Audio is today’s comeback kid
VIDEO may have killed the radio star, but audio is quickly becoming this year’s comeback kid as digital audio options such as music streaming and podcasting continue to break into the mainstream, thus presenting great opportunities for brands and creators to reach audiences in a content environment saturated with video and text options.
Audio streaming platform Pandora – which helped bring about the current rise of music streaming into vogue – released its 2017 Definitive Guide to Audio which helped lay out some of the reasons why audio platforms and art forms are coming back into vogue.
One of the big draws to audio is how dynamic a medium it is. New smartphone apps make listening to music, podcasts and basically any kind of audio stream increasingly dynamic and it’s easier than ever to listen for long periods of time. Audio isn’t tied down to a desktop, nor do you have to split your attention between that lamp post you are desperately trying to avoid as you watch the latest Wong Fu production.
Audio is super adaptable to our increasingly physical lives. You can listen to podcasts as you cook, run, and iron, thus transforming the very way we interact with content in our daily lives.
“Whether it’s to music or news, via smartphones or computers, at home or on the go, we reach for audio as a necessary accessory to our increasingly kinetic and multitasking lives,” the report noted, adding that audio’s portability is partly why people from the millennial and Generation Y find themselves spending an average of four hours on the platform in general.
Another reason why audio has really made a comeback is the personalization factor involved in selecting what we listen to and when. No longer are listeners beholden to the tastes and times of curators and radio DJs. The on-demand nature of online radio has made it so that listeners have more control over how and what they listen to, therefore realigning the power structures of the audio industry more with the tastes of consumers rather than the brands around them.
“Today, over half of daily listening time among people in prime advertising demos is to newer forms of audio—much of which features a personal and personalized experience that barely existed 15 years ago,” Pandora’s report noted.
“As a culture, we are entering an earbud era where audio personalization is key to achieving resonance.”
The highly personalized nature of audio makes it a particularly appealing form of communication with brands’ audiences. More businesses are beginning to engage with audio creators to push their stories in a way that is more organic as well as particularly personal. According to Pandora’s report, the rise of podcasting has, in particular, help drive this exposure as listener to brand stories within a context of a creator they trust.
“An elevated level of user engagement with content and brand messages paves the way for advertisers to cultivate close and accountable relationships with people through audio,” said Pandora’s report.
In other words, audio is a particularly intimate form of communication – today, brands are literally speaking right into the ears of audiences, meaning that companies have an opportunity to really connect with audiences that care about them and could potentially buy into their ecosystem. This means that outside the growth of audio in the general sense, the medium could foster real change for brands looking for a new way to market themselves in a shifting advertising industry.
“From a listener standpoint, the Power of Audio was always about a one-to-one connection,” said Starcom’s Kevin Gallagher, the executive vice president and director of local markets in the report.
“For years the broadcast medium was static, but in the digital space—whether it’s streaming or podcasts—audio has opened up a lot of innovation and opportunity.”