Audio advertising through LiftIntent helps compliment your on and offline marketing strategies and reach your target audience. Learn how you can add programmatic audio advertising to your digital marketing strategy. In this article, you will learn:

Whether it’s music or podcasts, people will always be listening to something. Audio advertising is one way to market to your target audience while they hear their favorite show or playlist. But let’s first start with what programmatic audio advertising is.

What is programmatic audio advertising?

Programmatic advertising is a broad term that covers all the processes of buying and selling of digital advertising space autonomously. Sophisticated algorithms behind the scenes primarily run a digital auction house. Artificial intelligence is the primary driver of this auction house. First, you decide your bid price, and the winner of the bidding gets the space. But it’s not quite that cut and dry.

Contextual reasoning plays a factor in all this. Does the advertisement fit in this space? In the context of everything going on, does this ad make sense here? These questions ensure an ad is relevant at the moment. Thanks to OpenRTB protocol 2.4, all this is possible.

With programmatic advertising, you enjoy the benefit of real-time insights about your audience. From this data collected, you can optimize your campaign on the fly. Additionally, you better understand your audience and segment them appropriately. Retargeting becomes more efficient, as well. How does audio fit in all this?

Programmatic audio advertising is automated selling and insertion of ads in audio content like podcasts, digital radio, and streaming music services. Programmatic advertising is creating a multi-channel marketing platform to reach your audience wherever they are and at the right time. You can reach them off and online, unlike other digital marketing techniques. 

Audio advertising allows you to reach your audience on their way to and from work. For example, imagine your ideal potential customer is at the gym, putting their earbuds in, about to start a new podcast, and your advertisement is part of the pre-roll before the show begins. Programmatic audio advertising makes all this possible in real-time, autonomously. Besides determining your budget, the only other primary concern is creating the perfect ad.

Benefits of programmatic audio advertising

Let’s go into detail about the benefits of programmatic audio advertising. Starting with a massive number of listeners. For example, Pandora has 94 million unique monthly listeners. Spotify tops that with 140 million monthly listeners. According to the website The Drum, “in 2019, consumption of on-demand streams reached 611 billion in 2018, marking a 49% bump year-over-year.” There’s a growing trend of on-demand audio streaming, which means there is plenty of room for marketing. 

Mobile connection is a huge benefit when it comes to engagement, especially when targeting Gen Z and younger on their mobile devices. Audio can connect to a listener that is already engaged in an action, similar to how native ads make their way across text inconspicuously.

Speaking of targeting, programmatic audio advertising offers the same level of refined targeting you would expect from all other forms of programmatic advertising. Additionally, you can choose your demographics, types of genres, or playlists. You have the option of deciding the frequency at which your targets see and hear your ads. Accompanying display ads with audio ads make them multi-channel. Regardless of the device, your audience can listen to and understand your brand.

Since you have traditional digital marketing campaigns going, it’s not difficult to introduce audio as well. Adding audio advertising to an existing campaign gives you a complete look at your target audience’s behavior. By adding audio, programmatic insights give far better detail on how your campaign is performing because you gain more data to work with. More data equals better control over who you target. Find what is and what isn’t working and make those changes in real-time.

One key benefit is earning a 6x ROI for every $1 spent, according to a Nielsen Catalina Study. An ROI like this is worth the investment.

How does programmatic audio advertising work?

Unlike other programmatic advertising platforms, audio advertising was in the dark as far as the IAB was concerned. IAB, the same group responsible for OpenRTB, felt it was necessary to create standards for audio advertising. In 2014, the Digital Audio Ad Serving Template (DAAST) was introduced.

The template helped advertisers follow a guideline for creating audio ads. As with all technology, it was outdated as soon as it came out, so now the recent guidelines follow the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST). The IAB found it was better to absorb the DAAST into the VAST since video ad buying was performing so well. What does all this mean?


