Planning Masterclass: The Power of Digital Audio

The rate of growth of digital audio in the UK is making very large strides, with more people listening for longer year-on-year, more content being produced and more streaming and platform channels becoming available. Did you know you can reach 43% of people listening to digital audio while they are doing something else? Whether that’s through the radio whilst they’re washing up, or via their favourite podcast as they commute into work. Audio gives us untapped access to people’s attention throughout their daily routines.

And with this growth comes the expansion of targeting opportunities across the channel.

  1. Data

As ever the power of data should never be underestimated. Digital audio offers a variety of data sources, be it first party real-time data through user sign-ups, or second and third-party data via partnerships with external publishers be it Zoopla, Dennis or the Daily Mail.

This allows targeting of users who have engaged with relevant content or display certain behaviours across wider platforms which is insight you would never normally have.

DAX, the audio-digital platform, now has access to a whole host of tools that can help a brand make the most of digital audio. They include Nielsen Marketing Cloud, which offers new audiences products that haven’t previously been available on any audio platforms;

UK credit card transactions, which allows agencies to target in alignment with 90% UK transactional data for MasterCard, VISA and American Express; Homescan, which shows purchase patterns for over 100,000 retail brands; BARB panel data, showing TV data and TV ad exposure; and OCEAN psychographic audience profiling, which means you can identify personality traits of an individual – for example if they are an introvert or extrovert

  1. Demographic

Audio platforms are no different to other major media platforms in that they can target a user based on their gender, age and sociodemographic groups.

One of the huge assets at our disposal in the world of digital audio is the podcast, which is growing in popularity all the time and allows brands to specifically target audiences based on the appeal of different vertical sectors such as through comedy or via those targeted at millennials, curious thinkers and so on.

  1. Geographic

This can be as granular as cities and even allows for drilling down to boroughs and smaller towns. Audio can also ringfence certain postcodes which enables brands to run highly targeted campaigns that run alongside OOH, something that is particularly effective in the launch of a new local store, or an upcoming event.


When it comes to audio, a common misconception is that the creative opportunities are extremely limited compared to other channels, simply because the ads are not visual. This is, however, far from true as audio literally has creativity pouring out of its ears…

  1. Dynamic

The vast amount of data available covering factors such as location, gender, station they are listening to and so on means brands can personalise their audio ads in real-time based on any variety of factors. Personalisation can also be based on external factors such as the time of day, weather or holidays at little extra cost and with almost no added stress.

  1. Sequence

Sequential ads can be bought in order to help build a brand narrative. So if a podcast has three spots for advertising – before, during and after – a brand can buy up all three and tell a story through the spots. This is also ideal for retargeting and reengaging non-converting audiences

  1. Varied

Similar to how you would run a creative split test on social, varied copies of the ads can be served for non-converting consumers to help identify the most engaging content, hence improving effectiveness.

  1. Partnerships

The vast number of channels and podcasts available means it’s very straightforward to find a partnership that will offer a highly effective match to your target audience and campaign message. By partnering with a channel that shares the same values and audience as you can give your brand a more human voice – the host will invariably deliver your brand’s message, injecting personality and simultaneously allowing for an element of indirect brand endorsement.


Of course, this wouldn’t be a media article without reference to the funnel. With digital audio, we can in fact target all steps of the consumer journey, targeting the right people at the right time and with the right message.

  • Awareness: audio is great for awareness due to the scale of reach available plus the fact it can easily complement other media such as TV, OOH and online, offering the opportunity to join up creative.
  • Engagement: audio can recapture users, engage them with branded audio content and run a high frequency of messages.
  • Conversion: being a high frequency medium it is good to get people to take action at short notice, sign up for offers online/in-store and so is also ideal for direct response campaigns.


And in order to showcase some brands who run really effective digital audio campaigns, here’s a few of our recent favourites.

Case Study – Snickers

Campaign objective: Increase consumption and sales of Snickers, keeping the brand front of mine and extend the story of “You’re not you when you’re hungry”.

Challenge: The original campaign was in danger of becoming old and stale, especially as they relied on only one form of storytelling.

Message: To remind users that they act differently when they’re hungry.

Activation: Snickers partnered with Spotify to deliver the Hunger Spotter. They produced an algorithm on listeners’ previous and real time data to determine what they were listening to, which meant they were able to understand when people were listening to a genre different to their usual taste – something they would put down to being hungry. They then worked with a record producer to create original songs based on the preferred genres of that user, with lyrics suggesting the listener wasn’t themselves when they were hungry, which were then played into the Spotify feeds. They won best use of data, custom advertising and best use of insight at various awards.

Case Study – CEVA’s Adaptil

Campaign objective: Demonstrate the ease of the Adaptil range – which sends signals to dogs to help calm them down – and bring to life how easy it is for Adaptil to fit in dog owners’ normal routines, targeting users when they are most likely to be thinking of these routines with their pets.

Challenge: Most people have heard of Adaptil as they are the market leader, but many thought they could get away with just stroking their dog or giving them toys as a way of calming them down – people did not understand the science behind Adaptil, thought of as a vet recommended product.

Activation: Partnership with the podcast “Walking The Dog” by Emily Dean, whose target audience aligned with the brand’s, namely dog owners, female skew, 25+.

  • 3×90” sequential placements within each episode (8 episodes)
  • Over 700K impressions and 74K unique users reached
  • A frequency of 9.5 average listens from brand loyal listeners for the duration of the campaign – a higher frequency than we tend to see on other channels

We ran a brand uplift study following the campaign which clarified the success of the campaign. Brand lift studies are a great tool of measurement for audio when there is no conversion tracking in place:

  • 75% recalled hearing the ad, showing minimal wastage
  • 31% were likely to purchase
  • 45% would recommend to a friend

By Simi Gill, Digital Account Manager