Programmatic Audio: An Alternative Way to Reach Consumers

An Emerging Format

Programmatic advertising has been one of the biggest and most important trends in the market, spanning across an array of media channels and formats. One of the newest advertising formats is programmatic audio, which places ads within audio content such as podcasts, music streaming apps, and online radio. With more than 133 million people worldwide owning smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, not to mention the soaring growth in popularity of podcasts, audio advertising is predicted to be a goldmine for advertisers. 

The Growth of Digital Audio

Streaming services accounted for 75% of all music-listening in 2018, and this number keeps growing, as more and more artists are making their music available on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. In addition, the popularity of voice-activated devices has also been on the rise, helping to fuel the growth of programmatic audio. Advertisers can utilize data points like “location, content type, and daypart” as alternatives to cookies or device IDs, allowing for accurate and effective targeting. 

IAB Europe predicts that by 2023 audio advertising is expected to become a €1bn market as media consumption shifts to screenless devices. 

eMarketer US Adults Are Spending More Time Using Digital Audio Than Social Media PubNative
US Adults Are Spending More Time Using Digital Audio Than Social Media

Creating a Personal Relationship with Listeners

Audio ads quite literally allow advertisers to speak to their customers in an intimate setting, where they are completely engaged with the audio content they are absorbing. It also allows them to be reached in screenless environments, such as in the car or cooking at home. Advertisers can target listeners in a one-to-one environment with highly personalized content that is adapted to their mood and music preferences and delivered at the right moment. Relevant content is less likely to cause annoyance and it’s even reported that almost 80% of listeners approve of podcast sponsorships because the content they are consuming is valuable to them. The potential of programmatic audio in terms of podcasts is huge as advertisers will be able to send more customized stories to each individual user based on their interests, offering personalized tailoring at scale that is not available on the market currently.

What’s Standing in the Way of Programmatic Audio?

Although digital audio is soaring in popularity, programmatic audio buying is lagging behind compared to other formats such as display and video. Challenges such as a lack of standardized measurement, not enough demand and ‘incompatible technology’ to support audio ads are currently holding back rapid growth. In addition, in-app audio supply is scarce as it is mostly available within major music streaming apps such as Spotify and Pandora but there is not as much supply sold on the open exchange as many big publishers are opting for PMP deals. It is slowly emerging as publishers are becoming more and more interested in programmatic audio but it may take some time for it to become widely popular among smaller publishers.

However, as digital audio is deemed to have a lower risk of fraud and to be a brand-safe environment, along with the level of personalization that this medium allows, expectations are high for the future of programmatic audio. 

We’re excited to share that we’ll be trading programmatic audio inventory very soon. Stay tuned for updates! Get in touch with us at

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