7 Big Reasons Why Today's Small Business Needs Digital Audio Advertising

10 min read

Reason #1: Your customers are listening

193M+ Americans stream music, radio, news, and podcasts on phones, tablets, smart speakers, and computers for roughly 4 hours/day every single month. All combined, that's a whole bunch of people, tons of listening content, a variety of touchpoints, and plenty of opportunities to give your small business the awareness it needs to really grow its customer base.

Since the pandemic began a couple of years ago, Digital Audio is currently being listened to more than AM/FM radio and it even outranks video, gaming, and social as the country's #1 mobile activity. Podcasts in particular are enjoying a new level of mainstream popularity, with listenership jumping 22% YoY it's now the largest-growing media audience to-date. And, naturally, the ad dollars are starting to follow.

In a recent WSJ article, it was reported that "advertising on digital audio - podcasts and streamed music and radio - grew faster than any other category, up 58% (last year)." A Kantar survey even went so far as to proclaim podcast ads as today's most influential digital media format, more than social media, paid search and e-commerce ads. Which probably explains why podcast ad spends are expected to double by 2024.

By all other major indicators, it's safe to say that we're living in the middle of an audio revolution. If that already wasn't enough too, most of today's listeners are of working age and use free, ad-supported subscriptions to do their streaming. Music to any marketers' ears.

Reason #2: Digital audio ads get attention

It's been suggested that upwards of 86% of people suffer from banner blindness, a selective inability that prevents them from paying attention to your online display ads. But, who can really blame these poor people anyways? The average internet user is blasted with as many as 10,000 online ads a day! It only makes sense for most of us to want to ignore them, or use ad blockers to reduce this insane amount of clutter.

Even for the people who aren't banner blind, they typically spend less than 2 seconds looking at your search and social ads before they scroll on by. Then there are video ads that get watched for roughly 10 seconds on average, most of which is just time spent waiting for the skip button to appear.

Now let's contrast both of these benchmarks with the fact that the normal 30-second audio ad is listened to all the way through 98%+ of the time. That's right, nearly everybody listens to audio ads from start to finish. Admittedly, the hands-free nature of audio makes it difficult to skip these ads. But this wide disparity in attentiveness between listening and seeing has everything to do with the user environment.

Because unlike browsing the web, when we listen, we're completely locked in. We hang on in suspense to every other word from the latest Serial podcast. We sing along to the lyrics of our favorite Beatles jams. And unlike the thousands of banner ads that get dumped online, there are very little things - and other brands for that matter - competing for our interest when we're actively listening. We get so thoroughly absorbed into the content, that a lot of us even get swept up into the advertisements that are streaming in between all of that content as well:

Reason #3: Digital audio ads are catchy

Ever since the days of the radio jingle, audio ads have always had this special ability to hook listeners with their catchiness. Of course, a lot has changed since that first radio ad aired back in 1926, but the use of audio branding certainly has not for businesses. Neither has its hypnotic hold on people too.

For example, if we were to blindfold the entire country, there's more than a good chance that the majority of us would still be able to identify a McDonald's ad or a Farmers Insurance one. We remember these ads because sound resonates with us. Like we've already seen, music and podcasts have famously high attention rates among their listeners. Which has the effect of making your audio advertising all the more memorable too. Like a catchy song, a good audio ad will linger.

In fact a good audio ad should, and will always, keep your business top of mind.

Reason #4: Digital Audio goes where Facebook and Google don't

Think about a normal day if you will. Think about all the times you’re driving, or when you’re exercising, cooking, or cleaning the house. Think about all those moments when screens are off and your favorite music or podcast is on. 

Now again, for the average American those ‘screenless moments’ add up to 4 hours of any given day. Which, for any marketer, is a really long time to be away from your Facebook and Google ads. But fortunately, it’s in these moments that an audio ad can help fill that messaging gap. By reaching your audience in impactful ways and places your search and social marketing can't, while at the same time still reinforcing your overall digital marketing.

This is also what's called omnichannel advertising - the act of bringing your brand wherever your customers go in their journey, in this case, on-screen and off. It's been proven to bring about better ROI, more engagements - and it's one of the biggest reasons why your small business needs a digital audio ad strategy. In fact, by just integrating audio ads into your multichannel marketing mix, it's been proven to increase engagements over 400% across accompanying search and social campaigns!

