The enthusiasm around live audio has been amplifying by the day, whether it's the rise of a new social audio apps or already established platforms launching the functionality. This guide will help brands and advertisers to leverage the momentum of live audio for effective marketing.
As Live Audio is currently is in its initial stages in India a brand may not be able to rely on the format as a standalone strategy, but it can be integrated with the larger strategy; the state of audio in India is just right to not treat it as an 'experimental format' but as an integral element in the media plan.
Explaining the rationale behind the inclination of audio towards marketing, Amit Gupta, Managing Director, Httpool India, says "Digital audio allows advertisers to access the listening experience, where there is less competition. Audio should be approached holistically, blending in with all other formats along the user's path".
Live Audio can practically be utilized at any stage of a purchase cycle, whether it's creating demand, answering queries surfacing from interest, assisting purchases, or managing CRM.
Elaborating on the role of audio in stages of marketing, Virginia Sharma, VP - Brand Solutions, JioSaavn, states, "Audio plays a role in all levels of the marketing funnel when you think about building sonic brands or creating brand recall and love".
Audio consumption patterns are an added incentive for marketers, due to its passive and flexible nature, consuming audio easier than consuming any other format, a user can just plug in a headset or play it on speaker, and engage with it while doing another task like chores around the house, commuting, and more. Voice is also expressive and full of nuance that may get lost in translation into text or a static visual, an engaging factor that can hold consumers for hours.
Karthik Nagarajan, Chief Content Officer, Wavemaker, mentions the important factor to remember for a creator or a brand to ace audio on any platform is to crack the cultural connect.
Here are the top platforms that can be included in the media plan to leverage Live Audio for marketing.
Clubhouse is a voice-based social media platform for drop-in audio chats. Users can walk into 'rooms' and be a part of different conversations, hear stories, debate about topics or learn, with friends, or anyone around the world.
In a recent development, as a part of the Creator First program, Clubhouse will also be providing financial support to creators by connecting them to brands or providing a monthly stipend, and also help the creators with production and creative development. The program is designed to provide support and resources that creators need to flourish their creativity on Clubhouse and equip them with the required tools.
Spaces enable users to have voice-based discussions about a topic away from the chatter of users who might divert a conversation or disturb it, because of the public nature of conversations on Twitter. Users can create a space, invite users, manage who can speak, invite others via DM or share the space with a Tweet if they would like to extend the invitation to their followers who might be interested in the topic.
The creator of the space can also manage who can speak, by changing and saving the setting to ‘Anyone’, ‘People you follow', or ‘Only people you invite’.
Greenroom is the latest addition to the Spotify ecosystem bringing the live audio experience. It is a version of Locker Rooms, launched after the acquisition of its creators Betty Labs. Greenroom is available on iOS and Android in over 135 markets around the world.
Spotify users can join a group or a room, search for upcoming rooms, and create a room. The audio streaming app has also announced the launch of Spotify Creator Fund, which will help live audio creators monetize their work.
Live Audio Rooms By Facebook
Live Audio Rooms will be available on Facebook and Messenger in a few months. Users will be able to engage in discussions and conversations on topics they are interested in, in real-time and can host up to fifty speakers, and unlimited listeners. The rooms would surface in the News Feed, or via notifications.
In Rooms hosted by Groups, admins can grant access to moderators, group members, or other admins for the creation of Groups. Public Groups would allow visitors to be a part of the Room, but Private Groups would only host members (of the Group).
How To Use Live Audio For Marketing?
Now that we've grasped the insights, understood the platforms, let's dive into the use case applications for Live Audio for marketing and tips to ace the format.
Holding live audio conversations and answering journalistic questions, not only apprises consumers with new information relating to your company and increase earned media. It also gives journalists a chance to communicate with the spokesperson directly as opposed to sending a written question that gets answered by the spokesperson on video, eliminating the opportunity of engagement.
Any product launch customarily banks on elevated awareness about the new offering amongst the target audience, especially loyalists who are nurtured by brands, creating organic ambassadors. A number of consumer electronic brands, use community marketing, giving their loyalists the much-deserved VIP treatment.
Now, what if you take these community marketing initiatives to Live audio? Wouldn't it be cool for an ardent brand fan to speak directly to the CEO or the team responsible for the product? For instance, a consumer electronics company hosting a room for their engaged community of brand loyalists to launch its latest smartphone, or a fashion brand illustrating its newly out seasonal range.
