Programmatic Audio Ads

This article explains programmatic advertising with programmatic audio ads. It dives into the nuances of placing, tracking, buying audio ads. Covered in this article is the importance of digital audio advertising, the impact of programmatic audio and methods for advertising programmatic audio.

Programmatic Audio Ads

What is Programmatic Audio?

Digital advertising in audio content like podcasts, digital radio, and music-streaming services defines programmatic advertising. Programmatic audio ads are purchased in real time, negotiated by AI with predetermined targeting metrics like age, location, listening preference and more. Digital Audio offers first party data with every listening preference and profile information, making this program reliable without the need for cookies and cookie pools. Programmatic audio ads appear on mobile, desktop or in app.

Programmatic audio ads are here. Similar to what is happening to video ads and display ads, programmatic buying is getting bigger and bigger in digital audio advertising. The rates of listening to audio are plentiful and the advertising opportunities are there for the taking. Of course, we want to segment and target these ads through programmatic ad campaigns.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) review found that audio advertisements hit $2.25 billion last year in media spend. These metrics and many others have created a great deal of potential for the audio ad format moving forward. The integration of programmatic and real time ad bidding software makes this a rapidly rising and intensely desirable place to get impressions.

Programmatic Audio Advertising

When talking about the growth of programmatic audio ad buys, Stephen Wing, managing director UK, Ireland and Nordics, Rubicon Project said, “it’s a pronounced trend from a consumer perspective and a digital investment perspective.”

So, what do programmatic audio ads do for my measurement? With the implementation of ad tagging, a practice where a pixel in each ad is there to track the behavior of listeners, audio ads can be tracked and verified. This is huge since it allows marketers to optimize campaigns during their flight and constantly improve on efficiency so as to stay relevant and continue serving impressions where necessary.

Major performance indicators for programmatic audio ads are audibility – (did the user listen), completion rate, and CTR (Click Through Rate). These metrics offer some trackability to a world where viewability is massive in the media metrics world. Of course, the accuracy of attribution will only become better with time.

Since 2000, the amount of monthly online audio listening increased by 67% in 2019. It now sits at the 189 million mark.

Programmatic advertising comes in many forms with its most famous outlets being TV, connected TV, desktop, tablet, and mobile ad buying.

Programmatic advertising automatically buys and optimizes digital campaigns, rather than human decisions in negotiations. Like any programmatic service, Programmatic audio offers the ability to use real time data. In the world of audio being channeled through streaming partners like Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify, real time data is generated with every song, album or podcast listened to and can in turn be used to help the effectiveness of programmatic campaigns.

Why programmatic and why audio?

With the majority of digital marketers and advertisers embracing the digital landscape, programmatic ad buying is one of the only ways to keep pace with the media buying industry.

Audio is arguably one of the most intuitive advertising mediums for a wide range of listeners. Almost all people can understand and glean a message from radio or audio content.

Programmatic platforms

Programmatic Platforms

Programmatic platforms come in two main forms SSP (Supply Side Platform) and DSP (Demand Side Platform).

To understand SSPs first it’s important to realize what the SSP does for marketers. Moreover, the SSP will gather several publishers and open countless possibilities for where and when ads can be displayed. The SSP now holds a large amount of potential publishers for ads.

To learn more about the differences and importance of SSP’s read Becoming an Expert in Programmatic Advertising-SSP.

DSPs are different due to their nature of catering to the ad content from advertisers and marketers. A DSP will gather ad copy and creative from advertisers. In turn, they are in charge of setting the price for each ad during the bidding process. The function of gathering profile information is what makes the DSP so important for advertisers.

To learn more about the differences and importance of SSP’s read the following article Your Ultimate Introduction to Programmatic Advertising and Using a DSP.

Ads are bought in real-time bidding fashion in ad exchanges. matching advertisers from DSPs to publishers from SSPs based on a programmatic campaign strategy and predetermined audience, the bidding takes place within a matter of seconds. This is where AI helps with campaign efficiency.

In order to automate the purchase of digital ads within a programmatic campaign marketers and advertisers use programmatic platforms. Some of the things that programmatic platforms can assist with are: ad placement, performance tracking, target audience preference, media buying, data usage in targeting and much more.

Some of the largest traffic programmatic platforms for audio are:

  • SmartyAds
  • Tubemogul
  • Pubmatic

Media math

Programmatic platforms offer a channel for interaction from ad publishers and advertisers and marketers.

Programmatic Audio Advertising

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) developed an audio programmatic infrastructure in 2018. It added the “audio only” aspect to the ad unit. A programmatic strategy is fully equipped to manage audio ads. What this aspect resulted in was a smoother interaction with SSPs (Supply Side Platform).

To learn more about the intricacies of SSP’s and programmatic advertising in this context check out the article Becoming an Expert in Programmatic Advertising-SSP.

The following formats are common:

Ad Pods- placements for 1 or more audio tracks

Podcast audio ads- placed within the podcast content without disruption

Skippable ad- initial or mid track placement, with benefit of skipping past

A programmatic audio campaign can be integrated into formats. Programmatic audio advertising is on facet of a massive digital audio world. Screenless ads are on the rise and with the ability to target through programmatic bidding, audio ads will become more efficient and affordable for advertisers and marketers.

Rise of Digital Audio

Digital Audio consistently holds the highest usage on mobile devices. During 2018-2020 audio listening was at its peak.


Additionally, the rise of voice listening devices like Google home and Amazon Alexa have increased time spent listening to music, podcasts and other digital audio content.

Benefits of audio ads are extensive. As audio content is so diverse in variability, there are so many ways to get audio content. These could be daily podcasts to Spotify music streaming and pandora radio listening to Alexa engagement. When screens are turned off impressions are offered.

Smart speakers usage is increasing listening time. 30% of smart speaker owners say their speaker is replacing time spent with TV/Video.

IAB Europe predicts that by 2023, audio advertising is expected to become a €1bn market as media consumption shifts to screenless devices.

Where to advertise programmatic Audio?

Google Ads are not necessarily the choice for audio. However, Google audio ads integrates with the Google Ad Manager, where you can use many features to tweak your campaign. For example, you can use position targeting to control whether your ads are pre-roll or mid-roll.

Pandora, Spotify, Soundcloud, AdsWizz are massive names in programmatic audio. They offer buyable ads that range in length along with having massive listening groups. One of the luxuries of programmatic ad buying is that the SSP and DSP will negotiate where advertisers’ ads are placed with a great level of accuracy. This means that placing ads will not be as important as setting up clear and strategic targeting parameters.

Impact of Programmatic Audio?

With the clear rise of digital audio and the predictions of high numbers in the audio advertising world it is no surprise that this medium has a powerful impact. Additionally, the nature of audio ads offers impressions most mediums can not achieve. Podcast listeners and music streamers press play and let their ears soak in whatever comes from their headphones or smart speaker.

“With the world focused on trying to reduce screen time, it opens up massive audio opportunity” says Daniel Ek, CEO and Founder of Spotify on why he’s spending $500 million on podcasts.

One of programmatic audio’s largest contributions to your campaign is its ability for measurement. Programmatic audio ads can offer real time performance indicators. These help tailor campaigns as they progress and increase efficiency and impact.

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