The Rise of Digital Audio

Digital audio has become an influential part of the modern marketing mix—allowing advertisers to reinforce their brand’s personality and connect with valuable audiences when they’re not in front of the big screen. Combining the best of digital and radio, streaming audio provides innovative ways for advertisers to deliver messaging to engaged listeners, create immersive, personalized listening experiences, and gain valuable insights. With digital audio, advertisers have the means to reach consumers when they are in the right mindset, with contextually relevant messaging that fuels a strong, mutually-beneficial connection.

The last decade has seen an explosion of digital audio content, a category that includes music services, internet radio, and podcasts. A rise in digital device ownership, combined with increased consumer demand for this type of entertainment content, has fueled the increase in digital audio consumption we’re witnessing today. After several years of growth, the share of U.S. digital audio subscription revenues will peak at 63.9% this year.1 After experiencing a decline from 2018-2021, digital audio ad spending share is expected to grow over the next few years, reaching 37.9% of total digital audio revenues in 2025.

The number of digital audio listeners in the U.S. has been steadily increasing over the past few years. In 2022, it is estimated that there will be 221.5m digital audio listeners in the U.S. (making up 65.7% of the population). Digital audio is driven by intentional listening, giving listeners the control to listen to what they want, when they want, how they want—even when screens are not in use. Through the combination of device, time of day, and content choice, advertisers can purposefully target ‘life’s moments and connect with consumers in an emotional and contextually relevant way with digital audio ads. With the average consumer increasing time spent listening to audio, it presents a significant opportunity for advertisers to reach and resonate with engaged listeners who are likely to be more receptive and responsive to messaging delivered in this powerful, immersive ad environment. In fact, nearly half of streaming audio listeners say audio ads are less disruptive than other forms of advertising, and thanks to streaming audio’s ability to be highly personalized and dynamic, 43% say the audio ads are more relevant to them.2

 

Role of Podcasts

Podcasts are playing a huge role in the rise of digital audio advertising. Podcast ad spend is expected to exceed $1.71b this year, increasing to $2.15b in 2023,3 and will reach $2.71b by 2025. In 2022, the number of U.S. podcast listeners will reach 125m and will account for 56.4% of U.S. digital audio listeners. As of 2021, there are over 2m podcasts and more than 48m podcast episodes.4

Time spent listening to podcasts has been slowly increasing since 2019 and will continue to increase through 2023. This year, the average adult podcast listener will spend 52 minutes per day listening to podcasts. In 2023, that will increase to 56 minutes, just below an entire hour per day. Between the increased interest in podcasts and the rise in time spent listening to them, advertisers have the perfect opportunity to target relevant consumers based on specific topics that interest them.

Earlier this year, Spotify released a new feature that makes podcast ads even more appealing to brands. The new feature, which Spotify calls “A call-to-action (CTA) card” provides the listener with a small, interactive button near the middle of their device’s screen while an ad is playing, which they can click to be redirected to an advertiser’s website landing page. This new feature also helps consumers remember URLs and discount codes that otherwise may have gone through one ear and out the other.

 

Measuring the Effectiveness of Digital Audio Ads

Digital audio ads offer the access, agility, flexibility, and precision that advertisers are increasingly seeking in today’s competitive and complex ad space. Not only does this medium present new opportunities for brands to promote their products and services, but because it can be targeted and tracked, it also creates new avenues to measure the effectiveness of audio ad campaigns. Basic digital audio ad metrics include:

Impressions – Total number of ads served.

Reach – Number of unique people who heard your ads.

Frequency – Average number of times each person heard your ads.

Listen-Through-Rate (LTR)/Completion Rate – Percentage of ads served that were played to the end.

 

These metrics give advertisers a balance of big-picture assessments and real-time reporting with granular, impression-level data. Armed with this info, not only can advertisers capture the attention of their target audiences, they also can engage and develop new ones.

