The team at AudioOne wishes you and all our clients the very best for 2024 and we thank you for your business.
In the below we pick up on some of the most frequently asked questions we got in 2023 and some of the themes AudioOne believes will play out in 2024.
Digital Audio is the fastest growing advertising format bar none.
The PwC/IAB Ad Spend Survey in 2022 valued the digital audio advertising market at €16M. Similarly, Core’s spend forecast for 2023 had the market at €16M also.
We expect the market to grow by an average of at least 20%+ per year over the next 3 years which should see the market comfortably top €30M in annual ad spend by end of 2026.
The growth is steep when compared to the 2023 growth prediction for the total online advertising market of 6.1% (Source: PwC) and all advertising of 3.8%. (Source: Core).
Within digital audio, the majority of ad spend goes to Music Streaming and Radio although the share of spend enjoyed by Podcasts is growing and is greater than its share of overall listening.
According to Statista, in the UK, 60% of ad spend goes to music streaming and radio whereas 40% goes to Podcasts.
In the US, the share of digital audio spend on Podcasts has grown from 16% in 2019 and is expected to reach 34% of total digital audio ad spend in 2024.
One reason for this is that the cost of advertising on Podcasts is higher than streaming as there are more premium opportunities. With Podcasts, you have the possibility of host reads which carry high endorsement value and are priced accordingly.
It has scale. With 2.8M listeners weekly in Ireland, digital audio is an effective way to reach 77% of Irish adults.
This compares to 90% of Irish adults who listen to radio weekly and 75% of adults who watch commercial TV weekly.
And listeners are spending 2 hours 45 minutes per day compared to 2 hours 30 minutes for TV.
Average listening hours have grown significantly also, surging from 13 hours in 2019 to 19 hours in 2022. This represents a 46% lift in 3 years.
The Format and the Environment:
Irish people love to talk but we also love to listen.
And 70% of us are listening to digital audio through headphones or earpods. So, what you have is an incredibly intimate and immersive environment. It really is a form of direct to ear entertainment.
And sound trumps vision when it comes to advertising effectiveness. We process sounds 5 times faster than images and therefore the brand effect of audio is more immediate than it is for visual media.
Digital audio ads deliver very high levels of emotional intensity. This in turn drives memorability and trust.
Digital audio outpoints social media and digital display in terms of stirring emotion and inspiring action.
The digital audio voice is a trusted voice with 66% of listeners agreeing that streaming audio is twice as authentic and trustworthy as linear voice.
The Podsurvey Podcast User Study conducted in March 2023 in the US by Pandora/Sound found that Podcasts were 4 times more authentic and trustworthy.
On-demand Media Consumption is a more Engaged Media Activity than Scheduled Media:
There seems to be an unstoppable march towards on-demand media at the expense of scheduled media. Increasingly we want to enjoy content on our own terms:- deciding what, when and how we listen.
Appointment TV still exists but it is being reduced to a handful of sporting and live entertainment events.
In the US for example linear TV has dropped below 50% of TV consumption for the first time ever. Streaming services are taking market share and now account for 39% of total US viewing.
Without doubt, the same patterns are at play here in Ireland. When you think of digital audio, you should think mobile, headphones and screen free.
No surprise therefore that on-demand, on-the-go listening is way most people enjoy their daily digital audio fix.
Being in control of the media experience means that listeners are more engaged. While radio is personal, digital audio is personalised as listeners have greater options to curate their own listening experience.
And this is precisely what advertisers want as personalisation increases engagement which in turn generates higher levels of attention than you find with more broadcast or passive forms of media consumption.
Much Lower Ad Loads:
There are lower ad loads with digital audio. With TV and Radio, the commercial minutage is a lot higher and therefore ad fatigue is a factor and people are switching or tuning out.
In a typical digital audio hour, you may have 6 ads, this compares to 20 in a TV or Radio hour.
So when you advertise across digital audio, there is 70% less commercial time or 70% fewer ads to compete with.
The lower ad loads on Digital Audio combined with more relevant and varied ads give those same ads a greater chance of being remembered and standing out.
Digital is Data Rich:
The metrics are more definite than they are for linear. We can report on exactly how many people listened and for how long. Talk of opportunities to hear is replaced by the language of actual listens.
Using data, advertisers can target exactly who they want to target with precision and zero wastage.
Their ads will only be heard by the people they want to hear their ads and nobody else.
This addressability gives advertisers tremendous peace of mind as they are confident that they can invest in campaigns that hit their bullseye each and every time.
You can further control and target your activity. Advertising using filters such as demographics (sourced from first party data), device, daypart, geography, language, frequency, sequence and genre can supercharge your campaigns and add value compared to what you can achieve with linear media.
The IAB and RedC have been running a tracking study for the last 4 years. This study has been instrumental in the commercial development of the medium here in Ireland.
The next wave is slotted to run in Q1 2024 and we will be looking expectantly at how consumption has changed in both reach and time spent terms.
It will be interesting to see how the listener profile has changed as well as what people are listening to.
Currently music streaming remains the most popular digital audio content type followed by digital radio and podcasts.
Headline figures for radio listenership remain strong with 79% of adults listening daily and 92% listening weekly with 40% listening to Music Streaming and 22% listening to Podcasts.
Radio’s daily reach is 3.32M 15+. Audio’s daily reach is 3.7M 15+ .
This confirms that there is almost 400,000 people consuming audio daily who are not consuming linear FM.
Adding digital audio extends radio’s reach by 11% from 80% to 89%.
The figure drops to 67% for 15-24 year olds. 15-24 year olds spend the same amount of time with digital audio as they do listening to live radio.
If we look to the UK as a bellwether as to how things might evolve here, more 15-34 year olds are currently listening to digital audio than live radio.
The ranking of most popular audio content types in the IAB/RedC research is different. Its research puts live radio weekly listening at 39% with music streaming leading the charge at 66% and podcasts at 37%.
70% of respondents in the Irish Audio Market Study use a radio or music player to listen to audio content daily with 30% using a smartphone and 10% using a smart speaker.
By comparison, 71% of adults in the IAB/RedC study use a smartphone most frequently to listen to digital audio with 29% using a smartspeaker and only 10% using a radio.
There is a considerable gap between time spent with audio and its share of advertising investment.
According to WARC in its study, “The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio, 2021”, they determined that in the US, audio accounted for 31% of daily time spent with media but only accounted for 9% of total advertising spend. This points to a significant under-investment and a major missed opportunity.
Even if you look at digital audio within the context of the total audio spend, we believe it should take 20% share of the commercial radio market rather than its current 12%.
The IAB RedC survey found that people were most likely to sacrifice linear radio time to fund their digital audio habit (34% listening less). However almost one quarter confirmed that they were spending less time viewing TV and on social media as a result of their digital audio habit.
The future growth in digital audio consumption and ad spend will come at the expense of TV, Social, Web and linear FM.
There is a fantastic advertising effectiveness narrative around digital audio already. We just need to bring more advertisers on-board and play to our strengths:- scale, the audio format itself, the environment, low ad loads, content quality and variety, precision and targetability and the ability to innovate creatively.
Creative has always been a challenge in the world of traditional radio.
Digital audio opens up new opportunities with the advent of dynamic and interactive audio ads.
Dynamic ads introduce personalisation to ad copy. The upshot is an ad that you feel speaks to you on your own terms and as a result you are more engaged as it stirs interest and engenders goodwill right away.
Interactive ads allow for ad and brand continuity beyond the confines of the ad. Listeners can actively engage with the ad through voice commands or by shaking their phone (ShakeMe ads) to trigger an action eg. receive a product sample, download a coupon, fill out a form and even place a call.
The single biggest innovation however is for marketers to carefully consider the listener’s environment. If they do, they will understand that they already have the listener’s attention and that it does not need to be competed for.
As a result, the ad pitch, tone and the effects can be scaled right back. The best ads fit in and belong.
Advertisers would do well to consider the opportunity in creating “made for digital audio” ads. A small expense in creating a made for digital audio version will yield outsized results.
Yes. Host reads create a beautiful canvas. Hosts can lend their voice to a brand, helping to tell its story in the context of their relationship with their audience.
A good host read establishes a relevance between the brand and audience. And it does it with little effort.
Host reads are the most effective digital audio ads you can run.
In a Guardian Podcast Effectiveness Study, the key finding was that host reads drive a 50% uplift in purchase intent and recommendations compared to non-host reads.
With host reads, brands can tap into the credibility and trust that listeners have for a host. Where it is well aligned and relevant to the show, host and audience, it can serve as a really powerful endorsement and source of influence.
On the host read side, I think the future is in fewer, deeper brand partnerships where there is a clear fit between host and brand that naturally extends beyond the Podcast to the hosts other audience touchpoints including Social and Events.
Attention is becoming a very important currency when it comes to understanding advertising effectiveness.
Dentsu and Lumen looked at this carefully. Critically co-mingling attentiveness scores with media cost, they developed a very practical “attentiveness CPM” or “aCPM”.
The reason to study attentiveness in the first place derived from the strong correlation they discovered between attention, brand uplift and sales.
The results were a validation of advertising investment in Audio and in particular Podcasts.
The key takeaways were as follows;
Big brand advertisers need to carefully consider their sonic identities and what their audio DNA is.
Sonic identity is bound up with how a brand’s musical system makes people feel when they hear it and what they are likely to do as a result.
Brand need to infuse their brand sound across all the media channels including TV, Radio, Digital, Events, on-hold music, in-store environments, sound production, tone and voice.
By doing so, brands will be coherent and reap compounded results in awareness and preference over the long-term.
A sonic identity is a brand asset that enhances brand strength. A Leicester University study found that 24% of consumers are more likely to buy a product with music they can recall.
The sonic identity journey begins with an appraisal of what makes a brand special, what it stands for and determining why people should choose it.
Answers to these questions inform the creation of a sonic branding system that expresses the brand’s vision and culture, one that is as relevant outside the company as it is inside.