2 ways brands can include audio in their retail media mix

As retail media moves both off-site and in-store, audio is becoming a bigger part of the ad mix. Here are two ways brands can incorporate audio into their retail media activations.

Audio streaming

Like connected TV, digital audio provides an off-site opportunity for retail media ad spend.

  • $10.64 billion will go to US off-site retail media ad spend this year, or 19.5% of US retail media ad spend, per our forecast.
  • 228.6 million people in the US will listen to digital audio this year, a total of 66.9% of the US population, per our forecast.

“We have not been traditionally considered as a commerce tactic,” said Adam Ross, sales director, commerce and retail media partnership at SiriusXM Media. But Ross said that’s changing thanks to partnerships with retail media networks.

“For the first time in streaming audio, we can get more advanced with audience targeting by leveraging first-party [data], directly from the retailers to make sure that we're reaching buyers most likely to purchase their products,” said Ross.

One of the challenges is conversion may not be immediate. People tend to listen to audio while driving or doing other activities. But 56% of digital audio listening happens at home, per Edison Research’s Q3 2023 Share of the Ear study as cited by SiriusXM Media, meaning those listeners may be ready to make a purchase.

For those who do listen outside of the home, purchase still may occur via mobile, or even via voice commerce, which is an area we expect will grow in the years ahead. Even without immediate conversion, the impression still occurs, which can lead to a purchase later.

In-store ads

The other side of audio is in-store ads that play over the store loudspeakers as consumers shop.

  • US in-store retail media ad spend will total $370 million in 2024, but that number will grow by 46.5% next year, per our forecast.
  • 83.7% of US retail sales still take place in physical stores, making the spaces ripe for retail media ad opportunities.

Walmart is one retail media network making an in-store audio play. The platform recently rolled out brand lift measurement and rest-of-market analysis for in-store audio. Most brick-and-mortar stores already have audio systems, making the implementation of audio ads easier.

Audio ads are part of a larger in-store retail media approach. “You could reinforce [them] using screens or using a mobile app push or using a sampling station, using and layering some of those activations together to see the behavior that it inspires,” suggested our analyst Sarah Marzano on an episode of our Behind the Numbers: Reimagining Retail podcast.

This was originally featured in the Retail Media Weekly newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.

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