As digital advertising has emerged as a core piece of most brands’ overall marketing strategy, one would assume that the simple radio ad or “audio” would fade into the background along with other traditional methods such as print. However, I am here to make the case for keeping audio advertising as a significant part of your marketing strategy.

According to an eMarketer report published in 2015, it is estimated that the number of digital audio listeners will rise to an estimated 180 million by the end of 2017. That is more than half the population. This has largely been driven by the continued shift to mobile as the 1st device for many people.

Mobile digital audio listeners

Programmatic technology has allowed the audio industry to automate their own sale’s process and evolve the radio advertising business model. More and more larger publishers such as iHeart Radio and CBS radio have leaned on programmatic. As the audio portion of the industry has evolved, we have also begun to see the major players such as Pandora and Spotify begin to expand their programmatic offerings to include audio. Google also seems to be testing ad functionality in Google Home, which offers yet another environment to engage potential customers.

So, “Why is programmatic audio any different than buying radio ads?” you may ask. The biggest difference lies in the quality of data and targeting that can be applied to it. Rather than dealing with traditional “audience research” we can apply the same types of targeting that we can do through video and Display (geo, behavioral, remarketing).

So where does digital audio advertising fit into a strategy? It has to be considered as part of a branding and awareness strategy. Like every channel we use in the industry, not every tactic should be created equal. We should take a step back and look at the impact that introducing strategy has on the overall lift in performance, brand recognition, and ultimately ROAS. However, audio can also play a supporting role in convincing customers to complete a purchase. Benjamin Masse, Managing Director of Market Development & Product Strategy at Triton Digital, a programmatic audio vendor, says “The addition of programmatic audio to a banner campaign can generate four times as many conversions. It’s one of the better ways to measure audio lift when considering multi-channel campaigns.”

Closing Thoughts

While programmatic audio may not be a major driver of conversions and revenue, it may be something worth considering as you shape and plan your marketing strategy. It provides a new approach to the branding process and connects with potential customers on their daily commutes, workouts or any other time when previously they may not have been in an active position to engage with your content.