The updated VAST makes it possible for ads to now contain the “adType” label allowing for some ads to be audio-only. Thanks to this, audio becomes part of the programmatic family. That wasn’t all the VAST improved upon. The new framework includes placement for linear ads such as:

  • Companion ads: These types of ads include banner ads with logos and CTA’s. Companion ads will be displayed in the audio player while the audio is playing.
  • Ad pods: Essentially, ad pods are timeslots for multiple ad placements during content.
  • Skippable Ads: Pre-Roll or Mid-Roll ads can now be placed in audio content, each with their own pros and cons. 
    • Pre-Roll has the advantage of reaching your audience directly before they reach the content. Not only is Pre-Roll short, you run the risk of the listeners leaving before hearing the message.
    • Mid-Roll is a longer format that reaches the listeners who are already engaging with the content. However, the possibility of listeners leaving too early is again a risk.

How do all these templates fit together?

Remember I was telling you about how audio joined the programmatic family? Here’s what I meant by that – combining DAAST and VAST gives you holistic, cross-device branding campaigns. With programmatic advertising, you get a whole picture view of the journey, from viewer to a listener.

You get instant insights into how much of a video a person watched. Were they interested in your brand? Imagine they watched your entire video ad. Now let’s say that viewer starts a playlist and your Pre-Roll now targets that listener. After the Pre-Roll, a display ad shows on their device. When they are scrolling through one of their many social media feeds, another display ad appears. At this point, you feel you might be coming on too strong. Fortunately, you can scale back the frequency of how often this individual is a target.

    Hey you've made it this far... Seems like you're enjoying the content. Let us help you achieve your goals.

    That example is typical among the millions of audio streaming users, and it displays the power of autonomous advertising. Let artificial intelligence bridge the gap between offline and online activities.

    Where can you place programmatic audio ads?

    You now know the benefits and how programmatic audio works, but do you know where to place these ads? Here’s a list of where listeners would find your ads:

    • Podcasts – Either sponsoring a podcast or only running an ad will gather massive amounts of exposure.
    • Music (In-stream or programmatic audio ads in between songs) – Some of the largest platforms include Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and Google Play.
    • Amazon Alexa – Listeners can hear your ad through flash briefings.
    • Amazon “Skills” and Google “Action” – Leverage the use of smart home devices typically found in most homes.
    • Internet Radio – Although not as popular as streaming music services, it’s still a place worth advertising.

    Moving on, I am going to tell you how to make an audio advertisement: the do’s and don’ts.

    How to make an audio advertisement?

    What makes an amazing audio advertisement? First, it starts with a fantastic script. Creating a script is not as difficult as you might imagine. You have to be engaging, memorable, and capable of making your audience take action. You also have to get to the point and be clear since you have limited time to capture your audience. See? Not difficult.

    Here’s what to remember when creating your next audio advertisement:

    Think of the environment

    Your audience will be hearing your ad across multiple devices and in a variety of content. Think of where your listener might listen to your ad; in the car headed from work, at home through a Sonos speaker, or while taking a walk with earbuds in, are all potential places. Keep this in mind when writing your script. Also think of the many environments where your listener could be. The reason is you want to be personal in your message. Your ad more than likely will not be blasted over a loudspeaker but, instead, will be heard by the ears of one person. This tip leads to the next one.

    Keep your tone conversational

    Think of all the obnoxious air horns. Then, think of the stereotypical morning radio show bumpers you would hear in the morning. Now get them out of your head and script. It’s time for a different approach. Connect with your audience in a conversational tone. Remember the environment they might be in. Keeping it conversational will make the message personal – it will be as though the message is for that one listener only. The loud and in-your-face model is over, unless that’s your brand’s style. (Think monster truck shows and that “crazy” TV guy.) If not, keep it conversational.

    Clear and to the point

    As Pandora likes to say, “Use your time wisely.” You have 30 seconds to get your message across. You want to be clear in your script. Use the time to convey your message and be direct. A vague message is a waste of time and money. Your audience can only retain so much information. Too much information and some of it’s bound to get lost or forgotten. 

    Theater of the mind

    The power of audio is strong when it comes to invoking a listener’s imagination. Close your eyes now and listen to what’s around you. I can guarantee you can see in your head images of the world around you. If you heard a dog bark right now, the picture of a dog would pop into your mind. Take this same idea and apply it to your script. When your listener hears the soundscape you create, their memories paint the picture inside their head. The psychology of sound helps create that mental image and complete the picture. Congrats – you just made a personal connection with your audience. Theater of the mind is a powerful tool that you should be using to your advantage.

