While programmatic buying may account for most of digital display ad spend, it still has a long way to go in the audio space, representing as little as 2% of podcasting ad revenue, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. But in an interview with Ad Age, Mike Kropko, co-CEO at the audio-centric ad agency Ad Results Media, says he expects major growth in automated audio media buys in 2022.
“The biggest challenge with programmatic right now is that it means so many different things to different people, and no one is speaking the same language,” Kropko says. “But today there are finally the right technology capabilities, as well as premium inventory available, that I predict that by the end of 2022 we’ll see a massive uptick in programmatic adoption.”
Kropko blames the lag to date on audio media simply not being equipped to handle programmatic buys. “For the longest time the industry didn’t have the proper tools and data for programmatic to deliver scale, or creative excellence using programmatic,” he says. “But those days are behind us, and it’s now possible to use programmatic as a complementary tactic to our portfolio approach to campaign management. Content, audience growth and technology are coming together to deliver meaningful results for advertisers.”
Programmatic buying has benefited from improvements in audience targeting, allowing for a wider variety of show buys, Kropko tells Ad Age. “A wide variety of inventory is now available programmatically, either show-specific or run-of-network buys. But even more important are the improvements in targeting, that can include geo, genre or other attributes that access the long tail of shows, where a show-specific buy isn’t as efficient or effective.”
Among other areas where Ad Results Media's Kropko expects a significant impact on the next generation of audio advertising are measurement and CPMs. “The supply side has been able to control pricing regardless of actual performance, but that’s shifting quickly as more inventory becomes available,” he says. “In the second half of 2022 and into 2023, we’ll see a greater range in pricing that will unlock opportunities for those who have the expertise in the space to take advantage of them.”