Digital and programmatic audio advertising were hot topics at this year’s RAIN Summit, the annual conference for the internet radio and online audio industry. As we’ve seen with display and video, advancements in these areas are always promising opportunities.

Many advertisers are looking to pair the benefits of digital audio – exclusive placement, personal connection, uncluttered environment and highly engaged audiences – with the advantages of other digital buys by activating first and third party data, as with Bauer’s Instream offering, which allows targeting across their online stations via their first party logged-in user data.

– Digital audio is being examined in two ways:
– How it supplements traditional audio buys and;
– How it fits into the overall media channel mix, and the digital strategy in particular (especially as digital audio capabilities become closer aligned with other digital channels – it is expected that more spend will come from digital budgets rather than traditional radio budgets)

Creative formats pose a challenge. So far we are seeing a lot of traditional radio creative being used across digital audio spaces – meaning they aren’t taking advantage of the capabilities of listener devices. Progressions such as 3D audio and dynamic ads from DAX (the digital audio exchange powered by Global) are interesting developments. However, the next frontier for digital audio suppliers is to develop ad formats that allow the user to engage with rather than just consume ads. This will allow advertisers to see how audio can be used to drive action, as well as for branding.
Standardising measurement and attribution across all suppliers needs to be addressed to bring digital audio in line with other digital channels. DAX is making strides with its Listener Insight IDs, but as more players have entered the market this needs to be standardised to make performance comparable and to allow advertisers to gain the same insights that are possible through display and video.

In a further attempt to help both advertisers and comms planners understand the role that digital audio can play as part of a campaign, DAX and Spotify are leading the charge by creating their own planning systems to allow for better cross-media planning. Spotify’s Galileo tool can model the incremental reach that it can have over and above broadcast radio, while DAX has worked with the IPA to build the platform into the Touchpoints channel planner tool to illustrate the delivery of DAX when supplemented by other media channels.

Over the next 12 months, it was agreed that the focus should be bringing digital audio in line with video and display. The more digital audio is made accountable and the benefits to campaign performance become apparent, the more advertisers are expected to get on board. With this growth, the conversation around ownership of this mainstream media channel between digital and audio will become more important. Finally, as tracking/research progresses, we’ll gain learnings about the listener audience expanding targeting abilities of digital audio buys.