Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Hearing is believing: How audio is helping digital marketers win in the attention economy

By Ben Williams, Chief Business Officer at AudioMob

Having spent two decades in media working with brands, I understand the bar is constantly set higher when it comes to performance. Performance is nuanced and measurement is always under scrutiny.

In the recent WARC guide “Planning for Attention” the conclusion was clear: impression measurement needs reform and the need is to move forward with a transparent way to understand and transact impressions data. The probability of being seen is not enough and attention metrics are increasingly viewed as a better predictor of outcomes than viewability alone.

Audio, the report notes, plays a massive part in giving marketers an opportunity to take themselves away from the ‘visual clutter’ and gain the attention of consumers on an auditory level. When Christiian and Wilfrid, founders of AudioMob, talked me through their idea when we first met, I knew they were on to something. 

AudioMob is pioneering audio advertising in mobile games. Mobile games like Candy Crush, Pokemon Go, and Angry Birds are all household names and mobile gaming is a part of our home entertainment staple diet. Angry Birds is a great example of a mobile gaming brand – celebrating its 10 year anniversary, listed on Nasdaq and with two movies under its belt.   When I joined the leadership team at AudioMob we embarked upon a collective ambition of delivering advertisers quality audiences with a mass reach, through mobile games like these, in a brand safe way. 

Audio advertising in games brings mass reach in a brand safe way

AudioMob now leads the way in connecting brands with mobile gamers: Its mass reach comes from the 2.51 billion audience of mobile gamers globally (according to Statista) that AudioMob’s platform serves. Brand safety comes from the walled garden that is in-game advertising: the games have already been through rigorous processes to get into the app stores. So, it follows that any advertising the games carry will be safer than ads ‘in the wild’. 

Mobile games players are a rich diverse seam

Gone are the days when the mobile games player was a ‘teenage dirtbag’. Today’s mobile gaming profiles are an eye opener: 63% are women and the average age of a female gamer is 36 years old and a male is 32 years. 

Brands have just dipped their toes in the water 

The market is there and brands have been experimenting in mobile games in a variety of ways. For example with rewarded video ads – where a player gets a bonus or an extra life for watching an ad. It’s a great format but it has one failing – it interrupts the player. In mobile gaming now there is a massive movement towards non-intrusive in-game advertising, and that is where audio advertising comes to the fore. A recent YouGov survey found that 28% of UK adults would prefer a free mobile game with audio ads over a free game with IAP (26%) or video ads (18%). It makes sense – they don’t get interrupted, they get a reward and can carry on playing their game while listening to the ad.

AudioMob was the first to market with the rewarded audio format: working with brands and connecting them with mobile games audiences. And we have achieved very early success: brands who were already familiar with the audio format for radio and podcasts have very quickly embraced the rewarded audio format in mobile games. The concept that a player could be rewarded with an extra life or virtual currency for simply listening to an ad while they played their game is compelling. Equally publishers of games are tripping over themselves to get audio ads integrated and sometimes even immersed into their game design – for example getting players to listen to ads by turning on a virtual radio in a role playing game.

Lockdown Lag

Mobile gaming has predictably increased during lockdown with GameAnalytics revealing that playtime increased by 62% and spend by 5% from January to the end of March. While the opportunity is great, the need for innovation is palpable – gamers (and developers) will not want to keep seeing the same format time and time again. To achieve real cut through brands need to innovate and audio is a natural segue.

Now is the time for audio: the barriers to market are at their lowest. Audio is not an expensive ad format – it is easy, simple and elegant. For the ad-weary it can offer variety and novelty at a time when repetitive messages in the same-old formats can annoy rather than engage. 

AudioMob is the newest arrival in this exciting market, and with no legacy issues advertisers can access via all programmatic platforms, or as a managed service via our global partners at Targetspot. As 2020 continues to challenge marketers, the emergence of audio advertising in games provides a welcome opportunity to get ahead in the attention economy.