 

Programmatic Audio is Having A Moment

Programmatic audio uses technology to automate the process of buying audio ads across digital radio, podcasts, and music streaming services. Programmatic streamlines the ad-buying workflow by strategically delivering ads to users in real-time based on their behavior, without direct interaction from a brand’s marketing department or the audio publisher selling ad space. When integrated into a larger campaign, programmatic audio can create a cohesive and personalized advertising experience that is more likely to result in conversions.

Advantages of Programmatic Audio Advertising:

  • Highly-Engaged Audience
  • Holistic Reporting & Attribution
  • More Precise Targeting (Better Than Radio)
  • Real-Time Campaign Optimization
  • Frequency Control

With audience targeting similar to other programmatic channels and more sophisticated ad inventory, it’s now possible to buy and sell audio ads programmatically. This means that the selling and insertion of ads into audio content is now automated, similar to programmatic display advertising, enabling advertisers to buy targeted ads from all major audio publishers on a single system.

 

Best Practices for Digital Audio Advertising

By serving ads at just the right time, there’s an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the listener and boost brand awareness and consideration. It’s not just personalized music or podcasts that listeners crave, they also want a personalized ad experience, which keeps your brand top-of-mind. Here are some tips for developing an effective digital audio campaign:

  • Use a Consistent Tone and Tempo: For 30-second ads, aim for 55-75 words. For 15-second ads, aim for 40 words.
  • Understand your Audience and Match the Context/Mood: Research shows a personalized message is more engaging across any medium. Consider how people will listen to content on different platforms.
  • Tell a Memorable Story and Be Thoughtful with Sound: Use storytelling techniques for engagement and recall. Transport the listener through the use of subtle effects and environmental sounds that create imagery in the mind. Create a balance between voiceover, music, and other sound effects.
  • Be Conversational, But Keep it Brief: A friendly tone transitions listeners between entertainment content and ads. Shorter clips have a higher recall. Repeat the brand name 2–3 times.
  • Include a Call To Action (CTA) & Consider Companions: A direct CTA drives higher click-through-rates and promotes engagement. Understand the platform specs and which ones support companions, which help reinforce your message. A visual companion is the strongest connection back to the brand. Use the brand logo, repeat the call to action, and other elements that reference the audio ad.
  • Create Multiple Versions: Develop and test a variety of audio ads tailored to unique audience preferences.
  • Leverage Ad Capping: Prevent ad fatigue and improve campaign efficiency by capping ads per unique user, per session, per station, or at the campaign- or creative- level.
  • Consider Cross-Channel Campaigns: Streaming audio is not only a viable platform for marketers looking to reach key audiences at scale, but its complementary role to digital video consumption presents the ideal opportunity to deliver incremental reach to key consumers when you use both channels together.

Unfortunately, as new types of advertising opportunities are introduced, scammers are usually not far behind with new kinds of ad fraud to exploit vulnerabilities in the media buying process. Check out our recent Trends report to learn how to protect your brand against the growing threat of ad fraud in the digital audio space.

 

How Digital Remedy Can Help

Whether you’re looking to get started with digital audio advertising or want to upgrade your digital audio strategy, Digital Remedy offers a comprehensive solution—comprised of top-tier inventory across a fleet of audio-centric publishers and services and the ability to connect with millions of active listeners across multiple devices and formats—to ensure your ads are delivering the greatest impact and driving desired results.

Thanks to our partnership with leading streaming services, such as Spotify and Pandora, brands can reach users listening to music aligned with popular daily activities, life moments, moods, and seasonal events. Digital Remedy provides a multitude of unique segments and data attributes for audience targeting, including but not limited to:

Leveraging our innovative technology, campaign performance can be optimized in real time based on your brand’s specific KPIs and campaign goals, such as:

• Consumer Reach & Engagement              • Ad Deliverability & Viewability             • Return on Ad Spend

Additionally, we’re able to leverage our proprietary attribution system through our Flip platform to track consumers who heard your audio ad and ultimately converted, including site visits and purchases, app downloads, and store visits. Digital Remedy provides the unmatched access, precise targeting capabilities, full transparency, real-time optimization, and seamless attribution reporting needed to achieve your campaign performance goals with a strategic, omnichannel approach.

