What are the KPIs for digital audio in 2022?

What are the KPIs for digital audio in 2022?

Digital audio advertising continues to be a strong trend in the digital marketing industry. The growth of digital audio listening has not abated. There is an abundance of data, and brands are finding their way through it. Let’s take a moment to look at the major market trends and the available KPIs.

Digital audio: growth, figures and opportunities

It’s symbolic: after the US in 2020, the average listener in Canada spent more time listening to digital audio than to traditional radio last year –  8 minutes more in 2021!

Digital audio is now part of the wider landscape of digital advertising, which has largely dominated traditional advertising this year. It accounted for approximately 64.4% of total global advertising in 2021, according to Axios, up from 60.5% in 2020 and 52.1% in 2019.

In 2021, the digital audio advertising market reached 5.976 billion US dollars (5.272 billion euros), for the first time. And for good reason: never before has it been easier to reach a targeted and contextually relevant audience.

Nielsen estimates that 79% of audio consumption takes place in parallel with other activities, during which consumers are not in front of a screen. It has therefore become essential to integrate an audio component into marketing content strategies, although the measurement tools for this are radically different.

By combining traditional radio (AM/FM/DAB) with digital audio (web radio, podcasting, streaming), brands can boost their campaign results. This combination links the reach of radio with the targeting possibilities offered in the digital world.  The latest State of Audio report is unambiguous: “If advertisers ride the sonic wave of audio content, they can improve ROI, boost brand engagement and increase the conversion rate.”

Advertise on Podcast guide

Digital audio in 2022 – the trends

The phenomenal growth of digital audio over the last two years has been apparent all over the world. Two strong trends are that podcasting remains a particularly dynamic channel for advertisers, and that connected speakers are becoming a permanent fixture in homes.

Podcasting is growing in popularity

In 2021, global podcast growth has been estimated at 25% annually. Spending on podcasts has increased by 43%. Analyst eMarketer forecasts that the podcast market will reach 0.5 billion people by 2024. Another development is that 36% of Latinos in the U.S. aged 18 and older listen to podcasts every month; that’s 16 million people – a 44% jump since 2020.

In Great Britain, 41% of Britons aged 16 or older (23 million) listened to a podcast at least once a month last year. The same is true in France, where there has been a 20% increase, with a high rate of engagement and a young profile aged between 15 and 34.

A study conducted in France (CSA) paints a picture of the native podcast listener: a young, urban, connected, multi-tasking audience: 85% do something else while listening to a podcast. 87% of frequent (weekly) listeners believe that podcasts are a good means of communication for a brand. Advertisers will be pleased to know that 78% of listeners would be interested in having the brands and companies they love come up with their own podcasts.

Connected speakers go mainstream

Connected speakers are confirming their role as the new radio set. 25% of the German population and 34% of the British population own a smart speaker.  Two-thirds of them use their connected speaker every day.

In Europe, it is interesting to note that this adoption pattern very closely follows that of the United States, with a two-year delay. Indeed, in the US, 75% of the population will have at least one smart speaker by 2025. The latest voice search statistics for 2021 show that 39.4% of US internet users use a voice assistant at least once a month.

The latest Speakergy market projections indicate that smart speaker sales are growing at a steady rate. Amazon remains the leading seller, with 130 million units by 2025. However, Google is expected to take the top spot within 2-3 years, with half the market share. The three main Chinese players, Alibaba, Baidu, and Xiaomi, have experienced sales declines (from 30% to 53%).

KPI in digital audio: the measurement tools

Nowadays, digital audio is mainly accessed through an application installed on an IP terminal such as a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, a speaker, a watch, a connected TV, a digital decoder, a hybrid radio receiver, or an infotainment system in a vehicle. It can also be accessed via a web browser.

How can listener behaviour be tracked?

In all cases, listener behaviour can be tracked using various tracking codes (applications) or cookies (web). To measure the results of digital audio advertising campaigns, reference can be made to the Buyer’s Guide to Digital Audio published by the IAB.

Which KPIs do you need to take into account?

The main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for digital audio advertising relate to:

  1. the execution of the ad, i.e. its ability to reach the desired target, in the desired context, and to deliver the ad message with the desired quantity and quality. This includes measurements related to consumer and context targeting (type of terminal), as well as much more quantitative data on the number of impressions, audibility, and the listen-through rate;
  2. the impact of the advertisement on the listener’s behaviour after listening. This is more often referred to as performance measurement (attribution, click-through-rate, etc.).

As with other advertising formats, this is in addition to the possibility of implementing post-campaign surveys to measure the impact of the advertising message on the brand image, recognition of the brand’s sound imprint or even purchasing intentions.

“However, there are some variations depending on how digital audio is consumed,” explains Alexandre Ouhadi, Chief Revenue Officer of Targetspot, “be it via streaming or downloading, or via podcasts which are sometimes streamed and sometimes downloaded to a device for later listening.”

Taking platforms into account

As with other digital media, audio streaming publishers need to support ad serving and audio ad tracking platforms. In this case, the execution KPIs are usually directly accessible (number of impressions, etc.). In the case of performance KPIs, audio playback might trigger tracking pixels, which provide data on impressions and events based on listener behaviour and activity.

One of the forerunners in the field of audio KPIs is unquestionably San Francisco-based company Artsai. Its Artsai Pixel is an identification system that cross-references advertising impressions with user conversion events. Cross-device attribution has become a major requirement in a context where 90% of users switch from one device to another during the course of a day. This advanced machine learning technology is part of the arsenal deployed by Targetspot in this field.

The case with downloaded podcasts

In the field of downloaded podcasts, tracking depends largely on the podcast player used by the listener. Today, around half of all podcast listening involves Apple systems (iPhone, iPad, Mac), but there is no possibility of knowing whether a podcast file has been opened, which represents a major shortcoming.

Streaming services such as those from Google and Spotify are cooperating more closely, offering analytical tools for podcast creators that allow for detailed analysis of listening behaviour and measurement of engagement.

“This is also what we offer to publishers and advertisers,” confirms the CRO of Targetspot, “with precise reporting on each podcast campaign, thanks to audience profiles and the choice of contexts.”

Where listening data is not available for downloaded audio, the execution KPIs are then based on downloads rather than actual listening.

In response to the growing podcast boom, the industry has developed a set of standards to make the measurement of podcast advertising campaigns consistent. These are included in a dedicated guide, to be updated in 2021. Furthermore, the industry is embracing a range of innovations that will significantly improve performance measurement. This is made possible because downloaded podcasts can use offer codes, unique URLs and vouchers to measure the effectiveness of campaigns. This allows granular responses to campaign measurement through calls to action, which can be used to measure ad impressions, reach and other anonymous information. It should be remembered that the podcast is generally consumed without visual attention being paid to the screen. The call to action (CTA) must therefore be integrated into advertising messages – benefits that the Targetspot podcast platform offers.

How to measure a digital audio advertising campaign

A centralised dashboard is essential for effectively measuring the execution and impact of a campaign on a digital audio medium.  It holds all of the available data:

  • Impressions and distribution
  • Single listeners reached
  • Listen-through rate
  • Demographic and geographical distribution
  • Breakdown by peripheral device and format
  • Network distribution

The platform developed by Targetspot provides agencies and advertisers with key indicators and real-time information, to collect results, determine impact and optimise a campaign.

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