Marketers Crank Up the Audio Advertising in 2019

02/08/2019 - Sierra Ducey

It is common to associate programmatic advertising tactics with visual display advertisements. Whether it be a targeted ad on a billboard, a television screen, or a social media app, we have grown accustomed to seeing positioned photo or video campaigns that speak volumes about who we are as consumers and where our interests lie. Programmatic audio will join the messaging lineup this year and become a critical asset when it comes to establishing a holistic digital strategy. As 28% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly and 57% listen to streams every week, it is becoming increasingly evident that consumers can engage with media without staring at phone screens or looking into the darkened abyss of televisions. For consumers, this year is all about listening. For digital advertisers, it’s all about audio.

Investing time and energy into programmatic audio is new for the US, despite the trend’s rapid growth. Though the industry is still evolving when it comes to standardized capabilities, brands are seeing the results of powerful audio advertisements and are eager to learn where they can optimize ads for their own campaigns. In 2018, for instance, 73 million people tuned in monthly to a podcast. Many of these listeners were ‘power users,’ or those who tuned in multiple times a month, and their numbers continue to grow by the year. From 3.3 million in 2013 to 48 million in 2018, these podcast fans are profitable and spend a massive chunk of time “listening” via headphones, car radios, and voice-activated speakers. What’s even more impressive about audio advertising is that the ‘listening experience’ is already a heavily customized one. Consumers engage with podcasts and playlists that reflect their moods, interests, and goals, making audio an incredible outlet for brands to reach buyers in a personal way.

Are Radio and Audio Platforms Going Programmatic?

Spotify is a major contributor when it comes to this year’s audio craze. The app launched programmatic capabilities in 2016 that now make up 20 to 25% of the platform’s revenue. Because of this, and because of being deemed the #1 app to offer podcasts, Spotify continues to transform and expand its targeting capabilities. The service plans to test an ‘audience upload’ feature, for example, that will allow a number of brands to insert their own obtained audience data into the app. This will allow advertisers to filter through some 100 million ad-supported users to reach the strongest, most promising audience possible. The opportunities are ample as Spotify continues to focus more on its podcast offerings. There are already more than 170,000 for users to choose from, but more exclusive podcasts are in store as the app seeks to stand farther and farther apart from competitors.

Pandora, a little late to the audio party, is beginning to make substantial moves in the right direction. The app only began to provide programmatic capabilities last year, but it is already considered Ad Age’s #2 app to offer podcasts. Its reputation became especially attractive with the acquisition of AdsWizz – the industry’s largest programmatic audio exchange – last March for $114 million. This newfound ownership, along with more than 100,000 podcast channels, makes Pandora a valuable outlet to pursue programmatic audio. Its appeal is only enhanced with a Music Genome Project that offers songs and entire channels to users based off of 1,500+ incoming signals.

“Audio is the fastest growing format in digital advertising and the marketplace is rapidly evolving,” said Pandora CEO, Roger Lynch.

2019 Programmatic Media Buying Trends

Programmatic audio is a media channel that will continue to evolve and grow in importance for advertisers as ear time begins to overstep screen time. Rather than copying and pasting standardized messages into podcasts, marketers should be paying attention to this 2019 trend to explore how and where they can programmatically reach audiences with one-of-a-kind introductions. According to eMarketer, those in the US spend around 52 minutes day listening to audio in some shape or form. To reach these users where they’re at, (or, in this case, where they’re listening,) is a necessity as technology continues to advance and more consumers plug in to an audio-filled world that fulfills their needs and wants.

Digilant has identified ten programmatic trends that will impact 2019. To read them all you can view our infographic here.

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