The Future of Personalized Advertising

Traditional radio continues to dominate ad spend market share in the US. But there are a number of reasons to put streaming audio and podcast on top of your media consideration. The 2018 Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital shows a steady growth in online audio, reaching 64% or 180 million Americans ages 12+. Meanwhile 26% of Americans ages 12+ have also listened to a podcast every month, at an average of 7 podcasts per week. Early adopters continue to move toward on demand audio and video consumption and leading tech innovators have begun placing their stakes in these emerging markets, providing compelling evidence that this trend is unlikely to pace down.

But advertisers have been somewhat averse to jumping on the bandwagon, and rightfully so. Targeting and measurement were still in its relative infancy, so it is no surprise that advertisers have approached these opportunities with caution. Advertisers will be happy to know that latest innovations have enabled for more sophisticated segmentation, targeting and measurement across streaming audio and podcasts. Perhaps more importantly, these opportunities are now all available programmatically, allowing advertiser better control to test its potential.

So how much has really changed and why should advertisers consider leveraging these opportunities to serve their campaign objective?

Streaming Audio

The prevalence of smart connected devices – phones, cars and speakers, have opened up new ways of reaching audiences with fresh new ad formats. Advertisers can now leverage programmatic audio opportunities through top audio brands such Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio. And unlike terrestrial radio, streaming audio allows advertisers to target more granularity, and filter audience segments via demographic, location, device, music genre and keywords used in user-generated playlists. Running these placements programmatically also enable marketers to fine tune its delivery through third party data layer. With products like Pandora’s Contextual audio and Dynamic Audio, advertisers are able to serve personalized and contextually relevant ads to individual listeners in real time.

A study of audio campaigns conducted by Spotify estimated an average of 60% lift in ad recall across 12 verticals. This comes as no surprise given that the audience is already in a positive and emotionally engaging environment, so they are likely to connect and ultimately have better recollection of the brand. Audio ads are also played one at a time, unlike display ads that runs in a sea of other ad placements where it is easy to be banner blind.  And, if there is some lingering apprehension on measurement and attribution, brands would be happy to learn that Adobe recently launched a new audio analytics tool in its Analytics Cloud. This tool provides publishers much more visibility on the listener journey – where the listeners are coming from, when they leave and where they go when they leave. The Analytics Cloud also offers AI tools that can detect anomalies like excessive buffering that may be impacting the listener’s experience.


Similar to streaming audio, podcast listening is an immersive experience. While average CPMs can be up to 3 times higher than banner ads, a large majority of podcast listeners remained engaged and listened to most or all of the podcast. Edison Research reports that 80% of podcast listeners had this level of engagement, while Apple reports this percentage a little higher at 85%. We can reasonably infer that advertisers have a much more meaningful opportunity to make a personalized and impactful ad interaction through podcast audio ads. And like streaming audio, targeting opportunities have also evolved, allowing advertisers to match consumer purchase behavior to podcast audiences.

Aside from the steady increase in podcast consumption trends, recent acquisitions made by major tech companies in the space are signaling more expansive opportunities for podcasts on the horizon. For instance, Google acquired 60db, a podcasting app that delivers personalized short-form audio stories to listeners.  Late last year, Apple acquired a podcast search start up called Pop Up Archive as well as Swell, an iOS app described as “Pandora-for-talk-radio, a platform that enables users to search and organize spoken audio files. With two of the biggest players in the tech space allocating resources to improve or add functionality to podcasting, it is only a matter of time before more of its potential is realized. And with greater functionality, increased and better content, podcasts reach may soon reach a similar audience scale as streaming audio.

Susan Panico, SVP of Strategic Solutions at Pandora sums up the potential in audio marketing.

“Out of all the senses, the human brain processes sound the fastest — 200,000 times faster than any other sense, to be exact. Once a sound, beat or rhythm is heard, your other senses are activated, your imagination is unleashed, and you’re automatically participating in the story. Creating a “theater of the mind” can bring a brand’s advertisement to life before a listeners’ eyes, instantly creating that emotional connection a brand is looking to make.”

There is a great potential to make a personal connection with consumers and amplify the brand in an environment that inspires thought and imagination. With improved targeting, tracking and an evolving standardization of measurement, it’s time for brands to take the leap into the future of personalized advertising.



R A Q U E L   R E C I O
Media Platforms Specialist





Edison Research. “The Infinite Dial 2018.” 8 March 2018,

Ginny, Marvin. ” Spotify Launches self-serve platform for audio ad campaigns.” Martechtoday, 26 September, 2017,

Kaplan, David. “Pandora Pitches ‘Audio Context’: Why Your Ad Recall Is Higher When You’re Eating.” Geomarketing, 7 March 2018.

Spotify for Brands Insights. “Get your brands heard with a 60% lift in ad recall.”

Donnelly, Grace. “How Adobe’s New Audio Analytics Tool Will Help Pandora, Spotify, and Audible Better Advertise to Gen Z, Millennials.” Fortune, 28 March 2018.

Locker, Melissa. “Apple’s new purchase could give it an edge in the podcast world.” Fast Company, 5 December, 2017.

Smith, Jake. “Apple acquires podcast search engine Pop Up Archive,” 5 December, 2017.



Share This Article