November 29, 2020

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YouTube Launches Audio Ads to Reach Users Tuning in via Audio Only

2 min read

With more people tuning into audio content via YouTube and YouTube Music, the platform is now adding a new way to reach these users, with audio ads specifically designed for non-video consumption.

As explained by YouTube:

“To help you tailor your media and creative approach to the different ways consumers are engaging with YouTube, we’re introducing audio ads, our first ad format designed to connect your brand with audiences in engaged and ambient listening on YouTube. Audio ads, currently in beta, help you efficiently expand reach and grow brand awareness with audio-based creative and the same measurement, audience and brand safety features as your video campaigns.”

The addition makes sense – YouTube Music, for example, grew from 8 million active users in 2017, to more than 77 million actives by the end of 2019, and that audience has increased even more amid the pandemic. And with people also looking to tune into lectures, interviews and more in audio-only mode, providing a podcast-style ad option, utilizing YouTube’s existing ad targeting, could help brands connect with more interested audiences.  

YouTube says that, in testing, it found that more than 75% of its audio ad campaigns “drove a significant lift in brand awareness”.

“One of our early testers, Shutterfly, used audio ads to influence purchase consideration among interested shoppers, driving above benchmark lifts of 14% lift in ad recall and 2% lift in favorability among their target audience.”

I mean, those are not mind-blowing numbers, but a double-digit lift in any category is significant. 

At the same time, YouTube is also adding dynamic music lineups for ad targeting, which will enable advertisers to reach audiences based on music genres – like ‘Latin music’, ‘K-pop’, ‘hip-hop’ and ‘Top 100′. Brands will also be able to use music lineups to focus on moods or interests, like ‘fitness’.

“Music lineups and audio ads make it possible to be there, at scale, whether YouTube is being watched front and center or playing as the backdrop to daily life.”

Podcasts have seen a significant rise in recent years, and while YouTube is still primarily a video channel, it makes sense that those listening to podcasts have also sought out more audio content on other platforms, with YouTube hosting a range of content that can easily be consumed without the video element. 

And then there’s music – YouTube says that music video streaming at an all-time high, with more than 50% of its logged-in viewers who consume music content, listening to more than 10 minutes of music daily.

These options will provide more ways to reach these listeners. Now we just need some more stats on the specific categories of YouTube content that are being consumed in audio mode, aside from music.

Audio ads are available in beta via auction on Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a CPM basis with the same audience targeting options, bidding strategies and Brand Lift measurement capabilities as regular YouTube video campaigns.

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