The View From The Buy Side – The Future of Actionable Audio Ads – Cannes 2022 Panel [VIDEO]

Say It Now – Maria Cadbury, Global Strategic Partnerships Director

The 7 Stars – Michelle Sarpong Head of Display & Audio Activation

A Million Ads – Kim Aspeling, Director of Creative Production

AdsWizz – Zack Pinkham, Vice President Demand

We hosted a very well-received event in partnership with A Million Ads in our villa in Cannes. We explored the below themes and so much more!

We all remember the year of mobile, is 2022 the year of the Audio?

What is the main difference between buying traditional radio and buying digital audio?

Is investment in digital audio coming from the cannibalisation of traditional channels?

How should marketers and media buyers incorporate digital audio into their holistic buying strategy? How much will fragmentation be an issue (or not) for advertisers who want to measure audiences across devices?

Why should advertisers invest in digital audio and more specifically actionable audio ads?

How creative is the audio channel How are brand safety and security for brands addressed in the digital audio space?

Can audio campaigns help marketers achieve all their strategic goals?

What are the principles for creative best practices in digital audio?

How can marketers win in screen-less ecosystems? How will the death of the cookie affect digital audio?

As an advertiser, how to incorporate creative formats for digital audio into your plan?

How will voice search and further advancements in speech recognition technology affect the search business? Lengthier search queries?

For example, full statements or asking complete questions result in the need to optimise for long-tail keywords

What measurement capabilities exist? How do you measure the effectiveness of audio, in particular podcasts?

How should brands be thinking about targeting? How vital is contextual alignment with audiences?

Should they be thinking more about what people are listening to or who they are?

Marc Pritchard (CMO of P&G) famously said – ‘I invest in mediums where my audience is spending their time’ – Why do you think the investment in podcasts/ Digital audio isn’t necessarily mirroring the time spent by consumers

Read the transcript of the video here:

Maria Cadbury 0:00
Yeah. I am really delighted with this because I work with phenomenal partners and it means a lot to me to enjoy what I do, and these people are an absolute joy to work with. And I would like you to know who they are. I am I’ve already introduced myself previously, but I am Maria Cadbury. I am the Global Director of Strategic Partnerships at say it now, where we do phenomenal actual audio ads. Do it now. And we’re gonna go downstairs and go sign up now. Would you like to introduce yourself can

Kim Aspeling 0:33
S I. So I’m Kim, I am the director of creative production at a million ads. So my job primarily is to work with either creative agencies or with our in house creative team to really make the most of data within our creative and make sure that each person is hearing the best ad possible, we make coolship in our values,

Zack Pinkham 0:57
pretty hard to follow that I make I make calls. My name is Zack Pinkham, I look up to the European business for a company called ad Swiss, we essentially build the technology that empowers advertisers, brands, agencies, and publishers to all come together. So we are very much about partnering with as many people as we can, so that we can rise with the tide as digital audio becomes more mainstream. So we do a lot with million ads, we did a lot with all agents to types from independent source through to big media agency group. So that is me.

Michelle Sarpong 1:30
And I’m Michelle Sarpo. I am now recently head of digital and

Maria Cadbury 1:35

Michelle Sarpong 1:41
head of like display and audio at the seven stars, which is the largest independent agency in the UK. So I like to think we was as he has led into the digital audio space quite early on. I mean, Judge me if you want to, but I do believe that we actually took that stance quite early on. So yeah, that’s great.

Maria Cadbury 1:57
Thank you. So we were talking about this, and we’re like, you know, is it the year of audio? Is it going to be is it going to be like the mobile

Zack Pinkham 2:07
when was the year of mobile? Now I can remember it very well. I got into mobile advertising in 2007. And that was when there was a feature phone and you had to navigate the cursor up to the top of the screen. And if the wind was blowing the right direction, you had edge. You clicked on it, it was the most awful experience. And then that kind of built on. And I think it sort of the year of mobile just came and went decade. Okay, so the decades, it was something in the last 10 years, but I think digital audio is is there, right? I think we everybody is experimenting hugely, I think brands are really taking it seriously. I think people understand how personal the device is especially having, you know, the earphones in and being able to actually consume the content. So I sort of liken it very much to mobile, the whole personal relationship. And I just think that, you know, with all the cool stuff that we’re doing now, all the brands, there’s there’s basically an answer for how brands can engage and can engage with that content. And I think that’s really powerful. So if it’s not now it’s definitely in the next couple of years as we continually evolve with technology and attribution, which first panel talked about, but I think that’s really the thing that’s going to harness it and grow into this powerful medium.

