How digital saved the radio star

We explore how digitisation and addressable advertising is transforming the radio and audio industry

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Addressable advertising

Rapid growth is also driving significant investment in digital audio advertising technology, both for ad insertion and for campaign planning and buying.

Commercial Radio Australia has worked to make this process easier through the creation of an industry-wide media briefing platform, RadioMatrix. Warner says the next request from buyers has been to enable them to plan campaigns involving podcasts as well.

“We are hoping by March next year that we will have one very slick, integrated way for agencies to go in, put out a brief across all the ecosystem for radio, call for proposals, assess those, and work on those,” Warner says. “And maybe in the future it’s a buying platform as well.”

There may still be some work to done before the opportunities are fully realised. IAB’s annual Digital Audio State of the Nation survey released early this year reported that while the ease and speed of audio creative development is a great attraction for Australian agencies, only 17 per cent of media agencies are consistently tailoring their creative to suit the different audio environments.

Perhaps most exciting for the industry, however, is how digital technology is bringing addressability to audiences. While broadcast has commonly been thought of as a reach medium, the ability to gain targeted audience information on listeners who are coming in through apps and other services is  a new capability for, and one that Warner says is being actively investigated.

“We are looking at addressable advertising and how we monetise our streams and how we do it in a way that still retains the value of a broadcast audience as well,” Warner says. “We’ve got a bit of an abundance of riches in radio. We’ve just got to make sure the mosaic work for our advertisers and agencies.”

Related: Panel debates the challenges facing digital audio advertising

SCA for one is aggressively chasing the opportunity of addressable advertising in addition to its traditional role in providing broad demographic reach through its 99 terrestrial radio services across the country.

“Mainstream media companies that have addressable identified audiences of quality, where there is transparency in terms of delivery, is a totally new journey for Australian media companies,” Gallagher says. “And for the audio players, it is a game changer.”

By delivering audience connections through SCA’s own apps, the broadcaster can collect data on listeners at a depth that was never possible previously, and is using this to offer a much more targeted in-stream options for advertisers.

“A client may be running a campaign with us, but our system may be serving up 300 different versions of their creative depending on location, weather, sports scores – anything we want to do to create a variable,” Gallagher says. “Not only is an advertiser able to target their audience, but they can adjust their message in real time.

“The major media buying groups are right now looking very, very closely at the expansion of these inventory levels and getting onboard rapidly.”

However, the granularity of data drops away to just bulk audience figures when interaction comes through other platforms such as smart speakers or the Apple iTunes store.

But Gallagher believes the overall digital audio offering will grow more sophisticated over time, and SCA has created a partnership with audio benchmarking company, Veritonic, to help clients create world class audio logos, under the name Brandsound.

“What you’ll find over the course of the next few years is there will be a lot more discussion around the role that audio plays in the communication entertainment and information space, because you can’t shut your ears,” Gallagher says. “People are starting to recognise you have to have a really strong brand proposition in the audio space.”

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