By Garrison Dua, VP Demand, North America at AdsWizz
We are constantly surrounded by sound. For some, the comfort is in a general hubbub. For others, sound from a radio show, a podcast or an album is that of a constant companion. Audio consumption experienced a huge surge over the pandemic and proved its worth as a powerful form of communication and now, at long last, we can measure just how much.
Audio is evolving. In the US, now more than 144m people listen to podcasts. In addition, commercial radio sees an audience of 36.3m listeners a week in Britain – more than half the country – boosted by smart speakers and other digital devices.
The importance of audio is about more than just volume, however. After all, the radio playing in the background of a store or the bar is just so much white noise. It’s about attention.
With the recent announcement that Omnicom plans to measure ads based on consumer attention, we’re entering a new phase of advertising attribution. Understanding audience attention and how to connect conversions to ads using attribution technology allows publishers and their advertisers to understand – and improve – the impact of their campaigns. This is something that has been more common in visual ads, but is now making its way to the critical audio audience.
Omnicom’s partner agency in measuring attention, Amplified Intelligence, is trying to discover whether or not it’s the media or the creative that captures the audience’s attention. The company came to an interesting conclusion: “It’s the role of media to be able to get you to the attention. It’s the role of creative to hold onto that,” its CEO, Karen Nelson-Field, told AdAge.
But this is just part of the puzzle. When in ‘listening’ mode, unlike browsing a website or even viewing smart TV, consumers are rarely in a position to ‘click through’. Instead, they may be driving to work, bathing the kids or working out. Conversion happens later and most often on a different device. But audio still played a crucial role.
So it follows that how much of a role it plays and how well that role can be optimized – in as near to real-time as possible – is crucial in making the most from audio investment. By measuring conversions such as app downloads, add to cart and purchase confirmations, all originating from the initial audio ad and tracked across platforms, advertisers can see returns on ad spend (ROAS) and cost per action (CPA) performance. Those figures help marketers assess performance and make mid-flight optimisations – streaming time, length of an ad, creative version – to get the most from the medium and the audience.
AdsWizz recently launched its 2021 Audio Attribution Technology Report, which analyzed the results of 600 campaigns that ran across AudioMatic, AdsWizz’s audio-centric DSP. The campaigns used audio attribution tracking to evaluate average audio campaign conversion rates and how it relates to ROAS and CPA. Among its many findings, the report found that there was up to a 4.0% average conversion rate of ad impressions – on a par with display advertising.
Audio advertising has always been something of a grey area. Listening figures alone have been compelling enough for many advertisers to include the platform on their media buys, but how it performs relative to the mix has always been opaque, and therefore difficult to optimise effectively. Attribution changes all that and finally, audio can enjoy its rightful place in the media mainstream.