Two-thirds of European marketers rank audio’s ability to enhance wider media plans as the top driver for investment according to joint research from GroupM and IAB Europe
Media buyers plan to invest more in audio in the next 12 months
25 July 2023, LONDON, UK — GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, today announced the findings of its Europe Digital Audio Advertising Report 2023 produced by GroupM Nexus, GroupM’s industry-leading performance marketing organisation, in partnership with IAB Europe. The report explores:
The report found two-thirds (66%) of buyers plan to invest more in audio in the next 12 months. The report is based on a survey, conducted by GroupM Nexus, that leveraged the national IAB network in Europe to survey 549 advertisers, agencies, and publishers across 29 markets between May and June 2023.
Almost half (47%) of the advertisers and agencies surveyed state that audio advertising is either their top or among their top media choices. Buyers’ three main drivers for audio ad spend include the channel’s ability to enhance wider media plans (65%), raise brand awareness (55%), and reach specific audiences (48%). Investment is also diversifying across a rich variety of audio channels and ad formats, with the majority of buyers surveyed directing their spend toward streaming (59%), podcast (59%), or online radio (57%).
Marketers are optimistic about digital audio
According to the survey, two-thirds (66%) of buyers plan to invest more in digital audio advertising specifically in the next 12 months with almost one-quarter (24%) expecting to increase spend between 11% and 30%. These forecasts indicate high levels of confidence in digital audio as a channel that can make an impact with target audiences.
Daniel Knapp, Chief Economist at IAB Europe commented: “From 2018 to 2022, digital audio has outpaced all other advertising channels in Europe in terms of compound annual growth rate**. The pandemic served as a cyclical catalyst for digital audio, particularly podcasts, due to a rise in consumption. However, structural enhancements like improved measurement, simplified buying and automation continue to advance the market. The advertising industry's emphasis on attention in a screen saturated media environment, quality of reach and brand safety positions digital audio as a promising investment channel for advertisers and a potent platform for publishers to exploit context. We project the European digital audio market, which stood at €772 million in ad spend in 2022, to surpass the €1 billion mark by 2025.” *
Marketers surveyed ranked incremental reach (46%), innovative activation such as dynamic creative ads optimisation (DCO) (43%), and targeting efficiencies (42%) as the top three drivers for digital audio spend. These will play a significant role in attracting further investment over the next 18-24 months, with 76% of advertisers and agencies intending to increase their audio ad spend in this time period. Advertisers and agencies ranked smart speaker interactive ads to be the biggest opportunity for increasing digital audio budgets in the future, followed by dynamic audio ads. Cross-channel insights and activation technology, alongside advanced contextual targeting, also rank as significant opportunities to unlock digital audio growth. Capabilities that allow buyers to capture audience attention, drive consumer action, and execute informed cross-channel campaigns are critical for securing greater ad spend.
Audio ads reach audiences on the go through personal devices
Seven in 10 marketers surveyed expect to connect with their audiences via audio ads on mobile, followed by desktops and laptops (48%) and tablets (44%).
The prevalence of mobile as a key audio device implies that digital audio offers marketers a valuable opportunity to engage audiences throughout the day. Survey respondents also believe they connect with audiences via Connected TV, game consoles, and stand alone radio devices, demonstrating the pervasiveness of audio.
Harry Harcus, GroupM Nexus EMEA commented: “Audio is a channel buzzing with opportunity as buyers and publishers expect notable growth in the near future. As a medium that reaches highly engaged audiences at moments when its more visual counterparts cannot, audio is capable of complementing buyers’ wider plans and publishers’ media offerings. Advancing the technologies that enable audio advertising can unlock cross-channel optimisation and performance for buyers, in turn making audio inventory even more attractive and driving revenue for publishers.”
For further insights into current audio investment, as well as key drivers and challenges for advertisers, agencies, and publishers, the full 2023 report is available here.
About GroupM and GroupM Nexus
GroupM is WPP’s media investment group and the world’s leading media investment company with a mission to shape the next era of media where advertising works better for people. The company is responsible for more than $60 billion in annual media investment, as measured by the independent research bureau COMvergence. Through its global agencies Mindshare, Wavemaker, EssenceMediacom, and mSix&Partners, and cross-channel performance (GroupM Nexus), data (Choreograph), entertainment (GroupM Motion Entertainment) and investment solutions, GroupM leverages a unique combination of global scale, expertise, and innovation to generate sustained value for clients wherever they do business. Discover more at www.groupm.com.
GroupM Nexus is the industry’s largest community of performance marketing experts designed to drive performance and innovation at scale for GroupM’s agencies and clients. With the most platform accreditations in the industry combined with proprietary technology, media and solutions, a culture of continuous innovation and scaled partnerships, GroupM Nexus consistently sets new benchmarks for effectiveness and efficiency across all forms of media to drive growth for the world’s leading advertisers.
ABOUT IAB EUROPE
IAB Europe is the European-level association for the digital marketing and advertising ecosystem. Its mission is to promote the interests of the industry and enable cross-ecosystem collaboration among its national federation and corporate members to drive solutions to shared challenges and develop frameworks, standards, and programmes that contribute to sustainable growth and innovation.
* IAB Europe’s AdEx Benchmark study currently measures ad spend for display, audio, social, video. Retail Media is not currently a part of the study.