Whether it's giving your consumer a chance to talk to your celebrity brand endorser, or their favorite creator or a notable personality relevant to your brand, a chance to talk to them or exclusively hear them has been made extensively easy through Live Audio.
This execution can be a part of a brand's indirect marketing strategy, it cannot be highly promotional, but providing a personal experience that a consumer would cherish as a memory would improve purchase considerations in the favour of the brand.
Discussions on topics relevant to your brand are one of the most effective ways to leverage Live Audio. These discussions are the newest form of user-generated content because the brand would only need to decide a topic or sub-topics if they want to maintain structure or they can also keep the conversation free-flowing, and the attendees would be providing the content.
A dating app hosting a discussion on relationships, an online food ordering company running a showdown on Mumbai Food v/s Delhi Food, a payment app initiating a dialogue on managing expenses, and the list goes on, select a topic relevant to your brand and integrate informational context on your offerings.
A Twitter Space organized by Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma had gone viral for the genuine insights derived in that quality discussion.
Adding value to consumers' Live content has been the most consistent way to stay relevant in the consumers' minds throughout the pandemic, and providing entertainment can be one of the ways that several brands can add value and remain relevant during sensitive times.
Gigs, digital concerts, request-based performances, stand-up comedy shows, soundscapes, and everything from audio entertainment can be harnessed to provide feel-good experiences to consumers during distressing or uplifting times.
A recent Think With Google report highlighting global consumption trends had suggested content that teaches the consumers something new or something related to their interest is one of the top consumption trends. Educational content has always been performing well, but it reaffirmed its mettle during the pandemic.
An insurance company giving financial advice, a confectionery brand sharing recipes for sweet treats, an optical products company teaching about lenses or photography, et al brand from each industry can host educational audio rooms or workshops. A lot of this is already being done on Live Video, but converting it to Live Audio makes its less intrusive, where a consumer can learn a new skill while completing other chores.
Basic live audio conversations that answer the consumers' questions can also be efficient utilization of a brand's online presence through audio. Whether it's answering interest-based questions of potential consumers or post-purchase CRM, hosting Q&A with consumers can be helpful for the complete purchase cycle.
Voice-Based Branded Content
Few creators and first movers in the audio landscape have been gaining momentum and substantial following that chalks up to a few hundred thousand followers.
Brands can collaborate with such creators for sponsored rooms and voice-based branded content. The collaboration process would more or less remain the same as only the format changes, a brand can hand over a brief and objective, and the creator can bring shape the content to achieve the goals.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Live Audio can also be used as an engaging format to fulfill CSR initiatives. Brands can associate with social activists, non-profit organizations, and anyone involved with charitable activities or initiatives in an attempt to bring about social change or have a meaningful dialogue and debate over current social issues, and discuss ways to positively impact society.
Several of such conversations subjected to social justice reform, anti-racism, constitutional laws, vices of the society, and more are already being hosted, brands can also partake in social change. These discourses can also act as an extension of on-ground efforts and initiatives.
Here are some tips to ace the live audio landscape, compiled with insights from industry experts.
- Use Live Audio to tease & promote events
- Structure the conversations and discussion points, or you may lose your audience
- Offer exclusive content not available on your other platforms on Live Audio
- Focus on a set of audience that will listen to the conversation, there is no one topic that works for everyone
- There are no rules anymore, everybody is doing everything. A conversation in a Clubhouse room can also be turned into a podcast
- Audio conversations can also be repurposed as video, just shoot the speakers having the conversation and leverage the footage on YouTube. Example, Joe Rogan.
- Incorporate subscription-based revenue models, through Ticketed Spaces or private rooms that would be accessible in exchange for a fee
- Offer additional content and services for paying subscribers
- Tap all possible formats such as text, short-form or long-form video, and more. Use the info to make Twitter Threads or YouTube Shorts, and more
As the scope of advertising grows further programmatic or automated advertising for audio is already underway, and new functionalities would also be added in the coming days, a probable addition of ad spots in active rooms has also been speculated.
Conceptualizing novel formats and constantly reimagining seamless marketing campaigns that 'don't feel like an ad' would be the way to move forward with Live Audio for marketing.