Results tagged “Digital Audio” from IABlog

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Brand marketers have long understood the power of audio messaging to connect with audiences. Whether delivered in a music, news, sports or political talk environment, the use of audio ads is experiencing a renaissance as advertisers take advantage of digital offerings that provide listeners with greater choice, control and customization of their experience. The result is a highly personal and exclusive advertising experience that creates a natural opportunity for brand alignment. 

Such an alignment makes digital audio a powerful tool for just about any marketer looking to reach virtually any type of audience. Here are 5 reasons that digital audio should be a part of every marketer’s media mix: 


1.  Digital Audio is exclusive. 
The digital audio market represents an environment with generally fewer advertising interruptions, while providing similar deep targeting capabilities as other digital ad units. Exclusively available within an audio content experience, digital audio ads are often native and “above the fold”, and given their nature, often have a very high share of voice. 

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2.  Digital Audio is becoming a “mobile-first” experience for many. 
The speed with which connected mobile devices have proliferated over the last few years is having a profound impact on consumer consumption of audio content. In fact, streaming radio comes out as a top activity for smartphones users, according to 2014 research by comScore and Millennial Media. 

Digital audio’s mobile ascendency began by adding new listening contexts. Enabled by “earbuds”, consumers were freed to listen during an array of activities traditionally void of audio companionship. The growth trajectory has increased as historical audio contexts like in-office and at-home have been disrupted by simple-to-use and more personalized experiences delivered through a broad variety of devices. 

Most recently, digital audio has gained traction as an in-vehicle choice, and as consumers turn to newer models at all pricing tiers they are finding connected technology a key differentiator in the car-purchase process. Simply put, in-car access leads to significant behavior change. 

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3.  Digital Audio is cool, because the consumer is now in control. 
Just about everyone seems to have chatted about Serial around the water cooler these past few months. Even well known musician and Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto told IAB’s 2014 MIXX audience all about what the power of sound has meant to him as an individual, and as a musician. 

As a consumer, audio has always provided a broad range of content offerings that cater to whatever mood you might be in. Today’s digital audio offerings build on that value proposition by offering listeners the freedom to select what to hear and when they want to listen, to match their moods. 

Maybe you’re into the latest podcasts on relationships, your favorite baseball team, or the latest episodic craze. Maybe you’re jammin’ to that fresh new indie-pop station you found over the weekend, or you’re feeling introspective listening to the remastered Dark Side of The Moon in its entirety. 

With mobile poised to become the device-of-choice for accessing audio content, such content becomes an extension of your mood and builds a background to your day. Underwriting such essential components to consumers’ lives can create impressive lifts in awareness, sales, and changes to long-held preferences. 


4.  Digital Audio is growing like crazy.  
As audio consumption shifts from AM/FM radios to smartphones and connected devices, the demand for digital audio is growing rapidly. Edison Research and Triton Digital’s Infinite Dial 2015 study showed that 143 Million Americans listened to online radio and streamed audio content in the past month, including 61% of all 25-54 year-olds. Digital audio has not only arrived; it has become a mainstream media.


5. Digital Audio complements any media plan. 
For marketers, digital audio provides a necessary, unique, highly measurable and highly accountable component of the media mix.

Mobile audio also has a distinct advantage over other media because it can easily be consumed while on the go. “Ultramobile” activities such as driving, walking, exercising and working don’t allow for visual advertising engagement. 

In fact, Nielsen estimates that 79% of audio consumption takes place while people are engaged in activities where visual media cannot reach them. Such opportunities now create scale with millennials on their own, or in combination with legacy audio choices for broader demographics.

The IAB, along with members of the Digital Audio Committee, have pursued a goal of educating marketers and agencies about digital audio advertising opportunities, and discussing best practices and guidelines for reducing operational costs while driving sector growth. With the release of today’s IAB Digital Audio Buyer’s Guide, we aim to dive further into these points and answer questions that creatives, planners and buyers have about investment in digital audio advertising. 

Happy reading!


