In America it has been called the perfect storm of digital consumption. It’s the obsession with vocal narratives, as The Drum titled it, analyzing the evolution of digital audio. «These ads are multiplying thanks to a greater ability to personalize the message. Today, for example, at the end of a voice announcement, a user can shake their phone to receive a voucher or QR code, or they can speak directly to their device to access additional advertiser content,” says Charlie Brookes, director of Octave Audio. So in a world dominated by the multiplication of screens, from immersive to miniaturized, audio has carved out a place in the sun in the attention of consumers. Paradoxes of a marketing engaged in a constant attempt to rethink the relationship with connected audiences.
This is what is reported in the White Book promoted by Iab Italia and presented in preview on the Sole 24 Ore, focused on digital audio advertising. Advertising revenue on all digital audio streams worldwide for 2022 is $7.65 billion, a growth rate of 21 percent. Meanwhile, Europe has the typical characteristics of an emerging market: today it is worth 744 million euros and 11% of global operations, but the forecast is 2.6 billion by 2025.
Central audio in the media mix
The ad thus becomes a winning proposition for advertisers, able to combine the advantages of traditional advertising with interactivity. «With this first photograph we want to provide a map of digital audio, allowing companies to correctly identify partners and competitors. The perimeter has gone beyond the sphere of advertising and today also includes players linked to the production and distribution of content, as well as its monetisation. A demonstration of a booming sector is the number of operators involved who will continue to increase, just as the offer of products and services will increase», says Cristina Pianura, founder & general manager of Audioboost, as well as leader of the digital audio work by Iab Italia. From the planning strategies emerges the importance of the user’s active choice of which content to use and at which exact moment of his day. «The on-demand and content-driven elements are the basis of the extraordinary memorability of audio advertising messages, but since attention and engagement are by definition a scarce resource, the suggestion is to prioritize quality strategies and not just the amount of exposure achieved. Audio in a digital environment has its own characteristics: it is by definition on demand, for solitary consumption, highly emotional. To win the audience challenge,
the content must be of quality and the technology must increase the opportunities for interaction and integration through the simplicity of searching for content, the multiplication of devices and contact points, the interaction and certification of the audiences», explains Pianura.
Supply chain in progress
But there’s more. The research carried out by Iab Italia shows that 90% of the marketers interviewed have an extremely positive perception of digital audio, thanks above all to the personal listening experience and the observation of successful cases. On the professional profiles there is, on the one hand, the push towards digitization, marked by a growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence mechanisms, on the other hand, the need to focus on creative processes.
«The production and distribution process will be the one most impacted by investments and therefore by the greatest professional opportunities. The production of content with a tailored cut will need specialized figures with a profile very similar to those already present in the video field: direction, writing, dubbing, post-production, editing. On the other hand, industrial production will require profiles with very advanced skills oriented towards the new text-to-speech, voice-over, neural language and obviously artificial intelligence and app protocols. Audio metrics and greater specialization will also be added to the traditional editorial measurement rates», says Pianura.