How Advertisers Can Piece Together The “Disjointed” Digital Audio Landscape

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A recent report released by the IAB highlighted a “maturing” digital audio landscape.

Nearly two-thirds of media agencies are regularly using streaming digital audio advertising, podcast advertising has seen continued growth, all while recorded radio spots remain the most popular audio format.

It’s a booming sector for advertisers, but ultimately, it’s also still largely disjointed.

“In terms of how audio fits into an overall [advertising] strategy, I think that audio is definitely something that should be considered,” said Publicis Media commercial director performance – PMX  Brooke Aniseko

“But I think the slightly challenging part at the moment is the disjointed nature of the channels that sit within digital audio and being able to collectively position them and demonstrate the advantages to each and how they work together is the key in growing things further.”

buying smart

And with the fragmented array of channels comes a wide and changing number of buying methods.

According to the IAB, the number of media agencies buying with programmatic guaranteed deals reached 37 per cent in 2019, while net programmatic has increased from 56 per cent in 2018 to 58 per cent last year.

Meanwhile, traditional radio spot buys fell from 75 per cent in 2016 to 55 per cent in 2019.

The shift of media spend away from traditional towards programmatic has been facilitated by audio streaming platform Spotify, which introduced a programmatic marketplace in 2016.

Spotify now offers programmatic buying alongside its direct business advertising model for brands looking to lock-in a specific audience without optimisation.

But according to Spotify head of automation ANZ Liam Hickey, it’s all about programmatic in 2020.

“This is where buyers and agencies want to trade now, which is programmatic. We’re more focused on PMPs and having that direct connection,” he said.

Hickey confirmed the continued shift towards programmatic buying on Spotify has been backed by performance.

The Wild West

Similar to where BVOD was a few years ago, digital audio is emerging from the ‘cowboy world’ as data tracking and analytics improve.

Podcasts and streaming services can now enable third-party tracking and attribution is continuing to improve.

With advertisers now being granted access to a richer pool of data the question then becomes, how do you optimise this information?

Southern Cross Austereo head of digital commercial Jonathan Mandel advised advertisers to speak with publishers before they do anything.

“The best thing anyone can do is get in touch with your publisher partners whilst you’re planning, at that earliest point to get an understanding of the type of inventory you might be looking to buy, what is targetable on that inventory and what is measurable on that,” he said.

For Spotify, users are always a logged in meaning there is an abundance of first-party data, as well as insights derived from the music a listener is tuning into, while device tracking also provides ample opportunities.

There is also the ability to work with third-party vendors for specific targeting.

Hickey explained how each of these data sets can be used by a savvy advertiser.

“There are so many targeting opportunities,” Hickey said. “And you can be really strategic in your approach.”

“What we’ve seen work is a balance of all of those, some of those have more scale some don’t.

“Brands that are utilising creative messaging in those different environments, we see better results.”


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