How to Use Digital Audio Advertising for Your Small Business
Why audio advertising is a perfect option for your small business
If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time listening to audio content every day. Compared to video content, it’s one of the easiest types of content to fit into your busy schedule: You can listen to it when commuting to work, washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, taking a shower, walking down the street, or even doing basic tasks at work.
As far as mobile app usage goes, mobile audio is actually the most popular type of content among U.S. consumers. According to eMarketer, the average U.S. adult spends more than an hour every day listening to music, podcasts, or other audio content.
As podcasts, streaming radio and other audio content channels continue to grow their user bases, it makes sense for small businesses to want to grow their presence as digital audio advertisers. Audio offers excellent audience interaction and the ability to target consumers according to a wide range of data points, making it a dynamic content channel that can help you build a better connection with your audience.
Here's an overview of how audio advertising works, as well as some advertising ideas for small businesses looking to get started with streaming audio ads.
What is Programmatic Audio Advertising?
If you’ve used Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, or other streaming audio services on your phone, then you’re familiar with how digital audio works. You’ve also probably heard advertisements on these platforms. While this type of advertising may seem overly complicated and technical, it’s actually very easy—and affordable—to get your audio advertisements to appear in streaming audio content.
Audio ads are bought and sold using programmatic advertising, which uses a digital platform to manage sale and purchase of digital ad inventories. By automating certain aspects of this process, your small business can quickly reach the right audience while making sure that you’re getting value for your spending.
If you’ve ever taken the DIY approach to advertising your business, you know that it can be confusing, time-consuming, probably expensive, and not always worth the money. Traditional radio ad buying processes are time- and resource-intensive, involving a combination of requests for proposal, negotiations between the buyer and seller, and manual insertion orders. This process is costly for both sides of the transaction to maneuver, and it also slows down the ad purchasing process, limiting an organization's speed in getting its ad out to an audience.
For radio ad inventory owners, manual sales also limit the volume at which inventories can be sold, reducing revenue opportunities. Instead, programmatic solutions automate some of this process, including negotiations, to identify a best price for both sides of the equation—one that is reflective of the value of the ad space, as well as the competition for specific ad slots.
When it comes to digital audio ads, programmatic advertising allows businesses to quickly purchase ad inventories and insert ads according to established audience targeting criteria. On streaming audio platforms like Pandora, Spotify and iHeart Radio, these ads can be delivered to users based not only on the music or content they're currently listening to, but also their listening history, demographic and location data, and other metrics that the advertiser finds relevant. Want to target your lifestyle clothing brand to young consumers listening to summer jams and popular beach music? It’s easier than ever to do thanks to digital audio ads.
Today’s digital audio offers a wide range of content to entertain consumers throughout their daily journey. They might listen to music during breakfast and then listen to a podcast on their work commute before going back to music when they arrive at the office, or at the gym at the end of the day. Wherever those consumers go—both physically, and with regards to their audio preferences—your business can find them and connect with them.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Audio Advertising?
The benefits of cost have already been established: With optimized pricing models created and enforced by programmatic ad platforms, buyers can purchase audio ad space with greater assurance that they're getting value for their ad spend.
But those costs are also scalable, which is huge for for small and mid-sized businesses with limited advertising budgets. Since programmatic ad buying is less time- and resource-intensive than traditional ad buying, its ease, affordable price and scalability make it possible for small companies to create and launch small audio campaigns that fit their advertising budget. Traditional audio advertising made it virtually impossible to create small campaigns either as a test launch of audio ads, or to fit the limited budgets of a small, growing organization, but programmatic solutions give small companies an entry point into this advertising channel.
Meanwhile, the digital nature of audio advertising leverages first- and third-party data acquisition channels to improve your targeting capabilities. With many audio streaming services compiling profiles of each user's location, age, interests, listening history, preferences and other data points, each audio ad can be closely targeted to your highest-value target audience.
This refined targeting increases your potential return on investment, especially as the total audience of digital audio listeners grows. According to Edison Research and Triniton Digital, digital audio reached about 180 million people every month in 2018, and growth across all major demographics is expected to continue in 2019 and beyond. Ad Exchanger reports that the overall podcast advertising market grew by 86 percent in 2017 alone, and that overall revenues for podcast ads could reach nearly $660 million in revenue by 2020.
That spending is translating into proven results for brands. Nielsen reports that 70 percent of consumers say they have increased brand awareness of certain companies thanks to digital audio ads presented through podcasts, which will only continue to fuel the fire for brands making their first forays into programmatic audio inventories.
Using Audio Ads to Boost Your Small Business
Digital audio advertising offers a new channel to reach and engage your business. But where performance is concerned, programmatic options offer better tools, resources, and insights to enhance your strategy, boost your ROI, and impact your company's bottom-line.
Digital audio can be a great tool for building brand awareness, and calls-to-action can be effective when they are simple in design. For example, a men’s hair products brand might create an audio ad that directs users to a website with a simple URL. This website serves as a landing page for all audio campaigns, providing the next stage of generating leads and attempting to convert consumers into paying customers.
Thanks to the data made available from programmatic platforms, your business can refine its audience targeting with a combination of contextual, behavioral, demographic, geographic, and other types of data. This lets you optimize your audio campaigns, rather than just matching an ad to an audio program. The more digital audio ads you run, the greater your potential for success.
While radio has long been the only option for advertising your small business through audio, new digital innovations now offer better options, better pricing, and more efficient, targeted results. Audio advertising can fit an advertising budget of any size, and with the right media partner, you don’t have to be an advertising expert to get the results you want.