4 Reasons Marketers Should Invest in Programmatic Audio

It’s no secret that audio content stirs our emotions. All it takes are a few notes of a song for our memories to come alive. Considering how audio, especially music and storytelling, captures our attention, it becomes clear why advertisers have always been drawn to the format. In this piece, Tim Sims (pictured below), VP of inventory partnerships, The Trade Desk, explains why the time has come to include audio in your programmatic campaign. It’s no longer a question of whether to do so – it’s an imperative.

The first audio ad hit the radio airwaves in 1922; the first jingle came four years later. These days, audio is entering its platinum age, and audiences are hooked. They’re connecting to fresh, compelling stories and musical styles – and advertising is shifting along with the format. Thanks to programmatic audio, marketers are engaging consumers with relevant content, and quantifying their campaigns with precise analytics.

Audio is one of the most promising formats in 2017. It combines the emotional impact of video with the subtlety of native advertising – and continues to command larger percentages of media budgets. Here are four main reasons why you should include programmatic audio in your media mix this year:

1. Consumers are listening. Really.

If you’re like most advertisers, you focus on reaching consumers through your established channels, but hesitate before considering new formats. Audio is no longer a question mark. Spotify engages 100 million users; Pandora does the same with 77.9 million. According to Triton Digital, digital audio stations have enjoyed a steady increase in weekly listenership since 2011, with daily sessions reaching six million in 2016. Podcasts have also seen a significant spike – they now engage an estimated 98 million listeners, with 35 million listening every week.

Tim Sims, VP Inventory Partnerships, The Trade Desk

According to a recent report published by Spotify for Brands, audio advertising boasts a 60% higher brand recall rate than traditional banner ads, and is twice as likely to reach strong brand advocates.

2. It’s relevant and unobtrusive

Consider how audio makes its way into our lives. We tune into digital stations at work, in the car, at parties, and at the gym, choosing music that matches our mood. That action alone (opening an app and choosing a playlist) provides marketers with the data they need to run relevant ads. If a consumer chooses a playlist at a summer beach party, a beer brand can slip into the scene. It’s relevant. It’s contextual. And it’s seamless.

3. It’s a three-in-one opportunity

Programmatic audio ads are gaining popularity; and are even more effective when used as part of a broad program. Spotify, Pandora, and other digital stations have long supported video and banner ads. They are handing you a golden opportunity to reach your audience and unify your messaging across three popular formats (audio, video, and display) at one time.

4. Podcasts are wildly popular, and still gaining steam

Podcasts have become a mainstay in our daily lives. Call it the ‘serial effect’. After the program’s unprecedented success in 2014, the entire format came on strong. Now, just three years later, more than 60,000 podcast channels are available for download on the Apple Store – and 21% of the US population (over 12 years of age) has listened to least one podcast this month. We’re talking about an audience that is actively listening and seeking new information, and is primed for programmatic advertising.

Also, up until recently, podcast ads required the show’s host to read ads aloud during commercial breaks. That’s changing. Programmatic audio is automating the process – and, thus, promises to change the landscape in this booming sector. As programmatic inventory grows, marketers will have more opportunities to insert ads at the beginning, middle, and end of podcasts dynamically.

The time has come to include audio in your programmatic campaign. It’s no longer a question of whether to do so – it’s an imperative. You’ll reach your audience with relevant, contextual ads that keep listeners engaged, while increasing loyalty to your brand.