Let’s all take a swig and be honest. 2020 has not quite been a red of roses but rather a colony of bats in the economic belfry. A $90 trillion impact on the global economy affects businesses regardless of size, while unemployment hit the statistics of the 1930s Great Depression. The orld tries to flatten its curve as many businesses are engaging in a battle cry to get ahead of their curve. Everyone’s talking marketing strategies of tight budgets and demands for significant returns. Which pie should you dip your finger into? If you’re yelling “Amen to that,” we’re here to help you whip up some game-changing audio ads for the win.
How to Apply This Audio Ad Guide?
Do you believe in the power of audio ads? The adoption of sound has spilled its waves through every device that is thinkable, and most marketers are tapping into the medium. There are tons of go-to audio ad strategies out there. But while blueprints can give your business a little push, a complete cookie-cutter adoption will not ring in the same ROIs and brand loyalty as a carefully tailored plan. But first things first, let’s get the basic jargon covered.
What is Programmatic Audio Advertising
With audio integrated into every nitty-gritty aspect of our lives, audio ads are a flourishing ad format. Programmatic audio advertising is simply the automatic selling and insertion of audio commercials in platforms such as podcasts, digital radio, and music streaming services. Audio ads through the radio broadcast may be an ideal tactic to reach a broad audience. But with programmatic audio advertising, brands can better reach segmented demographic for better conversions.
The Secret Ingredient to Successful Audio Ads
While it’s challenging to teach an old dog new tricks, old tricks do not always solve new problems. Such includes surviving the trail of damage the pandemic has left behind on businesses. Our up-to-date guide can help you create awesome audio content that’s off the beaten track. But you’ll need a little more mojo to pack a punch.
The secret ingredient to staying ahead is fine-tuning. Being at the frontier of your market allows you to practice agility and flavor your audio commercial with relevant content and unique personality. As you skim through this article, reflect on how each component can be tailored to your business. Comprehensively, we’ll talk about:
- How you can CONVINCE your boss that programmatic audio advertising is a worthy investment.
- How to DEVELOP a killer ad.
- Where you can DISTRIBUTE your audio ad.
STEP 1: CONVINCE
The Statistical Power to Compel
In good times, people invest in advertising because they want to. But in bad times, they simply have to. Today, the silver lining about digital advertising supersedes saving the earth from paper waste. Digital marketing, especially audio ads, is far more affordable than massive billboards and lost-in-print newspaper ads. But the golden lining is the trackability of each investment spent.
Numbers doeth speak louder than perception and words. Drumroll, please, as we deliver you the successes of audio ads this year.
- The worldwide audio advertising expenditure has steadily increased over the years and stands at USD 31.65 billion in 2020.
- Almost 40% of digital audio users agree that voice ad campaigns drive more significant engagement that social media ads.
- Audio ads have reached 6 million music streaming users, and 524.4 million podcast listeners in 2020. These numbers are expected to increase to 1083.5 million and 770.4 million, respectively, in 2024.
- The average ad spending per listener is 55 for music streamers and 10.25 for podcast listeners.
- 50% of the Millennials and Gen Z demographic tunes into audio content while multitasking.
- There is a total of 204 million digital audio listeners in the U.S.
- The conversion rate for brand advertising is 52% on podcasts.
- Podcast yields a 21% direct response to audio ads, and four times higher for audio ads with content on discounts.
- Spotify ads are claiming a 20% conversion rate on their all-new “Marquee tool.”
- Pandora ads released an interactive voice option in 2020, which yielded likes from 47% of their users, and a 72% on positive engagement.
The Perks of Investing in an Audio Ad
Case in point! The relevant data above proves that no matter the platform, audio ads are here to stay. Yes, definitely during this coronavirus pandemic, and probably even in a zombie apocalypse! For marketing departments used to developing in-house visual content, working on audio ads can seem daunting. Let’s face it. Most people find their own voice repulsive. And there are scientific reasons why, so you’re really not alone. But if a picture can say a thousand words, audio ads are probably worth a million. Makes it all worthwhile doesn’t it? Here are some pointers to clinch that audio ad marketing budget for your department.
2020 is the Golden Year for Audio
Here’s a silver lining for the COVID-19 cataclysm: the medium of audio is now more so than ever absorbed by people. Whether it’s to fill an empty home with voices of a radio or to enjoy music while preparing a family meal, audio is in. It’s a seize-the-moment period for all digital marketers. Why? Because statistics show that online sales have increased a whopping 55% to $66.3 billion compared to the same time last year. That means that there’s still a market for consumer spending. Work from home has become a haven to many! Without a stringent environment, it’s online shopping galore for all! Therefore, audio ads are all the nudge they’ll need to make a spending move.
Reach Ears Invariably
Commercial breaks on the telly are always a good time to make a kitchen snack or toilet run. That’s why video ads can sometimes be a hit or miss. Audio ads reign, where visual ads fail. The annoyance of forgetting your headphones for a gym session is not unheard of. Multitasking with audio has become such as staple for so many, especially in pandemic times because stringent work environments are now eased. Whether in the car, while jogging, working, or even running errands, audio ads can reach your consumers on the go anywhere and anytime, no matter the platform.
Seduction with Emotion
Ads with emotional content performed two times better than informational and rational content. Such also includes better brand recall. Imagine watching “Schindler’s List” without the violin tune, or “The Joker” without his laughter. Imagery aside, the beauty of the audio medium, is that it leaves so much room for the listener’s imagination. The audience can envision a version of themselves in a particular time, that is truly unique and personal. Sounds and music design the atmosphere of reality. The use of a familiar or pleasant voice also increases a listener’s affinity to the ad. Therefore having the right voice actor and an expressive dialogue script for your audio ad is important in rendering a response to a call-to-action.
Yes, we’re talking about emotional marketing. Impressions form in a matter of seconds, and that emotion is the greatest driving force of decision making. Emotional marketing can improve consumer loyalty and trust, which leads to an overall increase in brand awareness and revenue.
A Game of Brain-ception
Caught a case of humming jingles? They say the dropping of water wears away a stone. And so it does for one’s aversion towards an audio ad with repetition. With research proving audio ad recall rates being higher, turn to catchy audio commercials to increase brand awareness and recall. Annoying as they may be, audio ads can infiltrate minds and hit a replay button at the oddest moments. The mnemonic tool of music is so effective it has been used by schools to foster memory in learning. Familiar auditory reception of tunes or sounds makes information uptake faster, understanding more accessible, and increase overall retention.
A Hard-to-Miss Hit
From the massive retro boom box to today’s slim screens, audio devices have certainly become sleeker and more sophisticated. The remarkable thing about audio ads is that digital audio impressions require no screen to impact the consumer. Ads play no matter if the device screen is on or off, so you know you’ll catch your listeners even during their bathroom breaks!
Furthermore, hands-free headsets and speakers rule the world today. Odds are that consumers are less likely to pick up their devices to skip over any ads. They’ll rather let them play for the typical 30 seconds than bother with the hassle of getting up and switching channels.
A Wallet-Friendly Avenue
There’s no need for the whole “lights, action, camera” shindig. Video ads can require bigger budgets to develop, whereas you’ll need less fancy equipment for audio ads. The cherry on top of that cake? You can even outsource the audio commercial. Platforms like this one will have your script written, voice recorded, and music integrated all packaged up in a big bow and ready for you to air. Are you paving your brand in unchartered territories? Localization is key to introducing any brand into a new market, and the platform offers voice actors in different languages. Have them crafted swiftly and affordably with no amateur background noises.
Now let’s talk about resources for audio spots. With programmatic audio advertising being the in thing these days, a smaller budget can get you a wider reach. And mind you, it’s not just budget-conscious small businesses who are digging the trend, brands like Nestle and Zenith have proved a 51% reach with only 30% of their budget spent.
