Demystifying Programmatic Audio: Q&A with Pierre Naggar, AdsWizz


In association with AdsWizz.

Pierre Naggar (pictured below), SVP of global demand at AdsWizz, joins ExchangeWire to debunk some of the myths around audio, taking a deep dive into programmatic, and outlining how audio advertising isn’t simply another digital format, but rather, a true brand differentiator in this new era of audio streaming.

1. What is the state of the audio advertising industry?

The proliferation of podcasts, the growing use of smart speakers, and the popularity of streaming services has brought voice to the forefront of how we interact with digital media day in and day out. As one of the fastest-growing forms of media today, we believe that digital audio is a very attractive option for advertisers, and all indicators point towards its adoption by more buyers as well. Embracing its label as the ‘new kid on the block,’ audio consumption is on the uptick year-over-year, and the advertising opportunity has grown tremendously.

2. Where is the growth of programmatic audio and what is the state of the technology?
Pierre Naggar

Pierre Naggar, SVP of Global Demand, AdsWizz

Many ad buyers in the market are planning to increase their spend, specifically in audio, over the next 12 months. Seeing the opportunity, many are eager to jump in, but also are a bit uncertain about the technology and where to start. From our unique vantage point, we see how programmatic audio in Europe has grown over the last three years, and now accounts for more than 40% of digital audio ad spend in markets like the UK and Germany. AdsWizz has always heavily invested in developing the technology to help connect buyers and sellers, to deliver digital audio campaigns programmatically and take advantage of automated trading.

3. Is the technology ready to meet the demand for programmatic audio?

There’s a misconception that technology is not ready to meet the growing demand for programmatic audio. From our point of view, we see exactly the opposite. For instance, our programmatic audio platform supports all types of buys and auction prices, and is ready and available for use. Breaking down the barrier to entry is really a matter of education, which is something we spend a lot of time on with publishers and agencies. In the UK, we have great examples of buyers who have been successfully running digital audio programmatically for several years. Omnicom Media Group and their Programmatic Unit are live with several premium brands across different categories (automotive, retail, travel, finance, FMCG, and others) on AudioMatic, our DSP. These brands are leveraging audio specific features, including special formats designed for digital audio listeners, as well as targeting options that adapt to the ways consumers access audio via multiple devices throughout the day. By taking advantage of data insights and executing via the right tools, buyers can connect with listeners in very targeted, unique, and effective ways.

4. How is audio different?

Audio is a unique medium and very different from display or video. It’s not video without sound, nor does it have the same personal dynamic in terms of listener relationship to the media as display. Think about it; when you hear a song, you are often taken to a certain point in time, and more often than not, you’re enjoying the audio segment screen-free. Audio is engaging, emotional, and an entirely different experience with different ad challenges and opportunities. Take podcast advertising; because of the nature of the podcast listening experience, the ads, which are designed to seamlessly blend with the content, are more welcome and effective. 78% of listeners actually approve of podcast sponsorship, and 61% pay for a product or service they learned about on podcasts. At AdsWizz, we are passionate about this medium and truly believe in the power of audio in engaging and interacting with consumers.

5. What are the challenges that data poses in audio?

In our current world and with last year’s introduction of GDPR, it is paramount we all understand how data can be used in the digital audio world. Because we understand how digital audio is consumed and how it is served, we are in a unique position to consult on how to deliver more effective results for brands who want to reach the right audiences in this environment. Generally speaking, there is a need to improve some of the industry standards, including the IAB Consent Framework when applied to audio. We are working closely with all parties to make that happen. It is part of the constant education process that we take very seriously, as it is key for the growth of this industry.

6. Where do you see the digital audio advertising market going?

All the data and studies show that the majority of advertisers are looking to increase their spend in digital audio to take advantage of the opportunities this medium offers. Having said that, there is still work to be done to ensure buyers take full advantage of this medium and understand the true impact of digital audio. At AdsWizz, our Ad Tech Lab has worked over the last few years to develop new ways to engage with the listeners and measure and attribute the effectiveness of digital audio advertising both online and offline. We have created a number of new audio ad formats that are an integral part of the audio experience and are relevant and engaging for the listeners.

For example, since people are often on-the-go when audio is playing – either exercising or cooking – we’ve created a patented audio ad format called ShakeMe. The listener is invited to shake their phone during the ad to take action, like making a call to schedule a test buy, downloading a coupon for a local retail store, or getting directions. We’ve run these campaigns with advertisers all over the globe and the results are consistently more engaging than a display ad. Engagement with ShakeMe campaigns is typically 4-600% more than a typical display ad, with some campaigns increasing engagement up to 20x. We also developed Second Screen, where a display ad runs intelligently on a different device with the same IP, thus following up on the emotional connection from the audio ad in a way that’s logical and helps address better attribution. We see interactive voice as a major platform for the future of audio. At AdsWizz, we are in a unique position to enable the capability for two-way voice conversations within audio ads, where you actually ask the ad a question and it answers. We have some exciting things coming in this area, along with dozens of other audio innovations coming out of our AdsWizz Labs. It’s certainly an exciting time to be in the industry. The technology is here and thriving.

Further thoughts from AdsWizz will be featured in the panel discussion, 'Why Digital Audio is Primed to Grab More Ad Spend', at ATS London 2019, held next week on 9th September at BFI Southbank. Tickets have sold out, however you can join the waitlist here.