Marketing is one of the key forces that gets products and services into the hands and hearts of consumers. Given the importance of advertising, many companies employ a variety of marketing roles to develop creative and strategize across channels, along with generalized agencies of record (AORs). With all these resources devoted to advertising, you may be wondering why would any company enlist the help of a specialized agency, too?
In audio advertising, the team you enlist to define, launch, optimize, and measure your campaigns makes all the difference. It is critical to partner with a specialized agency that knows the industry’s ins and outs, because audio isn’t like search or social. For many brands, podcasts and streaming audio are new territory, with best practices still being defined. Moreover, new technologies are emerging every month addressing measurement, brand safety, creative, reporting, and analytics—brands need a partner that is on top of what’s next.
With a proliferation of channels, creators, targeting opportunities, buying methods, and tools, specialized agencies keep businesses on the cutting edge in a way that AORs and most in-house teams can’t because they lack the resources or expertise. Specialization can deliver quantifiable ROI that supports vision, mission, and growth—all while saving money.
The benefits of working with a specialized ad agency
What are your business goals this year? Are you aiming to drive brand awareness? Increase sales? Expand spend while preserving your in-house team’s sanity? Whatever your objectives now and beyond, specialized agencies like ARM work harmoniously with your in-house team or AORs to achieve shared goals. Together, we create comprehensive media strategies that improve ROI, provide insightful analytics and feedback, and develop your brand while saving critical time and resources.
The benefits are numerous, but we have outlined the broad strokes below.
Agencies purchase significant ad units upfront for a roster of clients, which puts them in a position to negotiate better rates than an individual company can. Since audio is our bread and butter, we have deep industry relationships. ARM has worked with most of our publishing partners for over two decades, which can help us secure the best spots and delivery. As the No. 1 podcast buyer in the U.S., we also have leverage to get the best rates, and our 25-year track record extends these capabilities well beyond podcasting and into areas such as streaming and terrestrial radio.
Upfront plan creation
Upfront plan creation saves businesses time and money—but upfront plan creation with a specialized agency also maximizes returns. With the scope and budget of an audio plan defined, specialized agencies craft plans grounded in their client's needs while leveraging the unique insights of dedicated audio experts.
Specialist agencies can pull from experience across hundreds of brands to leverage best practices, mapping what worked for similar brands and what is likely to work for you. We also know which channels, shows, creative, and audiences are likely to produce big results based on decades of fine-tuning our plans. Working with specialized agencies means you don’t have to spend months on market research; instead, you can quickly launch optimized plans grounded in research without doing all the work in-house.
Access to software
Not only do we know what works (and what doesn’t) and build our plans accordingly, we also have access to cutting-edge software that can prove it. We’re leveraging Sounder, Barometer, and other solutions to ensure placements are always brand-safe, while our reporting methodologies are just as specialized as our focus. We also employ and are experts in other softwares that address ad trafficking, grading, and airchecks, while our ad production and intelligence tools ensure ads are targeted, segmented, optimized, and support your goals.
Real time optimization at scale
Inflight optimization is the key to improving ad delivery. Matching ads to the right audiences across the life of a campaign requires consistent monitoring and validation—which many busy in-house teams can’t deliver. Inflight management means ongoing optimization, leading to better delivery that is measurable.
A specialized agency has the resources—the personnel, time, and expertise—to optimize inflight and can help you pivot between direct buys and the open exchange to hit delivery goals or amplify high-performing strategies. It takes a large team to execute this kind of in-flight management at scale, and specialized agencies ensure it gets done. We also can leverage direct lines of communication with audio publishers to secure makegoods when necessary.
In advertising, timing is everything—and even more so in audio. For maximum conversions, you have to target effectively, which means scheduling strategically. Audio is the medium most likely to meet the right audiences at the right moments—and ARM’s experts have insights on how and when to schedule based on a brand’s unique goals. Optimization, measurement, and scheduling all go hand in hand in an intricate process in which specialized agencies are well-versed. Whether it's managing schedule shifts or makegoods, nothing slips through the cracks with a dedicated team of experts narrowly focused on every campaign.
Measurement in audio was once a point of confusion for advertisers—and as the ecosystem has caught up, options for measurement have proliferated. That hasn’t minimized the confusion, however. Attribution is still often misunderstood due to the multitude of vendor options, number of methods of measurement, and proliferation of moving parts between data collection, data synthesis, modeling, and third-party data feeds. The result is an unclear picture of channel performance that can leave campaigns under-optimized.
With specialization comes a depth and breadth of expertise that validates the efficacy of methods and accuracy of the data. Exactness in data is power—and precision is paramount. At ARM, we’re leading the charge in demystifying audio measurement by marrying data science, performance analysis, and marketing strategy to ensure every campaign is having the greatest impact on your business.
How One Brand Scored Big With ARM
Goal: Reduce overpayments and inaccuracies while recouping ad dollars
When a business that offers last-minute deals on sports, theater, and concert tickets came to ARM, it desperately needed to streamline a multimillion-dollar advertising deal with a major sports and culture publisher. The brand wanted to verify performance, save ad dollars, and ensure that it was optimizing its advertising budget to get the best results without overspending.
Strategy: Leverage agency insights to correct issues of late insertion, wrong positioning, and more
ARM always reviews the details of its partners’ existing publisher contracts. In the process, we frequently discover major issues of under-delivery that waste significant spending. In this case, ARM discovered that half the shows where ads were distributed had CPMs exceeding ARM’s rate card. Additionally, 27% of shows reported elevated, inaccurate impressions. In total, 20% of spots were flagged for late insertion, ad removal, shortened ad, wrong position, or a spot missing entirely. With this insight, ARM set out to correct these issues.
Results: Flagged spots totaled $719K, some of which was recouped
Utilizing an intricate procedure that takes into account everything from brand safety to stale reads, ARM requested makegoods for the flagged ads. While not every flag results in a makegood, future contracts can be renegotiated and budgets adjusted based on data from tracking underperformance and under-delivery. The value of the flagged spots totaled $719,000. Many makegoods were of equal value. In these situations, ARM can recoup an average of 10%-20% of spend.
Can a specialized agency work for you?
A specialized agency is like an extension of your in-house team, bringing in-depth knowledge of specific advertising areas and applying it to your unique objectives. Accessing services, rates, and expertise through a specialized audio agency means less cost to brands, more optimized resources, and internal teams and AORs freed up to focus on core projects. The result? Scale. Brands can only do so much in-house. With a specialized agency, you access the ability to buy across multiple channels and networks, programmatically and direct, unlock comprehensive creative and measurement, as well as streamlined billing and reporting. Specialized agencies expand your team to meaningfully deliver on all of the above, so you can grow efficiently.
At ARM, we’re in the business of audio and creator-based marketing. And after decades in the business, we are experts. We keep on top of market trends, measurement, optimization, and billing to ensure that you get the results you need.
Let us put audio on autopilot for you. Let’s talk.