Member Q&A Series: The Role of Audio in Omnichannel Advertising

On August 12, 2021 Research & Resources

As digital audio and podcasting investment increases marketers and agencies are increasingly thinking about the role of audio in their digital media mix and increasingly in their omnichannel programmatic planning. In this Q&A article industry experts from the IAB Audio Council provide their insights on the role of audio and how it can work effectively for marketers in their media mix.

Thanks to The Trade Desk, Spotify, Verizon Media, Magnite and SCA for their contributions.


Sam Ward, Associate Director Business Development, The Trade Desk

When audio is included in an omnichannel programmatic campaign, should different metrics be used to measure success? 

As digital audio advertising is a relatively new channel, compared to others in the programmatic world, marketers are still playing catch up with all the advancements/innovation in ad tech and often turn to  age-old proxies that were used to measure success from radio campaigns – e.g. reach and frequency etc. 

As a result of this, branding-focused channels such as digital audio, are often thought of in siloes instead of being part of a full-funnel, omnichannel strategy that can impact your lower funnel activities. By just being focused on upper funnel measurement metrics, marketers end up with an incomplete, fragmented perspective of their overall marketing strategy. So in this sense, yes, different metrics should be used to measure success from programmatic audio campaigns vs. what’s heavily relied on today .

Programmatic allows brands to move beyond media metrics to measuring the impact of advertising on real world business outcomes. Digital audio is no different to more established programmatic channels such as display, video or even CTV in this respect.

When measuring the success of a digital audio campaign we need to move beyond traditional media metrics to understand the relative contribution of the channel to delivering outcomes such as:

  • Brand awareness, perception, or even purchase intent 
  • Mid funnel success metrics like online search or web traffic
  • Whether audio has helped to grow your prospecting pool for subsequent retargeting 
  • If and how audio has contributed to your customer’s purchase journey 

The beauty of omni channel planning and activation is the ability to leverage insights from one channel and put them to work through data in other channels. In doing so we create integrated media plans with the ability to optimise channel mix in real time to maximise results.

 By considering these types of questions, we’re able to better understand the role that digital audio plays in driving business outcomes as part of a broader omnichannel strategy.


Adrian Bingham, Director of Sales, Spotify

When planning a broad marketing campaign, why should digital audio and podcasting be included?

An estimated 15.6M* Australian’s stream audio every month and with the explosion in podcasts (600%+ growth across the past 2 years on Spotify alone**) this is a highly engaged audience listening to our longest form audio content.

Digital audio should no longer be considered an extension to radio and certainly not a consumer’s second choice or destination to consume audio; similarly, it should be top of mind for anyone in marketing planning a broad marketing campaign. As we have all seen COVID conditions are only accelerating the shift from linear broadcast to on-demand digital, breaking long held inhibitable media habits. 

*Nielsen Digital Panel February 2020 **Spotify 1st party data 2019-2021

How can agencies and marketers take advantage of the growing range of audio offerings in programmatic trading? 

Clients are able to leverage the same well known benefits of programmatic buying as they would across their other key programmatic media channels. Programmatic audio allows for increased speed to market, the ability to use data to target and optimise to the right audience while ensuring effective cross-device activations.

Some further additional benefits are listed below:

  • Flexibility and greater aggregated scale
  • Leverage key data sets – both first and third-party
  • Outcome-orientated, which ultimately will drive higher campaign ROI
  • The ability to integrate with client tech stacks, providing greater data insights and understanding of their customers

If a client is investing heavily in digital video what would audio add to the effectiveness of a campaign? 

The simplest response here is to reach your audience where visual media cannot, audio uniquely acts as a companion to everyday moments and enhances them – which is even more important in the current environment with a focus on screen fatigue and the escape from too much visual stimulation.

In addition, we know from our internal Nielsen Brand Effect benchmarks* that combining video and audio drives stronger brand outcomes than audio alone. Below are three examples of increased lift when using audio and video formats in unison:

  • 1.8x increase in ad recall 
  • 1.9x increase in brand awareness
  • 2.4x increase in favourability

While standalone audio performs well, combining audio with video can help reinforce a brand’s message and engage consumers in different ‘need states’/levels of receptiveness.

*Source: Nielsen Brand Effect on Spotify, March 2021

To make the most of including audio in a cross media programmatic buy what do agencies and clients need to consider 

A previous manager summarised this best ‘follow the audience and where they are spending time, then optimise to where you see the strongest outcomes or insights’ – I think this still stands true today.

Audio will continue to help marketers reach audiences where they are spending their time, in environments that they’re passionate about and will help align the brand’s message at the right time with the additional layer of the user’s context and mindset.

The other key area to consider is purpose-built creative, we know that 75% of our ad-supported audience* have better recall when this connection is made. Also see the IAB Audio Creative Best Practice Showcase for creative insights, suggestions and platform nuances to consider.

*Source: Key Moments Survey, Spotify Users A15-40, US, UK, DE, IT, SP, MX, BR, AU, October 2019 

When audio is included in an omnichannel programmatic campaign, should different metrics be used to measure success? 

 With digital audio and programmatic buying it brings transparency that often you don’t receive with linear media but just because you can measure it, doesn’t mean you should. Ultimately, the campaign metrics need to tie back to the strategy and the campaign objectives, regardless of how the media is bought. Programmatic buying allows for the opportunity to measure publishers side by side and assess their quality – as not all platforms, audiences or data offer the same value.

