More people than ever in the US are spending time with digital audio, leading to growing advertising opportunities. To properly communicate with audiences, advertisers should make sure the right creatives are used with the right audio formats. Otherwise, they run the risk of annoying or alienating their audiences.
In a July 2019 survey conducted by customer experience analytics firm Bizrate Insights and commissioned by eMarketer, almost half of US internet users considered audio ads on music streaming services or podcasts to be annoying.
So how are audio advertisers catering to consumers and cutting through the clutter?
For one, they’re not repurposing creative from other formats, such as TV or terrestrial radio. Instead, many look to leverage data and dynamic creative capabilities within digital audio to incorporate audience insights, location data, weather events or even time of day to deliver relevant messages to consumers.
“[Dynamic creative allows] you to have a very customized, personalized and effective campaign where you can optimize attribution but do it at scale, even though the messaging and targeting are pretty niche,” said Alexis van de Wyer, CEO of digital audio supply-side platform AdsWizz, who spoke to us for our recent report. “Those are the kinds of things that you can do only through programmatic.”
With podcasts, dynamic ads are less prevalent but are becoming more popular. Slightly fewer than half (48.8%) of US podcast ad revenues in 2018 were from dynamically inserted ads, according to a study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC. This portion was up from 41.7% in 2017.
But to be clear, these units take several forms. Host-read ads are, as the name implies, inserted dynamically into the podcast at the appropriate commercial break. For all intents and purposes, they maintain a seamless audio experience.
Still, marketers need to be aware that dynamically inserting ill-timed, nonhost-read ads may be jarring to an audience’s listening experience.
Maintaining a seamless advertising experience is often more essential for podcasts, which tend to be consumed in a more engaged mindset vs. the passive consumption of traditional radio or streaming music services. Podcasts also tend to have fewer ads, making untimely or irrelevant ads more noticeable.
In addition, many listeners are devotees of certain podcasts because of their affinity for the hosts or brands behind the podcast—this makes sense, then, that most podcast ads are host-read. Host-read ads made up 63.3% of podcast ad revenues from publishers surveyed in 2018, per IAB and PwC. That’s compared with the 35% of revenues that come from announcer-read or pre-produced ads. And just a tiny sliver of that (1.7%) comes from repurposed ads originally used for radio.
The hosts provide an “endorsement factor,” according to Lauren Fisher, eMarketer principal analyst and author of our July 2019 report, "Digital Audio Advertising: Exploring Opportunities in Streaming Audio, Podcasts and Smart Speakers." “Many who were interviewed for the report raised host-read ads as a significant competitive advantage of the podcast medium,” she said. “In fact, some experts suspected that over time, this advertising style may also be appropriated across other forms of audio.”
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