Brands Leveraging Digital Audio Don’t Have the Metrics They Need to Measure a Campaign’s Success

Coupon codes and vanity URLs aren’t enough for some marketers

Audio advertisers have no problem demonstrating that their ads were listened to, but proving that their ads affected listeners’ behavior is another story.

Software maker Autodesk tested digital audio to acquire new customers. It received reporting for number of listens, the amount of time users spent listening, and how many people were exposed to its ad impressions. But those metrics didn’t give Autodesk much indication of whether those who listened to its ads went on to purchase its products.

“It’s basically superficial top-of-the-funnel metrics,” said Siara Nazir, head of digital marketing at Autodesk. When the software maker ended its test, it decided not to include digital audio in its media mix for future campaigns. “We just couldn’t put forth a proper return on ad spend and proper visibility into what this medium is bringing in for us,” she said.

Other advertisers are fine with utilizing these limited metrics. Shaving brand Manscaped, for example, uses coupon codes and vanity URLs to tie listenership data back to return on ad spend. These tactics are simple, but they’re enough to keep the brand spending on audio advertising.

“We know there are definitely more customers who [listened to audio ads] without using a code, but we take that into consideration when reporting on numbers,” said Natalie Hauptman, senior acquisition manager at Manscaped. “There are platforms you can use to dive deeper, where they will tell you if someone makes a purchase after listening to a podcast without using a code, but so far, we haven’t seen a need for that.”

By and large, the pandemic has hit local advertisers especially hard, and radio—traditional and digital—relies more on local advertising than do other media.

US digital radio ad spending will shrink 17.0% this year to $3.72 billion.

However, we expect digital radio advertising will have a strong rebound next year and continue to increase throughout our forecast period.

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