Google tunes into digital audio with new ad products to aid buying and selling
Google is continuing its push into the $3 billion digital audio market, rolling out new tools and features that makes transacting on the channel more similar to buying and selling display advertising.
The search giant says it is making it easier for marketers to find and target listeners in its marketplace through its programmatic buying platform, Display & Video 360 (DV360). It's also introducing new tools, such as Audio Mixer, which allows media buyers to quickly create audio ads at scale. Other features include a dedicated marketplace for digital audio content and new measurement products.
Over on the sell side, also known as Google Ad Manager, the company is arming publishers with Dynamic Ad Insertion for audio, which allows ads to be dynamically inserted in between songs, for example, based on who is listening.
Digital audio has seen wild growth since the Interactive Advertising Bureau first began tracking the channel in 2016, which is when it first hit more than $1 billion in U.S. ad revenue. Today, it generates more than three times that number, and its explosive growth is directly related to new tools that make transacting on the channel similar to other digital formats. Google itself began delivering audio ads to companies such as Spotify, Pandora and SoundCloud in 2018.
Long road ahead
Google’s latest audio tools will likely be welcomed by the market, but the company still has some ways to go.
Publishers cannot currently use Google Ad Manager to push out podcasts through multiple platforms, but it's something the company is working on, Carol Walport, product manager at Google Ad Manager, told Ad Age.
“We are currently exploring building out additional podcast functionality,” Walport says. “Where and how podcasting content is consumed creates additional challenges for enabling more traditional programmatic use cases and efficiencies, such as measurement and frequency management, for the whole ecosystem.”
There's also a learning curve for some brands, who sometimes shoehorn audio ads into content without taking into account what the person is listening to or where they are.
“Audio is such an intimate medium that the type of content and possibly how it is being consumed will be an important part of a brand’s connection to listeners, both for music and podcasts,” says Natalie Bennett, product manager of DV360 at Google. “A lot is still new in this area, but contextual data is top of mind for the team, including device type and genre of music or podcast to help brands complement, not distract, from the user experience.”
Podcast ad revenues are expected to climb to about $813 million this year, a 15 percent upswing over 2019, according to the IAB.