Your Guide to Programmatic Audio Advertising

Written By

Jeremy Glass

Published On

Monday, Jun 17
Illustration of a woman wearing headphones attached to a lightbulb.

As podcasting continues its upward trajectory, agencies are leveraging the channel’s high user impact with programmatic audio ads that significantly capture users’ attention and motivate them to act. 

Designed for placement in such categories as podcasts, digital radio, and music-streaming services, programmatic advertising garners success through its ability to precisely target audiences based on their listening habits, preferences, and demographics. 

Utilizing advanced algorithms to analyze user data, such as demographics, location, and listening habits, advertisers can avoid wasting resources on audiences unlikely to engage with their content.


Programmatic advertising also empowers SMI’s Data & Analytics Teams to optimize and refine campaigns, while using data points to cut through the static and deliver ads that motivate listeners to act. 

If you’re not utilizing programmatic, you’re missing out on the big picture. 


A Rising Format

Did you know that programmatic comprised 11% of podcast revenue in 2023?

The emergence of podcasting in the early 2000s catapulted programmatic audio advertising to a gold standard practice. Paired with traditional media placement within terrestrial radio, SMI Media Director Heather Hansen, explains the benefits of programmatic. 

“In podcasting you can target by genres,” starts Heather, “Genres are associated with specific demographics – for example, a family and kids genre targets women who have children. With programmatic, there’s a way to take it even further. When working with a female-focused product like Uqora. We’re able to go to our programmatic DSP and find women between the ages of 25 and 64, who are interested in health and run ads that speak to this segment.” 

Engaging podcast recording session with smiling hosts in studio

Once this segment is identified, the media team works with creative to craft an ad that speaks directly to the target audience. 

There is also a contextual element that points to key words or phrases within the content of the podcast to target listeners on a more granular level. For example, a stock-trading app will likely see a high ROI when placed within a podcast series focused on investing. 


The Habits of Highly-Entertained Listeners

A format that’s long outgrown its infancy stage, the podcast industry has grown dramatically over the past decade with an estimated listenership of just under 505 million. This year, podcasts accounted for 11% of all daily audio, with nearly a quarter of listeners spending ten hours or more listening each week. 

A recent study conducted by Neuro-Insight found that, when placed in personalized playlists, long term recall scored 49% better than radio. Portability plays a huge role in those numbers; whether you’re listening to your favorite podcast in your car, at work, on the phone, or with a smartwatch, the ability to listen anytime, anywhere, without interruption elicits a strong brand recall. 

In 2023, Nielsen measured how emerging channels such as podcasts influenced user spending and found a 38.7% bump in brand recall with an increase in baseline brand awareness in close second with a 37.5% increase. With podcasting sales projected to reach nearly $2.6 billion by 2026, millions more will continue, not only listening, but listening with intent to act. 


Minimizing Waste

Programmatic audio advertising revolutionizes marketing strategies by offering precise targeting and real-time optimization, consequently minimizing excess waste. This technology allows advertisers to reach their target audience efficiently, ensuring that every dollar spent contributes to meaningful engagement and conversions.

Advertisers bid for ad space based on the value they attribute to reaching their target audience at a given moment, ensuring that they don’t overspend on placements that may not yield optimal results. Real-time bidding (RTB) systems ensure advertisers pay competitive prices for ad placements. 

Woman listening to music wear wireless white headphones using mobile smart phone, drinks tea at home

Programmatic provides thorough analytics and reporting tools, enabling advertisers to monitor their campaign performance instantly. Through tracking essential metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions, advertisers can promptly pinpoint any ads that aren’t meeting expectations and adapt their strategies as needed, maximizing their investment’s effectiveness. 

Additionally, marketers have the ability to manage time-sensitive ads directly, bypassing the need to coordinate with publishers.

SMI was founded on the principle of helping brands reach greater profits with measurable radio advertising. As the audio landscape continues to evolve, investing time and resources into emerging platforms allows us to reach audiences on a level that’s only set to grow.

See the power of programmatic first hand with audio ads that speak to listeners and boost your brand’s voice. Reach out to us today!

Subscribe to our posts

Subscribe to our posts for the latest company and industry news including: Podcasts and Radio Listernship Insights, Creative Research, Audio Trends, Forecasts, and more!