STEP 2: DEVELOP
Planning and Creating your Audio Ad
As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. Like all marketing strategies, you’re going to need a solid proposal to get an approval for that audio ad budget. Here’s a laundry list of decisions you need to make before writing up that winning presentation.
Of course, the standard answer here for many is: “to sell my product.” But as all seasoned marketers know, the sales funnel happens in several stages. Hard-selling a pricey never-before-heard vacuum cleaner with a 30-second ad is most likely not going to generate many returns.
Yes, the path to ad failure is often paved with good intentions. Notice the plural in intentions? Even though listening is a passive experience compared to reading, too much information can overwhelm your audience. Therefore set only one goal for your audio ad and keep it simple. Which of the below is your audio ad trying to accomplish?
1. Create Brand Awareness:
Is your brand new to the market? Is so, creating brand awareness will be the first step in the sales funnel. To stand out, inject loads of brand personality into your audio ad to make it more memorable.
2. Educate or Inform:
Do you have a new product or service you would like to tell your listeners about? Rather than focusing on specifications, you might achieve better ROIs by building a rapport based on product experience. For example, client testimonials are a hit with building product trust. Ultimately, your objective here would be to direct more traffic towards your website in order to generate conversions.
3. Differentiate from Competitors:
If your brand’s already the word on the market, you might need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Audio ads focusing on content around your USPs (unique selling points) can give you a winning edge.
4. Promote and Sell:
If your objective is direct selling, deals, bundles, and discounts are most likely the push, your audience needs to take action on a purchase. Here, you can decide on a soft, medium, or hard-sell approach depending on your brand’s personality.
The average length of audio ads is usually 30 seconds, but they can run up to a minute in some cases. Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora typically offer 30-second programmatic ads on their streaming platforms. But note that the length of your audio add is dependent on your available budget, and vice versa. Longer ads are costlier to produce and distribute. Plus, the average human tends to have the attention span of a goldfish, so consider wisely!
When it comes to audio ad scripts, no shoo-in content can guarantee a conversion. But engagement is the key to unlocking all doors! Take a look at individual factors below and see how you can apply the template exclusively to your brand.
Friendly, casual, hip, or formal? What will it be? The tone of your ad should always align with your overall brand voice. If you’re not sure about yours, refer to your organization’s brand guidelines for an idea. Generally, conversational tones are preferred. They make listeners feel comfortable and more receptive to the message you’re conveying. If you need inspiration on choosing voice qualities, here’s an article on vocal descriptions that can help. Having the right voice actor who portrays the right tone and emotion always is what makes a difference between a good ad and one that sticks. Get it right the first time with professional voice artists here.
Don’t be all talk, set a vibe, and establish some empathy! Because audio ads are received 100% through the ears, you’ll need a little more than speech to score a hook, line, and sinker. Emotional marketing is the most effective tactic, so put a little thought into details. Include ambient sounds, background music, or have your voice actor portray character emotions to enrich your listener’s experience. Ads are really about selling a dream rather than a product, so put on your listener’s shoes and lull them into your world. Need help in putting together a perfect ad? Get professional and cost-effective help from sound engineers here.
3. Call to Action:
Audio ads without instructions are a moot investment. A clear call to action should be included in all scripts to drive listeners’ actions, whether it’s to purchase, partake, or visit your website. Always make sure your website or phone number is catchy and easy to recall.
4. Ad Distribution
An audio ad can be distributed over multiple platforms such as websites, radios, podcasts, and music streaming apps. But to yield better conversions, some thought should be given into fine-tuning the content for each channel. For example, if you are developing an ad for local radio, content in native colloquial and cultural references can allow your audience to relate better to your audience. Additionally, since radio ads are a form of mass broadcast, general content should be used to cast a wider net. However, if you choose to develop programmatic audio ads, fine-tune your content to your target demographic. Since digital audio advertising now comes with insights that will help you assess your ad’s feasibility and effectiveness, you can resonate more directly with your segment by experimenting with your content.
