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YouTube Launches Audio Ads and Music Genre-Focused Channels.

Although it is declining, YouTube remains a major outlet for Americans to listen to music and spoken word audio. Now the Google-owned video site is making audio ads available to help advertisers reach music fans.

The ads are characterized by creative where the audio soundtrack plays the starring role in delivering the brand’s message. The visual component is typically a still image or simple animation.

In addition to audio ads, the platform is launching dynamic music lineups, dedicated groups of music-focused channels across popular genres such as Latin music, K-pop, hip-hop and Top 100, as well as moods or interests like fitness. The music channels and audio ads are designed to give a brand a presence whether YouTube is being watched front and center or playing in the background.

In addition, dynamic ads are served based on the country where the consumer is listening and can include seasonal events, travel and other topics.

Initially available in beta, YouTube says its testing showed that 75% of its measured audio ad campaigns “drove a significant lift in brand awareness.” Shutterfly, which has been testing the ads, was able to influence purchase consideration among interested shoppers with a 14% lift in ad recall and a 2% lift in favorability among their target audience.

In a blog post, YouTube says the new audio ads offer “the same measurement, audience and brand safety features as your video campaigns.”

YouTube boasts that more than half of its logged-in viewers who consume music content in a day consume more than 10 minutes of music content.

But the latest data from Edison Research shows Americans are spending less of their total listening time with YouTube in 2020. Share of Ear data from Edison shows that Americans now spend 9% of their time spent listening to audio sources with YouTube. That is down from 11% in 2018. Edison reports the decrease is driven primarily from younger demos. The data shows those in the 13-34 age group now spend 16% of their total audio time with YouTube. That is down from 20% in 2019.

Separately Edison’s Infinite Dial study also showed the decrease in reach was driven by younger demos. The number of 12-34-year-olds using YouTube for music in the last week fell 14% year-over-year, to 60% from 70%. And usage by 35-54-year-olds was down slightly to 53% from 56% year-over-year.

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