert an ad onto the player itself. This allows for a more immediate native integration and a more appealing sales proposition than the traditional companion banner.

Trinity Audio Player X

All in all, as technology continues to evolve, so will the choices for listening, presenting advertisers and publishers with even more opportunities.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, the ‘what is digital audio advertising’ question has been answered for you.

This is an exciting time for audio, with more and more ways to spend time listening to information, entertainment, and whatnot. And with more ways with which data on audience behavior is being gathered, digital audio advertising will not only remain but also improve as a dependable way for advertisers to engage today’s diverse listenership.

With the danger of pandemic still looming and increased media consumption that is likely to continue for some time, now is the right set of circumstances to create a relevant and compelling audio advertising strategy. Combined with the one-on-one connection that audio facilitates, advertisers should waste no time in figuring out how to best take advantage of this expanding medium.

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

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