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Digital audio consumption far outpaces ad spend finds new report

Xaxis India’s new Audio Playbook finds that India devotes an average of 19.1 hours per week to listen to music, more than 7% higher than the global average.

Xaxis India, GroupM’s advanced programmatic arm, launches its first-ever Programmatic Audio Playbook for marketeers. In a market where online media became popular earlier, digital audio is fast becoming an effective and highly measurable way to connect with audiences at scale.

Xaxis surveyed to understand the drivers, challenges and adoption of programmatic audio with 107 agency and advertiser participants, and 25 publishers and media owners.

For agencies and advertisers, mobile devices are believed to have the highest audience reach. According to publishers, the four most important metrics for clients running programmatic audio advertising are – Brand awareness (71%), Advertising recall (71%), Reach and frequency (54%) and the listen through rate (54%).

The future of digital audio industry looks optimistic where the number of smartphone users in the country is estimated to reach 829 million of the total population of 1.4 billion by 2022, as a vast majority of advertisers believe that mobile devices (94%) are the most effective means to reach audiences. While the Indian music industry is also expected to grow at CAGR of 15.8% between FY19 and FY24; audio streaming is expected to be the key catalyst for this growth.

Bharat Khatri, Country Head, Xaxis India said, “Programmatic advertising for audio in this country is at a very nascent stage but the future of the digital audio advertising industry looks bright in India. Soon digital will surpass broadcast as an audio consumption channel. Today over 200 million users use music streaming services. Yet, we have realized that audio is an undervalued and underutilized area by the advertising industry. As internet access via mobile grows, we believe that audio advertising can provide an edge to the advertiser and brands.”

What contributes to the low adoption rate of digital audio on an advertiser’s media plan despite the boom in popularity of the channel in the India market? More than half of advertisers (57%) said that not having a clear understanding of the impact of programmatic audio trading was a barrier to incorporating programmatic audio into their planning budgets. Campaign measurement was another key barrier to implementing programmatic audio (44%). As a result, only 9% of advertisers and agencies were considering audio advertising to improve returns of their investment.

Rita Sahajpaul, national head of product and marketing science, Xaxis India said, “India is only at the start of its journey in digital audio advertising, but new data suggests that this category is about to take off in this nation in a big way. Explosive smartphone adoption has led to a 17x increase in content consumption. A staggering 97% of people listened to music through their device in the past three months, and they devote an average of 19.1 hours per week to the activity. The growing demand for more content is increasing the popularity of podcasts, music streaming services and online radio, especially among the 18-34 age group. Audio streaming is gaining popularity with the influx of domestic and international platforms, along with the power of data and AI, opportunities for advertisers looks bright with programmatic digital audio advertising.”

Advertisers and agencies have a general understanding and familiarity with digital audio advertising and its benefits. There are bright opportunities in this sector as well as the value proposition for advertisers looking to achieve reach, frequency, engagement targeting and measurability by way of mobile telephony. Whether that involves converting text-to-speech, for creating real time dynamic audio ads or pushing engagement through voice-enabled responses, programmatic audio advertising is here to stay to provide brands and people with plenty opportunities to connect.

(We got this information in a press release).