The Programmatic Path: A Year Accelerated by COVID
By Paul Brenner, President of Audio OOH and CSO, Vibenomics
COVID-19 changed many aspects of our lives in the past year and our collective media and entertainment choices certainly were no exception. The global pandemic fueled a massive industry divide where in-home entertainment choices thrived and out-of-home entertainment players suffered.
However, the Audio Out-of-Home (Audio OOH) category continues to experience growth amidst the pandemic. Programmatic budgets are accelerating due to an increased desire for flexibility and consumers are continuing to shop for essential items in-store, particularly in grocery stores. With this in mind, the Audio OOH industry is uniquely positioned to reach consumers along the path to purchase now more than ever before while ensuring an attention-grabbing and engaging in-store audio customer experience.
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This quickly proliferating screenless marketplace has already led to the decade being heralded as ‘the golden age of audio’, and it certainly sounds like 2021 is no different. Read on to learn more about the ways in which Audio OOH will make noise this year.
Audio OOH: ads that don’t overstep
The internet has dramatically expanded the modern advertiser’s tool kit because of one simple but transformative development: digital data. With users regularly sharing personal data online and web cookies tracking every click, marketers and advertisers have gained unprecedented insight into consumers, tailoring serve solutions to their individual needs. So far, the results have been impressive, but with digital marketing becoming so popular during the pandemic, the new challenge will be for advertisers to become more creative in the way they learn about what interests you most.
Looking to 2021, I foresee more regulation, privacy concerns and limitations, making it gradually more difficult for advertisers to make the most of a consumer’s perceived privacy to create historically invasive tactics. That being said, this puts Audio OOH at a strong advantage. The technology is not seeking out personal information or invading your privacy to meet your needs, it’s focused on enhancing the customer experience while also reaching the customer at the point of purchase, making it difficult to ignore and more likely to influence behaviors.
The increase in digital advertising means more ad fraud opportunities
With the penetration of the internet and increasing popularity of digital platforms, digital advertising has grown to become one of the most important forms of advertising. In 2021, it’s projected that more than $330 billion will be spent on digital advertisements. From the perspective of ad fraudsters, that means bigger opportunities to infiltrate the digital advertising market. In order to do that, they will be evolving and adapting faster than ever before. Bot traffic or page-view generation will continue to increase exponentially in 2021 due to the higher revenue generation they bring. Even the largest social media platforms are challenged with staying ahead of the exploitation of targeted consumers.
Sales will rely heavily on data
As a result of COVID-19, agencies and brands are more cautious about how they are spending money. With market uncertainty and tighter budgets, buyers need to prove the impact and improvements that Audio OOH will have on their unit sales before making media investments. The best way to do that is through data and evidence-based insights. Data will allow media owners to monitor foot traffic and accurately demonstrate that specific locations, markets or consumers are returning to normal behaviors. In addition, measuring incremental lift and the value of contextual creative audio can be broken down and examined individually for their effectiveness, allowing advertisers to better target spending and determine the success of individual advertising campaigns. how well they worked, what sales revenue would have been without the ad campaign and more. Relying on data to tell stories will not only lead to an increase in sales but will also reassure brands and marketers who are hesitant to make the Audio OOH leap.
2020 inadvertently pressed the “Reset” button in terms of what is important, what we need and how we approach our daily lives. In the Audio OOH space, it is our job to ensure that our efforts align with the perspectives of our retail customers, advertisers and consumers to curate an ideal audio experience. In 2021, the Audio OOH industry will have an even stronger focus on creating higher quality audio experiences, in terms of the messaging and music that enhance the experience. This is going to require Audio Experience Solution providers to reinvest in alternative ways to deploy messages in essential markets, like grocery and convenience stores, to ensure that the audio experience is going to connect with the values and needs of the shopper.
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