Power of Digital Audio

Sonic Branding: Ad’s New Frontier

The Drum’s opinion editor John McCarthy gathered industry experts to take a detailed walk through the burgeoning world of digital audio to understand why advertiser interest doesn’t yet match consumer habits.

The rise of digital radio, podcasts, and audio streaming has led to a surge of innovative ways to bring your product to market. During the Cannes Sun, a fierce discussion with AdsWizz, Soundcloud, Octave Audio, and Havas Media Group laid out how advertisers can utilize this medium as a fantastic painting canvas (or vinyl? ).

The main focus is communicating to clients the potential that the media has. Scott Walker, senior vice president of advertising platforms at AdsWizz and SXM Media, has helped develop an innovative method of presenting the medium to companies.

“We’ve held workshops with creative agencies and people where we placed blindfolds on the participants and then have them put on headphones and take an adventure of possibilities through the theatre of your mind, your imagination, and how it can affect your mind and body in many ways. We’ve all experienced the effectiveness of this. However, they do it immediately when you force them to sit up and pay attention.”


Power of Digital Audio: The size of the digital audio

On the other hand, agency side, Lizzie Nolan, executive vice president and managing director of strategy and insights at Havas Media Group, has participated in these discussions. She’s as passionate about audio-based advertising as she is about metal music, she claims before laying the groundwork about digital music’s importance.

In the UK alone, 20 million listeners in the UK subscribe to podcasts regularly, and that’s an average of 68 million hours spent on podcasts. In addition, Spotify has gained traction with 22 million weekly listeners, whereas traditional radio is still attracting the attention of 50 million people weekly. The variety of podcasts also influences its popularity, attracting younger audiences and creating an environment for producing more media.

Despite its size, the education component must be undertaken by younger planners. “We’ve gone through a phase where data is distributed. Therefore, that art of planning seems to have disappeared, and we’re working to re-engage younger planners within the agency to encourage them to enjoy the process truly. The planners must consider their relationship with the process because it’s personal to them and is essentially applying the same principles.”


Power of Digital Audio: A personal chance

Walker talks about AI, and it’s only a matter of time before it was among the top subjects at Cannes, and it felt as if it was a topic with more excellent substance than the previous year’s metaverse excitement. With audio being an individual, ear-to-ear listening experience AI opens up the possibility of personalization.

“Generative AI will aid in breaking down the barriers. Instead of taking four or five days to create the brief and a handful of audio creative examples using generative AI, we can use artificial voices and AI generative to develop new versions and speed up the time between briefing and the actual creation of audio.”

Then, Drew Wilson, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer of SoundCloud, speaks about its importance in reaching out to these audiences. The streaming platform is utilizing technology to increase the curation and discovery of content for advertisements. From an advertising perspective, it can offer many possibilities, from pre-produced voice advertisements, live readings, branded shows, and content, and even considering producers and creators being micro-influencers in their contexts. He states: “If done authentically, it resonates and could create media potential.”

With the assistance of AdsWizz, It’s helping companies reach young Gen Z and millennials, who are notoriously difficult to get on television and beyond. He adds: “You need diverse voices. The generation we are in has a value system. So when you combine all that, you get targeted communication that results in real change for the consumer when interacting with these brands. That’s the benefit I believe isn’t being realized in audio.”


The most powerful of all the worlds

Walker states an average of 75% of adults over 12 years old in the US listen to podcasts daily. Podcasting is a major driver of expansion to 42% of the adult population, and the amount of time and listening to podcasts continues to increase. However, here’s the real kicker and the main point of the previous panel: despite all this, digital audio ads only account for just 3% of advertising spend across the US. Despite all the hype about the boom, it’s still relatively untapped.

To fully appreciate all the possibilities of audio advertisements, panellists highlighted the importance of uniformity and collaboration across the sector.

Walker talks about the importance of consolidating the disparate podcast industry through unifying protocols and standards for technology. This collaborative approach will allow for efficient programmatic advertising, a better understanding each episode’s context, and increasing investment.

Additionally, Charlie Brookes, chief revenue officer for digital audio at Bauer Media Group, adds that by combining the best of the two, broadcast and digital audio advertisers can expand their reach and use the unique personal connection audio advertisements can provide.

The panel is concluded. Brooks speaks about an aspect of the platform that can be hard to measure. “It’s simple to lose since we are in the world of broadcasting; however, that 30 seconds in the ear of someone the personal moment, whether it’s music or podcasts, is exceptional. The digital display ads, or social scroll, displayed for just a second, is a completely different experience to have someone’s time for 30 seconds.”


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