Radio is dead, long live audio

TV and video have now long been the biggest players in advertising, with radio and audio a bit of a poor relation. Come 2018, will it be time for audio to kill the video star (or at least give him a run for his money)?

Marco Bertozzi Spotify – Vice President, Head of Sales Europe & Multi-market Sales

Audio still has a big role to play in providing clients with cost-efficient reach and alignment with talent, as well as competitive ROI. However, in 2018 it should also be recognised for its innovativeness and ability to tackle current industry problems.

One of the big emerging trends in audio consumption is voice activated products such as the Google Home and Amazon Echo, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in households across the UK. A study cofounded by Radio Player and Global last year suggests listening to radio or on-demand music services is the gadget’s biggest use, with the frictionless experience leading to increased listening. As voice activation products begin to integrate with publishers this could open further possibilities to brands. Google Home recently had a partnership with Vogue which encouraged consumers to unlock extra content on their devices by giving certain prompts. This could signal an opening to marketers and publishers for future opportunities within this exciting home tech.

This move in demand for ‘out of focus’ media is also evident in the rise of the podcast, with both listening and content growing. Looking to the future, there is already technology available to turn written articles into audio. As the capabilities of custom content progress, along with demand for easily digestible media, we could see audio listening increase further.

The importance of making advertising as relevant to the consumer as possible has been a discussion point for some time in the media industry and last year audio made a big leap in this space. A Million Ads introduced a service designed to make it easier for brands to deliver a more personalised audio message with the platform creating personalised versions automatically, therefore controlling production costs. In 2018 we expect personalisation to move onto linear radio as well as digital, so watch this space.

Stories surrounding brand safety are becoming more and more frequent as brands continue to pull spend from certain publishers where it’s harder to control content generation. These ongoing issues have been avoided for the most part in audio environments because brands only appear in the context of premium music/podcasts and not user-generated content.

Whilst the wonderful world of media tech and its magical capabilities are widely discussed, those discussions rarely centre around audio. In recent years, albeit at a slower pace, audio has evolved as other mediums have and this should continue to develop through 2018 combining its reliability with innovation.

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