With Facebook rolling out Bulletin, Twitter scaling up Spaces and a surge of audio-only social apps has led to a shift in the way we look at advertising and media landscape. Industry experts decode the audio advertising trends and factors that keep the ball rolling.
Chatter around live audio has increased tremendously in the last few months. In conversation with Sowmya Iyer, Founder, and CEO at DViO Digital, Virginia Sharma, VP- Brand Solutions at JioSaavn, Ravi K. Shharma, VP-Sales Gaana, Sanjeev Mehta, Business Head at IVM Podcasts, Karthik Nagarajan, Chief Content Officer, Wavemaker highlight the various trends that drove the audio streaming services in the past year and how it is no more a ‘complimentary medium’.
Audio Streaming – Key trends
Virginia shares that the last year saw a watershed moment for audio because of the convergence of multiple trends. She states that the programmatic ecosystem has really found its pudding. “However, we have been late to the game in India. People have finally understood that it’s about audiences and also the programmatic platforms are now integrating not just the display inventory but also audio. With the audio inventory now available programmatically, that makes it available to a broader set of advertiser’s v/s it being sort of sitting outside the party,” she adds.
Third, Earbud Moments have gained prominence. Audio is refreshing and different. Through it, brands can communicate a personality. Brands looking at audio as a way to deliver brand experiences.
According to Sharma, audio has always been a complementary medium. It’s never been about choosing social and commerce. It was never about replacing any other media habit. Integrating audio space in the consumer journey is happening at the moment.
Somya too opined that programmatic integrating audio inventory democratizes the use of audio in a way that the category hasn’t witnessed before.
Audio Content Consumption- How, When & What
Here, Ravi puts the spotlight on key observations made in consumer audio content consumption since the pandemic first hit last year.
How– A large part of the consumption was happening during office commute hours, which has changed. Now, multiple members of a family are using one device to listen to hear different pieces of content at different times.
When – The audio consumption peaks towards evening 9-10 PM onwards to 2 AM. From the metro cities, a huge amount of consumption is happening for late-night sessions. There is a new set of consumers tuning in from outside of metro cities.
What – From a typical Bollywood-driven music consumption, we have noticed trends where a lot of independent artists are gaining traction. With the advent of podcasts and audio shows, people are experimenting with a lot of content formats beyond music.
Trends in Audio & Podcasts
With podcasts coming of age, Sanjeev is of the belief that for any medium to grow, demand, supply, and distribution- form primary pillars.
“In terms of supply – the only challenge was that there were not too many distribution channels to upload the content created. At present, there is a huge surge of podcasts availability on all audio streaming,” he shared.
Today, Brands want to collaborate with influencers who can hold a conversation, irrespective of the duration of the content. Secondly, while there may be lots of influencers talking about brands, influencers who are actually on podcasts somehow have the capability to hold the conversation for 20-40 minutes. Brands would want to partner with them and within that association, they demand a lot of content integration which is where IVM plays an important role.
He stated further, “While programmatic is one way to monetize the inventory, but at the time being the content producers and creators we focus on a lot on content integration and not programmatic which is actually what brands are looking forward to.”
From an economic perspective, what happening in the programmatic space and the AI-led dynamic creative optimization is very critical for this industry, he noted.
Whether it’s a conversation with brands or creators, Karthik thinks it is amazing to see a number of things being experimented with. Education and training have been explored in a way never seen before on podcasts. News is being explored in a way India should have explored many years back.
Experimentation is the key driver and especially when we don’t truly know what’s working. With growth there is a keenness to add this to your media mix, where do you see the audio advertising being placed?
Ravi elucidated that brands need to see audio as a place to collaborate like the way they see video and just not like a reach or frequency builder. That’s where the mindset needs to change. He also urged brand managers and marketers to look at them as a media line item and not just an experimental budget platform.
“Audio plays a role in all levels of the marketing funnel. When you think about building sonic brands or creating brand recall and love,” Virginia quipped.
“Every organization should have their own podcasts, talk to a lot of internal and external stakeholders which is where we have been working very closely with clients and help them develop their own podcasts. Complicated messaging can be achieved through it. It’s a completely uncluttered medium. It’s not all tried and tested,” Ravi highlighted.
On a concluding note Karthik advised budding creators that in the audio space, the real thing to crack is the cultural connect, whether it’s your own content or if you putting a brand on the platform.
The panelists shared the virtual stage on Day 2 of Social Samosa’s marque property SM Live.
You can watch the complete event here: