Triton Digital has seen “tremendous growth” in the amount of digital audio advertising that is being sold through its programmatic platform during the first half of 2021. Senior VP Stephanie Donovan told the RAIN Global Business Summit on Thursday that the triple-digit year-over-year increases are not only because there is a great diversity of content avails, but also more interest from buyers.
“We’re seeing that not only are the CPMs rising in the U.S. and certainly revenue, but also impressions because consumption continues to rise which makes for a dramatic increase in impressions,” said Donovan. “We also see new buyers coming into the space. We have the big large buyers, but we also see advertisers like Procter & Gamble buying through programmatic means to make their operations more efficient. The more opportunities that we have to expand the value proposition of digital audio to those buyers is going to further increase the opportunity for programmatic growth.”
Like a lot of things, there is a COVID impact. Triton Digital data shows there were consistent increases in digital audio consumption last year, despite changes to media habits as more people stayed close to home due to the pandemic. Also rising was the amount of inventory that publishers were making available for sale on programmatic platforms. And that pushed the amount of programmatic buying higher too.
“Yes, schedules were shifting and there was less in-car listening, but there was a greater amount of smart speaker listening and mobile listening and even just time spent with podcasts was a huge piece of the audio growth that we saw as more and more people listened,” said Donovan. As a result, she said digital audio ad revenue went up. “Programmatic spending has been a huge piece of that growth,” she told the virtual conference.
Donavan said more direct agencies are looking to buy their digital audio ads through an automated platform, more so than using traditional insertion orders. “I truly believe programmatic audio is opening up new budgets for audio and I think there’s an important opportunity for audio to continue to grow,” she said.
As broadcasters and digital audio publishers look to further grow their programmatic sales, Donovan said it is clear that education of agencies and buyers remains a primary objective. And while digital audio is no longer new, sellers need to expand the value propositions against online video, display and other formats that marketers have been buying for years. She thinks the always-on, anytime, anywhere element of audio is one potential selling point. Sellers also need to give buyers more metrics, especially comparisons to online video, to help make their buying decisions easier.
Donovan thinks marquee broadcasters also have an opportunity to play up their music stations’ brand-safe environment. “As spending grows,” she said, “the connectiveness of audio audiences is going to help drive more and more revenue to audio.”