Michelle Sarpong 3:26
I mean, I’m going to be controversial say the year of audio was in 2020. Because I think we saw the IV results like how well we’ll do because it was like, I was TV like it was watching more TV, but actually, linear radio grew. And digital audio grew massively. I think, like, I think we’re the last that I have been reporting 2020 was like 43% of people engaged in podcasts. And actually, that is a massive increase. So I think like what was quite a turbulent year for like for advertisers, and actually agencies especially but I think actually audio really shone through can that period and actually it continued actually, it’s I think like TV, obviously we’re having a little inflation problems. But I think like with digital audio, I think like with the stuff that you guys are doing, I think actually the momentum is just that keeping keep us and we joke about mobile because obviously a decade or so they that was a year of mobile, and it’s like nothing happened last year. This will be the mobile but I think we’ve done audio like literally it’s it’s the momentum.

Zack Pinkham 4:18
I think COVID Definitely had a lot to do with that. Because, you know, I’m fortunate to live with somebody, there’s people that live on their own, and you’re allowed out for that one hour walk, you remember that? It’s almost like a lifetime ago. Yeah. So when you’re on your own and you’re going for a walk, you generally want to engage with something else while you’re doing something, right. So listening to a podcast or audio streaming, and then you’d go out for the second walk without telling anybody and try and get away with it. So I do think that definitely built it up and over time you engage with more.

Kim Aspeling 4:48
And I think as well what we’ve kind of learned from the dreaded COVID Is that you know, we want that human feel and we went back to basics with the audio not just about the way that we listened but I I think being able to trust in something that’s always been around when we think back to the radio days, for example. So we kind of have gone back to our roots. And I think one thing that we’ve taken from COVID is keeping that human approach because we’ve realized what’s important. And so audio is continuing to grow, because of it

Maria Cadbury 5:17
actually, to stay on to this point. And how to lead it on a letter actually to develop it is because from a creative perspective, what we’re seeing now in the audio space, like it before people think or radio ads, how creative can you be, but when you look at digital audio, you can really create

Kim Aspeling 5:34
Exactly, exactly. So when you think about, you know, the possibilities, and particularly what we do with dynamic audio, of course, is you’ve got all this data available to you. So why would you speak to everyone exactly the same. If we go back to what I’m saying about, you know, having that human connection, there is no human connection, if you are talking to everyone exactly the same and kind of blanketing them into one particular audience. So we’ve got the data available to us, let’s make use of it. And let’s go and do that with our creative. And when we start to actually think about that, and all the data we have available to us. Honestly, the options are endless, combined with innovation and audio and

Maria Cadbury 6:10
deliberation. And then but it’s personalization because

Michelle Sarpong 6:22
what I was gonna say is actually like there’s a real opportunity for digital audio, because actually, we’ve seen personalization tried to be done in like Ford’s everyone remembers, like the Burberry advert Ben Ford, when he had the personalized ball, I put the wrong name on there. So it didn’t say, Michelle, it said something else. And I’d like to change my name on there. But I think we’ve seen that in terms of like, the guidance was like digital display, sometimes we’ve gone to personal people like this is scary while they follow me. I think this is real time in terms of like stuff that you guys do in terms of like, actually, that personalization of digital audio actually like talking to people in the right in the right space, the right time, and actually really thinking about what the creative looks like, is a massage because you’ve seen what everyone’s done. And some of them failed. miserably. Yeah, I think actually, disorder is the way the way it keeps growing, I think it’s a real opportunity now to just take hold of that, and actually build that narrative and be like, actually, we can take ownership at that point, that person was actually just aware of how we’ve done it as well. But their whole, like, you know, weather changes and stuff like that. But I don’t think that’s taken off either. So I think there’s a real opportunity of digital audio to really own that personalization space. And actually just take the take off. As if, you

Zack Pinkham 7:24
know, I agree with both of what were your comments, I think, you know, going back to the mobile days, we tried to do exactly that. And you try to change the creative so that it will be relevant and down to the audience. But I think having something that resonates with the audience is obviously going to, you know, the engagement rates gonna be far higher, the campaigns are far more successful, they’re far more relevant. And you don’t actually mind listening to these these audio ads, which then continues to building on on the mindset

Maria Cadbury 7:50
speaking of listened to, I mean, we’ve got octave in here as well. So publisher, which is great, but you have the technology, but you also bring publishers in?

Zack Pinkham 7:58
We do. Yes, we do. So octaver a fine publisher of ours. Also, also SoundCloud over here who jointly favorite I feel like there’s gonna be a BB roll now with all the beers beers down gentleman. But no, but, you know, we’ve seen we talk about the sort of the, the transfer from radiants, digital audio, and I think there’s, there’s big opportunities there to work with various different partners to give them, you know, a blend of different publishers. I think, in Europe alone, you know, you’ve got your main two players like Spotify, and a cast from a streaming and podcast standpoint, but everybody, it’s almost like the digital days, you’re never gonna get sacked for putting on Google. But everybody’s now looking for their second and third place. So we’re building out this big marketplace that allows people to not only buy across multiple markets through one seat, but engage in different brands and different publishers, content creators podcasters to allow them to engage in that audience. So I think that’s, that’s, again, why we’re seeing this big evolution

Maria Cadbury 9:07
and evolutionary evolution with tech and all of that, but what about the revenue record? isn’t money come from and it’s like more to you? Is it cannibalizing traditional radio? Is it new pockets of car?

