Personalisation & measurability are the 2 big advantages of digital audio platforms - Shashwat Goswami

Sneha Medda
Jul 13, 2022 13:39 IST
New Update
Shashwat Goswami Gaana

Shashwat Goswami - Gaana, talks about the trajectory of the Audio OTT space in the Indian market, the brand's competitive strategy for the Indian market, and much more in this brief chat with Social Samosa.

With AliveNow presents Social Samosa’s AgencyCon 2022 right around the corner, Social Samosa had a chat with Shashwat Goswami, Head of marketing - Gaana, who shared his thoughts on the position of Audio OTT space in the market, emerging trends seen in the space, the future of this market and much more.

Edited Excerpts:

What have been some of the top content consumption trends seen in the Audio OTT space, especially as the hybrid work culture becomes a norm? 

While morning & evening commute times continue to be the biggest time bands in terms of active listeners, during WFH, other time bands also saw a spike. 

Some other music trends we saw in last year:

  • Regional music has definitely picked up, especially Telugu & Punjabi seem to be getting traction in what used to be erstwhile hindi-only audiences.
  • Bhojpuri & Haryanvi are the fastest growing regional languages in terms of music content consumed.
  • “Languages heard per user” has gone up this year, driven by big regional hits like Pushpa, RRR, KGF, etc., which became popular across borders.
  • The Indie music genre benefited during the last couple of years as movie production & releases slowed down. This trend continues with several indie songs like pasoori & chand baliyan becoming top songs this year.  

From an advertising perspective - what have been the prominent trends? Who are the biggest spenders on this medium? 

There are many B2C brands that are leveraging audio OTT to connect with their customers. The USP of streaming apps is that brands can target their TG, which is why such a broad spectrum of clients advertise on Gaana. For example, an agarbatti brand can advertise in morning slots or on devotional playlists while a big health brand might choose to go after exercise playlists & bigger FMCG brands might decide to target all users across apps & websites. So there is a lot of flexibility in terms of budgets & targeting.

Some of the key spenders on Gaana are OTT, Mobile Handsets and wearables, Fashion, and Lifestyle. Even the auto industry, crypto-currency facilitators, and several BFSI are now emerging to be big spenders on our brand.

Where does Audio OTT stand in today's media plan? How much percent of the marketing mix does Audio OTT occupy at the moment? 

Studies show that humans do not have access to screen (video) during 30% of their day (e.g. shower, driving , jogging etc); compared to this, Audio OTT share of media-spends is under indexed currently  (single digits currently). We see brands waking up to this soon & hence a huge opportunity to grow.

What unique purpose do you think Audio OTT serves for marketers? Any fundamentals to keep in mind before investing in audio advertising? 

Personalization & measurability are the 2 big advantages of digital audio platforms compared to traditional advertising platforms - so both big & small brands can use us.

How is the Audio OTT industry in India performing as compared to its global counterparts? 

India is a music-loving society, with Indian consumers spending 21.5 hours every week listening to music, against the global average of 17.8 hours. Helping to satisfy this love for music is the audio OTT industry (along with traditional Radio & websites). The launch of various Indian audio OTT platforms, as well as international platforms, is testimony to the immense potential for growth in India.

What's Gaana's competitive strategy for the Indian market? What would you say is your USP for brands & advertisers both? 

Gaana for advertisers is unique as we can provide both scale & sharp targeting. 

  • We have a 170 million strong user base across the app, mweb etc  
  • This makes us the biggest audio streaming player in India. 
  • This user base can be sliced & diced based on the campaign objectives, & that is certainly attractive to advertisers.

Gaana for consumers is a strong proposition for different reasons:

  • Best quality sound, thanks to higher bit-rate streaming for free users, makes listening to a song on Gaana entirely superior vs. other apps (you can try listening to the same song on various Indian & International apps to see the difference Gaana provides yourself!). Sound quality is even higher for subscribers (HD). 
  • Gaana has the widest collection of Indian & regional music content among our catalogue of ~40 million songs, and we have also acquired more than 40 thousand podcasts across 20  languages & genres.
  • Additionally, we also have unique and exclusive experiences such as Gaana Live concerts and Gaana Happy Hours, which help artists and audiences connect with each other. Both these properties have been a huge hit with audiences and present many opportunities for advertisers. 
  • Gaana is the highest-rated music streaming app in the country

Also Read: It’s not enough to have content that is great but dial back to the objective that was set – Naveen Murali

From an advertising perspective, which ad format offered by Gaana works the most for brands & is the most effective? 

Different brands choose ad formats as per their marketing objective.

  • Some brands looking to boost awareness might go for mass targeted interstitial display ads supported by audio spots. 
  • Others looking to build affinity with specific audiences tend to sharp-shoot based on user demographics & music listening history of users. 
  • Yet more brands looking to build affinity with users might want to be seen as sponsors /curators of appropriate content for their TG e.g. playlists/brand hubs.
  • While we have a myriad of brand solutions at our advertiser’s disposal, audio with Companion banner is the most sought-after inventory tool
  • Lastly, performance marketing (leading to a specific desired action/click) is also possible on Gaana & many new-age brands opt for this approach or format.

Regional content consumption has gone up drastically - which are the key markets for Gaana in this capacity? How are brands leveraging regional audio content on the platform to reach the audiences? 

We are seeing regional music like Bhojpuri & Haryanvi pick up quite well, this is in addition to the success of Telugu film music witnessed lately. The regional audio markets have been gaining traction as a result of the increased penetration of smartphones and internet connectivity. The untapped possibilities in these markets are immense, and OTT platforms have begun offering regional content in respective regional languages to attract consumer interest from all corners. Exposure to a variety of content has also made regional markets a promising ground for OTT platforms because there are opportunities to experiment with entertainment. Gaana has collaborated with brands for campaigns by creating dedicated playlists across themes (such as Valentine’s Day) to help brands reach out to their customers. 

Audio Marketing trends you foresee for 2022 

As marketers try to make their brands & content relevant for audiences in various settings like work, home, commute, etc., We foresee audio platforms audio advertising account for a growing chunk of total ad spend as it addresses incremental occasions & day parts when people do not have access to a video/screen. (upto 30% of the day) e.g., people involved in occasions like jogging, and driving are best reached via audio ott platforms.

We also think shorter ad formats will pick up (just like in TV) & lastly, brands will want to generate audio content (music & non-music) just like they do on social media for the audiences on audio platforms.

We are also headed towards a creator economy, just like in the video, with more users becoming content creators themselves & the artist & audiences coming much closer than before. Gaana aims to enable these via the new initiative of Gaana for artists.

As a jury member of Social Samosa AgencyCon Awards & Summit 2022, what are your expectations from the participants?

I would love to see all the creativity flow & learn from it. The standard of entries this year is very exciting, to mention the obvious.

Any message for the participants? 

Wishing them luck. May the best ideas win!

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