“Podcasting is still the Wild West,” a client recently told me during a meeting. “I can’t measure and attribute. I can’t really target audiences.”
For a second, I was speechless. That’s just patently false.
Look, I’ve been in the digital space for some 20 years. Long ago, the digital industry did feel 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 trade group provided tech standards and professional development and helped cultivate order from the chaos.
“There's a lot happening in media in general,” I said in response to my client. “The business is changing so fast—especially the audio business.” I then began sharing research about how to leverage the myriad digital capabilities available to hyper-target audiences.
One of the things I spoke about was the Audacy Digital Audience Network (ADAN), a high-performance audience solution we launched in the spring. Brands told us they were looking for the ability to measure and attribute efficiency and effectiveness in the buying process. The whole reason we developed ADAN was because you can do all the things that this client claimed that you can't. The audio value proposition has been redefined from one of reach and frequency to one of precision at scale.
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 podcasting today, we do have the ability to target by psychographics and demographics too.
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 podcast and streaming audio can have on driving retail sales. Working with trusted partners like Claritas, a data-driven marketing company, and IRI, an industry leader in consumer, shopper and retail marketing intelligence, we created a new method to measure audio exposures and pair that information with sales datasets.
The granularity basically reflects what IRI has been doing in the magazine publishing space for many years by matching massive identity graphs and triangulating them against loyalty cards. This is technical data-driven stuff that people don't ever think about when they think about audio in general and, more specifically, podcasting.
Using ADAN, we are able to tell our CPG partner which products were bought specifically based on the advertisements the brand ran across our network. We can share with our client the customer’s average basket size and even which product consumers purchased instead of another brand in their category.
Precise audiences at scale
Audio has long been known as a reach medium, used in advertising campaigns to touch large numbers of consumers quickly. That’s still true today, both for the industry and our company. As the country’s leading producer of local sports, music and news brands, Audacy’s broadcast radio and digital properties reach 200 million listener connections per month. There’s tremendous power in audio with a super-deep engagement you really don't get with any other media.
Brands can find audiences at scale with our digital properties, too. Using streaming content, the Audacy app and our wide-ranging stable of podcasts, ADAN reaches over 60 million high-quality listeners each month that other audio platforms and streaming services don’t.
There are many ways advertisers can leverage the unique capabilities of audio to achieve precision at scale and generate ROI. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when incorporating advertising into your media strategy.
Tap the power of total audio. We’re seeing that digital audio campaigns are working harder when a total audio strategy is used—across the board—whether the goals are web visitation, sales or brand lift. So be sure to message on multiple channels to reach listeners throughout their day.
Play to their passions. Think less about classic demographic groups, more about fans and where they gather.
Use podcasts for emotional connections. Podcasts have a special power to connect with listeners. And try working with influencers and others whose emotional connections can drive listeners to action.
Try variety—and test. Use different messages to reach your multichannel listeners, and keep testing to learn what moves them the most.
As my client meeting wound down, I pointed out that while everyone is strapped for time, it’s critical to have the most up-to-date information. “Really lean into your sales consultants,” I said, suggesting the marketer reach out regularly to the industry expert they feel most comfortable with. What’s most important is that they jump on a call every month or quarter to get the latest technological updates.
At the end of the day, listeners identify with audio. When you’ve found your people on a radio show or a podcast, you’re engaged and inspired and primed to take action. Disruptive advertisers are changing their approach to make the most of these more engaged listening opportunities.
To learn more about best practices, read Audacy's latest State of Audio Guide here.