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Audience-Based Buying Is Thriving In Audio

By Sarah Foss, CIO, Entercom

March 16, 2021
Back to Marketing Insights

Since the early days of audio, marketers have recognized the value of audio advertising as a way to reach consumers en masse. And radio remains the top medium in terms of reach. However, many businesses still adopt a very traditional approach to audio advertising. To get the most out of their marketing budgets today, a growing number of brands are investing in an audience-based ad buy strategy. This allows businesses to reach more specific customers and to confirm the efficacy of their advertising.

For decades, the only way to advertise was through a demographic-based approach. This way of doing things came to define audio advertising for a generation of marketers. It’s a strategy that had—indeed, still has—advantages. For example, it’s a great way to reach a broad group at scale. However, these days there are more advanced means of reaching the right customers over the air, through digital audio and on podcasts. Specifically, brands are able to place audience-based media buys.

Many are familiar with this strategy in digital advertising, but not as many realize that it’s possible with audio, too. By combining the broad reach of audio, the detailed user data drawn from an audio network, and a comprehensive identity graph combining demographics with shopping, psychographic and media habits – marketers attain new levels of reach and conversion.

Audience Segment Illustration

In the classic, demo-oriented mindset, brands serve ads to a wide group of listeners, for example “women ages 25-54” in a set region. Audience-based advertising goes a level deeper, looking at listeners not just by traditional Nielsen categories (E.g., gender, age) or geography, but by habits and preferences as well. A brand can go beyond a simple demo and advertise exclusively to “Philadelphia mothers in their 30s who commute in the morning and own dogs.” Moreover, partners like Entercom can help brands reach these audiences from unexpected angles.

Take sports advertising. Historically, brands that wanted to reach sports fans took an obvious approach—they advertised on sports programs. Using an audience-based strategy, though, brands can also reach more specific consumers, like middle aged football fans, by advertising on any radio program where that group shows up, sometimes in unexpected areas. Using data analytics it’s easy to find places with a uniquely high volume of sports fans among their listenership — like Country or News stations. This ensures differentiation for an advertiser looking to “stand out from the crowd.”

An audience-based buy, regardless, whether one is thinking about football fans or dog moms, will reach the right listener.
Audience-based advertising also enables advanced attribution.

There’s a common saying that businesses know that half of their ad budget works, but not which half. But with the most modern measurement tools available today, it’s easier than ever to create a holistic profile of listeners and their behavior. Thanks to modern attribution tools that work with device IDs, mobile ad IDs, IP addresses and more, one can match listeners to detailed identity graphs – a much more reliable way to study consumers. Through sophisticated data analytics, we can measure whether or not an ad was heard and which actions the consumers took after listening to ads—all while maintaining consumer privacy. Therefore, brands can confirm the return on their investment and calibrate their campaigns accordingly.

Where does one begin with audience-based ad buys?

Brands may know who their audience is, but they often need a guide on how to reach them. In this case, there’s no better guide than data. Entercom has developed over 200 detailed listener audience profiles built from our network of millions of identified listeners that can help brands find the right customers in the right places. Still, the same audience-based mindset can be applied to a brand’s customer data sets or those from third party vendors.

For the most effective advertising in audio today, it’s significant that brands move past blunt strategies rooted in traditional demographics. Instead, they can leverage more advanced ways of reaching their audience. With a vast network and advanced measurement tools, Entercom is ready to provide solutions.

To learn more about audience-based media buys and discuss how people-based marketing is driving success for brands and agencies, tune in to Entercom’s upcoming webinar on March 18th: Audience Data Strategies for Advertisers Webinar.

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