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

We hosted a very well-received event in partnership with A Million Ads in our villa in Cannes.

In this panel, hosted by Charlie Cadbury, CEO Say It Now and with our partners Charlie Brookes, CRO, Octave Audi, Justine Benjamin VP Global Marketing AdsWizz and Richard Williams, Commercial Director, A Million Ads we explore the following topics and much more!

How is audio and voice development impacting the digital and programmatic ecosystem?

What are the key benefits? What are the challenges? How do we overcome them?

What are the current barriers to growth in the digital audio ecosystem? How do we overcome them?

What are structural or industry changes needed to ensure the continued growth of digital audio?

How does the digital audio ecosystem differ across regions globally?

How nascent is the EMEA market?

Where do we look for inspiration?

What have been the advancements in audience targeting recently?

What has been the innovation in the ad creative?

What advances have there been in attribution/measurement?

What do actionable ads bring from each of your perspectives?

Any insight into the efficacy of audio ads?

How should brands that have previously used linear audio advertising approach digital audio?

As above, what benefit does podcast advertising bring over other channels?

Read the transcript of the video here:

Unknown Speaker 0:00

Charlie Cadbury 0:08
actually, we guys are my friends of the young business. It’s the delight to be getting all the files and for more tips, and we could not do that without such a supportive industry, some fantastic partners, many of you, as they say, thank you very, very much. We’ve got three panels this afternoon, hopefully, you’re going to learn a few other points with this one,

Charlie Brookes 0:36
too. Run on the other channel, Charlie Brooks, Chief Revenue Officer up to audio. And we’re a small business, which is what we do in the US, UK. And it basically works specific distributors.

Justine Benjamin 0:58
I just happen to also go by JB, I head up the marketing for AdWizz ads, which is a technology platform that does audio advertising, digital, audio, and podcasts as well. And my role is to support the business teams and write the words for things.

Richard Williams 1:16
Hi, I’m Rich, I’m the commercial director at a million ants, we are a dynamic creative company within audio. So we make ads contextually relevant, wherever you’re listening to it. Wherever, wherever the weather is like this, or if it was, like 10 minutes ago, it was raining, we make that copy relevant to the person who’s listening to it.

Charlie Cadbury 1:34
Amazing. So we’re going to kick off with you know, and understanding the the new innovation. So what’s what’s hot, what’s new, what’s what’s happening in the world of digital audio.

Unknown Speaker 1:47
So yes, I mean, there’s lots going on, I guess there’s, there’s your space voice, which is, which is which is fascinating. But interactive ads. Generally, the ability to a rich doesn’t and make creative personal is really exciting as well. And using some of the some of the clever things that you can do with different devices makes it quite a unique business in that it’s almost three micro businesses were there within one. So there’s a lot going on a lot happening very, very quickly. And ad tech is, is definitely driving that. So I think it’s a fascinating space isn’t already sitting still at all, as

Unknown Speaker 2:21
you said. So as this is very fortunate to do on the the streaming as well as the podcast, and I would love to kind of dive into the podcast, because the streaming side I think is going to be very well taken care of here. But kind of to your point on the format’s there’s a lot of things that we can do, I can get really techie, if you want to get really in the weeds, I can, I’ll try to keep it here if you guys want to go. But there’s things like with developments like SDK kits that allow like the interactivity on mobile devices and players that can do like voice activated, like, and also motion activated on that side. But I would say on the podcast side, when the innovations I’ve really been around, tapping into what makes podcasts so powerful, which is the content, and then using that for the context of how you target somebody the same as kind of what you do. And I would say, AI transcription technology, who doesn’t love that? It does that really well. So it’s really able to kind of take the context in the content of it, and kind of make it actionable for targeting. And we could talk about that later. I think there’s some other questions that we can go in the weeds on that. But I would say that’s been a huge advancement across the podcast market.

