From jingles to podcasts: How audio advertising has evolved
by Despina Argyrides

The history of audio advertising can be traced back to the early days of radio. In the 1920s, companies realised the potential of reaching a wide audience through radio broadcasts. These pioneering advertisements were simple, often read by radio hosts, and aimed at promoting products and services to a growing listener base.
AT&T’s WEAF New York aired the first radio advertisement for Jackson Heights, a development of apartments in Queens. With the BBC dominating the early days of radio in the UK, it wasn’t until 1973 that the first ad for Birdseye frozen food aired on commercial radio here.
Over the past twenty years, audio advertising has undergone a remarkable transformation. From the invention of the iPod, to smartphones and streaming services like Spotify, audio advertising has evolved in many ways!

So, how has the humble radio ad been transformed for the 21st century and what benefits do the new wave of platforms offer advertisers?

Rise of podcast advertising
The first UK podcasts started to appear on iTunes in 2004 with advertisers soon realising they could become a powerful platform to reach niche, hard to reach audiences.
Brands started to collaborate with podcast hosts to create personalised, engaging ads that resonated with listeners. Some of the most creative podcasters like Adam Buxton, even now produce their own songs for brands which hark back to the heyday of the radio jingle!  
Streaming services
With the rise of streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music, audio advertising has found a new home. Advertisers have the opportunity to reach millions of users through short, targeted audio ads. These platforms have also introduced interactive elements, allowing users to engage with ads directly on screen.
Programmatic audio advertising
The advent of programmatic advertising has allowed the precise targeting of audio ads. Advertisers can tailor their messages based on user behaviour, preferences, and demographics. This level of personalisation increases the effectiveness of audio advertising campaigns.
Voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home have brought audio advertising into people’s homes in an unprecedented way. Brands can now create voice-activated ads that users interact with, providing a new level of engagement and convenience.
So, how has programmatic advertising influenced the effectiveness of audio ads? Let’s explore the key areas where this impact is most pronounced:

  1. Precise audience targeting
    Programmatic advertising allows advertisers to target their audio ads with pinpoint accuracy. By analysing user data, such as location, interests, and behaviour, ads can be delivered to individuals who are more likely to be interested in the product or service being advertised.
  2. Real-time optimisation
    One of the most significant advantages of programmatic advertising is its ability to optimise ad delivery in real time. If an ad is not performing well, it can be adjusted or replaced instantly, ensuring that the advertiser’s budget is spent effectively.
  3. Enhanced measurement and analytics
    Programmatic advertising provides detailed insights into ad performance. Advertisers can track metrics like click-through rates, conversions, and engagement, allowing them to fine-tune their audio ads for better results.
  4. Personalised campaign messaging
    Personalisation is key in modern advertising. Programmatic advertising enables the customisation of audio ad content based on individual preferences, making the ads more appealing and relevant to the listener.

The future of audio advertising
As programmatic advertising continues to evolve, the future of audio advertising looks bright, with increased consumption of audio content on smartphones and smart speakers. To explore innovative new formats and strategies to captivate your target audience, contact us today

September 27, 2023

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