Digital Audio Britain

Nicholas Graham, Digital Strategist at MC&C Media

The IAB’s Autumn 2018 Digital Audio Britain series proves that digital audio continues to slip comfortably into our lives very conveniently

Nicholas Graham, Digital Strategist at MC&C Media, had a close read through and identified the key trends and opportunities for advertisers who wish to capitalise on this.

Mobiles are still the device most used to listen to digital audio.

As the industry still tries to devise an ad format truly native to mobile, why have we not given more consideration to audio ads? Travelling in to work, it’s noticeable that everyone is very much ‘plugged in’. Coupled with Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones it's the equivalent of a 4K 50" TV and a 120w sub-woofer strapped to your ears during the time of the day that has historically been one of the hardest to capture attention: the commute.

Smart speakers have more than tripled their share of digital audio listening in the last year.

Whilst brands still try to figure out how to advertise across smart speakers, this insight gives us a peek into an existing organic behaviour around smart speakers. Google has developed its podcast app to allow completely fluid listening: Users can continue listening to podcasts on their smart speakers where they left off from their phones, and vice versa.

We listen to digital audio for an extra two hours per week on average.

Again, a trend we saw with mobile advertising, digital audio seems to be stacking media consumption rather than taking away from other mediums, helped by the fact that people listen whilst concentrating on other tasks such as commuting (13.5%), working (15.8%) or washing the dishes (13.2%).

Almost a third of 15-24-year olds exclusively listen to audio online.

With the connectivity of the mobile phone to headphones, smart speakers, cars, office stereos and all manner of other outputs, there are increasingly more places to listen to the carefully curated soundtrack of our lives. As this trend continues, advertisers will be able to constantly personalise messages to their target audience based on their environment.

Most of the digital audio content is listened to while relaxing.

As advertisers try to own consumers’ homes (and minds), context can play a large part in our propensity to recall ads or agree with advertising claims. When we are in a more relaxed mood, we are less likely to think critically, hence we are less likely to ignore advertising claims. Also, the breadth of choices we can target; time of day, genre and location. It's increasingly helpful to match our messages to the context of the person we’re targeting.

Podcasts now reach upwards of 12% of the UK population.

Podcasts have come a long way since the gateway season of ‘Serial’. Binging podcasts is now a thing! We’re also actively seeking podcast recommendations from friends, conversations that wouldn't have occurred a year ago. While it is impossible to advertise across Netflix boxsets, it's just as effective to sponsor a podcast.

Should these trends continue we'll be looking at even more time spent listening to on-demand music services powered from our portable devices and amplified through our smart speakers. A.I. Assistants are making their ways into everyday objects, including microwaves, suggesting it won’t be long before our favourite music and podcasts are played seamlessly throughout our lives as we engage in different tasks. Whilst our short-term memories might be decreasing, we’re quickly learning how we can constantly keep engaged audibly as we continue to merge our lives in the digital world.

Written by

Nicholas Graham, Digital Strategist at MC&C Media


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