Digital Audio Advertising North Summit

Digital Audio is Rockin’ the Airwaves

Digital Media


August 17, 2017




Though good ol’ fashioned radio listening still leads the pack, the internet has opened up new possibilities for Canadians to access the content they want to listen to, and they are embracing it.

Traditional Media, Digitally

According to Accuradio’s study, 13% of audience are listening to online music/radio, 9% of Canadians are listening to online radio, and 3% are listening to Podcasts. Most people are consuming at home, he said at this year’s Digital Audio Advertising Summit in Toronto. Radio continues to have a larger reach, and they’ve referenced about 65% of people listen actively including millennials.

Moving Up-Stream

In the last 10 years, music consumption cycled through several different formats, from cassettes to CDs and on to a digital file format. Consumers would download their music and put it on their mp3 player (and later, on their phone), without ever owning a physical copy. Now, consumers’ listening habits (especially younger cohorts) are evolving again as new subscription based streaming services such as Spotify are taking center stage. Streaming content means that consumers listen to music or watch videos by accessing a constant ‘stream’ of data on the insternet, instead of downloading the file and playing it from their personal device.

According to Kurt of Accuradio, who spoke at the DAAN summit, the evolution of music has surpassed downloads. Music downloads is down, and consumers are moving to online streaming. They are accessing multiple platforms to access music and streaming. Nielsen recently released the Music 360 Study, which reinforced Accuradio’s findings:

  • 200% increase from 2015 to 2016 online streaming
  • Urban music is driving more audio streams.
  • Market penetration and time spent increasing year over year.
  • 79% of millennials are listening to music on their smartphones

the Music 360 Study also states that users are more apt to paying for streaming services now, and “paid streamers are more open and receptive to brand involvement”. Customizing your message in this space can help with brand affinity.

Opportunities for Advertisers

As we can see by the information, online streaming is on the rise – however radio is NOT dead. The panel discussion at this year’s DAAN summit discussed some actionable insights for brands:

  • Best practices include customizing your messaging per platform (as always)
  • Know your demo: iTunes and Android devices are skewing younger for listeners, while older listeners are accessing the streaming content through websites
  • Opportunity to watch for in Canada: The U.S. has seen 200MM in annual Podcast advertising sales, Canada is lagging behind in this territory

Measurement Woes

Some agencies are looking to purchase both online and traditional radio through the same buying team. for now, the plethora of new ways to access digital audio content means tracking and measuring will become more fragmented unless their processes can merge. One of the gentlemen at the conference mentioned that he and his team have developed a methodology to converting their online radio to GRPs. Currently there is a major drawback when tracking Podcast listening, as these formats are generally accessed most frequently through the Android and Apple store. iTunes is not able to provide listener metrics. Apple is not complying and does not allow for any quartile listening with commercials, and do not have this road mapped. Sentiment around the Apple tracking is that if the demand continues to grow, they may comply – however knowing Apple this isn’t part of their DNA.

Additionally, podcast listenership is still not a substantial enough audience. The next IOS release will have some top-line Podcast reporting metrics, but nothing substantiated enough to sell your clients on listenership. There do appear to be some players in the market who can offer audio streaming content, which do enable tags.

Vendors are evolving past the walled gardens of Apple and iTunes to marry traditional radio with digital listening, and to skew the impressions to an Android platform which is trackable. As the listener’s behaviour becomes more digital, brands will have more ability to uncover listener insights.



About the author


Erin Kann

Erin is a Social Media Manager, creating both, content and paid social strategy for clients in the Automotive, Food & Beverage and Travel industries. Gaggi VMC Media offers full-suite social media management for clients.

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