In a bygone era, advertisers might have invested decent chunks of money getting spots played on traditional/terrestrial radio, where they could rest assured that they’d find a large and captive audience. In today’s world, the power of terrestrial radio is somewhat diminished. While there may still be certain advertisers who benefit from landing their content on a local AM/FM station, others have found that digital audio offers a more robust return on investment. At enCOMPASS, we have encouraged many of our clients to add digital audio to their media mix… and over the last few months, our faith in this format has only intensified.
Digital Audio at a Glance
First things first: When we talk about digital audio, exactly what are we referencing? It might be easiest to think about it this way: Digital audio refers to audio-only content that can be consumed from a smartphone or other connected device. Think streaming music stations as well as podcasts. Some markets even have local radio stations, not too dissimilar to their terrestrial counterparts, who distribute content digitally.
Digital audio consumption has truly surged in popularity, something that’s made clear by some recent stats compiled by Pandora. Just a few of their findings:
- Since 2014, streaming music consumption has increased by 81 percent, while podcast popularity has risen by 288 percent.
- In that same span of time, AM/FM radio popularity has declined by more than 30 percent among the coveted 18-54 demographic. (And half of all traditional radio listeners are above the age of 48.)
- Digital audio listeners also spend considerably more time (around 54 percent more, in fact) listening to audio content than traditional audio listeners.
These numbers provide just some of the context for why digital audio makes sense in almost any advertiser’s media mix.
Why Now is the Time for Digital Audio
Additionally, there are a number of factors that make digital audio especially salient for the present moment, and for the foreseeable future. Here are a few reasons why we think digital audio is increasingly popular among consumers, and an increasingly wise investment for advertisers:
More People are Working from Home
Thanks to the pandemic, many of us are still working from home, whether full-time or in a “hybrid” workplace model. There are a couple of implications with regard to digital audio. The first is that there aren’t as many people making morning commutes, which means that the once-mighty “drive time radio” has lost a lot of its influence and clout. Additionally, it means that people are finding plenty of opportunities, in the privacy of their own home, to listen to the audio content of their choosing throughout the workday. This undoubtedly benefits digital audio formats.
People Have Discovered Podcasts
Podcasts have been popular for a while now, but during the COVID-19 lockdowns, more and more listeners discovered podcasts for the first time. Statics show that the number of Americans who know what a podcast is has risen appreciably just since 2018 (the number is now at around 70 percent), and that more than half of all U.S. consumers 12 and over listen to podcasts. This represents a huge opportunity for advertisers to connect with a wide audience.
Digital Audio Is Easily Customizable
Finally, digital radio allows the listener to customize their experience in ways that AM/FM radio never could. Listeners can assemble their own library of podcasts and use platforms like Pandora to create their own streaming music stations, tailored to their tastes and genre preferences. Listeners feel a real sense of ownership in their digital audio content, which is a fairly bullish sign for its staying power. It also makes it easier for advertisers to zero in on a particular niche with a honed and precise marketing message.
Digital Audio Strategy with enCOMPASS
If you’re convinced that digital audio might play a role in your media mix, we welcome you to contact enCOMPASS. In our digital consultancy role, we can work with you to determine the smartest digital audio strategy, ensuring you’re using the right data points to target your ads to the intended audience.
What’s more, with enCOMPASS, you gain the expertise of marketing professionals who take a truly integrative approach. We are intentional about tailor-crafting strategies to meet each client’s goals, which often means harmonizing messaging across different media. This may mean a strategy broad enough to include radio, digital audio, digital video, print, PPC ads, social media ads, and more. We will develop a cohesive strategy on your brand’s behalf, ensuring that each element (from creative to bidding/budgeting) aligns with your ultimate goals.
As you consider whether digital audio might be a good fit for your company, reach out to the team at enCOMPASS. We’re ready to chat about your media options at any time.
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