You might hear some people say that audio is dead. We’re here to prove, audio is very much alive and kicking. Seriously. And it’s uniquely positioned to help you reach more customers, grow your business, and crush your competition – and still get home in time to binge a few episodes of your latest Netflix obsession before bed.
What are audio ads?
Let’s start with the basics. Audio ads are ads that play on digital audio streaming platforms like Spotify and podcasts, and AM/FM radio. They can be read live by a show host or DJ, or produced in advance and inserted programmatically to reach a specific audience. (That second one means you and your bestie could be listening to the exact same episode of a podcast, at the same time, and hear completely different ads. Crazy, huh?)
Audio ads can also reach listeners in public places through digital out-of-home options (like streaming speakers and digital jukeboxes in bars and restaurants, for example.)
How can audio ads help grow my business?
Aside from giving you first-class bragging rights (seriously, people will be blown away when you tell them you have ads running on Spotify), audio ads can help your business in a number of ways.
They can increase your reach, boost brand awareness, and promote your products and services. They can help you generate local leads and drive revenue. And, if you’re looking to get more people to visit your website or sign up for your email list, audio ads can help with that, too!
Decibel makes running audio ads a breeze. We have advanced audience targeting, a powerful conversion pixel, and you can start no with minimum spend – so you can reach the right people and see how your campaign is driving conversions, without breaking the bank.
How do audio ads work?
As we mentioned earlier, not all audio ads are served in the same way. Here are a couple key differences to keep in mind:
Programmatic ads vs. Host-read ads
Host-read ads are just what they sound like – they’re audio ads read by the host of a podcast or stream.
Host-read ads can be effective, because the listener hears the ad from someone they know and trust. But, they can’t be targeted to specific listeners and demographics. And, let’s be honest – we’ve all heard our favorite podcast host flub the name of a product or butcher a sponsor’s promo code. You probably won’t be laughing if you’re the one footing the bill for that ad read.
Programmatic ads are pre-produced audio ads that are inserted automatically into music or podcast episodes on audio streaming services. They CAN be targeted to specific listeners and demographics. And, they’re more efficient than host-read ads because they can run multiple times on multiple platforms.
AM/FM (terrestrial) radio ads vs. Digital audio ads (Spotify, Apple Music, podcasts, etc.)
AM/FM radio – also called terrestrial radio – is still a major player when it comes to audio advertising. Essentially, AM/FM stations run ad “spots” during certain time slots, like the morning drive or midday.
Radio ads can be somewhat targeted. But, you’re stuck trying to find the strongest combination of market (location), format (music or talk genre) and listener demographic that best lines up with the audience you’re trying to reach. Trust us – hitting that sweet spot is harder than nailing jello to the wall.
Digital audio ads play during podcasts and on music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and many more. Digital audio ads offer true targeting – so your ad reaches the specific audience you want it to, and doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
If you run your ads through a platform that offers advanced targeting, like Decibel, you’ll know your ads are reaching listeners who are most likely to convert. Plus, digital audio ads are often less expensive than AM/FM radio ads.
Sadly, digital audio ads can’t cook you braised short ribs or keep you warm when the power goes out. But they are a great option for boosting sales.
What are the benefits of audio ads?
Audio ads have a lot of unique qualities that can benefit your business. Don’t believe us? Check out these difference-makers that push audio ads above the other noise.
Reach your audience anywhere at any time
TV spots and Facebook ads are great. But can they serve an ad for a lawn care business to someone listening to Spotify while ACTUALLY cutting their lawn in the sweltering heat? How about serving an ad for new windshield wiper blades to someone listening to a podcast WHILE they drive home in a rainstorm?
Audio allows you to get your message in front of people when it matters most – wherever or whenever that may be. And because people are generally more engaged when they’re listening to audio, you can connect with them on a deep level and create a lasting impression.
Target specific audiences
Digital audio ads can help you reach your target audience by age, gender, time, location, language, music or podcast genre, etc. You have total control over who hears your message – so your marketing budget goes toward reaching people who are primed to buy, and not anyone who just happens to be listening.
Plus, it’s easy to tweak digital audio campaigns. So you can take a winning ad and make small changes – like using a different voice or background music – to target different demographics.
Launch your campaign quickly
Decibel’s self-serve platform makes it easy for you to hit the ground running. Just plug in your script, pick a voice and music, and you’re ready to go! Once you have your campaign set up, your ads start running in a matter of hours.
And if you’d choose having to wrestle a starving grizzly bear over trying to write your own ad scripts, you’re not alone. But we’ve got you covered! Check out Decibel’s in-depth video series on the basics of writing audio ads – it’ll have you cranking out high-converting scripts in no time!There are just four basic steps to creating and publishing your campaign with Decibel. Click here to see how easy it is to launch your audio ad campaign.
No minimum ad spend
Your accounting department doesn’t know it yet, but they’re about to become huge fans of audio ads. Why? Because the price is always right!
