How digital audio gives advertisers precision at scale


“Podcasting is still the Wild West,” a client recently told me in a meeting. “I can’t measure and attribute. I can’t really target audiences.

For a second, I was speechless. It is simply wrong.

Look, I’ve been in the digital space for about 20 years. A long time ago, the digital industry looked a bit like a scene from a spaghetti western. But all that changed when the major Internet players came together to found the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). The business group provided technical standards and professional development and helped cultivate order out of chaos.

“There’s a lot going on in the media in general,” I said in response to my client. “The industry is changing so rapidly, especially the audio industry.” I then began sharing research on how to leverage the myriad digital capabilities available to hyper-target audiences.

One of the things I talked about was the Audacy Digital Audience Network (ADAN), a high-performance audience solution that we launched in the spring. Brands told us they seek the ability to measure and attribute the efficiency and effectiveness of the buying process. The reason we developed ADAN is that you can do all the things this client claimed you couldn’t. The audio value proposition has been redefined from range and frequency to full-scale precision.

Measurement and attribution

Of course, the targeting capabilities brands have come to expect in the digital world are available in our digital audio portfolio, including live audio streaming and the Audacy app. But contrary to what this client originally thought, in today’s podcasting we also have the ability to target by psychographics and demographics.

And what’s more, we can also dig even deeper into the data. For example, a major CPG company partnered with Audacy to quantify the direct impact podcasts and audio streaming can have on retail sales growth. Together with trusted partners like Claritas, a data-driven marketing company, and IRI, an industry leader in consumer, shopper and retail marketing intelligence, we’ve created a new method to measure audio exposures and associate this information with sales datasets.

The granularity essentially mirrors what IRI has been doing in the magazine publishing space for many years by matching massive identity graphics and triangulating them with loyalty cards. These are technical, data-driven things that people never think about when they think of audio in general and, more specifically, podcasting.

Thanks to ADAN, we are able to tell our CPG partner which products have been purchased specifically based on the advertisements that the brand is showing on our network. We may share with our customer the customer’s average basket size and even which product consumers have purchased in place of another brand in their category.

Accurate audiences at scale

Audio has long been known as a medium of reach, used in advertising campaigns to reach large numbers of consumers quickly. This is still true today, both for the industry and for our company. As the nation’s leading producer of local sports, music and news brands, Audacy’s radio and digital properties reach 200 million listener connections per month. There’s tremendous power in the audio with super deep engagement that you really don’t get with any other medium.

Brands can also find large-scale audiences through our digital properties. Using streaming content, the Audacy app, and our extensive stable of podcasts, ADAN reaches over 60 million high-quality listeners every month, unlike other audio platforms and streaming services.

Best Practices

There are many ways advertisers can leverage the unique capabilities of audio to achieve precision at scale and drive ROI. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when integrating advertising into your media strategy.

  1. Tap the power of total audio. We find that digital audio campaigns are most effective when an overall audio strategy is used, at all levels, whether the goals are web visits, sales or brand enhancement. So be sure to send messages across multiple channels to reach listeners throughout their day.

  2. Play to their passions. Think less about typical demographics, more about fans and where they congregate.

  3. Use podcasts to create emotional connections. Podcasts have a special power to connect with listeners. And try to work with influencers and others whose emotional connections can spur listeners to action.

  4. Try the variety and experiment. Use different messages to reach your multi-channel listeners and keep testing to find out what moves them the most.

At the end of my client meeting, I emphasized that even though everyone is strapped for time, having the most up-to-date information is essential. “Really lean on your sales consultants,” I said, suggesting the marketer regularly reach out to the industry expert they feel most comfortable with. Most importantly, they hop on a call monthly or quarterly to get the latest tech updates.

Ultimately, listeners identify with the audio. When you’ve found your loved ones on a radio show or podcast, you’re engaged, inspired, and ready to take action. Disruptive advertisers are changing their approach to make the most of these more engaged listening opportunities.

For more best practices, read Audacy’s latest Audio Status Guide here.


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