Online audio isn’t a brand-new opportunity for advertisers, but it is a fast growing one, and consumption of online audio increased significantly throughout the pandemic. The increased frequency of online listening versus pre-pandemic is:

Listening to online radio is up 33%

Listening to podcasts is up 35%

Streaming music is up 39%

The IAB UK released some new research titled ‘Real Living’, which explored how consumers interact with and feel about online audio, what their habits are, and what the engagement opportunities are for brands. Their 3 key findings from the research were:

1.Online audio is the ultimate accompaniment to everyday life

2.Mood and content dictate both content and ad preferences

3.Online audio brands do need to work hard, but brands are rewarded with high engagement and enjoyment

1. Online audio is the ultimate accompaniment to everyday life

There are typically less fluctuations throughout the day for online audio compared to other online channels. Traditional radio has historically seen peaks in morning and evening drive but, but online audio is more of a constant companion.

Listeners develop a natural schedule for audio content based on the eb and flow of their day. The different types of online audio also help listeners fulfil different need states.

A common misconception with online audio is that it is only consumed by the younger audiences. This research showed that growth over the past year has been from a mainstream audience.

2.Mood and content dictate both content and ad preferences

People choose audio that will have a particular impact on their mood. Streaming music helps to energise, podcasts help to learn something new, and online radio can help people to focus.

Audio plays a positive, inspiring, and educational role in my life. I listen to audio which boosts my confidence, helps me understand myself and the world better, and that makes me feel happy

Creating a connection between your ad and the listener’s mood could be key to a successful advertising campaign.

50% of people wished that brands could understand the mood they are in.

47% of people agreed that ads on audio streaming services need to be tailored to their mood.

46% of people agreed that when they listen to an ad which is relevant to them and matches their mood, it feels more personal.

In turn, this could enhance both memorability of the ad and likelihood to make a purchase.

42% of people remember audio ads more when they fit in with the moment or setting they are in.

45% of people are more likely to consider buying a product after encountering an audio ad that connects with them in the right way.

3.Online audio brands do need to work hard, but brands are rewarded with high engagement and enjoyment

6 in 10 people accept that seeing advertising is a fair exchange for using online services for free. And 52% net agree that they are willing to listen to advertising if it means they can listen to premium audio for free. This shows that for many people the ads do form ‘part of the experience’ when it comes to online audio. They are the pay off for enjoying such great content for free.

This research showed that consuming online audio is an enjoyable activity for people. Something they can often do whilst multi-tasking, an activity where they are in complete control of the content they consume and where and when they consume it. Engagement with online audio ads can be improved with a personalised experience, you are speaking one on one with your audience. For example, spoken recommendations or ‘host read ads’ in podcasts provide great cut through and engagement.

Relevance was the number one recommendation on how to make online ads better. With online audio advertising, we have the ability to make ads more relevant to browsing history, interests and content.

“Advertising that’s relevant or personal, such as talking about a sale at ASOS when I’ve just been browsing on their app, that’s really handy”

“One advert that I keep encountering is the ad for the dating app… it’s rather annoying and for me it’s irrelevant because I’m not single and I’m not looking, and I’m not interested in signing up to any dating site”

“If you’re gonna have adverts, at least make them relevant. For example, if I’m listening to something about sport, like football, then make it an advert that’s about football. If it’s something that’s completely unrelated I just feel like it’s quite annoying to be honest with you”

The growth in online audio is undeniably a great opportunity for advertisers. It is a great way to reach audiences on a personal one on one level when they are consuming content that they enjoy. The key takeaway from this research is that tailoring your ad creative to the mood of your audience and making the content of your ads relevant will improve engagement and therefore improve the overall effectiveness of your advertising campaign. To read the full IAB Real Living report, click here.

At radio experts, we have the creativity and the expertise to create mood provoking audio which is relevant to your target audience. Our team of experts are on hand to create and produce online audio advertising campaigns tailored to your key messages. Get in touch with one of our experts today at