SYDNEY: Australian media agencies are showing increasing interest in audio advertising, especially the range of options afforded by digital and the possibilities offered by cross-platform buys, according to new research.

IAB Australia’s Audio Advertising State of the Nation study shows that, in December 2017, two thirds (65%) of media agencies were regularly buying streaming digital audio ads, up from 52% a year earlier.

And the number buying podcast advertising has almost trebled in the same period, from 5% to 14%, following the pick-up in interest in this medium among publishers, brands and radio networks.

The podcast format is also one that a majority of agencies are intending to use during 2018, with six in ten exploring bespoke branded podcasts or native/live read ads while half are considering pre- or post-roll credits.

“With 13.6m Australians streaming audio content on their digital device in December 2017, it follows that the buying community is continuing to increase investment in streaming ad opportunities,” said Vijay Solanki, CEO of IAB Australia.

“With the explosion of podcasting at both content and consumer levels, I expect to see more brands stepping in, but the opportunity is in brand integration and not spots and dots,” he added.

Three quarters of media agencies now plan broadcast and streaming audio together, while two thirds are looking to invest in audio cross-platform buys from media organisations; and half will be buying some audio programmatically.

If agencies are confidently embracing streaming and podcasting, they are less certain when it comes to voice: just 13% are looking at voice marketing strategies for clients, while a third are not and the remainder (55%) are unsure, the research said.

That’s understandable since voice-activated devices have only been launched recently in Australia – Google Home in July 2017, Amazon Alexa in January 2018 – but this is likely to become an area of greater focus.

“Consumer usage of voice-assisted technology and devices will take off in 2018,” said Gai Le Roy, IAB Australia director of research.

“While marketers are reviewing their opportunities in this space carefully, media agencies need to quickly assess their role and approach to voice marketing on behalf of their clients,” she added.

Sourced from IAB Australia; additional content by WARC staff