The Untapped Potential of Audio in Retail Media Networks

CMOs are working with limited spending power, prompting a critical examination of resource allocation and a quest for cost-effective yet high-impact solutions. Gartner reveals that 71% of CMOs believe they lack sufficient budgets to fully execute on advertising strategies, and GroupM expects U.S. ad spending to increase 5.1% in 2024, lower than India, China, Germany and Brazil.

The silver lining? Diversifying advertising budgets with omnichannel media, like digital audio, will help advertisers reach unique and performative audiences at scale, with mere clicks of a button.

One of the many platforms that brands have embraced over the last few years to make the most of their advertising budgets is Retail Media Networks (RMN). Retailers have begun leveraging their substantial customer purchase data to inform advertiser’s media strategies. With the help of programmatic platforms like The Trade Desk, hundreds of retailers can monetize their shopping data, or take monetization a step further by providing managed service advertising campaigns — allowing an agency to operate programmatic campaigns — targeted with their shopper data. According to McKinsey, the growth of RMNs could represent as much as $100 billion in ad spending by 2026.

Many RMNs, like Kroger, choose to offer a more hands-off approach to monetizing their shopping data, by offering self-service programmatic buyers the ability to target their advertising campaigns with shopping data via data marketplaces. This way buyers can choose what media channels perform best.

Retail Media Networks that offer managed service advertising solutions are likely to take a more active approach to channel selection. They may partner directly with publishers to match data with their media or outsource help from inventory management teams. The goal of this complex equation is to find the optimal data and channel mix to achieve maximum value for brands.

Programmatic platforms have made embracing “other” omnichannel solutions, including digital audio, very easy for RMNs and self-serve buyers. Simply by checking a few boxes in your programmatic platform, new inventory types are ready to activate and test. You may be missing out on a great audience if you’re not testing with audio.

Digital Audio Meets Consumers Where They Spend Their Time

In 2022, 74% of US internet users, or 222.7 million people, listened to digital audio, according to eMarketer. Another report by eMarketer released this year claims that by 2024, digital audio will make up one-fifth of all time spent with digital media in the US. Digital audio will claim 2 hours, 20 minutes (2:20) per day from U.S. listeners in 2023, which is more time than Netflix (1:02), Hulu (0:53) or YouTube video (0:48), according to this report.

Audio also drives impressive engagement within a distraction-free, hands-free environment. On average, 41% of audio ads generated correct brand recall. compared to the 38% norm for other advertising studied by Dentsu.


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