Don’t Miss the Programmatic Audio Ride


Published December 16, 2019

Technology is bringing the world closer. The widespread adoption of mobile phones has led to a digital wave that has created a whole new generation of on-the-move consumers. With screens becoming more and more compact and mobility becoming paramount, digital marketers started looking for new ways to tap into this ever-moving, yet an ever-connected generation of content consumers. Thus digital audio advertising was born.

Digital audio advertising has helped marketers reach a new segment of audience – one that devours customizable audio content. Be it on mobile devices, laptops, tablets, or even smartwatches, audio content is being consumed at an alarming rate. Podcasts and streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, and Pandora are gaining popularity. In the first half of 2019, music streaming services delivered over 500 billion on-demand streams, as per Nielsen’s mid-year Music Report. In the U.S., on-demand audio streaming reached $611 billion in 2018, a 49% increase year on year.

Digital audio is set to revolutionize the online advertising landscape and with the introduction of ‘Programmatic Audio’, advertisers stand a better chance to reach specific target groups and increase brand awareness.

Programmatic Audio, like the other programmatic channels, enables the use of technology to buy and sell ads on digital audio platforms such as podcasts, music-streaming platforms, and digital radio. But unlike the other channels, Programmatic Audio is still in its nascent stages. A survey conducted by IAB in Europe indicates that the reason for this is the lack of proper information and understanding about this technology, especially by the demand-side players.

Programmatic Audio – Level of Understanding

With this blog, we intend to tackle this problem head-on and increase the level of confidence in understanding Programmatic Audio, thereby encouraging buy-side and sell-side players to invest in this consistently growing technology.

Programmatic Audio – Here’s Why

Traditionally, radio was the go-to channel of choice. Despite its popularity, radio does not give marketers the opportunity to dynamically and programmatically obtain ad spots. Radio, like traditional print and Out-of-home (OOH) advertising, is a mass advertising channel and doesn’t provide the flexibility to target a specific audience group. But, with the help of internet-enabled devices, audio platforms are able to capture a lot more information about their users, thus creating cohorts that make it easy for advertisers to understand the audience and segment them precisely.

Programmatic channels such as display and video allow us to capture the mind-share and the eye-share of customers, but digital audio gives us the opportunity to also capture the ‘ear-share’ of our target audience. Audio content is being consumed even when the display or video content isn’t. Customers tend to stream audio when they are on the move, driving, or simply exercising; situations that do not allow them to look at their devices. In addition to other programmatic channels, including Programmatic Audio in the media mix gives buyers and sellers an opportunity to increase their reach and performance.

Programmatic Audio is a complementary channel that helps enhance the advertising reach. Combined with banner ads, digital audio ads increase brand recall. Programmatic Audio ads present a great opportunity to show banner ads on audio apps along with 15, 30, or 60 seconds of audio ads – an opportunity amiss in traditional radio advertising. On the other hand, for the sell-side community, this channel is one more way to increase their revenues.

Programmatic Audio Comparision

Before Programmatic Audio, marketers had no way of ensuring that their intended audience had been exposed to their efforts on a radio channel and there was no way to measure the effectiveness as well as the attribution. Programmatic audio on the other hand does not limit the advertising options to a single channel and also helps marketers track and attribute conversions more accurately.

Today’s audience also appreciates the choice of content provided by internet-enabled audio platforms vis-à-vis the traditional radio streaming and are slowly making the switch. It is estimated that by 2020, U.S. adults will spend more time (86.9 minutes) listening to digital audio than radio (78.8 minutes).

Programmatic Audio enables marketers to deliver, refine, and optimize their creatives with predefined attributes on a real-time basis – a feature impossible due to the rigidity of traditional radio ads. It also gives buyers greater efficiency by reducing operational costs and ensuring maximum reach. Moreover, Programmatic Audio can be traded globally by utilizing the resources provided by leading Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), trading desks, brands, agencies by making use of the large supply-side inventory available at their disposal.

Programmatic Audio – Here’s How

Now that we have established the importance of including Programmatic Audio in the marketing mix, let us understand how to reach our target audience using Programmatic Audio.

According to a study conducted by IAB, mobile devices and laptops/ desktops are the platforms to target when looking to reach out to an audience through Programmatic Audio advertising.  It is estimated that, by 2020, there will be 2.87 billion mobile phone users worldwide. This increases the user base and reaches for digital advertisers.

Programmatic Audio Devices

Using these platforms, advertisers have one of the following two options to adopt Programmatic Audio Advertising:

  • Self-serve using a smart DSP: Running Programmatic Audio campaigns on a smart DSP is similar to running programmatic display or video campaigns – you are presented with various targeting, creative, budget, and bid options. Choose the right parameters on the basis of your ad requirements but remember to have your audio spots ready. Hire professionals to record audio ads for you in standard lengths (15, 30, 60 seconds) and formats specified by IAB.

There are, however, a few points for you to remember when choosing a DSP:

  • Most DSPs out there have a minimum spending requirement. Choose one that suits your budget the best.
  • Choose a DSP that gives you the flexibility to configure your targeting parameters and to reach the most relevant audience by incorporating both 1st-party and relevant 3rd-party audience data.
  • Look for a DSP that allows you to completely own, view, customize, and optimize your campaigns on a real-time basis as per your requirements.
  • Support is as important as the DSP itself. Opt for a DSP partner who can also provide technical support with respect to campaign setup & management.
  • Ask for detailed campaign reports and analytics that will help you modify your campaigns in real-time.

If you are still skeptical about diving into the world of Programmatic Audio hands-on, we suggest the second option – Managed Services Programmatic Audio.

  • Managed Services Programmatic Audio: Managed Service campaigns are best suited for programmatic initiates and skeptics alike. This option allows you to entrust programmatic experts to set up, run, and manage Programmatic Audio campaigns on your behalf while giving you full access to view and modify the campaigns during run-time. As with self-serve, we recommend watching out for the following qualities in your managed services partner: Choose a partner who has expertise in running Programmatic Audio campaigns. Additionally, look for partners who can leverage their direct supply-side relationships as well as their existing 3rd-party contracts to get you access to the best inventory.
  • Ask for Full-Spectrum Transparency: Your partner should disclose all the costs upfront so that you get your money’s worth. With full-spectrum transparency, you also have complete access to your Programmatic Audio campaigns to view and recommended changes in the campaign as you go.
  • Ask for detailed campaign reports and analytics that will help you make informed choices and modify your campaigns in real-time.
  • And finally, your partner should be able to get you better results, without increasing your cost.
  • If you are in the market for a smart DSP, we recommend using Vizibl DSP. It does not require minimum monthly payments and gives you the option to pay as you go. It doesn’t enforce long-term contracts and commitments and gives you complete access to your campaigns. Vizibl DSP is backed by a team of technical and functional experts available to answer all your queries.
  • Vizibl DSP also allows you to leverage the expertise of its in-house programmatic team for running managed service Programmatic Audio campaigns. You get full-spectrum transparency without specifically asking for it and you get to decide the rest for yourself. No matter what you choose, self-serve or managed services, Vizibl DSP has got you covered.
  • Are you convinced about the benefits of Programmatic Audio or do you still have any questions? Reach out to us at and we will be happy to help you with your queries.

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