- Cox Communications is the exclusive test partner for a new ad unit that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically generate creative for audio marketing, according to a news release. Developed in collaboration between Publicis' Spark Foundry shop and the London-based firm AI Music, Sympaphonic Ads match messaging to users' listening preferences, such as around specific music genres.
- The offering aims to better personalize marketers' audio efforts and cut down production time, which can typically take between two to three days for a single ad, per the release. Spark Foundry claims that a dynamic, personalized Sympaphonic Ad can be finished in under 10 minutes.
- Cox began piloting the units in late 2018 and will run its campaign through Q1 this year, leveraging AdWizz as a distributor. AdWizz works with major audio platforms, including Pandora, where Cox's beta campaign is currently appearing.
Automated creative solutions have grown increasingly desirable in the industry as brands attempt to deploy wide-scale programmatic campaigns but also preserve a degree of personalization to their efforts. It's not surprising that Spark Foundry and AI Music are working to translate that technology to audio formats now, as investments in audio channels, including music streaming, podcasts and voice, are growing quickly.
While the release doesn't break down specific figures from the pilot campaign with Cox, Eric Levin, Spark Foundry's global chief of content, said in a statement that Sympaphonic Ads have helped the brand increase engagement and reduce costs. The agency and AI Music claim their solution is a first for the industry.
Recent moves by other major companies have signaled that digital audio marketing will be a rich space for innovation. Mastercard in February introduced what it calls a "sonic brand identity," a series of short, melodic chirps that will play any time a customer completes a shopping action. The sonic brand identity will additionally be integrated into Mastercard's marketing and advertising, like TV commercials, and comes partially as a response to the more than $40 billion in revenue voice shopping is projected to generate by 2022.
Audio content streamed through platforms like Pandora and Spotify continues to win the favor of consumers as well, who increasingly favor listening on-the-go via their mobile phones. Beyond music, podcasts are becoming an appealing target for audio advertisers, as they are projected to reach $659 million in revenue by next year, according to forecasts from the IAB and PwC. Spotify has moved to shore up a stronger foothold in the market, recently purchasing Gimlet Media and podcast production platform Anchor.
Sympaphonic Ads could help marketers capitalize on these trends. They also roll out at an interesting time for Spark Foundry. Parent holding group Publicis earlier this week announced plans to merge the agency with sister shop Blue 449 in what was described as a "strategic alliance" by executives, Adweek reported. Publicis was recently stung by poor year-end results, which saw organic revenue growth drop 0.8% in North America.