Back when the first millennials were in diapers – 1981 to be exact – the band The Buggles released a single and accompanying video that ushered in a major shift in the music business. The tune was “Video Killed the Radio Star,” and its video marked the launch of MTV and the rise of artists who learned to master the form.
Yet talk of radio’s demise was greatly exaggerated. It didn’t die, and many years later it moved online like everything else. Nowadays, online radio shares cyberspace with a wide variety of digital audio services, from SoundCloud,TuneIn, and Spotify to the AdWave network. And that means it’s a thriving arena of growth for programmatic advertising.
It’s all in the numbers. According to The Infinite Dial 2020 by Edison Research and Triton Digital , 71% of Canadian adults listen to digital audio monthly, and 38% listen to a podcast. Meanwhile, 27% of Canadians aged 12+ own a smart speaker.
DAX Canada, which was launched in 2018 by Global – Europe’s largest radio company – is benefitting from these significant numbers. It represents 35+ publishers here including SoundCloud, TuneIn, AccuRadio, the AdWave Canada and PodWave Canada networks, NPR, The Investors Podcast Network, and Wondery.
In 2020, DAX had more than 300 brands active on its platform, up from 200 the year before. Podcasts were a key growth driver, aided by many people being home 24/7 during the pandemic and spending more time on digital devices. Music continued to be the major driver of listening, overall scale, and available ad inventory in the market as Canadians found their music via digital audio platforms.
“Over the past 18 months DAX Canada has continued to place podcasts at the forefront of our offering due to high demand from advertisers and agencies,” says Chris Nimigon, DAX Canada’s chief revenue officer. “The largest bucket is still led by music streaming, but podcasts are adding new reach and continue to grow, bringing more and more listeners into the digital space to get their audio content.”
The continued advancement of ad tech, especially for podcasts, has provided brands with more options to reach Canadian listeners. “We are now seeing our publishers use ad tech to do things such as insert personalised audio ads seamlessly into a podcast and have those ads reach a listener in markets such as Halifax or Vancouver, versus earlier days of podcast advertising that was restricted to national, or even global reach,” Nimigon continues.
He also points to the increased use of smart speakers such as Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. “A lot of folks have them on for music and their favorite podcast,” he says. “It’s another reason marketers are coming into this space.”
With advances in digital audio, marketers can now target in a much more granular fashion. Advertisers can target customers within a specific postal code, right down to the neighbourhood level. They can zone in and target by data segments, such as people looking to purchase a car or those interested in sports or electronics. Digital audio is bringing marketers closer to the holy grail of personalization every day.
Like all forms of programmatic advertising, digital audio is learning how to live without the third-party cookie, which is projected to be phased out next year.
“Although this is a challenging time for the industry, we are excited for this next phase,” Nimigon says. “It marks a positive step for consumer privacy, and a positive shift in DAX’s operations. With our owned and operated technology, we will be focusing on building out our first-party identifier capabilities. Furthermore, given the rich contextual targeting opportunities audio affords, we will also be looking to nurture this as a strategy in a smarter way.”
As the visionary Marshall McLuhan once said, old media never die – they just become the content of the new media. Radio has found a home on the internet, where it rubs shoulders with streaming services and podcasts and comes at you though a smart speaker. With digital audio, DAX has its finger on an infinite dial.
DAX connects advertisers and agencies with top international publishers of audio content. Through its advanced capabilities to serve, target, scale, track, optimise and report on direct and programmatic media buys, DAX saves brands time while propelling performance. Contact: Chris Nimigon, DAX Canada’s chief revenue officer at firstname.lastname@example.org