Media buying software company Strata released the Q2 edition of its quarterly agency survey (infographic here), revealing a growing interest in audio advertising, fueled by streaming at the expense of traditional radio. At the same time, participating agencies emphasize mixed media campaign planning, and slowly increased adoption of programmatic buying.
Strata queries agencies with two key questions. First, what is the main campaign emphasis of client advertisers? Second, where is the increased interest compared to a year ago?
In the first question, agencies said that audio advertising (encompassing terrestrial and streaming) is the main focus of 9% of buyers, which is a startling 102% increase from the Q1 survey three months ago.
Digging into the second question is where traditional radio is separated from streaming. Compared to last year, clients have 53% increased interest in “Streaming/Online Radio.” Interest in traditional radio dropped by 37% year-over-year, sharing declined interest with print (-63%) and spot TV (-30%).
Programmatic advertising as a planning and buying mechanism is slowly gaining trust and adoption in this series of quarterly surveys. The lens here is wide open to all media categories, and most programmatic transactions occur in web display and online video advertising. Programmatic audio is on a different, slower adoption curve. Keeping all that in mind, agencies that reported an intention to increase programmatic buying to 20-40% of campaigns increased by a whopping 244%. However, currently almost 75% of buyers allocate 205 or less of their business to programmatic. More that twice as many respondents claimed to trust programmatic as those who distrust it, but a large 69% of answers were undecided. As usual, efficiency and better audience targeting were cited as the main benefits.
Programmatic advertising for audio is regarded by proponents as a key on-ramp to buyers’ mixed-media campaigns. the reasoning is that buyers crave simplicity and efficiency, increasingly expecting it as software transactions become normal. Radio (and audio generally) risk being left out of cross-category advertising by not being in the platforms where those purchases are planned and executed. Natalie Swed Stone, who handles national radio buying at OMD, told RAIN News in June, “The marketers are looking for the audience! They are not thinking about it by platform.” (See also the RAIN/WideOrbit whitepaper, Programmatic Fast-Tracks Revenue Growth for Digital Audio.)
Political advertising, always an important part of radio’s business cycle, carries a neutral agency forecast, with 19% predicting an increase from last year and 14% expecting decreased spending — flat growth for the rest.
The overall tone of the Strata survey is reasonably optimistic for the ad business generally, with 52% of clients keeping their spending budgets steady. One-fifth will make minor cuts, and about the same number will increase budgets.