When most people think about a brand-building campaign, they often think about visually stunning video creative with high-profile talent or music, breathtaking OOH installations, or shiny print ads. But regardless of medium, they almost always also think about high price tags and long production schedules.
The good news is that audio advertising is actually a really powerful tool for building brand awareness, perception, and trust. As with all audio advertising in general, audio brand-building campaigns can be done impactfully and efficiently from both a budgeting and time-to-market perspective.
There is also tremendous growth in the consumption of audio, and the growth is projected to continue. An astounding 99% of the population can be reached by audio each month (broadcast radio, podcasts, streaming, and satellite radio) while broadcast radio alone reaches 93% of adults each month. It continues to reach more Americans every month than any other platform, linear or digital1.
- 209M people in the US listen to audio online monthly2
- 109M people in the US listen to podcasts monthly2
- AM/FM radio accounts for 76% of daily audio time spent with any ad-supported platform3
Building Your Brand Through Audio: Where to Start
Ok, now that you are sold on the magical brand-building powers of audio advertising - it’s time to discuss how to get started. Ad Results Media are specialists in everything audio - from podcasting to broadcast and satellite radio to streaming and social audio. We are here to help guide you every step of the way to successfully build, enhance or evolve your brand using audio advertising.
Know Your Target Audience
It is critical to use both audience affinity data and historical performance data to select the shows or types of content that will be the most effective for your brand to lead its foray into audio advertising. We recommend you identify the top 2-3 affinities that index high with your audience and search for programs or podcasts that focus on the lifestyles and passion points of your customers. Next, we recommend you vet those shows using their historical performance data and their propensity to drive your KPIs.
Develop Your Audio Branding Strategy
Most marketers haven’t made a concerted effort to focus on a consistent sonic brand, so the way they sound is all over the place. A good place to start to wrap your arms around the current state of your audio brand is by asking yourself the following questions:
- Which podcast hosts do live-read ads for you? Most often? For the longest duration?
- Are there any consistent intro and outro sounds, signals, or noises used in your ads?
- Do your pre-produced and host-read ads share any similar sonic components? Vastly different?
- Have you given creative freedom to several media partners, agencies, hosts, and producers that have resulted in significantly divergent ads?
- Are there any sonic similarities between your ad creative for each popular ad format: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll? Any major differences?
Take the answers to these questions and begin to identify opportunities and formats for sonic branding elements that your brand could utilize in its podcast advertising or other types of audio ads.
Find the Right Platforms and Programs to Advertise On
There are so many options to choose from when selecting the right platforms to run your audio brand campaigns. The online audio campaign with the greatest consumer awareness are2:
Finding the Right Podcasts
There are a lot, and I mean a lot of podcasts to choose from. When a brand sets out to find shows that will resonate with its target audiences, the prospects may seem endless. In the same way finding the perfect influencer partners on social media can seem overwhelming and manual, now imagine doing that without the functionality of the social media platforms and the additional benefit of hashtags.
Once you make a list of potential podcast advertising partners, you need to begin vetting them for campaign fit by downloading and listening to at least two or three of their episodes. This will help you get a feel for the content and tonality of their show and what type of ad creative may resonate best. This is also far more arduous than simply scrolling through an influencer’s Instagram feed to get a sense of brand fit and content style.
When you partner with a specialty agency that has successfully run tens of thousands of campaigns, they have proprietary tools that assist with the selection process as well as historical knowledge and relationships with the top-performing shows by genre to reduce vetting time. For example, at Ad Results Media we leverage our granular level of expertise, built over 25 years, thousands of touch points, 6,000 individual podcasts tested and performance data collected.
Develop Your Creative
When developing your ad creative, please check out our vast library of creative resources and best practices. These guides will help you build the ultimate audio ads to build your brand.
Buy Media and Implement Your Campaigns
There are two primary methods for buying audio advertisements: Direct Buys or Programmatic Audience Buys.
Purchasing the ad unit directly from the station, podcast show, or streaming audio platform. This method gives the brand more control over the inventory and placement of its ads.
Programmatic Audience Buys
Programmatic advertising includes any ad that is transacted or fulfilled via automation. If technology takes on any decision-making in the ad-serving process, it’s programmatic advertising4.
Measure and Iterate
Measuring the impact of your audio branding campaign is essential to generate learnings to iterate and optimize your approach and ad creative. There are several measurement tactics that you can use with your audio brand campaigns.
Brands can offer a custom promo code on podcast and audio content they are advertising on. A host can include mentions of the promo code in the main content or they can be promoted using more traditional ads and companion units. Creating a unique promo code for each placement is a great way to capture granular data to establish who is more efficiently driving sales. In order for this to be effective, it is critical to make sure your technical infrastructure supports the capability to create and track multiple unique promo codes and that your sales channels (direct or through a 3rd party) can accept promo codes and provide reporting data on usage.
Brands that are trying to drive immediate conversations or generate more broad-based consideration and engagement can measure their success using vanity tracking URLs. This tried and true direct response measurement tactic can also be used to measure the interest that your brand campaign generated. One way to create a more seamless transition and “warm handoff” when using vanity tracking URLs is to create custom landing pages that mention the referring content, offer, or podcast. These will reaffirm to the consumer that they are in the right place as well as generate a little goodwill by reminding them that your brand is supporting their favorite podcasts with your advertising. Similar to making sure your technical infrastructure supports unique promo codes, the same rules apply to vanity tracking URLs. You need to be able to generate and track these URLs with ease and granularity.
“How did you hear about us?” surveys are an excellent way to augment automated tracking data with self-reported responses from consumers. Asking a consumer where they heard about the brand is a great way to attribute exposure and, more importantly, recall and channel effectiveness.
Brand Building Advice from Audio Experts
“I've used video, podcasting, interactive gaming, live experiential events, and the written word to help convey clients' messages as powerfully and clearly as possible. I view each new business challenge as a fascinating puzzle to be solved with passion, teamwork, and creativity.” - Tony Carnevale, Creative Director, Ad Results Media
“The variety of inventory options within a specific show and/or across different networks is staggering and constantly evolving, especially when compared to only a few short years ago. The Ad Results Media team is comprised of specialists that can help navigate all of the tremendous opportunity that audio advertising can unlock for brands.” - Mike Kropko, Co-CEO, Ad Results Media.
“To ensure you are generating the most relevant learnings, clearly establish your KPIs upfront - but focus on the ones we know audio cues are particularly good at influencing: recall, brand connection, and purchase intent. In addition, be realistic about the testing duration needed to demonstrate results – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your audio brand.” - Kurt Kaufer, Chief Growth Officer, Ad Results Media
Recap and Conclusion
We move brands beyond just being heard. Ad Results Media is the preeminent podcast advertising, broadcast, digital audio, and creator-based video media agency. We exist to forge more intimate and powerful connections between brands, listeners, and their favorite show hosts through skilled media planning, media buying, and ad campaign execution.
1Nielsen Audio Today Report 2022
2Infinite Dial 2021
3Edison’s Research Share of Ear: Q4 2021
4eMarketer’s Programmatic Explainer Report