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With IAB UK’s Real Living research showing that people are listening to digital audio even more frequently than before the pandemic, advertisers’ opportunity to be speaking to a highly engaged audience is greater than ever. But how can brands immerse themselves in this unique environment without interrupting the listener’s experience? And what role does mood-state play when it comes to effectively leveraging audio? Here we draw on findings from our research and IAB UK’s audio members to share their advice.

Respecting context and recognizing a listener's mood are both hugely important when it comes to online audio advertising. How should brands be thinking about mood and context when building audio campaigns?

“Mood and context are paramount when it comes to building audio campaigns. For streaming music, campaign studies have shown that when audio ads have background music that matches the genre of music being listened to - essentially matching the listener’s mood - there is an astounding 238% higher engagement rate compared to non-personalised ads.

Following an internal beta testing study for podcasts, contextual targeting based on speech-to-text transcription has proven to be 50%+ more effective at driving conversions than targeting with traditional behavioral segments such as household income or occupation.

Audio targeting technology today has advanced to a point where we can really hone listener context (device type, location, weather), even if listening is taking place on a smart speaker or through headphones. Imagine reaching a listener with an advert for an iced coffee when the temperature reaches a certain degree, but only targeting those within a certain radius of the cafe.”

Pierre Naggar, SVP of global demand, AdsWizz

Relevance is really important when it comes to resonating with audio audiences. How can brands use the tools available to them to create relevant audio ad experiences?

“Brands firstly need to target the right audiences. Utilizing clean, quality, first-party data audiences – such as our auto intenders – can be six times more effective compared to general demographic targeting. Brands can find the appropriate people that they want to speak to and further tailor their message based on these data sets. Digital audio already has the unique advantage that it is a very personal, often in-ear experience, which cuts through the noise.

However, making the creative more relevant to listeners can elevate this impact even more: for example, focusing on interests, location or the digital device that they’re using by prompting audiences to say commands to their smart speaker or shake their smartphones. Not only can this make audio ads more exciting for the listener, but it brings them closer to the brands’ products/services or streamlines the consumer journey.”

Anna-Lena Mikoteit, product strategy lead, Octave Audio

Online audio advertising indexes highly for enjoyment, so how should advertisers apply this learning to their campaigns and what can audio add to a wider media mix?

“Understanding audience moods and mindsets when consuming different online audio platforms can help advertisers to deliver more impactful messaging through relevant ads. Keeping creative messaging in line with consumer mindsets will help advertisers to deliver a more positive brand experience. Relevancy is key in driving a positive response from consumers - the more relevant and tailored the ad feels, the greater the memorability of a brand.

Advertisers and creative agencies should be assessing their standard audio ads to understand if they creatively align to consumer moods and mindsets. The creative messaging needs to align to the feeling of enjoyment - showcasing positivity through the ad will help advertisers to deliver on awareness and consideration metrics. A break in a consumer’s positive cycle can lead to a negative impact and experience and, in turn, create a negative association with a brand.”

Nadia Khashem, account director, OMD UK

Podcasts are rated highest for engagement. Given this, what should brands be considering when creating podcast ads?

“It’s all about relevancy and authenticity. Brands should only work with podcasts that reach the right audiences that they want to target and have an existing interest or affinity with the brand or its products/services, and ensure ads sound as genuine or authentic as possible.

“For example, last year our magazine brand Grazia launched its first beauty podcast and partnered with John Lewis to promote its new beauty and wellness range. This was so successful as we knew from our research that 77% of Grazia audiences considered wellness a priority, so were therefore the ideal audience to target new beauty products and athleisure wear. Plus, with the series inviting different beauty and wellness experts to share their tips, advice and recommendations each episode, all John Lewis promotional content fit authentically and naturally within the episodes.”

Simon Kilby, managing director, Bauer Media Advertising