Blog Post

Digital Audio Advertising Trends: Your Guide to Reaching Listeners in 2021

03/25/2021 - Sierra Ducey

Whether it’s Spotify, Youtube Music, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Amazon Music, or Pandora – everyone has found their favorite music and podcast streaming service. Although preferences differ from consumer to consumer, there’s one thing all music listening choices have in common: streaming or digital listening is the clear favorite. In the first half of 2014, about 7.9 million people in the US paid for a music streaming service. At the end of 2020, that number sat around 72 million consumers. Tack on another 116 million people who use the ad-supported versions of these platforms, and the proof is in the pudding: music and podcast streaming dominate the audio industry, and it’s here to stay. 

As advertisers, you must reach listeners where they are. Traditional radio advertisements are no longer the only option, nor should they be relied on to reach active listeners. Below we’ve outlined your guide to understanding the different digital audio advertising channels, the benefits of incorporating this ad format into your playbook, and how advertisers can get started with digital audio advertising.  

What Defines Digital Audio? 

At Digilant, when we define digital audio to include music streaming services (such as Pandora and Spotify), digital radio stations (Sirius XM), and podcasts. As mentioned above, consumers have their preferred listening methods, so let’s take a deeper dive into each of these channels and how advertisers can reach listeners.  

Streaming Services

Music streaming accounts for nearly 80% of all music consumption in the United States. Today’s music fans can choose from various streaming options, each offering unique ways to select, discover and enjoy music. When choosing to advertise on streaming services or “streaming radio,” markers can take advantage of the reach that traditional radio has offered while incorporating the tracking and audience targeting capabilities of digital advertising.

Digital Radio: Satellite 

SiriusXM’s streaming radio subscription service is the 3rd most popular subscription service for listeners. At the end of 2020, they had a user base of around 34.6 million people. For brands looking for national advertising coverage via news and talk radio, utilize their live reads by A-list exclusive talent, customized segment sponsorships, and targeted brand spots.

Podcast Listeners

Podcast listenership has seen a 10% growth year-over-year. Apple, which has a separate app from their music streaming services dedicated solely to podcasts, has historically been the most popular place for Americans to listen to podcasts, with 1 in 5 people choosing Apple podcasts. However, in 2021, Spotify, which benefits from users toggling between podcast and music all in the same app, will overtake Apple for the top spot, reaching more than 28 million podcast listeners. 

Whether a consumer is listening to their podcasts on Apple, Spotify, or elsewhere, advertisers can take advantage of the endorsement-focused,  lean-in, native advertising format at the beginning of and throughout podcast shows. 

Why Digital Audio Advertising is Important

The numbers outlined above showcase the sheer popularity of digital audio. Beyond the growing listenership rates this industry sees, there are many benefits to incorporating digital audio advertising into your marketing playbook.

Reach Consumers Where They Are

Traditional radio advertisements rely heavily on reaching consumers while they are driving in their car. Digital audio meets consumers where they are: at the gym, walking to work, on the run, working from home, and so many other places. Throughout the day, consumers are served ads as they look at their screen and televisions; digital audio bridges the gap when consumers aren’t looking at their devices but still listening to content with powerful audio-only ads. 

Align Your Message Contextually

As mentioned above, digital audio advertising combines traditional radio ads’ reach with the strategic audience targeting of digital advertising. Gone are the days of blasting your message on a radio station, hoping to reach your desired audience. Programmatic audio advertising allows you to reach your audience with strategic audience targeting features such as contextual, behavioral, device-type, geographical, and even genre relevance. 

Stratigic Media Spend

Marketers quickly realize the cost-benefit of digital advertising. With analytics and attribution models in play, brands can be sure that audio ad impressions are reaching the right audience and with the right message at the right time. 

There is additional benefit audio has for marketers looking to reduce their costs. Although audio and video have unique benefits and use-cases for brands, they are constantly compared. If an advertiser is looking to break into the video advertising space but knows they don’t have the budget for it, audio is a great stepping stone. The cost to create and produce the ads is less than video, but there are still strategic benefits to be gained from digital audio ads. 

Great Customer Engagement Rates

Finally, many advertisers opt for digital advertising ads because of stellar engagement and listen-through rates. Audio ads are not easily skippable, and they are easily digestible as listeners only hear (or engage) with one audio ad at a time. Midroll Media found that 60% of podcast listeners made a purchase after listening to a podcast audio ad. The audience targeting capabilities paired with a consumer-friendly ad placement creates a perfect scenario for advertisers to make a lasting impression on consumers. 

Listen Here: Its Time to Invest in Digital Audio Advertising 

In a short span of a little more than five years, streaming options have grown to dominate the marketplace. The popularity in streaming has grown so much that New Album and New Release charts have refigured how they calculate “album sales” to incorporate the streams. As consumers make these shifts more toward streaming, advertisers need to keep up. 

Digital’s Digital Audio Advertising Solutions

At Digilant, we offer digital audio advertising solutions across streaming services, streaming radio, and podcasts. When you choose to pair your digital audio strategy with your overall digital advertising strategy, all under one digital advertising partner’s roof, we can maximize our complete arsenal of tools to yield high-performing campaigns.  

Our strategic partnerships with music streaming powerhouses give brands exclusive access to private marketplace ad placements. We pair these partnerships with Digialnt’s team of media experts to create strategic, fully-integrated marketing strategies, to set the stage for measurable performance. Are you interested in learning more about adding Digilant’s digital audio solutions to your media mix in 2021? Let’s talk. 

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