What Are Audio Ads?

Women scrolling through phone while listening to music

Every marketer sets out to solve the great marketing conundrum: to use any and every medium possible to differentiate a brand message and connect with the right customers, while making sure ads are cost-efficient. But in today’s crowded digital landscape, standing out is no easy feat. It is estimated that the average person sees over 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day — and that number is quickly rising. The average person then doesn’t have strong brand recall from this bombardment of messages, cues, taglines, and products. What’s more, increasing screen time and zoom fatigue can drastically reduce the chances that a marketer might have of getting their brand voice heard.

So what can you do instead to break free from the digital clutter?

The key to successful and responsible marketing is to appear in the moments when people are truly engaged, whether on or off screen. Audio ads can reach potential and returning customers who are in those engaged moments, especially away from their screen.

Introduction to Audio Advertising

Audio advertising is a type of advertising that is distributed in audio format through digital streaming platforms like digital radio, podcasts, and music apps. Spotify, Apple, and Amazon are currently the biggest players in the podcast and music streaming world.

Audio ads are gaining momentum as a screenless link between brands and their potential customers. 

Listeners typically aren’t engaged with other media when listening to podcasts, radio, or music; this means they likely won’t be distracted by other digital assets when they hear your audio ads. 

For example, 90% of podcast consumers in the U.S. prefer to listen to podcasts at home, 64% while driving, 43% at the gym, and 37% at work. While listening to podcasts at home, 59% of consumers listen while doing household chores, with 51% preferring to listen while they cook. 

According to Spotify, knowing the context in which people listen truly sets audio apart from different mediums, as people want a soundtrack for specific aspects of their lives. For example, Spotify found that 44% of their listeners create playlists for relaxing, 23% while using the internet, 25% while gaming, 25% while getting ready to go out, and so on.

Knowing the other activities your customers are doing while listening to their favorite podcast or playlist of choice can help inform brands what messaging and products are likely to drive more relevant audio ads. 

Experiment with sonic advertising to portray your brand in a new medium. Use audio ads as a top-of-the-funnel activity to increase your brand awareness and connect with potential new customers. 

Benefits of Audio Ads

Audio ads are a rising trend, especially as podcasts continue to gain popularity.

Listeners have a greater attention span for audio ads compared to other ad mediums. We know mobile and display ads have a 1-2 second window to grab consumers’ attention before they scroll or click onto the next thing. Facebook videos have an average watch time of 10 seconds. Audio ads, however, have a greatly higher completion rate: 15-second audio ads have a 91.7% completion rate, while 30-second ads have a 90.5% completion rate.

Adobe found that people have more positive feelings towards audio ads compared to other traditional forms of advertising: 52% find audio ads more engaging, 57% find them more relevant, and 51% can better recall audio ads versus other ad formats. Pandora and Adobe reports that nearly half of audio streaming listeners find audio ads less disruptive and intrusive than other forms of advertising.

Audio cues tend to stay with people longer than visual mediums. Moreover, audio can drive an 81% lift in ad recall. Think of your favorite jingles; you’d even surprise yourself by remembering an old tune from your childhood. Audio has that effect. 


Music and podcasts create emotional bonds that advertisers can leverage to help potential customers connect with specific products and brands. Audio ads can be targeted to highly receptive and engaged listeners.

Audio ads have a more human element than visual ads. These ads can set your brand apart and above from the noise of crowded digital landscapes like Facebook and Instagram.

Audio advertising is definitely key to creating brand awareness and a top-of-the-funnel-focused marketing approach.

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