Ad Results Media, the Houston ad agency that is among the biggest buyers of digital audio, podcasting and broadcast radio ads, brought on board Teresa Elliott as its new Chief Revenue Officer earlier this month. An eight-year veteran of Spotify, who earlier worked closely with ad agencies at Microsoft and Ford, she becomes ARM’s first executive based on Madison Avenue. We caught up with Elliott to get her thoughts on digital audio, the ad market, and where AI will fit in.
Why make the jump from buying to selling audio? The ARM team caught my attention while I was at Spotify, given the strength that they had in the podcast space, and I started to learn more about them. I was really excited when the team had reached out to me just a few months ago, and I got to know them personally, and really got to get a peek under the hood, so to speak, of their strengths and capabilities. And I just became really impressed with some of the technologies and insights that they have, as well as the team itself. The team has a wealth of expertise. And I think with audio advertising, and podcasting, in particular, that expertise really matters.
ARM has long been involved in audio advertising, and increasingly that has meant podcasting. Is that where the energy is today?
Audio is a really interesting medium because you can reach people wherever they are. We all carry it around with us. And the beauty of having that phone is awesome because we can connect to different streaming platforms or apps, where we can gain access to content that we may not have had access to, when we were only listening to the radio in the car or at home. We've seen growth over recent years in the digital audio space, in both streaming and podcasting. But I think there's some really interesting innovations in podcasting in terms of the technology, especially when it comes to things like measurement. And with that, there are a lot of opportunities for advertisers who wouldn't have necessarily considered radio when that was the only option for audio advertising to now explore what streaming audio or podcasting might be able to do as a complement on their broader marketing plan to help them reach their business goals.
What does that mean for broadcast radio?
I don't think radio’s necessarily going away, but I definitely see more growth on the digital streaming side of things. It's all about finding that listener where they're at and helping the advertiser understand where they can get the most benefit, based on what they're listening to.
Radio has always had a role in growing awareness while podcasting is closer to the click of the buy button. Do you see the two working more in tandem going forward?
It’s not necessarily an either-or. It depends on the business and who they're looking to reach, and wherever their audience might be. For some hyper local brands, radio might be the best solution based on who that potential listener and potential customer is. The beauty of streaming and the digital side of things is you can find audiences in places that you may not have had access to before and may not have known necessarily existed. On that side of things, it's really interesting and it will potentially open some new doors.
Any thoughts on how the audio business can do a better job of attracting marketers?
Audio can really fit for any marketer. So even if they are a visual brand, I think I've seen some really great examples over the years of partners who have built their audio identity. We've seen a lot of success in automotive, entertainment, and CPG. It's just a matter of finding the right alignment between the audience that that brand is looking to reach and where they are playing in the audio space.
In this economy, will it be tougher to keep bringing in new advertisers?
The more that we can prove out the success on some of these forms of advertising, the better off that we are as an industry. I think as there is more scrutiny with budget, streaming audio, and podcasting, does become more attractive for brands versus traditional methods of advertising, given that there is a bit more measurement and a better understanding of how to reach their specific target audience. So there can be less dollars wasted on advertising.
In speaking to marketers over the years, have you found that their attitude toward audio has changed?
Their attitude has definitely changed. I remember 5,6, 7 years ago, there was a lot of education for advertisers around what audio was and why that could be a good complement within their marketing plan as a business solution. And now marketers really understand that audio is important, especially because they have become used to listening in different ways. The mobile phone has really helped that. And with the proliferation of streaming, a lot of marketers themselves have been more comfortable with the medium as users.
Do you see a role for AI in the spot planning or buying process?
Absolutely. AI is really interesting because it can help accelerate some of the strength of a business. I'm excited about AI potentially taking over some of the more menial tasks that are just part of the business and keeping things operating, and that would allow the team to really use the expertise that they have in new and bigger ways. So I could see AI as a step in the process, from everything from creative development, to new business acquisition to everything in between.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.