Programmatic Audio May Be Advanced Practice in the UK, but It’s Early Days for the US

Programmatic Audio May Be Advanced Practice in the UK, but It’s Early Days for the US

When it comes to digital advertising, the US often leads the pack in terms of adoption and innovation. But when it comes to programmatic audio, that’s not the case.

eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher recently spoke with Alexis van de Wyer, CEO at digital audio supply-side platform (SSP) AdsWizz, about how programmatic is being applied to radio and audio advertising, and how some countries are outpacing the US.

eMarketer:

What are you seeing today around the use of automation in the digital audio space?

Alexis van de Wyer:

People who listen to digital audio today are in their cars, on their phones, at the gym, etc. So it’s a very mobile activity. And it’s also very personal. It’s your own taste, your own stations, your own podcasts. It’s also very time- and location-based. All those elements make audio a very good medium to talk to the end user in a very personal way for brands.

Marketers see it as a way to interact in a pretty profound way with users, where they can almost have a conversation with the end listener. We’re at the beginning of that, but it’s an important trend, especially for dynamic creators who are looking for interactive ads that allow you to ask, “Are you interested in this?” And then you can start getting an answer and having a conversation.

Voice-activated internet has opened new doors. We’re going to move away from one-way advertising toward much more of a conversation. All of that is possible if you use programmatic. Because as soon as you start going into dynamic creative or personalized messages or interactive messages, you need to be able to dissect these pieces and serve them programmatically. You can’t do this manually.

eMarketer:

How prevalent is programmatic advertising in digital audio today?

Alexis van de Wyer:

A lot of people are saying that programmatic is going to take audio by storm and change the way audio advertising is done. But it’s just starting in the US. I expect it to increase very aggressively now that some of the larger publishers have launched their programmatic products.

In countries like Australia, it’s almost entirely programmatic for digital audio. The UK is probably 60% programmatic, and France is probably 70%. Germany is also growing pretty aggressively. In the US, we’re still at the early stages in terms of programmatic, but it’s growing fast.

eMarketer:

What does programmatic actually look like in terms of application?

Alexis van de Wyer:

There are two different approaches. One is the pure automation of insertion orders [IOs] and traditional buys for radio. The other is more digital-specific, where buyers are looking to bring programmatic in to leverage audio like they’ve done with other mediums, but were not able to do with audio previously.

eMarketer:

What are some examples of programmatic executions?

Alexis van de Wyer:

You might have an advertiser that ties a campaign to the point of sale, where they serve a consumer a different ad every time they pass within a mile of a McDonald's or Starbucks. It’s location-based and very dynamic; they can even measure the foot traffic when consumers go into the store.

We had several campaigns in Germany, the UK and now the US where we used our "Shake Me" product. On your phone, you don’t necessarily want to double-click on a banner when you’re listening to audio. That’s not practical. So we built a product where you actually shake your phone to trigger a call to action. If you’re listening to an ad for Starbucks, with our technology, when you hear the ad and shake your phone, you can download a coupon for a discount. Or, you might get directions to the store.

eMarketer:

Any examples of programmatic being used for traditional radio?

Alexis van de Wyer:

Yes. You have some markets where the primary focus of programmatic is on automating and simplifying ad operations. It’s purely automation of the traditional insertion order, where sales teams use the programmatic platform instead of manually placing an IO to run ads. For example, Home Depot might convert the 200 campaigns it used to run with manual IOs and now will use a programmatic platform to place and track the ads. There’s no bidding in this scenario, as it is an agreed-upon, fixed price. But it’s a much more efficient process.

Interview conducted on September 9, 2018