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the rise of audio: get your brand voice heard - literally!

Audio has progressed leaps and bounds since the plain old days of radio! From music streaming services to weekly podcasts, audio is becoming a popular form of daily entertainment made easily accessible by the variety of platforms it can be enjoyed through.

In line with the growing use of audio, advertising through this outlet is also experiencing an increase in popularity, a revolution instigated by technology advancements and consumer demand. DAX reported that 86 percent of advertising agencies and 66 percent of brands see audio as a key part of their media strategy. With such growth, audio is becoming an influential advertising tool for brands - could this be your secret weapon to campaign success?

what is programmatic audio advertising?

Programmatic has already marked its territory across video, mobile, display and is now making waves across audio too. As audio increases in popularity, it is offering marketers the opportunity to connect with specific, targeted audiences and amplify their brand voice.

By predicting web user’s next movement, programmatic connects your business with consumers at the right moment within their purchase journey. Doing so allows businesses to engage, upsell, convert or retarget consumers across a range of mediums. With programmatic being so successful across other advertising outlets, there’s no doubt that programmatic audio advertising will also cement itself within content strategies.

why should you use programmatic audio advertising?

With 24 million people streaming music and podcasts every week according to Marketing Week, the brand market reach potential through audio is huge. Supporting traditional out-of-home advertising methods, yet with the reportability of digital, allows brands to target more precisely with relevant messaging and measure campaign performance more effectively.

The variety of audio streaming outlets has grown in recent years, people can listen to audio wherever and whenever they like. Whether it’s through playlists, audio books, radio or podcasts, businesses can target their audience across demographics, location and interests to deliver emotive and relevant content.

The benefits of programmatic audio advertising are evident:

capitalise on the authority of trusted platforms

Like TV advertising, audio represents a premium environment that listeners automatically associate with trust. Spotify, Google and Deezer are a handful of the platforms that support audio advertising, each of which are major players in their own industries. By advertising with them, brands are elevated to a more trusted and authoritative status in the eyes of their consumers.

data-driven creativity 

Programmatic services use a wealth of data to paint a realistic picture of your audience. Considering demographics and interests, behavioural patterns can be identified that allow us to anticipate search intent. Combining this rich data with creative audio content opens the doors for brands to craft compelling and relevant adverts that can be shared directly with their targeted audience.

higher engagement through growing popularity of music streaming services

Did you know, in 2018 Spotify hit the 170 million mark of monthly active listeners using its free service? This massive userbase is forecast for even further growth, presenting companies with a vast audience to share their brand messaging with. Other large music streaming services such as Deezer also feature ads on their free version. Advertisers will not be competing for listener’s attention while listenability is extremely high as adverts can’t be skipped, generating increased engagement.

creating a personal connection through mobile and headphones 

Using headphones is a way of shutting out the noise from the rest of the world. People often listen to music, podcasts or audio pieces while doing other things, sub-consciously absorbing the messaging through passive listening.

The use of headphones helps to amplify this message even further, creating a more personal, one-to-one experience between the brand and the listener. In the UK, 6.7 million people regularly use headphones when listening to audio. Not only does it help businesses ensure their message is heard but it also means they can target the individual listener, personalising the message directly for them. It was discovered by Adlucent that 71 percent of consumers prefer personalised advertising more than generic ads.

capture the emotion of your listeners with a human voice

Digital audio has a unique ability to capture the feelings of a listener. The human voice is a strong selling tool that conveys authority and emotion. Whether it be music, podcasts or discussion, audio is the soundtrack to our lives. Appealing to the limbic (emotional) part of the brain presents an opportunity for brands to connect with people in an authentic and relevant way building up a story and trust. 

what are the different types and platforms for audio advertising? 

There are different formats of audio advertising, your choice may depend upon budget, target audience and what the service/product being promoted is:

  • companion ads are accompanying ads which are displayed in the audio player while the audio is playing. They usually include a brand logo and a clickable link in the form of a banner. These are useful as clicks can be linked directly back to the ad unlike some other forms of audio adverts.

  • ad placement refers to the airtime slots made available for one or more audio ads within the audio content.

  • skippable ads appear either in pre-roll (before the content) or mid-roll (during the content).

Technology even exists to link audio to direct response, increasing interaction with audio ads. Listeners of an advert could be encouraged to shake or tap their phone which will trigger an action such as download an app, receive a coupon, open a website…the possibilities are endless. By tying all the data points together, a higher response rate can be seen, and all clicks can be accounted for. There are a growing number of platforms becoming available to display these ads types through, each with their own range of features and benefits. 


We’re all familiar with them. For many, they’ve become part out of our daily routines, and with 76% of people saying they have followed up on an ad from a podcast episode, it’s clear that advertising through this medium is effective. Your audio ad could be played as a sponsor during the break of a show or, some businesses are going one step further by creating their own podcast series as part of their content marketing.

Podcasts give listeners the opportunity to build trust with the host as they tune into a topic of their own choice. Research conducted by Edison Research found that podcast listeners often take action in direct response to hearing an ad throughout their podcast, with 45 percent visiting a website and 42 percent considering a new product or service.

radio advertising

With local, national and community radio available, advertising across this platform can be effective, particularly when brands get creative with their content. If you’re looking to hit larger numbers on a daily basis, then radio could be for you! It’s important to remember this method of audio advertising is one of the more expensive options, but it often has a high ROI with Radio Centre reporting that radio produces £7.70 revenue for every pound spent. 

music streaming platforms

Music streaming platforms including Spotify and Deezer are becoming major industry names for advertising. According to The Guardian, music streaming platforms made up 54% of the total income for the recorded music industry in the last year highlighting the market opportunity for brands to get involved with. In addition, other reputable names have also made advancements to incorporate programmatic audio into their services:

  • Google now offers programmatic audio ads through Spotify, SoundCloud and Google Play Music. Google has also recently announced that podcast episodes will now be a part of search results appearing alongside other relevant news, images and videos

  • SoundCloud has recently added programmatic audio to their marketplace

  • Leading provider of podcasts and music, Pandora, launched their own private audio marketplace

  • Broadcasting company, BBC, launched industry-first programmatic audio ads

With the selection of digital mediums available today, programmatic audio advertising offers advertisers and brands the opportunity to engage their audience on a different level, targeting them with messaging and content that’s relevant, immersive and intuitive. What’s your opinion on audio advertising, and is it something your business would explore further? Tweet us or contact us directly to chat more.

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