Did you know that $37 billion in global digital marketing resources goes down the drain yearly? Audio commercials are now a significant part of digital marketing that can too fall on deaf ears if executed inappropriately. Gone are the days of door-to-door sales talk. Modern-day marketing is no longer a one-way conversation, but rather an engaging dialogue. And, to strike a personal conversation with someone means to speak in a language and topic that resonates.
Before curating your audio ad, consider your target demographic. It’s better to strike a strong chord, rather than to cast a weak net. An excellent way to do this would be to develop a persona of your potential client or customer. These details will also come to play later when you’re looking into booking radio ad spots, or programmatic audio advertising. Market segments today can now be translated from an individual’s choice in music or interest in podcast topics for better ad targeting. For example, Spotify uses playlist targeting to help brands segment the audience’s activities and mood. Consider the demographics of your target audience below.
- Income range
- Device platform
- Real-time contexts
In-House or Outsource
To outsource or not to outsource. That is the enigma many marketing departments face. We say, not everyone has the capabilities to produce a full audio ad from scratch, so it’s okay to engage help sometimes. Choppy, cheesy or amateurish audio ads can be counterproductive to your brand’s reputation. So unless you’re confident that you have the perfect voice, equipment, and audio editing tools to make the perfect ad, outsource! Should you lack a single cogwheel in your audio ad production chain, you can also partially outsource your ad.
Wherever your bricks lie, the obstacle for most businesses is not just budget, but rather finding the right outsourcing match. Sourcing dependable professionals who can yield high-quality outcomes is easier said than done. The good news is there are reliable platforms like this one who can deliver impressive content, and just in time to meet your campaign launch date. Plus, there’s no need to break the bank with cost-effective rates.
STEP 3: DISTRIBUTE
Understanding Audio Ads Reach
Let’s talk about where you should put out your audio ads. Before you rally round any “flags” for your reach, you should probably first consider each platform’s rank and file. Here’s the updated list of audio streaming services ranked by popularity this year.
Audio Streaming Statistics in 2020:
Spotify – 286 million
SoundCloud – 175 million
Apple Music – 72 million
Pandora – 60 million (Only available in the U.S.)
Amazon Music – 55 million
Other Audio Platforms:
Online Radio – 64% of Americans
Podcasts – 26% of Americans
Choosing your Audio Ad Platform
Fingers in all pies, or all eggs in one basket? Which of these platforms will reap you higher ROIs? Most marketers choose to go with platforms that provide a wider reach. But when it comes to quality leads, conversions are all about speaking to the right demographic. As we discuss the most popular platforms, see if you can identify your market segment.
Spotify’s 286 million users this year has seen a 32% increase from last year. Subtract 130 million premium subscribers, and you’ll have your vast reach of obligatory audio ad listeners. The audio streaming platform is definitely going strong on impressions. But here’s something to think about. Many marketers in the U.S. deliberate between advertising on Spotify versus Pandora. If that’s on your mind, you’ll probably find this article helpful in your decision making.
Who You’re Targeting:
If your target demographic falls between the ages of 13 to 34, Spotify might be the best platform for your audio ad. Spotify ads see the highest number of conversions for the age group of 18 to 24 years and yields a 60% higher ad recall. Through the platform, you can grow qualified leads, create a lasting brand impression, and improve ad recall with specific targeting parameters.
When it comes to engagement, Podcasts takes the cake with its active listeners. Statistics have shown that 71% of podcast listeners concentrate and absorb content more intently. 60% of them are also said to have purchased something through a podcast ad. Running your audio commercial or sponsoring a podcast is a great way to get your brand out there as Podcasts appear on a multitude of platforms such as SoundCloud, Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes. Plus, with more spare time from less social interactions during the pandemic, Podcast is a great go-to channel for advertisers in 2020.
