How to make digital audio a headline act for the ad industry

During lockdown 1.0, publishers saw digital audio consumption increase up to more than 30%; with 74% of listeners intending to continue engaging at the same rate. Lockdown 2.0 further cemented streaming and podcast content as the consumer’s constant companion, making it crucial for the industry to harness its large-scale connection potential.
To achieve that, however, advertisers will need a better understanding of how they can turn this developing opportunity into their newest headline act. Rising interest among media buyers isn’t new: 2019 studies show 60% already planned to increase their spending over the coming 18 months. But adoption has been held back by uncertainty around inventory supply, measurement, and available technology.

Why now?

Digital audio has long offered huge scope for meaningful one-to-one interaction across an expanding range of audiences and devices. The main reason for its recent popularity surge is a blend of accessibility and adaptability. Unlike many other mediums, digital audio can carry on regardless of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions; with digital-first creators able to continue and even boost content production independently and at low cost.
From the listener perspective, audio is also uniquely positioned to fit the shift to remote working; providing screenless content audiences can enjoy as they go about other tasks. Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) revealed that 74% of those who have been streaming more music and 62% of those consuming more podcasts since the outbreak plan to continue doing so. For advertisers, the spike in supply and demand adds irresistible allure to an already enticing proposition that includes highly immersive environments, 100% share of voice, and the potential to boost incremental impact for multi-media campaigns. In a digital climate where competition for attention is stronger than ever, digital audio presents an opportunity few can afford to miss.

What’s the hold up?

While barriers to entry may be few for creators and listeners, many buyers have struggled with several challenges. Top of the list is measurement; with 49% saying they want to understand the precise impact ads have on revenue. This isn’t that surprising given the rising pressure to provide tangible evidence of success, but the problem is being exacerbated by inconsistent measurement approaches.