 
Consumers are listening to more audio content than ever using an array of devices from computers to smartphones to connected stereos and cars, but audio advertising still only makes up a miniscule portion of digital ad dollars. Standardization and education are required for this to change and that’s what the IAB Audio Committee’s work is focused on.

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Advertisers, agencies and digital audio publishers gathered recently for the IAB Digital Audio Agency Day at Pandora HQ in Oakland to learn from industry experts about the future of digital audio and why it needs be included in their media buys. Kurt Hanson, CEO of AccuRadio, presented a history of the radio industry and his predictions for the future, to a stellar panel on the Connected Car with representatives from Spotify, Aha Radio at Harman International, TuneIn and Slacker (left picture). The ever-entertaining Norm Pattiz, Chairman of PodcastOne/Launchpad Media (right picture), proclaimed that podcasts are the future of digital audio.

One common theme has become clear: in order for the digital audio industry to scale, fragmentation at the technology layer must be overcome. Dean Mandel, Vice President of Broadcast Services at PROXi Digital (Formally Katz360) and active participant of the IAB Audio Ad Serving Template Spec Working Group, outlines the three key challenges that the IAB’s Audio committee is currently working to address: 

1. Digital audio ads are being bought by both traditional radio buyers and digital buyers, and both types of buyers need a way to accurately measure delivery of their campaigns. 

Radio buyers are used to “posting” their campaigns based on Arbitron ratings. However, since digital audio is technically online, there is a need for reporting equivalent metrics to other online campaigns. Online buyers are used to providing third-party tags like Dart For Advertisers (DFA) and using specifications like the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) to track their digital display and video campaigns.  Similar standards must be developed and adopted by the digital audio industry.

2. The fact that audio ad units don’t have a visual component makes the use of a “tracking pixel” unpractical.  

One workaround for tracking audio ad units is to apply a third-party tag (in the form of a 1x1 pixel) to a companion display banner (a visual component to an audio ad), but not all audio devices have the visual interface necessary to fire a pixel. Accordingly, some advertisers have chosen to only serve audio ads in environments where a companion banner is served, yet in doing so, they are missing a large potential audience.  

We must find a better way to track the audio ad unit itself; a way that proves whether the ad has played, how much of the ad was played and any other possible interactions the user may make with the audio ad unit.

3. Several digital audio ad serving companies have developed proprietary methods to apply third-party tracking tags to audio, but there is a need to standardize this technology across the audio marketplace. 

The IAB Digital Audio Committee has launched a working group that includes several thought leaders in the streaming-audio industry who are addressing this task.  Over the past several months this group has begun the development of an ad serving template specification for audio ads similar to VAST for digital video. Once this important specification work is complete and adopted throughout the marketplace, media buyers will be able to easily run and track digital audio ads in a consistent manner across multiple platforms, similar to the way they do today with other digital platforms, allowing for growth in the digital audio market. 

IAB is excited to lead the effort to standardize the delivery of streaming audio advertising in order to ensure that advertisers, agencies and audio publishers may all share in the continued growth of the audio industry.

Stay tuned (pun intended!) for more to come on this topic.

About the Authors
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Dean Mandel
Dean Mandel is Vice President, Broadcast Services, PROXi Digital (Formerly Katz360). Dean was one of the founding members of Katz360 and has been helping the industry to monetize streaming audio for over 6 years.  He currently works with audio and video technology partners and content providers to help the streaming sales efforts for the Katz Media Group sellers. He can be reached on Twitter @deanmandel.

Leigh Ferreira
Leigh Ferreira is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and oversees the Digital Audio, Digital Video and ITV Committees. She can be reached on Twitter at @leighleighsf.
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Digital Audio - The "Radio of the Future" is Now

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future-of-radio.jpgSince the advent of the radio in the 1930’s, millions of us have gathered around this social experience through our favorite music or spoken word content. The thrill of participating in a new music format launch, agreeing or not with your favorite talk show host or being glued to the end of that World Series game are all experiences which have stood the test of time. Radio has been with us through good times and bad, helped us with national & local emergencies and still plays a critical role in the lives of most Americans.

