- Google started testing several services for the buying and selling of programmatic audio advertising. The efforts aim to improve the listener experience for audio ads in streaming music, digital radio, podcasts and text-to-speech news articles, while giving publishers better ways to monetize their content, a company blog post said.
- Google expanded Google Ad Manager to support dynamic ad insertion for audio channels, along with adding new programmatic monetization and forecasting capabilities. These feature lets publishers offer audio ad inventory to authorized buyers, including marketers who use Google's Display & Video 360 (DV360) platform to manage digital audio campaigns. The company's Google Ads online advertising platform will offer digital audio ads in the future, according to the blog.
- Audio streaming services Spotify and TuneIn are already using Ad Manager to sell programmatic audio ad inventory. Spotify is using Ad Manager's "programmatic guaranteed" service to negotiate prices and terms for inventory that's reserved for that buyer, while TuneIn is using Ad Manager to manage its audio, display and video ad inventory.
Google's new programmatic audio advertising services aim to give mobile marketers more choices for ad placements that can reach a growing audience for audio streaming content. While some listening occasions, such as commutes, have faltered during the coronavirus pandemic, channels like podcasts have continued to climb on marketers' agendas, resulting in an outpouring of investments in 2020.
Google could better-capitalize on the influx of dollars by designing more products tailored to the audio experience. Publishers at the same time are seeing areas like streaming music and podcasting quickly mature, driving up demand for more diverse advertising offerings. Some platforms have developed proprietary solutions to meet this need, including Spotify, which at the start of the year introduced a Streaming Ad Insertion product that is focused on podcasts.
Google could draw a lot of interest given its scale and well-established advertising infrastructure. For the first time, Google is letting publishers offer their digital audio ad inventory through its Ad Manager sell-side platform, which many already use to sell video, display and mobile ads. A successful test of programmatic sales of digital audio likely will mean that more publishers open more inventory through Ad Manager for mobile marketers to buy through private marketplaces, guaranteed deals, direct deals and open exchanges.
Google for the past couple of years has given marketers a way to buy programmatic audio advertising starting with its DoubleClick Bid Manager demand-side platform that was later renamed as DV360. Programmatic audio exchanges AdsWizz and Triton were later integrated with DV360, Adweek reported. Five third-party DSPs that compete with DV360 also let marketers buy digital audio ads from publishers, though Google declined to disclose the names of those rivals, AdExchanger reported.
Google's expanded services for programmatic digital audio advertising are another sign of how much the market is growing as platforms like Spotify, Pandora and iHeartMedia expand the audiences for their ad-supported services.
Digital audio ad revenue last year rose 21% to $2.73 billion, with mobile audio growing even faster with a 25% gain to $2.17 billion, per an annual report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC. The study indicated that 79% of audio internet ad revenue can be attributed to mobile devices. Podcasting is becoming a significant growth engine for the digital audio ad market, with revenue forecast to grow 45% to $1.13 billion in the U.S. next year, researcher eMarketer estimates.
For Spotify, the test of Google Ad Manager's expanded capabilities comes as the company continues to build its audience for ad-supported audio streaming, which grew 31% to 163 million people in Q2 from a year earlier. While 93% of Spotfiy's revenue comes from subscriptions to its ad-free service, the company has made efforts to increase its advertising sales.