Unknown Speaker 3:34
Yeah, I think, you know, the fact that we’re all here working in audio, it’s really exciting. Because I’ve been, you know, two, three years ago, you know, there wouldn’t be an audio ad tech industry. And now, you know, there’s three, four or five companies here that are all working in the technology, space and audio. And what that saying is because there’s you know, people who’ve been working in radio, I think three years ago, they would just be lifting their radio ad and putting it on, you know, a DAX, or or octava, or a bow of when we’re when I’m when I was working there. So it’s exciting, the fact that you can do all of these different things. And I think advertisers are starting to get to the point where audio isn’t something that they can ignore. And actually, we’re talking about things like attribution and what we can do within that. So it’s really exciting. It’s growing massively. And I think, you know, we need to get to the point where we’re taking people’s 32nd radio advert and saying this is not fit for purpose, you need to change it by either adding actual audio or adding audiences for octava or making it personalized for us.

Charlie Cadbury 4:31
So it sounds like it’s massive boom, time, you know, the grass is green, and we’re moving very quickly. But I mean, what are the challenges which you can see it in terms of how, what’s stopping this great monster?

Unknown Speaker 4:42
I think measurement is one thing and it’s sort of changing fast. So you know, people, adding attribution, things like that, and not just having listened through weights and click through on banners which aren’t relevant, but the challenges are that people you know, it’s an nascent technologies though and I think people still aren’t using the tools that they have available to companies like asking you to do better to educate people and go into agencies and talk to them and get them to understand. But that’s the challenge. I mean, education of the market. And I think people like panels like this really helped, because everyone’s talking to the ever with the same voice is really going to help that.

Unknown Speaker 5:23
I can jump on that, I would say, like we were talking about the radio perspective, it’s a lot. It’s almost kind of like evolution, where publishers who maybe were in newspapers then move to like, digital platforms. And then moving into audio. One of the challenges actually asked my team, this question before I came up here, was getting the kind of the heart of the audio, which would be like traditional broadcasts, and getting them to move to more digital versions of their content. Because once they’re there, then it’s game on, I would say that it’s in you said it’s not moving that fast, it’s actually moving really quickly. And we’re very lucky to be in this industry. But I’d say that is one of the challenges is kind of getting that legacy mentality, and moving it there. And in there, it’s kind of like this fear of digitizing.

Unknown Speaker 6:09
Yeah, I mean, or what’s the sky selling video on demand product when it came out, and it was exactly the same thing, as you know, people were just lifting 10% of their budgets into a board because it was this new thing. And actually, people then started to realize it’s the best format to run, you know, video in and it’s, there’s no fraud and all the rest of it. And then when ITV and Channel Four, and everyone started talking and working together, they really started to grow the the environment, the channel, and, you know, stay away and say, This is what we need to do record it. And

Charlie Cadbury 6:37
are there any other kind of parallels or kind of things that have happened before? Do you think we can draw on as an industry? You’re saying, cross, you know, cross collaboration is really important. Is there anything else that we could do?

Unknown Speaker 6:49
Yeah, I mean, I think you’re right, I definitely that working together thing and we could have blocked is those sort of partnerships between me you didn’t happen 510 years ago, there’s a number of them now. And I think it’s that understanding that you kind of in digital have to work with other people, even if they might look like they’re in your competitive space to grow the market and make things clearer for customers, because customers have a great deal of choice, you’re gonna have customer, you’ve got a lot of choice, a lot of media, and making things easy to understand, buy, sell, measure all those things. It’s really important because people haven’t got the time to be experts that were in the media. But I think that’s the parallel, it’s working together, collaborating, and also making things as straightforward and simple to buy and sell as

Charlie Cadbury 7:29
you can. And then with a with a global lens, to what tactics do you need to employ? And what was the difference when you’re trying to grow? What’s what are the different regions look like? What’s because you’ve got a relatively good view of this.

Unknown Speaker 7:43
You might have a better view,

Unknown Speaker 7:44
lots of regions, I guess. How would I want to phrase this? I think it’s a combination, especially with like podcasts. But it’s a combination of taking lessons that are learned and other digital media. It’s it’s fun. I didn’t know you came from TV, I can have a great conversation about that. Do you see a lot of parallels with the video on demand audience in the podcast audience, right. It’s they’re the ones, you know, engage in the interaction. It’s like, lots of things there. But I would say it’s the two things that kind of, I would say propel it moving forward is one lessons learned from digital art from digital media in general. Right, what worked, what didn’t work, they can hopefully skip a lot of like the the tragedies that happen there. But I think there also needs to be a willingness to adapt. This is not like other mediums. And that’s what also makes it so powerful. So it’s it’s a beautiful blend of lessons learned. But being willing to try things new and test and optimize.