Kristine Celona, Senior Platform Sales Leader, Verizon Media 

When digital audio ad offerings were first in market they were usually seen as an extension to a radio buy, but as the market matures, they play a richer role across the media landscape. What role is audio playing in cross media and omni-channel marketing today?

Audio has evolved substantially over recent years into its own channel rather than just an extension of radio. We have seen consumption growth especially during Covid, in Podcasts, Streaming services as well as Connected Devices. 

The role of Audio can vary based on the connection the consumer has with that content and context, whether it is listening to their favourite Spotify playlist on their morning jog, streaming radio stations during the day or consuming addictive True Crime podcasts in the evening.  

Putting consumers at the core of your Omnichannel strategy, by truly understanding their journey, media consumption and purchase habits, and then aligning it with a unified media and creative approach, is paramount in influencing full funnel outcomes.

We primarily need to start with the client’s KPIs and understand the business challenges they want to solve using relevant data and insights, in order to determine the role Audio plays in the channel mix.

Audio provides a fantastic opportunity to connect people to their passions in an intimate environment, where visual mediums don’t, delivering strong engagement and listen-through rates. The advantages of buying Audio programmatically enables you to buy targeted and measurable ads across all major publishers in a unified platform. The campaign execution works in a similar way to your other digital channels making it a natural addition to your programmatic strategy. 

An example of how we bring Omnichannel experiences to life in the Verizon Media DSP, is starting the sales funnel with DOOH or BVOD to drive brand awareness. We then retarget this exposed audience with Audio to drive consideration. Using Display and Verizon Native, we can drive them down the funnel to convert on the advertiser’s site. This single view re-engagement strategy is all underpinned by Verizon Media’s Consumer Facing First Party Identity.

It’s about deepening those end-to-end consumer to brand connections in a unified consolidated platform where these channels are working seamlessly together, providing customers with a comprehensive brand experience. 


Samantha Elson, Senior Account Manager, Magnite

How can agencies and marketers take advantage of the growing range of audio offerings in programmatic trading?

Buying audio programmatically, like all programmatic buying, enables efficiency, universal campaign management, targeting, and scale. I can’t think of a time where this has been more important, with advertisers requiring more flexibility than ever before. 

Programmatic allows advertisers to switch out creative at the click of a button. With user habits constantly shifting, building flexibility into campaign messaging is crucial. Digital audio streaming is also a great way to be where people are – whether they are listening to a podcast during a drive or music whilst exercising. 

Broadly speaking, buying audio programmatically is no different to how you buy other formats, however with audio most buys are made through Private Marketplace (PMPs) or Programmatic Guaranteed (PG) due to control, convenience, scale and the rich first party data available.

Programmatic also allows the use of dynamic audio creatives using the wealth of signals available in the bidstream, creating an opportunity for advertisers to personalise messages to attract attention and build awareness.

To make the most of including audio in a cross media programmatic buy what do agencies and clients need to consider?

More so than ever, brands are finding programmatic audio to be an effective and exciting way to connect with target audiences. From brand recall to higher engagement and greater response rates, the value proposition of audio is making itself heard. Findings from this year’s Audio Advertising State of the Nation report by the IAB, found that brand awareness was the primary objective for 82% of media agencies using streaming digital audio advertising. 

To maximise the impact of programmatic audio, one of the most important considerations is scale and seasonality. Due to advertisers seeking a large share of voice around important time periods such as Christmas and at the end of the financial year, it’s important for buyers to work closely with publishers at these times to ensure they have the right deal type to reach their desired audience in strong numbers.

Ensuring audio creative is fit for purpose is equally important. Campaign assets should be specific to digital audio to help advertisers connect with the listeners in different audio environments, while also considering the role audio plays within an omnichannel strategy and how it complements display and video campaigns. Digital audio is uniquely positioned to help advertisers reach beyond the screen to build their brand, while also providing addressable opportunities through personalisation in a 1-to-1 environment.


Jonathan Mandel, Head of Digital Sales & Operations, Southern Cross Austereo

When planning a broad marketing campaign, why should digital audio and podcasting be included?

Audio is a companion medium that establishes emotional connections.  Audio is always on, particularly when screens are not.  The origins of audio recording & playback date back to the mid 19th century and has evolved through various incarnations of music, melody, spoken word and sound effects.

All forms of audio will make the audience dream.  The reason being that without visual cues, the audience is forced to use their imagination, creating a theatre of the mind that can’t be beaten for influence and trust.

With the rise of consumption driven by the content pillars of Live Radio streaming, Music & Podcasts, digital audio now has the scale to play a significant role throughout the entire marketing funnel from reach to consideration & conversion.  The major opportunity today is to utilise the tried and trusted medium of audio, with all the new capabilities of digital media.  That means the ability to apply audience segment targeting and have a personal conversation with the listener, and most importantly have an influence over their behaviour.

With the data landscape changing drastically over the last few years and more change to come, there’s been a renaissance in contextual advertising, becoming a major contributor to the growth of podcast investment, whilst streaming has benefitted from exponential audience growth and first party data capabilities.

Measurement capabilities in digital audio have all been supercharged over the last 12 months, with digital audio now capabile to provide detailed attribution reporting from website traffic, footfall attribution and brand lift studies.

So why should you include digital audio when planning a broad marketing campaign?  Streaming & podcasts can provide: Scale, contextual relevance, precision targeting and demonstrable ROI.