Similar to television, the broadcast radio model continues to serve a wonderful purpose of distributing content in cars, offices & homes across the country. Contrary to some reports, offline radio remains a healthy media channel with more than 230 million people/week listening to some form of audio content. However, like many other mediums with IP based delivery now, the definition of “radio” is quickly changing and providing audiences & advertisers with many unique benefits/options - broadcast station streams or customized channels, listening to your favorite radio station far outside your home market, listening to your favorite webcaster, interactivity within the experience to thumbs up or down a song and the list goes on. We are living in transformational times as technology & the web has driven a ton of innovation for audio centric audiences.

The ad supported online audio space has been a gradual build however we have witnessed a lot of activity over the last 6 months. To summarize a few: Pandora became a public company & redesigns its media player in HTML5 format, Slacker purchased AOL Music from CBS Radio, Spotify launched its service in the U.S., Clear Channel re-launched its IHeart Radio product with a 2-day event in Las Vegas, CBS Radio added rich content & personalization to its Radio.com player, and even Facebook jumped into the game with its announcements on becoming a media hub. A lot of energy from the Publisher side to win audiences in the early stages of this channel and we will look back on 2011 as being a critical year of development for online audio. Much of these moves are being triggered by the explosion of mobile smartphone & tablet deployments in the hands of consumers. These devices have been a large platform for online audio publishers to build new “apps” and distribute their content in multiple ways. As the mobile space continues to grow, it will provide a platform for online audio growth as well.

Given the rapid growth trend of audio consumption online and on mobile platforms, the IAB established an Audio Committee in 2009 to help educate an inquisitive marketplace about industry standards and best practices for using digital audio as an effective ad platform. Just a few weeks back on a Monday afternoon, the IAB hosted “Streaming Audio for Agencies Day” for a standing-room-only collection of media executives, researchers and content publishers in New York. The centerpiece for the day was the release of the IAB’s “Digital Audio Advertising Overview” (click here to download your own copy), which served as a backdrop for several panel discussions, research presentations, case studies and Q&A sessions with leaders in the space. The afternoon was a fast-paced, no-holds-barred glimpse into an eager marketplace seeking the straight skinny about size, composition and engagement levels of this emerging audience, and how to most effectively target.

Tidbits that moved the Noisemeter:

  • 9 out of the top 10 Retailers in the U.S. are including digital audio ads today in their media mix

  • Most listeners to digital audio can be demo and geo targeted, even down to zip codes

  • Agency planners and buyers want to see radio and streaming audio listenership measured in a uniform way…with identical metrics

  • Streaming radio listenership is moving to mobile devices and in-car dashboards at a very rapid pace (Pandora > 60% of listenership on mobile devices)

  • According to Arbitron and Edison Research, approximately 57 Million people “listened to Online Radio in the past week” (January, 2011)

  • “Click-and-buy” on mobile devices is becoming a behavioral reality

Listen to audio highlights from “IAB Streaming Audio for Agencies Day” here:

It was apparent to most of us in the room that the power of the audio ad to move and activate listeners is as strong as ever…especially when a listener reaction can be measured with a tap or click on a simultaneously-served display ad. What we’re beginning to learn is that when that ad execution plays in a self-selected, personalized listening environment, brands AND listeners benefit. And now, the IAB Digital Audio Committee is asking you to join us. Whether you are on the brand side, the planning or creative side of an agency, traditional or digital, network or content creator - we need you to help us build this growing medium online. To find out more about the IAB and its critical industry-building Committees and Councils, ping Luke or Michael to find out more about membership opportunities.

Wishing you a fruitful Q4 and start to the Holiday season.

About the Authors

sp_benedik_brian.jpgBrian Benedik

Brian Benedik is President of Katz 360 and Co-Chair of the IAB Audio Committee.




sp_sterne_doug.jpgDoug Sterne

Doug Sterne is Vice President, Audio Sales for Pandora and Co-Chair of the IAB Audio Committee.