The way we live has seen dramatic changes, says Lina Adelt, Head of Marketing at A Million Ads; so marketers need to adapt too…
Streaming and podcasting has skyrocketed over the past year, dramatically changing how consumers listen to music. Podcasts, for instance, are still seeing immense growth due to our transformed daily lives. As a result, we’ve seen podcast listening move away from spiking around commuting times and work breaks towards a more constant stream of listening throughout the day.
In addition, new research from The Trade Desk revealed that young people especially are more likely to be consuming music streaming services on the go, with over 53 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds listening to streamed music in 2021.
For this younger Gen Z audience, digital audio is so much more than just background noise. These consumers use music and podcasts as a form of escapism and to unwind from the stress of their daily lives. This is supported by a recent study from Spotify on marketing to Gen Zs, citing that 66 percent said audio has helped them feel less alone this year, while 71 percent said they use audio to reduce their stress levels. What’s clear is that audio is now the number one channel to reach younger audiences – surpassing social media and gaming – and advertisers need to listen up.
Take audio off mute
Audio is inherently an intimate channel, with 80 percent being streamed with no visual media available. As a result, this heightens the importance for advertisers to pay close attention to personalisation. Yet when it comes to audio advertising, all too often the ads are still generic and rarely use frequency capping, leaving audiences wondering why they repeatedly hear the same ad for ice cream when it’s wet and cold outside. And whilst this might be because brands are sceptical of personalisation for fear of being too intrusive, they needn’t worry.
Earlier this year, A Million Ads ran research with Attest which found 56 percent of people surveyed are willing to exchange their data for better ad experiences and 55 percent revealed they would consider buying from a brand whose ads are personalised. The same research found that 77 percent are annoyed at hearing the same standard ads repeated time after time.
So what can brands do to best engage with their Gen Z audiences?
The role of dynamic audio ads
Dynamic audio ads are a clever way to allow advertisers to change an ad’s messaging as it’s playing, so it’s personalised to the listener and served in the most relevant and appropriate context, based on a series of data signals. Further, through sequence and rotation, ads can be made even more dynamic, ensuring the messaging stays fresh and thus helping to avoid ad fatigue.
These inputs include contextual, demographic and, if available, behavioural data from the audio publisher, to know whether a person is interested in that specific advertiser’s category. It’s then possible to add layers of context, such as location, device type, day of the week, time of the day and weather. For instance, when Manchester United is playing a home game, a supermarket in Manchester may want to drive consumers to its stores to buy game-night snacks and drinks. Similarly, if it’s a sunny day, they could promote their BBQ range, but if it’s cold they might want to promote something more warming such as pizzas.
Adaptable and flexible
The creative options open to brands are almost limitless. Depending on the product or service being advertised, a whole range of data sets can be brought in to make a campaign contextually relevant. It could be changing which ski resort is mentioned depending on snow levels, or running taxi ads near a station where TfL data shows there is a problem with the nearest train or underground line. Retailers might also want to run ads according to stock levels. When data is integrated within a campaign that serves dynamic ads in real time, Black Friday offers, for example, could switch instantly from a product that has sold out to one which still has high availability.
Just as importantly, however, a series of ads can be developed so a person does not hear the same messaging twice. Sonic branding can remain consistent, but advertisers can tell a story that develops across a series of ads to avoid people becoming fed up with the same message repeated over and over again.
Streaming is here to stay
Streaming music and podcasts have become deeply integral to the everyday lives of Gen Z and not just as a result of the pandemic. What’s more, today’s younger audiences no longer want to be talked at but look for meaningful content they can engage and connect with. It’s therefore time for brands to capitalise on this most intimate and immersive channel to tap into their audiences, sharing relevant, fresh and up-to-date messaging. Are you listening?