As part of the WARC x Spotify “Getting your brand heard” report, Flora Williams, Head of Implementational Planning at OmniGOV, Manning Gottlieb OMD, explained how brands can apply digital audio through different parts of the marketing funnel.

Headshot of Flora Williams

Flora Williams, Head of Implementational Planning, OmniGOV, Manning Gottlieb OMD

How do you translate your clients' marketing goals into media channel selection?

When selecting media channels, there are so many factors on top of marketing KPIs to consider so we can deliver their goals. At the most basic level, you’ll need to consider creative suitability, behavioural insight, previous learnings, cost and the overall strategy to help you select your channels.

There’s very much a process and checklist involved. Firstly, we need to separate out marketing goals into different sections of the marketing funnel (creating pillars) to ensure we’re delivering a holistic approach which will deliver against all of our client’s needs. Then, we need to translate each marketing goal into media goals and targets using historical data, client data and benchmarks. Here, we must think about behavioural factors and barriers that might need to be taken into account by pillar. After that, we’re ready to create and consider a strategy for the campaign. Once we’ve created and suggested media tactics for each pillar to deliver against our ideal outcomes, it’s important to base some of our thinking around behavioural factors and the overall strategy.

Remember to analyse your target audience’s media consumption by channel – that’s vital. And, after that, lease with the creative agency to understand any creative restrictions or assets available. The final step is to rank each channel by the audience consumption, tactics, creative, cost and KPI to help you select the right channel.

How do you experiment with different media channels?

Innovation is incredibly important to ensure that you’re getting the most out of each media channel and evolving your outputs to align with the fast pace of media. However, when running innovation, arguably accountability is the most important thing to prioritise. Innovation and tests can be time consuming so getting clear and quantifiable learnings to justify future decisions is imperative. Running a “test and learn” approach requires a systematic approach with clear goals, KPIs, measurement and timelines.

What are the key considerations to balance targeting and reach?

The whole debate on reach vs. targeting is hotly discussed. The key considerations though are around asking yourself, “How big is the audience?” After that, factors such as the channel cost, the capability of the channel, the marketing message KPI and previous learnings are all important to throw into your thinking. You should also ask yourself whether the creative is tailored towards the audience or the environment.

What interactive media opportunities does digital audio provide?

Digital audio has evolved significantly in the last few years with many tech collaborations driving this forward. Bearing in mind audio has no visual element, click through rates tend to be lower than other visual interactive channels but we’ve found solutions to this for this tech.

Smart Speaker’s share is now at 16% of digital listening in an average week (RAJAR Q2 2022) and the interactivity element means that there are now many opportunities for media. At the deeper functionality end of voice, it’s become much easier to create branded voice interactive apps which can create brand experiences, provide information and even place orders. At the more simple scale we are able to create interactive audio adverts which can trigger purchases or even samples to be sent to your address.

Voice isn’t the only way to interact with audio. Some digital audio campaigns – such as from the likes of Spotify – are clickable and there are other interactive formats you can invest in from a media perspective including shaking the phone to drive an interaction.

How does digital audio fit into the marketing funnel?

Digital audio now has the capability to fit into any area of the marketing funnel. If you cross marketing KPIs (top to bottom funnel) with audience targeting (broad to niche), digital audio is able to deliver against any of these quadrants.

Digital music streaming has many different formats; takeovers drive reach and higher funnel information, pre-rolls can deliver against all parts of the funnel depending on message, and the targeting can be very niche with contextual, demographic and targeting buys.

Digital radio streaming is very similar with the creative being able to do the heavy lifting across the whole funnel and targeting capabilities continuously advancing.

On the podcast side of things, we are starting to see more demand for higher funnel KPIs through branded podcasts or branded episodes which tend to reach more niche audiences. This is a great way to get engaged consumers to have high dwell time with your brand. Podcast live reads are one down in the funnel but the time spent developing these are much less significant and can still be highly effective. Lastly, standard adverts are still driving great interaction due to the on-demand and lean in (headphones mostly on) nature of podcasts.

What are your thoughts on passive vs active attention and digital audio's role within that?

In the last few years there has been a real focus on attention, leading the way in accountability for media. The challenge with many of these approaches so far is that they either base attention on eye tracking or interactivity, both of which are not as applicable for audio. Neurodiversity studies do account for the full attention power of audio and have been successful in providing this. Audio can drive high attention from both a passive and active perspective but it will be interesting for more people to test and learn the difference in attention by audio type.

What opportunities do you see around sonic branding?

Sonic branding can be seen as a slightly antiquated way of marketing, however, this is by no means the case. The advantages of having a sonic brand within advertising continue to be proven with new case studies emerging all the time and with many brands still not doing this, there is still a gap to create competitive advantage. A marketer without a logo is highly uncommon but a marketer without a sonic brand is simply considered to be unusual. That’s worth thinking about!