Audio advertising has long been the underdog in the world of omni-channel marketing. Unlike it’s more glamourous, popular sibling, video, audio hasn’t quite been able to break out of stagnation. For the most part, innovation has largely played a role in the adoption of video and progress in the rich media digital ecosystem.
With so many more options today, advertisers are spoiled for choice.Fast forward to the year of Covid-19, lockdowns and work-from-home, audio just might be getting its big break. In fact, podcasting figures are on the rise and the APAC music streaming market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8. 9% from 2020 to 2027.
Why Audio Advertising?
There is so much content in the world at the moment and many of us end up trying to collectively cram as much of it into our day as possible. Because of the nature of certain media, usability can be quite restricted. With digital audio, the possibilities are endless – you can squeeze in the time to interact with audio at any time of the day, whether that’s while waiting for the train or as you are doing the dishes. With the rush of content, these windows of time to reach consumers are even more important.
There are also intangible factors why audio is appealing – audio is closely linked to memory, as well as the ability to connect emotionally. To the latter, intimacy is one of the words that come up when it comes to audio mediums.
Audio channels have quite a unique relationship with listeners because of the conversational element – it feels like a one-to-one relationship. There’s no intermediary audience and it feels like someone speaking directly to you. With podcasts and radio, they are both community-driven and there is a trusted relationship between host and listener that brands can leverage as well.
Creating Engaging Audio Content
We’ve seen in the last year, the huge rise in screen fatigue. Audio is potentially the perfect form of escape. With visual content like video, you need to look at your screen unless you choose to look away, provided it’s not a skippable ad. But with audio, you just can’t shut your ears as easily and that’s the advantage for audio content – the recall.
According to Sea Yen Ong, Regional Head of Sales for Spotify Asia, from a brand perspective, using audio content like creating a relevant branded playlist can help accompany these screenless moments and connect with users based on their mood at that moment of time.
If you look at the advertising aspect of audio, it can help you understand the real habits of users. For platforms like Spotify, for example, it allows listeners to soundtrack their lives with audio content. It’s this streaming intelligence that allows brands to connect with listeners in a very authentic way.
Brands today constantly look out for the opportunities to reach out to younger audiences. As linear content today begins to edge out, this demographic is turning to OTT streaming services and these may not provide brands the means to connect with the audience. Therefore, with Gen Z and millennials, audio content and audio advertising can help plug that gap.
GWI Trends Manager, Chris Beer, believes that smart speakers is one of the trends that passed under the radar during the pandemic. Ownership of smart speakers are climbing quite substantially and just the fact that people are spending so much time at home has really changed what the value proposition these products are. He adds that the future potential for smart speakers may very well rest on more practical integration with parts of the customer experience.
According to research conducted by GWI in the UK, the motivations for wanting smart devices wasn’t so much for convenience reasons, but rather, for entertainment. He notes that this could have been due to the fact that at the tail end of the lock down, people were craving to get their entertainment fix.
What could be interesting is if we started to see brands draw more on the imaginative possibilities with these smart devices.
“Even though at the moment smart speakers are fundamentally used to fulfil practical needs, I do have a personal suspicion that there is something more experimental out there that could really land with people, but it’s just not quite proven at the moment,” said Chris.
Based on research in pre-Covid, voice activated searches haven’t really taken off, but it would be cautionary to write this off at this stage. Again, going back to the usage of smart speakers, there are two types of users – one that uses it to assist with routine things like getting the morning news briefing or setting reminders, and the other for entertainment purposes like listening to music or podcasts.
GWI’s Chris Beer wonders if further innovation like having smart speaker devices come with screen by default could further push its potential as it could change your ability to do things like preview goods.
Getting Creative with Audio Ads
According to Spotify’s Sea Yen Ong, Audio advertising being bought programmatically is still on the rise in the region. But with audio, it’s back to that 1-to-1 relationship and with programmatic, it gives you many layers of data that accompany buying insights.
Don’t let the fact that you haven’t prepared your audio assets stop you from using audio advertising. Integration with voice assistants is one example of getting creative. Nars Cosmetics in the UK teamed up with Spotify to bring the concept of voice commerce to life. Listeners could order product samples and even arrange for delivery via smart speakers upon hearing the ad on Spotify.
Brands can also choose to leverage 3D and 8D audio to create soundscapes that fully immerse audiences into an experience. This unleashes listeners’ imagination and taps on that emotional, sensory aspect that audio is often associated with.
Similarly, for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in France, Marie Claire launched a powerful online campaign that captivated audiences using nothing but the sound of…silence. The silence prompted listeners to check their phones and on their screens was a powerful message and call to action.
Tips & Best Practice For Audio Ads
#1 Understand the user journey
Think about the who, what and when before you plan your campaign. By also understanding their moods, your storytelling through audio will be much more effective.
#2 Define your messaging using insights and data
With so many avenues and tools to use, having a well-informed and crafted messaging will make all the impact.
#3 Get creative
Trigger imagination. Stop adapting your TV or radio scripts for online audio advertising.
Audio is truly a democratic medium and it allows for diverse voices to shine through compared to visual formats. We’re also already starting to see air pod culture become the new norm. Many are wanting to take breaks from staring at their screens and brands need to go where the audience is going. Just remember this – there really are more hours in a day available to the ears than the eye.
Read our other Clubhouse series, Best Practises for Podcast Success here.
Ready to dive into sonic branding and audio advertising? Get in touch with us and let us help you create campaigns that stick.