    What type of selling – Soft, Medium, or Hard?

    What is the goal of your ad? To try to hard-sell immediately in the time you have? Or a flexible approach that gives a subtle nudge to get your audience’s business? Have this in mind before hitting the record button. If you can’t explain your offer in 30 seconds, then a strong focus on your CTA might be a good idea to lead traffic back to your site. On the other hand, if you can say everything in 60 seconds, a soft approach might be better. Consider your offer and the time you have and decide which method is best for your audience.

    Have a CTA (Call-to-Action)

    As mentioned above, you need a CTA. Without it, what incentive is there for your offer to be searched? How do you know whether your ad is effective if there is no way to track KPI’s? Whether your CTA is strong or not, you need one. Unlike a viewer who can click on an ad, a listener doesn’t always have the luxury of clicking on display ads. Remember, they are listening, not viewing. Your CTA should be exact instructions on what it is you want your listener to do. Inspire them to take action on your request. “Go to our website at to learn more.” Be direct. If not, don’t expect many to follow up when it’s convenient for them.

    So, there you have it. Keep your message conversational, personal, and to the point. You don’t have the benefit of creating a stunning visual, but that doesn’t mean your listeners can’t paint a picture with their minds. Be mindful of the environment where your message may be heard. Determine what type of selling you will be doing. Don’t forget a CTA or all the rest will be for nothing. 

    Programmatic audio partner: Pandora(AdsWizz)

    In the next sections, I will be telling you about two of LiftIntent’s partners – starting with Pandora. Pandora has 94 million unique monthly listeners that you will have access to. You will have access to Pandora’s proprietary 1st-party data segments. Or, choose to have your data processed instead.

    You have the option to choose between 15 or 30-second ads with banner display ads. Pandora also features videos ads up to 30-seconds. Pandora handles all the targeting for you.

    An audio advertisement campaign for HP laptops during the holiday Diwali in India racked up a total of 10 million impressions. Diwali is a time for gift-giving. The goal was to target millennials and the 24-45 age group. The idea was to promote gift-giving of budget laptops during the holiday season.

    The audio ad was of a brother and sister in conversation. Brothers and sisters exchanging gifts during Diwali are the most celebrated during the holiday. Programmatic audio advertising targeted specific genres, people who have previously interacted with HP laptop ads, and particular cities.

    The ad had over 5.4 million unique listeners and also contained a display ad with an 8% CTR. However, the most impressive number was the 65% conversion rate. It’s also worth mentioning the surprising 93% listen-through rate. HP was able to create a personal ad that targeted a specific demographic and made a connection with its audience. The result? High conversions and a higher LTR.

    Programmatic audio partner: Spotify?

    Let’s take a moment to talk about another partner of LiftIntent – Spotify. Spotify offers 140 million monthly listeners. Spotify is also the world leader in pure-play audio. You can target geographies, demographics, playlists, and genres. You will have access to 2nd party information from Spotify. Expect to have brand-safe environments that offer a viewer score of over 90%. Spot lengths are non-skippable: 15 and 30-seconds long with companion display ads on the lock screen.

    What can you tell about a person from their playlist? A lot. Les Hollander, global head of audio monetization at Spotify, said, “800,000 Spotify listeners have created shower playlists.” This fact tells us that 800,000 people take long showers. It also tells us that while these playlists are going, it’s a perfect time for related bath product advertisements.

    Also, what happens after they get out of the shower? Think of all the possible places they could be going. Or, think of them winding down at the end of the day and scrolling through their social media feeds, clicking on ads. The next day you retarget these people based on their habits. Spotify says that its “average cross-platform” users average 148 minutes of listening per day. 

    Final thoughts

    In reality, today’s market needs new, fresh advertising ideas. Therefore, programmatic audio advertising is here to help fill that gap between sites and devices. LiftIntent’s multi-marketing platform can help you reach your audience on and offline, regardless of where they may be listening.

    If you’re interested in our programmatic audio marketing and advertising services, contact us to discuss your campaign goals.