Every marketer - seasoned and new - has their pulse on the tried and true channels to make an impact: search, various social channels, marketplaces and more. And while they are channels that should be a priority for all brands and a significant part of overall strategy, there is one emerging channel that is often underutilized: audio.

US adults spend a fifth of their daily digital media time with audio, at an average of 1 hour and 43 minutes per day. Consumers are listening throughout their day: when they’re commuting, exercising and even just at home doing various household chores. Audio can be extremely impactful at driving listeners down the funnel.

According to the IAB Upfronts 2023:

  • 60% of people who have listened to a podcast bought something because of a podcast advertisement
  • 69% of consumers say they are more aware of a brand after hearing about it on a podcast
  • 81% of consumers say they pay attention to podcast ads more than other channels

Audio can be a powerful tool in a brands marketing arsenal, especially to drive awareness, but there are important nuances to audio campaigns. We’re sharing our best tips on the basics of audio advertising, straight from our Code3 audio expert, Katie Kelly, Director of Programmatic.

Deciphering Campaign Objectives in Audio Marketing

When it comes to campaign objectives in audio marketing, it’s important to define the campaign goals across channels and align with promotion strategies. Whether it's brand awareness, lead generation, or customer engagement, knowing the campaign purpose will be key in developing the best audio strategy. Moreover, selecting the right hosts and shows is vital for ensuring that your message reaches the core audience. Let your objectives dictate your choices to maximize impact.

Audio Marketing’s Role in the Landscape

While audio marketing is effective in driving sales, it is largely an awareness play, a potential reason it’s not always top of mind for marketers. Audio is underutilized as it’s been the fastest growing digital channel for the past 10 years (specifically podcasts). From the initial discovery phase to consideration and beyond, podcasts have emerged as a way to use hosts as influential brand ambassadors at scale. Podcasts are known for their loyal audiences which can help brands with a genuine endorsement and brand presence. If your favorite podcaster is recommending a product, chances are you will at least listen, if not check out the website or buy the product.

Streaming Audio vs. Podcasts: Understanding the Nuances

While both streaming audio and podcasts offer unique opportunities, understanding their nuances is essential for effective marketing. Streaming audio is what’s known as digital audio or music over the internet, and is most commonly associated with big brands such as Spotify, Pandora, iHeart and more. Streaming audio is typically a less expensive option and offers the ability of geo-targeting and demo/ behavioral targeting layered on.

In contrast, podcasts are typically more expensive, but overall tend to drive better results due to the offering of host-read ads. These are ads that are ready by the podcast host, and tend to come off as more natural, authentic and less disruptive to the users listening. A producer-read ad is also an option on podcasts, and is just as it sounds: an ad read by the podcasts producer. Typically, you are not able to geo-target podcasts and can’t select your ideal audience if you pick specific podcast titles. There are options to run podcasts programmatically, but this would not include a host read ad.

Placement Strategies: Pre-roll vs. Mid-roll Ads

When it comes to podcast advertising, the debate between pre-roll and mid-roll placements is ongoing, but for good reason! Understanding where and when to insert your ads can significantly impact their reception and conversion rates. Brands are able to choose between mid-roll, right in the middle of a podcast, or pre-roll, which plays prior to the podcast beginning. A mid-roll ad has a longer time slot, which allows for a better explanation of the brand or brand, however, it is an more expensive option. The alternative, pre-roll, tends to have better results based on numerous studies from attribution partners like Spotify Ad Analytics and ArtsAI.

Leveraging Audience Insights

Before your brand is selecting podcasts and whether to go with producer or host-read, it’s critical to have a deep understanding of your audience. Audience analysis forms the backbone of successful audio marketing campaigns. Tailoring your message accordingly, choosing the right podcast or streaming audio network and the right host can make your campaign a success or failure. Whether it's through demographic data or behavioral patterns, audience insights guide show selection and targeting methodologies, ensuring maximum relevance and resonance.

Measuring, Testing and Optimizing Audio Creatives

No matter what type of marketing campaign you are running, measurement is an important factor. And while it may seem audio campaigns don’t offer the opportunity to have detailed measurements, they do! Previously only trackable through promo codes, audio campaigns are now able to leverage partners who can track consumers’ actions after hearing advertisements via pixels.

Audio campaigns will offer a brand an increase in awareness, drive sales and much more, but just as important, it can deliver important information to inform future campaigns of all types. From tweaking host-read scripts to experimenting with different formats or genres, continuous optimization is the key to staying ahead in the audio marketing game.

There are numerous benefits to investing in audio for a brand, even if it’s just to increase brand awareness or test results. It’s an impactful channel that much of your competition may not be utilizing, offering a chance for brands to stand out. Thinking of unlocking audio marketing for your brand? Contact us today for personalized strategies tailored to your brand's unique needs.

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