Who You’re Targeting:
Research has shown that podcast listeners worldwide are more educated and have higher spending power. 36% of the audience globally fall in the age group of 35 to 54, and 34% have at least grad school qualifications. If you’re concerned about budgets, the average CPM for 1,000 listeners is approximately $18 for a 15-second pre-roll and $25 for a 60-second mid-roll.
Did you know the radio audience has widened its reach since the pandemic? According to research, 18% of regular radio listeners in America claim that that tune in more as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Because of the decrease in social activity, it’s not uncommon to turn to their favorite radio channel for entertainment and companionship. Such makes it a convenient period for marketers to create some brand awareness with commercial audio campaigns. Are you considering radio ads? Find out more about writing an effective radio ad script here, or outsource your radio ad to a professional here.
Who You’re Targeting:
Unless you have an online store that delivers worldwide, radio ads are always the preferred medium of local businesses. Because most programs air live, radio is ideal for pushing limited time promotions and increasing walk-in store traffic. Radio ads tend to cast a wider net and less specific net. But there are helpful guides that can aid your segmentation based on the audience’s choice of music.
- Age 12 to 24: Alternative, urban, top chart music
- Age 35 to 44: Rock, Adult Contemporary
- Age 45 to 54: Oldies, adult contemporary
- Age 55 to 64: Classical, Discussion programs, Adult Contemporary
Audio Ads on Websites
The internet is the best thing since sliced bread, reaching consumers at the world’s ends. Distributing audio ads on the website has thus become somewhat of a hot topic for seasoned marketers. Why? Because they are at the top of the sales funnel. They are useful in channeling traffic, generating leads, and creating conversions. For more information on how you can navigate the ad marketspace of websites, read this article.
Who You’re Targeting:
Well, anyone you want! But unlike print ads and radio ads, you will be able to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. For example, the Google Display network features ad placements on over 2 million websites. It allows you to set parameters and reach your target audience while they are surfing the internet. Other platforms like Adswizz help marketers monitor, optimize, and personalize a listener’s audio experience with your brand’s audio ads. Both of these platforms provide useful reporting of metrics. These insights will help you determine if your marketing budget is effectively generating ROIs or leaking through parts of the funnel.
Gotten the 101 bagged on programmatic audio advertising? Now let’s talk about the finishing touches to successful audio commercials. Never listen to those who tell you that the audio advertisement is not a science! In today’s day and age, trends of programmatic audio ads evolve as quick as a bunny. So much so that it is kind of like dabbling in the stock market. The science of building new consumer prospects while mending one’s fences is a mile a minute game. If you’re a rookie just dipping toes, consider hiring tired and true professionals backed by excellent reviews. At least on the first get-go, you know you’ve optimized engagement with your content. Afterwhich, you can decide which audio ad channels are profitable avenues for you.
Digital Audio Advertisement Metrics
Like all other aspects of marketing, learning what’s in and what’s not will help you save resources. Such include A/B testing on different platforms, and analyzing your incoming web traffic. Here are some basic terms that you should know when looking at audio ad performances.
- eCPCA: This is the cost per listen, also derived by the total amount of budget spent per completed ad play.
- Number of Impressions: The number of delivered ads.
- Average Reach: The mean number of people who have heard the advertisement.
- Visits: The number of times visitors go to a website after hearing an ad.
- Completed Ad Play: The number of times an audio ad plays to completion.
- Click-Through Rate: The number of clicks the ad receives per number of impressions.
- Voice Click-Through: The number of times listeners take action with an interactive audio ad by voice command.
A Brave New Branding World
New norms and new territories, 2020 is the year of many firsts for many organizations. But let’s call a spade a spade. Resources, be it money or manpower, are now more precious than ever. While many juggle to decide between investing in manpower versus marketing avenues, audio ads‘ creation won’t break your bank. Global marketing trends predict that they are in for the long haul. But the secret recipe of fine-tuning your content remains. Reaping effective ROIs requires relevant content with precision targeting. Infuse your audio ad with a touch of humor and a truckload of brand personality, and you’re sure to be the talk of the town!