Audio advertising continues to grow and create strong emotional connection with listeners and can reach them when visual ads can’t. Here are the top trends in digital audio to watch out for in 2022.  

digital audio trends

Before the pandemic changed how the world lives and works, digital audio advertising was on the rise. This was largely thanks to the growing popularity of music streaming sites such as Spotify and Apple Music, podcasts and audiobooks. Digital audio advertising was proving to be an effective way for brands to reach target buyers listening to online radio shows and podcasts during their daily commutes.

When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and much of the world shifted to working from home, digital audio advertising took a hit – but only for a brief time. It then went on to reach heights few, if any, anticipated.

Look at the numbers:

  • Spotify’s total monthly active users grew 24 per cent between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, and its revenue grew 22 per cent to a total of 2.1 billion euros. This is largely due to listeners tuning in to podcasts.
  • Digital radio company SiriusXM added 126,000 new self-pay subscribers during the same period, an increase of 83 per cent. Its ad revenue grew 24 per cent.
  • iHeartMedia’s digital audio group revenues were up 70 per cent year over year.

The rise in audio listening led to a rise in audio advertising.

Digital audio trends for 2022

  1. Growing consumer demand for audio content
  2. Rapid smart speaker adoption
  3. Audio brands are investing in digital audio ads
  4. The rise of audio ad automation
  5. The emergence of interactive audio advertising
  6. Synching audio ads with other ad formats for added impact  

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What is digital audio advertising

Audio advertising is advertising found on all forms of audio media: digital radio, music streaming sites, podcasts and audiobooks. The growth of these media has paved the way for audio search engines and audio SEO, which are further accelerating audio advertising as a top tool for brands to reach their target audience in an emotional, meaningful way. Research shows digital audio ads are more memorable, leading to better brand recall. They also generate more qualified leads.

Digital audio trends

Analysts expect trends in digital audio and digital audio advertising to continue to grow. Here’s why:

Growing consumer demand for audio content

People are listening to all forms of audio content: news, music, podcasts and books.

Fast facts:

  • Podcasts are booming. There are 4,449,114 podcasts registered around the world. Each month in the United States, more than one-third of adults listen to podcasts and 90 per cent are listening from home.
  • Audio brands such as Spotify, iHeartRadio and Pandora are household names, and their popularity continues to grow. For example, 90 per cent of people in the U.S. listen to radio every day.
  • Nielsen reports 75 per cent of people working from home are streaming music every week, with 40 per cent tuning in daily.

Rapid smart speaker adoption

As the world learns to live with the pandemic, a hybrid work model is emerging with people splitting their time between their home and work offices. The result? Smart speakers and voice assistants are becoming common home appliances. One-third of U.S. households are equipped with smart speakers and 44 per cent of U.S. adults use voice assistants.

Fast fact: Juniper Research predicts that by 2022 over 870 billion voice assistant-enabled devices will be used by U.S. consumers.

These numbers will increase as more people use smart speakers to research and make purchases. As a result, demand for audio content will grow, creating opportunity for brands to engage with consumers.

Audio brands are investing in digital audio advertising

Until recently, there were few ad format and programming options, and a limited ability for advertisers to measure audio ads. Leading audio brands are beginning to address these concerns by providing new ad formats and developing live audio content – another trend fueling the growth of digital audio. They are also creating better targeting and measuring tools.

The rise of audio ad automation

The automated buying, selling and fulfillment of ads (or programmatic advertising) is a key component of display advertising that is now taking hold in audio advertising. It’s expected that by 2022, nearly a quarter of all radio ads in the U.S. will be automated, up from 16.5 per cent in 2020.

The benefits of programmatic advertising:

  • Enhanced targeting. (Brands can segment audiences by demographics, location, interests and purchase history.)
  • Context-aware, personalized messaging via dynamic creative optimization.
  • Data-driven insights.
  • Improved effectiveness.

The emergence of interactive audio advertising

Smart speakers let listeners to respond to ads using voice commands. This kind of interactive engagement is driving performance and improving measurement for advertisers.

Synchronizing audio ads with other ad formats for added impact

Advertisers are reinforcing their messaging by coordinating their digital audio ads with other channels and formats, such as out-of-home advertising. This increases the number of times consumers receive a message, which boosts engagement and improves the effectiveness of campaigns.

These trends point to one critical takeaway: digital audio advertising has big growth potential.