Interested in learning more about how programmatic audio or podcast advertising can help grow your brand? Speak with a member of our team today.

Mike Seiman

Mike Seiman, CEO & Chairman, is the founder of Digital Remedy, a digital media solutions company leading the tech enabled marketing space he co-founded while still a college student at Hofstra University in the early 2000s. The company has grown quickly and is now a major player within the crowded digital advertising landscape. The rapid growth of Digital Remedy, formerly CPXi led to its inclusion on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing privately held advertising/marketing companies in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014. Mike was selected as a semi-finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year initiative in 2010 and 2013 and as a finalist in 2009 and 2014. In his free time, Mike serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Hofstra University. He also focuses on numerous philanthropic initiatives including sitting on the boards of the H.E.S. (Hebrew Educational Society non-profit community center) and Children International, where he spearheaded the development of community centers in both Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2010 and Barranquilla, Colombia in 2014.

David Zapletal

Before graduating in 2005 with degrees in Retail and Consumer Science (with an emphasis in eCommerce) and a Minor in Public Business Administration at the University of Arizona, David Zapletal had already successfully grown a start up ad network from serving an initial 1 million impressions per day to over 10 million impressions per day. It was his deep understanding of internet advertising during the industry’s beginning stages that led him to another start up at the time, CPXi. More than 8 years that have passed and Zapletal currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Digital Remedy. In that role he continues to help grow and implement optimization tactics across various ad serving platforms, oversee daily operations of the account management and trafficking groups and maximizes ROI for Direct Response advertisers as well as for Publishers. Outside of Digital Remedy, Zapletal commits his efforts to an organization called Camp Dream Street, a camping program for children with disabilities, where he serves on the Board of Directors.

Jeff Reitzen

Jeff has worked in multiple facets of the online industry, from sales to operations as well as consumer engagement, content analytics and most recently in data optimization. His career began as a wedding, bar mitzvah, and Sweet 16 DJ where he learned the delicate balance of crowd energy management. Quickly, this skill made him incredibly successful in managing online sales for Geico. He joined CPXi at its startup stage as employee number 4 and has been a key driver of continued growth. His unique knowledge of what converts in the digital ad space, the application of data, and how to optimize platforms for efficiency continues to be invaluable to Digital Remedy clients. Today, Jeff is responsible for innovating and optimizing all Digital Remedy offerings including platforms, systems, tools, and internal processes—ensuring the organization remains on the precipice of the marketplace.

Mike Juhas

Mike Juhas, has over 13+ years of experience in ad tech client services, working with brands, agencies, and publishers ranging from top 10 advertisers to small regional organizations, to rep firms, holding companies and independent shops. An integral member of the Digital Remedy team, Juhas leads all client relationships, including facilitating onboarding and integration, establishing relationship protocols, overseeing Quarterly Business Reviews and status meetings, navigating financial coordination, and overseeing 24/7 team support. His specialties include consultative services, planning strategy, and account management disciplines. Juhas lives in New Canaan, CT with his wife and two daughters, and their dog, Perry–the unofficial company mascot.

TJ Sullivan

TJ Sullivan has over 20 years of media sales and leadership experience. His knowledge of the digital media landscape, ability to develop strategic solutions that solve brand challenges, and talent for motivating sales teams, have made him a vital member of several media and ad tech organizations. Before joining Digital Remedy, Sullivan was VP, Connections at iHeart Media, a cross-divisional group that enabled national advertisers to seamlessly work with multiple iHeart business units; CRO of Reelcontent, a video distribution company for brands; SVP of sales at AdoTube, a video ad network; and was Co-Founder and SVP of video measurement company, OpenSlate—for which he is still an advisor.

Sullivan had served as the President of 212, New York’s Interactive Advertising Club, and currently advises many early stage start-ups in the programmatic and video space. Notably, RUN (sold to Publicis in 2014), Futures Media, Transmit.Live, and Kubient.

