Present-day audio content has never been easier to access. Whether it’s from a website or through an audio streaming platform like Spotify, you can listen to your favorite podcasts and music on any number of gadgets that connect to the Internet.
These new audio content platforms have in turn created new options for audio advertisers to reach listeners. Previously, audio marketers were completely reliant on radio broadcasting as the only way to engage with their audience. While functional, it was rather limited on what information could be gathered on listeners’ interests and their interactions with the ad.
However, audio advertising campaigns are now able to track user interactions and location to present them with more relevant advertisements, which is a parallel trend we’ve seen with online video advertising. But which is more effective: audio or video advertising?
What Is Digital Audio Advertising?
Digital audio advertising can take many forms, but is essentially a form of marketing that reaches its audience through audio-only formats. Examples of this may include:
- Scheduled ad breaks during radio programming
- Podcasters or radio hosts who shout out sponsors
- Ads that play on audio streaming platforms (e.g. Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora)
Audio ads are rarely the sole form of marketing in an advertising campaign. Rather, they normally support an omnichannel approach that includes other advertising formats like OTT, CTV, etc. However, the majority of these alternative formats use visual cues like videos, animations, or pictures.
This brings up another question: which one is better, audio or video?
A Comparative Study
In a very interesting study conducted on YouTube by Creatopy, they find streaming audio advertising receives significantly more impressions than video ads. Audio ads also resulted in almost double the conversions compared to video ads, which means people are more likely to take significant action to support the advertised business (e.g. purchasing a product, getting in contact) through the audio format.
Video ads are superior when looking at click-through rates and cost-per-clicks, but these advantages are relatively negligible with the audio format’s high conversion rate. It is important to note that this is just one study on one platform, but the difference in engagement statistics is significant.
Some other advantages audio ads possess are that they’re generally short and unskippable, and users are more likely to lend their attention to the ad’s full duration. Audio listeners also tend to be more engaged with their content, which means these advertisements will reach a more attentive user and will leave a deeper impression.
As previously mentioned, video ads had a lower cost-per-click compared to audio ads in the Creatopy study, yet audio campaigns tend to be cheaper overall since there is no visual element. Video advertisers must fund visual and audio aspects for their ads, while audio advertisers are obviously only concerned with the one.
Most importantly, audio advertisements can reach people where video advertisers cannot. Someone can listen to an audio program while they are running outdoors, preparing a meal in the kitchen, driving in their cars, etc. Video advertisements rely on their visual cues to be maximally effective, which is completely lost in these contexts.
At the end of the day, almost all advertisers will take an omnichannel approach to present their products to their audience. There are strengths and weaknesses to each advertising medium, and it’s easiest to utilize them all to complement each other.
However, it would seem that if an advertiser is given a choice between pursuing a digital audio or video campaign exclusively, they would see more success with the former.