Seriously, audio ads are a great option for businesses of all sizes since the cost is so low compared to other forms of advertising. And best of all, Decibel has no minimum ad spend! So you can get your message on Spotify, podcasts and digital radio without breaking the bank.
Track & optimize your campaign easily
Digital audio campaigns are easy to tweak. So test as many variables as you want, ditch the stuff that isn’t working and crank up the stuff that is! Decibel offers advanced analytics and a conversion pixel so you know when and where your ads are playing, and how they’re driving sales.
How can audio ads be measured for success?
An ad campaign isn’t worth much unless you can prove it’s actually working. There are a number of ways to gauge the performance of your audio campaign:
Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
Here are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) commonly used to measure the success of digital audio advertising campaigns:
- Impressions: The total number of times your audio ad has been heard by a listener.
- Total Unique Reach: The number of people who heard your ad at least once.
- Frequency: The average number of times each person who heard your ad listened to it.
- Average Cost-Per-Mille (CPM): The cost of your ad per 1,000 impressions.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): How much it costs you to acquire a new customer through your ad campaign.
- Listen-Through Ratio: Tracks the ratio between the number of ads listened through to the end to the total number of impressions recorded for your campaign.
- Total Conversions: The total number of times your ad achieves your desired outcome – often your call-to-action (CTA).
These KPIs will give you a good idea of how well your audio ads are performing and whether or not they are reaching the right audience.
Once an audio campaign is running, you can track sales/conversion lift to see how effective it is.
Bigger companies can run apples-to-apples comparisons, like checking sales in a market where ads are running against a market where they’re not. Smaller companies running ads in just one market can compare sales during the campaign to sales before it started running.
Companies can also create a unique landing page or URL, use it as the call-to-action in their audio ad, and look at the traffic to that page.
Decibel has a powerful pixel that can help track conversions and get the best results for your campaign.
Sometimes, the simple way is the best way. Go old-school and ask your customers how they heard about you. Or, offer a discount or deal as part of your call-to-action, and see how many people mention it. The classics are classics for a reason.
What types of businesses are in the best position to benefit from audio ads?
We truly believe every business can benefit greatly from an effective audio campaign. However, there are a handful of businesses that are in a unique position to see the most benefit from running audio ads:
National/regional brands looking to reach local
The precise targeting abilities of digital audio, especially the hyperlocal options offered by Decibel, make it a great option for larger brands looking to reach local customers.
That’s what worked for Slice, an all-in-one ordering and marketing tech platform for local pizzerias. As a part of their marketing strategy, Slice rolled out hyperlocal audio ads targeting area codes near, and around, specific stores.
A 6.4X ROAS (return on ad spend.) The case study is coming soon!
The ability to target multiple unique ads to several locations at low cost make audio ads a great option for larger brands looking to reach local customers, like:
- Bars and restaurants with locations in multiple cities/states
- National or multi-national corporations with franchises in specific regions
- Real estate companies with agencies in different cities/markets
- Nationwide service companies (plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc.) looking to bring in leads for local independent contractors
Local businesses looking to grow their customer base
The extensive targeting abilities mentioned above make digital audio a great option for local businesses as well. Audio ads are great for brand awareness and for increasing traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.
Service-based businesses that rely on lead generation to bring in new business can use audio ads to separate themselves from the competition, and ensure their ads are heard only by people in the area they serve.
Companies looking to capitalize on timely events
The advanced targeting and speed with which a campaign can go live make audio ads a prime opportunity for companies looking to capitalize on something with a specific location and time frame.
Kanye West’s team (yeah, THAT Yeezy) joined up with Decibel to execute a hyperlocal, targeted audio ad campaign to get people talking about a new music video on the day of its release in a trendy Japanese fashion and nightlife district.
We’re writing up the case study so you can learn why they targeted that spot specifically.
Hyperlocal targeted ad campaigns centered on specific events often present a lucrative opportunity to reach your audience where, and when, they’re most primed to convert.
The possibilities are endless:
- Restaurant owners can run ads to reach visitors in town for a big trade show.
- HVAC companies can target neighborhoods with older homes during a heatwave.
- Tree service companies can target hard-hit areas after bad storms roll through.
- Tutoring companies can target parents near specific schools right after report cards come out.
- Gyms & wellness companies can advertise weight-loss programs on the first weekend of beach/pool season.
- Auto repair shops can encourage car owners to come in for new tires in cities about to get hit with big winter storms.
How can audio ads fit into my current marketing strategy?
Audio ads are a cost-effective way of diversifying your current marketing efforts. One audio campaign alone will help your business grow, but it also works well as part of a multichannel marketing strategy. Audio advertising can help increase brand awareness, leading to better conversion for your other forms of advertising.
And, the more people hearing about your brand and product, the more people there are searching the web for your brand and product. Getting a flood of Google searches for your company is never a bad thing!
How can I get started with audio advertising?
Decibel has the tools and resources you need to get your first audio campaign up and running in no time!
Click here to sign up and start growing your business with audio.
And if you’re interested in staying in the loop on all things audio and getting invaluable tips and strategies right to your inbox, sign up for Decibel’s newsletter.