Unknown Speaker 8:38
I think, you know, with the multi region stuff, the one of the biggest challenges, every market is very, very different. CPMs are completely different from Southern Europe and the Northern Europe. So if you’re charging a premium on your CPM, you have to take that into account, and similar with Southeast Asia, and Japan is completely different to India. So there’s lots of pitfalls. But essentially, you know, the great thing is with digital audio, which is completely different to radio is that the ability for us to work in these spaces, there’s no real barriers, because everyone’s talking about DCO. Everyone’s talking about action and audio. Everyone wants to do different audiences. So the great thing is, if your company’s in that space, then there’s the opportunity to go into those markets, you just have to sort of understand the nuances and whether podcast is different in Germany than they are to Australia and how people are downloading them. Someone was saying, I think over 50% of podcasts are streamed in the US it was like most of them are downloads, I think UK, so it’s completely different.

Unknown Speaker 9:33
Yeah, streaming is the light word. I mean, it depends on that, but sorry to speak more specifically about regions. It’s what you do. It’s what you do in any sort of business, you understand the goals is understand the objectives and you help them reach that end goal. Technology is so nimble that it can support whatever you want like in in Italy, for example, I think a really good example of what they’ve done about skipping those steps we talked about, again, the news everything so big media company that went to digital is now integrating like podcasts like news podcasts, which is one of the best genres for podcasts, they have decided to put their podcast ad inventory straight to a programmatic, like marketplace, like kind of skip the whole direct sales thing. We’re just like, this makes sense. For us. This is what we do. You look at France for digital audio as well, they have been doing programmatic audio advertising for a very long time. For them, some of the underlying reasons are more around like, what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s more privacy kind of driven, regulation driven, where a programmatic is, is much more safe environment for them. So again, it’s identifying what the goal and what you’re trying to do, and then letting the technology adapt where you can

Charlie Cadbury 10:44
kind of least take a lead from other kind of digital channels which have come forward and people kind of expect in a highly targeted audiences and you know, really granular attribution. Can you talk to, you know, how you’re overcoming those challenges? Or how you’re gonna building that into a proposition?

Unknown Speaker 11:03
Yeah, I mean, that’s a major part of what we’re doing is trying to make sure that the cookieless world, there’s a bingo. But basically, it first party data and the context. And when that thing happens is hugely important. So everyone’s a car owner in the UK, but the moment they’re buying a car is much more important than the fact they currently own a car. So what we’ve tried to do is get that first party data and understand through context, who logged in users, subscriptions, etc. What people might be doing and what they might be thinking, and try and apply that in audio that’s been done in digital. And it is a major part of digital, but it’s taking that and then adding the fact that that’s a 32nd ad, in here, it’s not a an MPU in view for half a second, where you really just have to get the click very quickly. So there’s a really good chance to build brands in digital, which has always been I think, displays challenge is, is all driven to a click. So it’s the best of digital and the best of broadcasts coming together as long as you’ve got the scale and the data to make it work.

Unknown Speaker 12:00
Yeah, I’d add to that. I mean, I think, you know, understanding that the environment that we’re in at the moment, audio is, you know, we don’t have the conversation about ad fraud, or barely ever have a conversation. But for those slightly, some conversations about, you know, user generated podcasts and things like that, it’s not really a thing and audio. Plus, you know, you took about half a second view viewability or, you know, one second view for 50 50% the effort, you know, we work in an incredibly premium environment, that’s often one to one in your ears. So, if you can deliver messaging that’s relevant to that person that’s actionable, that, you know, you use things like shake me and you know, you can say it’s sunny and can and as you know, you mess up completely different like it. You know, that’s an incredible premium environment we’re in and we need to talk that up. And I think that was the comparison that I was making between VOD and the rest of the market at that point. But it’s how we communicate and educate agencies about that. And we need to have sort of better studies, we need to work better with IAB and the audio group and get everyone working together. Which, you know, happens to a certain extent, but you know, everyone needs to be sort of shouting it from the rooftops. Really.