Outside of his work in the media industry, Sullivan sits on the Board of St. Elizabeth School in Wyckoff, New Jersey and the Advancement Committee of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey. He resides in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

IP Zone: Leverage the relationship between users and the location of their IP addresses in a cookie-free, safe and scalable way.

Behavioral: Combine first party with network analytics and enormous scale to define custom audience channels that are optimized to sites with high brand engagement.

Demographic: Reach the right audience based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and income.

Mobile Device: Target users by mobile device type (Smartphone, tablet, etc.), carrier and operating system.

Geo-Location: Target your audience residential cluster, proximity to retail locations, campaign level DMAs and more.

Contextual: Place a relevant ad in front of a user who is reading content that contains specific terms.

Buying Power and Quality

Let’s be honest. Your ad ops are limited by your access to only a handful of channels and DSPs. You want more reach and better prices, but don’t want to sacrifice quality in order to achieve those goals. Digital Remedy has access to a vast multitude of channels based on relationships we’ve cultivated over nearly 20 years in business. That means we get the best prices, have personal relationships, and don’t get sent to voicemail when we call.

It also means that we can execute omni-channel ad ops for better prices than an internal team, while ensuring the quality is up to industry standards. On top of access to all sorts of specific audiences we’re able to to leverage first- and third-party data across all your campaigns and pivot across platforms based on results. Any campaign, any budget, any platform, any audience. Digital Remedy backed by AdReady is restriction free ad ops….and what could be better than that?

Resources, Time, and Overhead

When was the last time you enjoyed balancing budgets, reading resumes, dealing with aggressive sales teams, or wasting years of time for small gains in performance. By partnering with Digital Remedy you get the full support of $30m in OPEX including marketing teams, sales teams, and a dedicated 24/7 ad operations team. No hiring new employees for media optimization, business development, or account management. No months of training and on-boarding. No long meetings crafting sales materials. Just your team focused on making deals, and our teams and tech focused on supporting and executing those deals in a tech-enabled, digital ecosystem designed to get the most out of any KPI.

Reporting and Support

How nice would it be to have all of your data and insights in one location. We don’t mean an excel sheet sent out once a week with complicated charts, or an XML file with pages and pages and pages of tables (what is this, 2003?). We mean a fully customizable dashboard reporting in real time, or as real time as possible. You get to decide the how, what, and when of the reporting you’re seeing. And that’s ALL of the how, what, and when’s. If you want to see breakouts of all of the individual campaigns in your system, done. If you want broad scope comparisons of all of the campaigns in the last year, done. If you want to see CTR’s for specific audiences and compare them to CPM for your best performing advertiser but limit the scope to campaigns greater than 30k, done. All of this is at your fingertips with the AdReady Dashboard, all in one place.

Jessica Cortapasso

With more than a decade of experience in human capital management, Jessica Cortapasso serves as SVP, People at Digital Remedy. After graduating from Muhlenberg College, she quickly recognized her passion for people and entered the workforce in Human Resources where she gained expertise in employee relations, designing strategic benefit plans, and the development, implementation, and curation of corporate engagement initiatives for big-name brands and small companies alike. Becoming a member of the Digital Remedy family in 2013 while simultaneously acquiring her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management and Development from New York University, Jessica has steered company culture through significant events ranging from acquisitions and a rebranding, to the development and application of our Core Values that shape our daily business practices. Cortapasso resides in Brooklyn, plays competitive volleyball, and loves spending time with her nieces.

Erez Feld

Responsible for the financial and legal practices of Digital Remedy, Erez brings 22 years of experience in precision financial analysis, growth management practices, strategic acquisition, and investment leadership. A graduate of Hofstra University, Erez began his career modeling for corporate finance, and expanded his accounting prowess in the real estate sector. Erez joined Digital Remedy in 2008 as a senior accountant, and helped to create and build an accounting department that could support the rapid growth of the company and aligned with those needs. Over the past 12 years he has evolved through various positions at the company within the finance discipline, supervising and mentoring additional finance personnel, while growing under the tutelage of Michael Fleischman, former CFO of Digital Remedy. Today, he leads the Finance Department by supporting high-level projects such as acquisitions and restructuring, and is responsible for overseeing all financial assets, establishing financial procedures, controls, and reporting systems.

