Audio Advertising Offers Brands Badly Needed Stability in the Rapidly Evolving Cookie-scape
For those people not in the business of buying or selling advertising, cookies are just a delicious dessert (or snack, let’s be honest) that comes in all different varieties and has its own highly anticipated season…Girl Scout Cookie season. I imagine a lot of us envy those people, because those cookies are far less confusing and are not often predicted to have an apocalyptic impact on advertisers everywhere.
For those of us in media, the word “cookie” instantly takes us to a place of user tracking, behavioral data, advanced targeting, PII and a very long roller coaster of both technical and regulatory changes to plan for and/or address with very little certainty or warning.
The largest drivers change within the marketplace are Apple and Google. Apple has built its brand on protecting the data and privacy of its users and they swiftly implemented an opt-in requirement for all users that requires them to proactively agree to allow 3rd party cookies to track their in-app behaviors. The ID for Advertisers (IDFA) was implemented in April of 2021 and has slashed advertiser access to this data by astounding measures — even more than most advertising gurus predicted.
According to a recent Mashable article, only 4% of users have agreed to allow in-app tracking*. This is a huge blow to Facebook’s ad business in particular.
Google also came out strong in January 2020, stated that they would end the use of 3rd party cookies in their Chrome browser by 2022. They announced a solution called “Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which Google says is a “privacy-first” and “interest-based” advertising technology. With FLoC, Chrome will keep track of a user’s browsing habits across the web, and then place the user in various audiences, or “cohorts,” based on those habits”**. However, they recently reversed course on this decision, and gave 3rd party cookies an indefinite stay of execution.
Quite honestly, it has been hard for advertisers to keep track of the various platform requirements, updates and all the flip flopping.
At Ad Results Media, we have built a business on helping our clients drive meaningful business results using audio channels, including: radio, streaming, podcasts and most recently audio chat apps like Clubhouse. In speaking with a few of our clients, they believe that audio advertising offers them the ability to plan, execute and optimize their media with consistency and in an environment free from the potential impact of the cookie apocalypse.
“The contextual targeting capabilities of audio — from local radio to podcast advertising — ensure that the people who are hearing the ads find them relevant because our client’s messaging is delivered within the right show, by the right host and often within the exact right discussion. We have consistently seen that audio advertising has been able to efficiently drive awareness and acquisition at scale.” Marshall Williams, CEO, Ad Results Media
There is also a consistently growing targetable universe available with audio unlike the shrinking digital cookie pools. Online audio and podcast listenership are both up significantly.
Weekly audio listening has hit an all-time high, with 176M Americans tuning in every week. Along with this increased reach, they also added an additional 1 hour of listening time. The average time spent in 2021 with online audio was 16 hours, 14 minutes, up from 15 hours, 12 minutes in 2020***.
Podcast listenership is also at all-time high, with 116M monthly listeners. On average, these listeners consume 8 podcast episodes a week from 5 different podcast shows***.
As advertisers continue to wrestle with the “hurry up and wait”, “will they or won’t they” or “surprise, we are changing what data you can use” Cookie-scape; audio advertising provides both stability and scale. Next time your team or agency is triaging how to maintain your media efficiency after a new bombshell announcement, consider audio advertising and the results it can achieve through contextual targeting.
***Infinite Dial 2021