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Horizon Next Attribution Service Promises Better View Of Audio ROI.

A new audio analytics offering for advertisers is expected to give podcasting, digital audio, and radio a bigger seat at the media planning table. Horizon Next, the performance shop of agency giant Horizon Media, has partnered with ArtsAI, a Claritas-owned consumer tracking and attribution platform, to launch an enhanced audio analytics service that promises increased transparency for audio, which has historically been difficult to measure and optimize.

A marriage of audience measurement with technology and analytics, the partnership is being positioned as a way to demonstrate the true impact audio investment has on an advertiser’s bottom line, offering a more accurate way to measure the relative ROI of radio. 

Under the alliance, Horizon Next has added audio attribution to Intersect, its proprietary analytics platform. With the ability to incorporate real-time data and performance results across channels and tactics into its models, Horizon Next says in a news release that it “is empowering brands to optimize and scale their media investments.”

For broadcast radio, streaming audio, podcasting and satellite campaigns, the enhanced capability allows Horizon Next to assess audio’s contribution to client KPIs and provide omni-channel measurement and optimization across traditional and digital channels. Simply put, it can measure when people are exposed to audio ads that drive them to a client’s commerce site and take an action there.

Individual level media exposure and return path data are tied back to Horizon’s identify-based framework and connected marketing platform, blu. Horizon says this provides additional insights into how buys are delivering against various granular level audiences.

“We can now prove audio tactics deliver positive performance results across multiple KPIs compared to other channels using the same methodology,” said Lauren Russo, Executive VP Managing Partner, Innovation & Performance Audio at Horizon Media. “This refined solution is a game changer, giving audio a more prominent seat at the table on media plans.”

In an off-the-record demo with MediaPost Editor in Chief Joe Mandese, Russo provided a live example of an anonymous Horizon Next client’s performance across the media channels measured alongside audio in its Intersect model. “The audio cost-per-visit is $3.62 compared to $5.63 for linear video and $4.82 for OTT,” she explained, noting, “Ultimately, this is the gold standard: What was the cost-per-lead, or the cost-per-sign-up.”

Although Russo would not disclose the explicit impact of the new audio data on its media plans, she told MediaPost that it has translated into a “double-digit” increase in average client audio budgets. “We’re seeing increased investment [in audio] because of this,” she said. “It’s changing the media plan.”

Among Horizon clients using the new capability are Sling, Bob’s Discount Furniture, eharmony and Sleep Number.

Radio has long taken a backseat in media planning by large national brands because the Media Mix Models they use have historically underestimated the value of radio and overestimated the value of other media channels. Adding audio to Horizon’s Intersect platform is seen as a way to better gauge the impact of radio, streaming audio and podcast campaigns. The agency, a major audio buyer, says its robust reporting includes demo/audience segment measurement and impression delivery, incrementality lift, advanced insights with optimization recommendations, creative insights, along with performance and conversions by device, time of day, day of week, unit length and DMA.

Horizon Next President Gene Turner says the new offering “brings more rigor and accountability to the audio space and provides substantial opportunities for our clients, and we believe provides an opportunity to leverage audio in a bigger way for our clients to drive accelerated growth.”

Erik Lundberg, Chief Growth Officer, Media & Agency at Claritas, says the new system takes “holistic audio measurement to the next level” and rolls it out agency-wide. “By ingesting our measurement data and audience insights into their proprietary technology platforms, and running their own advanced analytics models, taking into account other channels like OTT, video, and display, they are able to uncover for their marketer clients the true impact audio investment has on the bottom line,” Lundberg said. “They’re also able to make advanced optimizations to increase return on audio ad spend even further.”

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