Michael Fleischman

After a successful career as an accomplished Fortune 500 financial professional leading Corporate Finance and Strategic Planning at Cablevision Systems Corporation and its programming subsidiary Rainbow Media Holdings, Michael currently plays a role in the overall management of Digital Remedy including direct responsibility for all financial-related activities including accounting, financial planning, M&A, legal, insurance, real estate and banking relationships. Michael brings more than 25 years of media experience at Cablevision and Rainbow Media and during his career was instrumental in the launching and managing of a number of cable television networks including 10 Regional Sports Networks across the US, American Movie Classics, Bravo, and the Independent film channel as well as the structuring of corporate partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp and MGM. Additionally, he was the finance lead on a number of professional sports team acquisitions including Madison Square Garden, the successful IPO of Cablevision and a tracking stock at Rainbow Media.Michael was involved in the creation and launch of Rainbow Advertising Sales which was one of the Cable Industry’s first Local Advertising Sales Divisions.

Tony Pascal

With over two decades of experience in the design, product, and technology space, Tony joined Digital Remedy as a graphic designer in 2007. His responsibilities quickly expanded, landing him in leadership roles across multiple disciplines including creative direction, analytics, monetization optimization, and management of platform development. He continued to grow with the organization over the last fourteen years, overseeing all design, development, and execution of Digital Remedy products and platforms. In his current role as SVP, Product & Technology, Tony leads product and technology development for the company and acts as the go-to liaison across teams, ensuring alignment on all aspects of internal and client-facing technology initiatives.

Prior to Digital Remedy, Tony built and ran his own direct response company from 2002-2007 after graduating from New York Institute of Technology, where he learned the fundamentals of digital advertising and optimization strategies that still remain relevant today.

In a previous life, Tony was a ski instructor and still remains an avid skier today. When he is not leading product development, he can be found working on old cars, rock climbing and hitting the slopes.

Gayle Meyers

Gayle Meyers is an entrepreneur, venture partner, investor, and operating resource in the digital media and marketing industry, with over two decades of executive leadership experience. After launching a management consulting firm, Growthing which is focused on optimizing growth strategies for executive leaders and their organizations, Meyers has frequently been tapped for high-profile consulting and advisory positions to help marketing technology companies enhance their in-market presence.

“Gayle is widely recognized as a leading strategist with years of expertise in the ad tech space,” said Mike Seiman, Chairman and CEO of Digital Remedy. “Her career in discovering and integrating game-changing technologies in the marketing industry will serve as an invaluable resource as we continue to enhance our product suite in the months ahead.”

With expertise spanning multiple disciplines, Meyers frequently serves as a keynote speaker at industry conferences for companies such as Google, Verizon, Omnicom, LiveRamp, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Oracle. A list of her notable past clients who have benefitted from her unique insights to increase shareholder value includes Tinuiti (acquired by New Mountain Capital), Adometry (acquired by Google), MediaForge (acquired by Rakuten), Integral Ad Science (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), and Tapad (acquired by Telenor).

With 14+ years of experience in ad tech and emerging technologies, Matt Sotebeer brings an uniquely innovative approach in his role as Chief Strategy Officer at Digital Remedy. As CSO, Matt focuses on the intersection between the product, product marketing, tech, data, and sales teams, while fostering productive cross-functional company-wide relationships to inform and influence sales, educate clients, and optimize company performance.

Matt has an extensive knowledge in the integration of data science, creative, and media solutions to drive sustainable growth for companies, with a focus on designing customized, scalable solutions leveraging machine learning alongside human intelligence. Throughout the tenure of his career, he has successfully managed global teams aligned to common goals, encouraged collaborative problem solving, and supported talent growth for entrepreneurial companies including MiQ, Rocket Fuel, and Audience Science.

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