Modern Marketing

How interactive digital audio ads are stealing the marketing spotlight

By charlie brookes |

August 18, 2022 | 6 min read

The tenets of great audio marketing have never changed, but the tech that underpins it has never been more powerful. For The Drum’s Audio Deep Dive, Charlie Brookes of Octave Audio takes us through the creative and commercial opportunities associated with digital audio advertising.

HomePod mini smart speaker by Apple

/ Ivan Bandura vie Unsplash

Audio advertising has always been an important part of the media mix for many brands. In 2022, the perfect storm of circumstance and opportunity is propelling a new variety of interactive digital audio ads into the marketing spotlight.

With traditional ‘broadcast’ audio ads, advertisers find commercial radio stations or podcasts that are popular with their target audiences and place brand messages there. These audio ads are then pushed out to that channel’s entire audience – for example, all of Kiss FM’s listeners – to help generate some brand uplift.

However, digital audio ads differ in a number of ways. Firstly, rather than pushing an ad to a channel’s entire audience, you can target a subsection of listeners. This means it’s possible to tailor a more specific message and spend your ad budget with greater precision.

In addition, digital audio ads – which are generally consumed on smartphones or smart speakers – provide an opportunity to introduce actionable outcomes. For example, a listener could be directed to shake their phone at the end of an ad to receive a voucher or QR code, or to speak directly to their device to access some additional content from the advertiser or to have the product being advertised dropped directly into their online shopping cart.

The digital audio ad has become a unique proposition for advertisers, capable of combining the brand benefits of traditional broadcast advertising with the targeting and interactivity of digital ads. The element of interactivity, in particular, seems to be the lure attracting new advertisers to the digital audio category for the first time and enables creatives and digital planners to maximize the power of audio in a way that wasn’t previously possible.

Smarter sounds

The number of households worldwide using smart home products is forecast to reach more than 400m by 2025. With smartphones and smart speakers now dominating the audio market and voice-activated technology continually advancing, advertisers should be paying close attention to the increased reach of digital audio and the potential benefits of interactive ads.

New research demonstrates that the impact of branding is strongest when a listener interacts with an ad. For example, when a consumer personally voices a brand name as part of a smart skill interaction, an ad is 30% more effective than a standard ad format. This could include a user ordering a product or asking for further information about the brand.

Interactive ads have the ability to strongly influence brand metrics such as recall and opinion, with 24% of listeners reacting positively to hearing their smart device reply to requests during an ad. These ads allow the listener to engage with the content as opposed to being a passive listener, resulting in stronger and more meaningful brand associations.

The podcast factor

Another big opportunity for interactive digital audio ads is the explosion in the popularity of podcasts and the technical evolution of that space. Previously, podcasts may have been rolled into a buy as part of a larger audio plan, but increasingly the format is treated as a distinct medium with its own unique set of attributes and benefits.

Dynamic ad insertion has propelled the medium forward and technology continues to add more layers of contextual targeting to podcasts. Accessing podcast inventory via programmatic has allowed advertisers further flexibility of access. Measurement has also become more robust, with the ability to track on-site user behavior after exposure to an audio ad.

Brands and advertisers can align with genres and specific podcasts through sponsorship and leverage the deep and genuine relationship that a listener has with them to deliver a meaningful advertising experience. Placing interactive audio ads within a podcast environment can generate higher recall among an audience listening predominantly via headphones.

In 2022, marketers have a new range of audio advertising options to consider. Where audio is being accessed via a smart device, advertisers can now choose to explore and exploit the full capabilities of those devices and include an element of attention-grabbing interactivity in their campaigns.

Charlie Brookes is director of revenue at Octave Audio. For more on the power of sound, check out The Drum’s Audio Deep Dive.

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