Spotify, Google and Adobe have formed an alliance, pitching to marketers around Europe to urge agencies and brands to make programmatic audio a coveted choice on their media plans. From both a consumer perspective and a digital media investment perspective, audio streaming is an increasing trend. This is evident in the U.S. where on-demand streaming accounts for the majority of audio consumption, reaching 252.3 billion streams in 2016, 400.4 billion in 2017, and 611 billion in 2018. In the UK, audio streaming saw a 51.8% increase over the last three years as consumers are turning toward audio streaming as part of their everyday lives.
This form of media enables more touch-points for brands to connect with audiences in spaces where visual media isn’t a viable option. In terms of advertising, programmatic audio allows brands to be the only ad in break, have a higher share of voice, deliver ads natively by default, and to be invited into the consumer’s personal environment—all of which are excellent for driving performance and engaging audiences.
While measurability is still in the process of being standardised, audio-specific metrics such as impressions, reach, frequency, completed listens, listen-through rate, and mute rate provide valuable insights into campaigns that use this channel.
Spotify, Adobe and Google already have DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) in their networks to measure these and as adoption of programmatic audio grows, layers of verification and development technologies will expand. On top of this, some platforms perform exceptionally well by implementing user incentives. For example, Spotify’s 15-30 second ads cannot be skipped and give users an incentive to listen to or watch a 60 second ad fully by offering 30 minutes of uninterrupted listening as an exchange. In order to turn programmatic audio into a bigger proportion of the media buy, education, consolidation and standardised measurement is needed. As advertisers, we can apply positives learned from digital and programmatic advertising in terms of targeting transparency and measurability and combine these with frequency capping to mitigate oversaturation and achieve a variety of campaign goals.