Take Advantage of the Audio Revolution
Technology and the pandemic have created an opportunity for brands to
reach audiences through audio like never before, writes JOHN WALLS.
The audio revolution has become an indisputable consumer trend – and the statistics back it up. Eighty-two percent of South Africans listen to radio every day and of those, 28% also stream music and 19% listen to a podcast daily (Broadcast Research Council of South Africa Radio Audience Measurement Survey). Over 8-million South Africans stream content through Spotify.
The doomsayers have got it wrong. Digital audio is not going to cannibalise radio; the cake has expanded. More listening options mean more listening, simple as that.
What caused this explosion in listening? Technology and lockdown.
A proliferation of audio tech including smart speakers, earbuds and Bluetooth speakers has greatly simplified accessibility. Lockdown, meanwhile, saw people turn to radio for comfort and connectedness, and to podcasts to expand their horizons. The omnipresence of Zoom led to serious screen fatigue so people chose to give their eyes a rest by using their ears. Radio and digital audio listening exploded worldwide during Covid-19 and it appears the bump is permanent. The UK has just seen radio listening and radio advertising both reach all-time highs (Radiocentre).
ENGAGEMENT IS ADVANTAGE
So how does your business take advantage? By developing an audio strategy. As with any marketing strategy, there are two key questions to answer: How do I access all those ears and how do I engage them?
Radio has always been the master of engagement. We love our presenters and stations; we trust them and connect with them. Podcasting is probably even more engaging – 60% of listeners reported taking action after hearing an ad in a podcast (Nielsen Scarborough 2021). When you advertise on audio, talk to the listener in the same way the presenters talk to them – as their trusted friend. Don’t shout at them, don’t bore them. Make your 30-second ads entertaining. Develop a sonic identity for your brand and achieve instant listener recognition. Create your own branded podcast. Pay the presenter to endorse your product on air and through platforms such as Instagram or TikTok.
DEFINE YOUR MARKET
Before you engage the listener, you need to access them, which is the other pillar of an audio strategy. Define your target market and then reach as many of them as possible as often as possible no matter what they’re listening to. Catch them in the morning on radio, through a podcast as they drive home and at gym through music streaming. The good news is that this is very possible to do, even though the digital audio landscape can appear rather daunting.
There are some challenges. South African radio has never really been bought as an audience-buy based on cost per thousand (CPT). Digital audio is already sold on a CPT basis, so radio needs to follow suit if we are to harness the power of integrated audio. The only way for audio to compete with TV and display digital is to apply the same metrics and
accountability that they do. That issue aside, there’s a great opportunity for companies with early adopter mindsets to gain an advantage by developing an audio strategy now. Most significant media consumption shifts that we’ve seen in the past tend to be ignored until they can no longer be. Then they mushroom and everyone jumps on the bandwagon.
That issue aside, there’s a great opportunity for companies with early adopter mindsets to gain an advantage by developing an audio strategy now. Most significant media consumption shifts that we’ve seen in the past tend to be ignored until they can no longer be. Then they mushroom and everyone jumps on the bandwagon.
With 30 years’ experience in creating radio solutions for marketers, John Walls created a leading independent specialist radio and audio agency, Ultimate Media, which has worked with nearly all of South Africa’s top brands over the last 11 years.
Facebook and Twitter: @UltimateMediaZA,