Reason #5: Digital Audio is targeted

The most effective way to get a person interested in buying from your business is to sell them exactly what they want to hear. They want messaging made specific for them. Which is something streaming ad platforms do extremely well to cater to.

This is not your grandmother's radio we're talking about here. The digital, data-based nature of today’s audio allows for audience targeting at such granularity that ad experiences can truly become more 1-to-1. Our behavioral targeting feature is actually a perfect example of how personalized your marketing can get with digital audio ads.

It's a tool that lists 60+ different interests and users statuses for you to decide the listener of your ads from. So whether your target audiences are sports fans, car buyers, job seekers, or new parents, AudioGO offers a bunch of different targeting options to help segment and laser in on all of your different customers.

If you care to see our behavioral targeting feature in action, check out this case study from a small business owner that used it to great success. 

Reason #6: Digital Audio is the Future

To fully understand why digital audio advertising is so hot right now, it might help to know that it’s not just listeners that's undergoing a digital transformation. The audio ad industry itself is in the middle of its own digital reckoning.

For decades they've insisted on maintaining this traditional, service factory model that involves people in every step of the ad buying, planning, and placement process. But only in the past few years has a 'smarter' way to advertise emerge, where those people get replaced for intelligent algorithms that automatically fulfill those functions in a matter of clicks. No differently than how AudioGO works.

So instead of the back-and-forth of speaking to a salesperson or a media planner about what your ad campaign is, who it’s for, where your target audience is, when you want it played, etc. – today’s adtech empowers users to complete those tasks themselves in mere minutes.

This new way of digital advertising - called programmatic advertising - is the future. As we’ve seen already, it's targeted, it’s data-backed, it's faster, it's easier. And if you ask one of our legacy radio advertisers, she'll also tell you that it's a whole lot better.

Another thing about programmatic advertising is that it's way cheaper to do things like this. For example, if you want to buy ads directly from premium audio publishers, more often than not, you'd need to commit to spending four or five figure budgets before you can even speak to a person about getting started. But by virtue of being able to run ads programmatically, without human intervention, all the cost savings that come from this self-managed approach are passed down directly to you, the advertiser.

Allowing platforms, like us, to charge as little as $250 to promote your business on some of the biggest music streaming, digital radio, live sports, news, and podcast apps around. Not to mention, if you don't have an audio ad to get started, it'll only run you just $10 on AudioGO to have one made via our in-app production studio. Far cheaper than the usual hundreds and thousands of dollars to have a spot recorded otherwise.

As you can imagine, the level of ease and affordability that comes with programmatic advertising is changing the game for small business owners. From having to contract outside talent to produce the audio ad, to then having to talk to several people about running them; it used to be so cost prohibitive and complicated to get into digital audio advertising that only the big Fortune brands had the resources to do it.

But of course that's all changing now. The barriers to entry are crumbling as we speak, offering small businesses another set of benefits to enjoy in the process...minor celebrity.

Reason #7: Digital audio ads make your small business feel bigger

We were talking with one of our agency advertisers the other day about a small business client of his who grew sales 30% with AudioGO. He was telling us that one of the unexpected surprises he found from running those few campaigns is this 'buzz factor' it generated. As he puts it:

"The buzz factor that I got using AudioGO was a happy discovery. We’ve been advertising on Facebook and Google and whatnot for years and years and years, but the only times I’ve ever had clients getting calls from people saying they saw or heard their ad was either with cable TV campaigns or the AudioGO ads that ran on Pandora."

"...when the local restaurant or physical therapist down the street runs an ad right after a Coca-Cola one, it gets people buzzing...I’ve found that hearing small businesses being advertised alongside big national brands conveyed an aura of credibility around them. It built trust."

This increased trust he goes on to explain helped him get the results his client was looking for. Those digital audio ads helped enhance their reputation in their local communities, and in doing so it helped grow their recurring revenues. They made this small business feel big and important. And it was all thanks to the campaigns they were able to run right there in that blue button below.

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