In modern marketing, audio advertising is enjoying a boom. It has become a potent tool for engaging audiences, whether through podcasts, audio ads in apps, or good old-fashioned radio. Marketers love audio because when the audience is listening to something, their attention is heightened. And if it’s done right, it can have a lasting impact.
The numbers back this up – according to recent research commissioned by Acast and Spotify, advertising in digital audio brings a 60% higher ROI when compared to other media channels.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll navigate the nuances of audio advertising and determine whether it’s right for your business.
Can anyone hear me? A quick intro to audio advertising
Let’s start with a formal definition: Audio advertising encompasses the strategic use of auditory elements to convey messages, promote products, and establish brand presence.
To put it in easier terms, in an era dominated by digital platforms, audio ads have transcended traditional radio broadcasts and now also found their place in podcasts, streaming services, and voice-activated devices. They are quickly becoming a go-to channel for many marketers – and the reasons are clear, with Edison Research finding that 74% of adults (between 25 and 54) listen to digital audio content every month.
So chances are your audience is listening to something, somewhere.
The different forms audio advertising can take
So, let’s look at the four key areas where we might find audio ads.
- Radio commercials: Time-tested and traditional, radio commercials vary in length from tight 15-second snippets to more detailed 60-second slots. You’ve probably heard a million of them, and they often employ catchy jingles or songs and concise messaging to capture your attention.
- Podcast advertisements: A little bit newer but now firmly established, podcasts offer a unique opportunity to connect with niche audiences. Advertisements within podcasts can be delivered by the host (particularly if they have built up a rapport of trust with their audience), presented as pre-recorded segments, or even inserted based on listener preferences.
- Streaming audio promotions: Streaming platforms like Spotify and Pandora enable targeted audio advertising during music and podcast streaming sessions, allowing brands to reach users immersed in their chosen content.
- Voice search ads: Not always on the top of everyone’s list, but with the proliferation of voice-activated devices, advertisers can tailor content to match user queries, optimising for voice search platforms.
Audio advertising – why you should consider it
There are several reasons you might want to try audio ads, but it all starts with immersive engagement – audio ads captivate listeners’ attention when they’re already deep into listening to their chosen content. Although not a visual medium, sounds can paint pictures in the listeners’ minds that really create strong engagement.
It’s also less intrusive – audio content allows users to engage while performing other activities, making it a compelling option to reach busy individuals. And the fact they’re listening to a particular podcast or radio show has already done some segmenting for you, but many platforms provide sophisticated targeting tools to further segment and to ensure your ads are directed at specific demographics, interests, and geographic locations.
And finally, if you’re really in a good spot and able to get a well-known host to read out your ad (or even an actor with a well-known voice), you can foster a genuine connection of trust, enhancing your brand’s authenticity.
Research from Acast found that ‘64% of podcast listeners give their full attention while listening’ while an even higher number agreed that ads in podcasts (in particular) stand out when compared to traditional radio.
And here’s how to do it
The key question is, how do you harness sound to tell your brand’s story?
It starts with developing a narrative that draws listeners into the ad’s world, evoking emotions and creating memorable experiences. This is achieved through the right blend of a captivating script and the perfect voiceover actor to deliver it. From there, you need to think about sound design – whether that’s jingles or other music, or sound effects.
The audio needs to be concise and impactful – you don’t have long, but you do have your audience’s attention. When it comes to targeting, you apply the same principles as any other form of modern marketing, segmenting your audience strategically, then using analytics and tracking mechanisms to monitor ad performance, ensuring you’re measuring metrics such as reach, engagement rates, and return on investment.
Cost can vary depending on your chosen ad format, with host-read endorsements potentially commanding higher rates than standard pre-recorded ads. Then you have to factor in that costs will likely fluctuate depending on a platform’s popularity and reach, and finally, you must consider the level of quality of the ad itself – how much you have invested in the script and actor, as well as studio expertise.
Wired for sound
Digital audio is for real. Ad spending on this channel reached USD 4.9bn in 2021, growing faster than any other online channel. So, clearly, businesses are investing. And in the evolving landscape of marketing, audio is an important vehicle for connecting with audiences.
By grasping the intricacies of different platforms, mastering the art of crafting compelling audio narratives, and harnessing the potential of precise targeting, brands can amplify their presence and establish lasting relationships with consumers. It’s time to embrace the world of audio advertising, and let your voice be heard.