Unknown Speaker 13:12
I will tell audios before we will toot our own horn like when you see the cookieless we think audio has the the advantage of having context as well as data. And then when the cookie crumbled, right, everybody’s scrambling, not knowing what they’re doing. And audio is like, we got this. Like we’ve been doing this podcast, there’s never been like a mobile ID there’s never been like, you know, it’s downloaded. So we definitely had the advantage of being it’s almost going back to grassroots, right? We’re going back to your roots of, of what advertising was about and targeting was about and it was context and it was content. Yeah. And we’re sitting on a goldmine.

Charlie Cadbury 13:50
And so you’ve got this wonderful world of audio. And you know, someone said the other day that you know, you don’t listen to radio, you bathe in it, right. And it’s, you know, it’s everywhere. And it’s brilliant, as you have last 70 years, we’ve been listening to audio on devices with just the speaker, and now the speaker and a microphone, you can start to have actual campaigns and what did they mean to you the ability to kind of talk back to these campaigns,

Unknown Speaker 14:13
I mean, for us, like we just try and make the you’d like to say you beIieve in radio, and it’s very much a almost a lean back environment, which is great. You know, people are love their radio stations. And it’s very genre specific, and they trust them. But what we’re trying to do is make that less of a passive environment and make it lean forward. You know, it’s Cannes mentioned, oh, my God, I’m in Cannes, immediately the start of the ABA, I’m engaged in that. So that’s where it’s amazing and it’s a one to one environment and people sort of really take that to heart and we just need to prove out the measurement of it more as a as an industry all together.

Unknown Speaker 14:50
So we’re getting very literal, literal about talkback is the thing.

Unknown Speaker 14:56
I will melt Two seconds left with me.

Unknown Speaker 15:04
Charlie will be on there. If we’re getting very literal, if you’re literally like, like talking back, like voice interaction, one of the things I will say is how you consume audio is completely different than anything else, you’re very likely doing an activity, right, you’re very likely cleaning you’re running. So then this can also tap into what, bookmark this for measurement, attribution. But on this subject, you’re you’re very rarely in a position to like, you know, dry off your hands, pick up your phone, like undo this, do that. So by being able to be like, yes, I would like to learn more, if I continue to wash my dishes. I mean, you are, in a sense, opening up a world that wasn’t there before, to an audience that is extremely engaged, just maybe not able, with our hands to do something

Charlie Cadbury 15:57
amazing. And so you know, we’ve run through a number of benefits, right? If you’re talking to people and trying to get them to shift spend from other channels into into audio, what’s what’s what’s, what’s your, your color, yeah,

Unknown Speaker 16:11
it’s trying to take all of those things, and then make sense of what they can do for a customer. So certain things work better for the customer. So it’s picking the right mix. But the fact that you can, you can interact with it with a voice speaker, that’s something new, something exciting that that brings something with it, that you can make lots of dynamic creative on the hoof that could drive you to a specific addresses, that’s quite new and quite different. So it’s taking those things, it’s there, if you’ve targeted to the right person, provide them with a super relevant creative ad. And there may be a way of interacting, whether it be shaking or talking, you’ve kind of got the full gamut of things. So it’s quite consultative still at the moment, what does the customer want to achieve? And how can we put those things together in the right order, but most people in the AV world are starting to see that is different from what broadcast does doesn’t diminish at all, from what broadcast does does a fantastic job, but it can add add to it or do a completely different job for a digital native. So I think that’s how you do it. But it has to be different for different people, because there’s so many different options I’m using,

Unknown Speaker 17:09
I think teams are changing with agencies, I think, you know, gone are the days where it would just be radio specialists team, they now have people that are ahead of display going into audio or the print team, where they’ve been doing sort of MP use and things like starting to buy audio, and it’s starting to all become programmatic. So the opportunity for all of these different pieces of technology are people a lot more aware than people that were buying radio for 30 years, and they have a one pound CPT. You know, they don’t know what CPM is. So you know, that’s slowly changing in agencies, and it’s the mark the growth of audio is unavoidable now, so people have to have these specialist teams, they have to be aware of what they’re doing. But the education needs to be there. And you know, as I say, like we can, as salespeople go out and do the education, but also needs to have things like the IV helping us out, we need to pull together things and work together, like you know, most of us are doing so I think the education of the people buying it and then them having to educate the clients is is really key. And I think it’s slightly lagging behind the growth of audio from being on it.