Michelle Sarpong 9:17
I think I think it’s a mixture of both as if these new books are cash, I think but one thing that the show did quite well, it’s like, they didn’t go along the narrative, you know, VOD. They were like, Do you know what let’s incremental reach in your TV plans, like you put 20% of your budget in there. And it’s done. And actually, like, I think, by not doing that digital audit kind of snuck on the radar right under the radar. So it was actually like, actually, you can buy programmatically, you can buy it through like our digital display, guys, you could vote for the right to actually have so much access points that actually we knew revenues there. So I think I’m actually lucky at seven styles. We’ve had quite a lot of entertainment clients as well. And they naturally leaned in naturally, obviously, because we’ve got two music labels. They were like, Oh my gosh, we love we love radio. We love audio. So we actually had clients that was asking, they were like, actually what else do we do? This space, I think we will one of the first like, he has to kind of invest in the whole podcast space as well. So I think like, I don’t think I don’t think digital audio in terms of the revenue stream is like cannibalizing anything really, I think actually, it’s a new audience because I think digital audio actually, if you look at the audience, like, it’s not like, you know, people say like TV is really like, it was old watching like TV, the younger generation not watching it. But actually, I think with the digital audio space, you’ve got everyone, everybody, actually unless the brilliant thing about stuff like podcasts actually, like, you can find that audience anywhere. So I think actually, with that you’re getting a new that new audience. And so I think the revenue streams are there. But I think actually there was a bit of trust is a bit of scale problems as well, in terms of looking at like some of the podcasts or the streaming devices. I think there’s a whole argument about there’s more people that use the free version of Spotify than the paid for version, it’s all that if that argument is still going on by the same time, it’s very much just like, actually, you’ve got you’re tapping into new audiences. The scale was getting there. It’s growing. So actually, I think, yeah, I definitely think Yeah,

Zack Pinkham 10:58
I think the format’s drive that as well, as well, if you think about it, digital audio this year was 150 million or something right? 56% growth, but compared to the 25 billion, whatever it is, that Digital’s worth in the UK, that’s a fraction, right? Yeah, I don’t think that you know, radio is not suffering yet. I think what is interesting is the digital buyers starting to get into digital audio and going hang on, there is now some sort of trackable solution that allows you to engage in the ad, there is an attribution place that allows you to actually understand the value of the listen all the way through to a purchase, or click or landing page or whatever. So I think digital is now starting to do it. And I think it is education, you know, there’s only a handful of people doing it in Europe. And so I think, you know, by doing panels like this, which will hopefully be televised globally. You know, people will learn about it.

Michelle Sarpong 11:50
Yeah, I think actually, it comes down to creative and formats. Like I think that relationship with that disorder is becoming a lot closer, like video is becoming quite prominent space, actually. And I think less we’ll talk about actually, and I think I mean, I’m jumping right right ahead. But I think the future of audio will be like being channel agnostic. Like, we’re not going to talk about audio, we’re going to talk about video we’re gonna display. So I think that’s, yeah, it’s an audio rather than just actual,

Kim Aspeling 12:13
I think from a production perspective, as well, like, when it comes to, you know, creating different variations that are going to kind of be personalized to every single listener. When it comes to digital audio on a production side, it’s a lot cheaper to do that than it is to kind of shoot loads of different kinds of scenery and different locations, etc. So from the savings that you can get from the audio perspective from production, you can invest that back into the media and truly make use of the medium.

Maria Cadbury 12:43
Okay, because we’re running out of time. So right, I’ve got this question for you. In 20 Finish the sentence same question for each one of you. Presented in 2025 digital audio is fucking fantastic

Zack Pinkham 13:07
I see digitally as the Minority Report. I come down in the morning at 5am with my daughter who wants to watch Peppa Pig. And so I will put the coffee on and I’ll talk to Alexa. And I just love I’m a commercial guy through and through so I want to be assaulted. And so I don’t want to go online and search whenever I want to at that time when I’ve got five minutes have some sort of actual engagement with a speaker so I could talk about you know, travel or air or food or whatever it is and if you can actually get that bit right and have that one to one communication with something so personal that’s that’s it for me and I think that’s it no absolutely I think as piskei once said, you know, it’s garlic is bread is the future. Yes.

Michelle Sarpong 13:59
I did actually just jump ahead and actually say what I thought this was it will be but I think it’ll be channel agnostic. So I think actually, we’ll just talk about formats rather than actually just like, is this audio and related just back to like, almost traditional radio, I think like it will just be looking at video display and actually plan and buy based on that. That is so much