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Sounds of Comfort: Adding Audio to your Channel Mix to Reach at-Home Audiences

Woman with headphones listening to music

As the world sits on edge, communities across the globe are showing their strength and resolve through music. From residents of Milan and Barcelona singing together from their balconies to musicians creating isolation-themed parody songs, or live concerts, it’s clear that audio is helping us pass the time, make connections during a time of social distancing and find our way through the period.

Media consumption habits are also changing as millions of people transition to working and living exclusively from home. According to GWI research, audio consumption is up across the board as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

% of consumers listening more to different audio formats at home:

Podcasts  Streaming services Radio
Global 14% Global 39% Global 21%
UK 12% UK 23% UK 26%
Italy 7% Italy 21% Italy 27%
France 9% France 19% France 23%
Germany 11% Germany 17% Germany 31%
Spain 13% Spain 27% Spain 28%
Brazil 18% Brazil 43% Brazil 16%

Source: GWI Coronavirus Research April 2020, 17 Markets.

Audio represents an opportunity for brands to connect with audiences and provide help, comfort and a sense of normalcy during these trying times. Perhaps to no one’s surprise, channels with a strong emotional component like audio, are associated with strong brand-building effects and are often used to drive reach and frequency in multi-channel campaigns (Source: IPA). The emotional advantage of audio channels is especially pronounced in today’s world.

A proprietary study by Verizon Media across EMEA shows consumers are increasingly engaged with audio; be it streaming, digital radio or podcasts. 69% of consumers have either streamed music online, listening to digital radio or a podcast and 75% of consumers say their usage has increased since last year. 

Our study also reveals Millennials are much more likely to stream music online and listen to podcasts. In the UK for example,  70% of Millennials (18-34s) said they had streamed music online in the last 6 months  compared to 45% of all 18+ adults.


Source: Verizon Media/YouGov Consumer Study, March 2020.

Several sources and case studies point to audio as having a multiplier effect on overall campaign effectiveness. This even applies to instances where the KPI is short-term sales. 

  • In the UK, a study of purchase patterns amongst Tesco Clubcard users by dunnhumby Retail found radio ads drove an additional 9% sales uplift on average compared to the control set. (Link)
  • A 2016 study structured around Byron Sharp’s model of How Brands Grow showed that the combination of audio with audio-visual ads expands a brand’s network of mental associations, helping brands spring to mind more readily in purchasing situations relative to audio-visual advertising alone. (Link)

Many digital advertisers are now coming to grips with what the radio industry has known for decades; that audio is a powerful medium not just for extending reach but for boosting cross-channel effectiveness and delivering strong brand and sales outcomes. What is more, with the growing diversity in digital audio offerings, the opportunities for brands to leverage the power of this channel are ever increasing. So what’s next for audio advertising? 

GroupM sees a significant opportunity for advertisers in the growth of streaming audio. The media giant partnered with Spotify to study streamers in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Canada and the US. (Link) The ability to target listeners based on the ‘moods and moments’ they are exhibiting, ie. music or podcast playlists, is expected to translate into entirely new media budgets in the markets studied. 

With access to top audio streaming inventory including Spotify, SoundCloud and Targetspot, Verizon Media’s omnichannel DSP lets advertisers leverage audio alongside their native, display, video, connected TV and DOOH activity, all on one platform. Using our rich first-party data signals and machine -learning optimisation capabilities, brands can reach consumers in the right medium, at the right time, making a meaningful connection when it matters most and capturing effectiveness at every step of their campaign.

Interested in adding audio to your next campaign? Get in touch with your Verizon Media rep or reach us on info-uk@verizonmedia.com

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