Unknown Speaker 18:14
100% is, if you think about, like, how much the listenership is boom, the ad spend, but even just the past year, we’ve seen that gap close. We was listening to a panel earlier today. And it was a woman who was the head of an agency. And she was saying the same thing. It’s education. But one of the things that she was saying is, is almost a little bit of like, trust, like there’s education, but you have to trust me like, I don’t want you to not succeed. I don’t want this to fail. I want this to be more successful. So there’s a relationship aspect there. There’s the falling back on the technology aspect. And it’s just like, this is hot. This is not hot for a reason. This isn’t a phase or a fad or anything like

Charlie Cadbury 18:55
that. Amazing. Now I’ve got one last question about the future of the industry. But before we do, I just want to give you guys a chance to ask the wonderful panel here. Any questions? Does anyone have any questions?

Unknown Speaker 19:07
Oh, go. But what did we meet you? What do you think is the next? The next big thing?

Charlie Cadbury 19:17
Yeah. Well, I’ll phrase it another way. 2520 25 audio will be?

Unknown Speaker 19:25
Well, I couldn’t

Charlie Cadbury 19:28
wait my brain.

Unknown Speaker 19:31
I think people using audiences like we use lots of data points, mostly contextual. And we need to tap into more programmatic sources, tap into people octaver audiences and start using that to make the creative relevant for those people. Which I think is the bit that’s, you know, people are doing but it needs to be more prevalent and that’s the thing that’s going to change the way things are going so in 2025 audio will be completely audience targeted. There’ll be no sort of random network bias. and it will be creatively relevant because we will be doing the dynamic, creative optimization around that. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 20:07
I have two perspectives. So understanding that we support supply and demand, I would say in 2025 audio will be for publishers, a choose your own adventure from an ad format, right? So I think a lot of what scares when you think about content, you think about product is beginning thing like that. Its content centric, its creator driven, right. And a lot of the fear of introducing advertising, it’s gonna mess up the medium. I don’t want to move away from host read, I don’t want to move from sponsors, you know, sponsorships, it’s going to deteriorate that but it’s not it’s not a find and replace all. It’s a choose your own adventure, find what works, you can have a host read, you can have like a programmatic, you know, dynamically inserted like post roll or Superbowl. So I think understanding from a publisher perspective that you have the technology to do what’s right from you for a content perspective, but also what’s right for your advertising partners. And also from a listener perspective, because as a listener, which we all are, we want variety in advertisement, right. And I think that only is going to happen through automation and technology. And then I would say in 2025, audio will be from an advertiser perspective, not fringe, not incremental, but a full on part of the media mix and a full on respected part of the media mix.

Unknown Speaker 21:25
I’d have to echo that. I mean, that’s what you would hope would be the case that people will people see it for what it is some of this stuff that is hard to communicate, and bring together now maybe for some people in the buying community will be more obvious, easier to do faster, quicker than it is today. And I guarantee you, they’ll be something we’re not talking about today. Because that’s the nature of what we’re doing. So we’ve got to normalize what we’ve got now and take all the topics we’ve just spoken about, make it really super easy for people to buy and sell. But keep innovating because that’s what’s really exciting about the space is it is doing different things and other media do. And for any media to survive. It’s got to do something unique. And I think that’s what’s so powerful that we got four or five things now already that only it does, which is really quite exciting. So yeah, more of the same place. Whilst entrenching all the stuff we’ve talked about for the last 15 minutes was

Charlie Cadbury 22:14
amazing. And in case you’re wondering why think in 2025 I believe all audio will be actionable. Thank you my panel here