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YouTube music monetisation boss urges brands to focus on relevance and audience state-of-mind

Despite a continuous squeeze on the marketing budget, IAB Australia’s latest report found 71% of media agencies intended to invest more in streaming audio in 2023, while 78% will invest more into podcast advertising.

But before advertisers dive into audio-buying, YouTube’s head of content and music monetisation, go-to-market APAC, Julian Ho, said there are two things to consider.

L-R: Julian Ho (YouTube), Zac Selby (Dentsu) and Matthew Waldbauer (Soundcloud)

In a panel discussion at an IAB Australia launch event for the report, ‘Audio State of the Nation’, Ho said buyers must first remember “content is king” in audio advertising.

“By this I mean relevancy: when folks are listening to audio content, they tend to pay more attention, even if they are doing other things,” he said.

“Understanding how users and the audience are thinking, what state of mind they are in, can really improve the message engagement.”

The second thing for advertisers to keep in mind, he added, is that audio works well in a multi-format strategy.

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As discovered in the report, 80% of media agencies have bought digital audio in conjunction with digital video in 2022, an increase from 59% in 2021. Meanwhile, 72% were buying audio with digital display, and 52% were buying it with digital OOH.

Ho said: “Audio works well as a standalone format, but even better as a supplemental or complementary format. Its ability to surround the users and engage across multiple surfaces is very powerful.

“Going back to context, being able to reach user who’s interested in sneakers while they’re doing the dishes is one thing, being able to reach that same user who’s running on the treadmill is another, and arguably a better outcome.”

The report discovered another trend in advertisers learning more towards programmatic audio buying. 66% of the agencies surveyed said they intend to buy into programmatically traded inventory on open exchanges in 2023, while the proportion was 65% for programmatic private marketplace deals, and 63% for programmatic guaranteed deals.

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Sitting alongside Ho on the panel was Dentsu’s national programmatic solutions lead, Zac Selby. He said this is a result of more programmatically-supported digital supply coming through for buyers, and better integration into buying platforms.

“From there, when there is the programmatic opportunity, people tend to tap into that for the benefits. There are the addressability and omnichannel benefits, there are the investment benefits with the flexible budgets,” he said.

“But probably the key one is accountability … for reporting attribution, measuring ROI and justify the investment in the channel.”

However, the report recognised three key areas holding back audio advertising from being a larger proportion of ad volume.

Brands and advertisers noted their main issues as developing compelling creative and a lack of understanding across all formats, while the industry noted measurement and standardised metrics as an opportunity for improvement.

Ho suggested that publishers could make more efforts in terms of content packaging, alongside a standardisation of measurement, to make audio buying easier for advertisers.

“Publishers understand their content better than anyone else. The ability to segment and package content based on relevancy and categories will really help advertisers reach their audiences.”

The launch event also included an announcement from the CEO of Commercial Radio & Australia, Ford Ennals, that ABC, Shameless Media and The Squiz will join the monthly Triton podcast ranker as new publishers, following Mamamia’s debut in the November 2022 ranker. 

Other findings of the report include:

  • 75% of media agencies now have streaming digital audio advertising as a regular part of their activity, while 70% of media agencies included podcast advertising as a regular part of their activity
  • 44% of agencies have used Dynamic Audio creative over the last year. For those not using, the reasons included “not suited to the campaign strategy”,  “creative resourcing limit” and “not understanding the format”
  • only 27% of agencies use sonic branding consistently, with 30% having no plan of using it in the future
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