Audio is booming. It’s rare to come across somebody who doesn’t put in their headphones at least once a day, whether it be to tune into a podcast or their favourite music streaming platform. In 2018, a surge in music streaming saw the fastest growth in music consumption since the 1990’s.

This does not mean, however, that audio has become as much of a platform for advertisers. In 2020, media company Xavis reported that only 10% of advertisers are confident in their knowledge of programmatic audio advertising. In the same report, 50% of publishers and media owners admitted to making zero revenue from digital audio advertising.

A look back at programmatic advertising

In 2018, Ofcom reported that the number of weekly podcast listeners had almost doubled in five years – from 3.2 million in 2013 to 5.9m in 2018.

This was a hugely positive sign in terms of audio programmatic marketing, as marketers could now consider implementing it into their strategies in order to reach their audiences at the best times.

“Programmatic started off as a way of using up remnant inventory,” said IAB UK senior programmer manager, Dee Frew. “It was a way of increasing the efficiency on leftovers, but as it has evolved it’s become more sophisticated.”

In the past, some marketers may have been slightly reluctant to embrace programmatic, due to issues such as click fraud. However, with AI coming into force, this can easily be detected, and hopefully enable more marketers to implement programmatic into their plans.

What does the future hold for audio advertising?

It seems an increasing number of platforms are considering programmatic as a solution. Most recently, in a move that will hopefully bring audio programmatic into increased usage, Centro has announced that it will be integrating its Basis platform with Adswizz digital audio advertising solution. The aim of the integration is to give programmatic buyers access to assets which will allow them to connect with more publishers.

Alexis van de Wyer, CEO of AdsWizz, said: “The AdsWizz and Centro integration enables marketers and publishers to capitalise on the increasing engagement of audio.

“We’re seeing that the growth of listening audiences is translating to a similar growth in programmatic audio advertising.”

It’s positive to see this integration coming into force; last year, we reported that research into programmatic advertising spend showed revenues had grown by 23% in 2019 to top €23 billion in 2020, according to the IAB Europe Attitudes to Programmatic Study.

The importance of programmatic as a marketing tool may be a result of, to use the popular phrase, ‘the current climate’.

Although the Centro and Adswizz integration is a positive sign in terms of programmatic audio advertising becoming increasingly popular, it seems most marketers are adopting the ‘wait and see approach’, to get a real grasp of the effects of COVID-19, according to the IAB Study, as nobody has a clear idea of what the future will look like.

However, things seem to be heading in the correct direction for programmatic, specifically audio marketing, with more and more people engaging with audio content. It will be interesting to see the growth of the channel within the near future and following the ‘end’ of the pandemic.