December 13, 2023 3 min
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There are a lot of formats of programmatic advertising, and today we would like to talk about one of them – audio advertising or digital audio. This ad type has bright prospects as it offers a quality alternative to visual adverts. You can sell your products not only to content viewers but also to users that might come across ads while listening to podcasts or music on online streaming services. People may get stuck in traffic jams, enjoy their gym workouts, play video games, or clean up their flats, all while listening to their favorite radio stations – each of these situations is a great opportunity to introduce them to an audio ad!

What is digital audio?

It is an audio advert embedded in online audio content:

  • Podcasts;
  • Music streaming services (SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc);
  • Digital radio stations.

Programmatic audio, along with other types of programmatic advertising, applies complex algorithms for automatic ad delivery, which, in this case, is in the form of an audio track.


Here are the devices that might be used to play digital audio:

  • Personal computers;
  • Laptops;
  • Smartphones;
  • Virtual assistants (Siri, Amazon Alexa, etc).

Programmatic audio formats

Audio adverts can be categorized in the following ways:

  • Linear, with various options for ad placement within the audio content – Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, Post-Roll;
  • Associated media creatives – graphic banners calling for a specific action (CTA – call to action);
  • Ad units, i.e. consecutive linear ads;
  • Skippable;
  • Rewarded, for example, digital audio for gaming mobile apps. Users can either skip the ad or listen to it and get a reward (an additional life, etc).

Audio ad advantages

We can point out the following:

  • Constantly growing audience of online radio stations and music streaming services;
  • Possibility of precise targeting similar to other programmatic ad types;
  • Mobile app users spend about an hour daily listening to audio content; 
  • Audio ads can be heard without looking at a screen, which makes them a perfect ad solution for drivers, athletes, or people doing their everyday chores, in other words, people who consume ads primarily through the sense of hearing;
  • The possibility to reach younger audiences and influence their tastes, preferences, and interests, as podcasts and streamed audio are now the types of content chosen by the youth. 

It might be interesting to know that the survey held by Midroll Media Podcasting Listening showed that more than 60% of the respondents (out of 150,000) claimed that they prefer buying products advertised on a podcast rather than in a social media ad.


Prospects of audio advertising

For about 20 years, the audience of audio ad channels (podcasts, music streaming services, online radio stations) has been steadily growing and will keep doing so. Apart from that, we see the growing popularity of mobile games that give their players a chance to get various perks by listening to ads without the need to pay for them. 

For publishers, it is a great format that can be used for their inventory monetization, whereas marketers should see digital audio as a potent advertising channel. It is safe to say that audio advertising (along with video ads) is one of the most promising formats of programmatic advertising.