Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

It’s time to turn your volume all the way up

By Charlotte-Ambar Brown of AudioMob

From the podcast boom and artists like Travis Scott performing for 12 million people inside popular battle-royal shooter Fortnite’s metaverse to the rapid emergence of audio advertising, it is clear that we are in an audio renaissance.

It’s all very modern 

Since the earliest forms of audio technology pre-date even the oldest person* alive, innovations in audio technology are nothing new. Audio has exhibited incredible staying power besides consistently serving as a key component for entertainment and consumption. 

So how could there be a renaissance? What makes these current innovations so special? 

Well the proven, reliable and well understood format of audio is rapidly becoming the new way to connect cutting edge technology with people. This is crucially due to the core power of audio being its ability to engage. 

Gaming – which has a 3 billion people audience – is leaning on audio entertainment to shape how people will connect with it’s latest innovation, the metaverse. Even advertisers and brands that are entering the gaming space are increasingly relying on audio to connect with their target audience as 75% of mobile gamers prefer audio ads to video ads

It’s astonishing just how impactful audio is today.

The podcast boom 

In 2020, an estimated 100 million people listened to a podcast each month and in 2022 this figure is predicted to reach 125 million. More people are listening to podcasts than ever before. 

As a result, advertisers and brands are increasingly allocating ad spend to these verticals. From audio ads to sponsored shows, the push for advertisers to break into this market is being heard loud and clear. As a matter of fact, podcast ad spend was estimated to be $800 million in 2020 and is predicted to grow more than double to $1.7 billion by 2024. This means an annual growth of nearly 20%. To think there once was a time (not so long ago) where listening to podcasts was considered a niche hobby. 

The reason why ad spending is so incredibly high and evermore increasing in this vertical is because of the ability of podcasts and audio to foster an incredibly engaged audience. In fact, a recent study found that brand mentions in podcasts help to generate an 89% increase in brand awareness, 57% increase in brand consideration, and 14% increase in purchase intent. The ability for a brand to speak to a listening audience is invaluable, and the ever increasing size of this engaged audience becomes an added bonus.

Pioneering music in the metaverse

Before we continue this section, let’s first define the metaverse. 

The metaverse are virtual worlds where users can interact with each other and the environment around them. This is most easily exemplified by live gaming environments such as Fortnite or the Stephen Spielberg directed adaptation of Ernest Christy Cline’s novel Ready Player One. 

Ariana Grande, Marshmello and Travis Scott have all graced millions of fans in virtual concerts in Fortnite. The trend kicked off in early 2019 when Marshmello performed in front of 10 million gamers before Grande and Scott moved the needle even further. 

Besides the concerts, all three recording artists became playable avatars within the game. They all joined other distinctive intellectual properties ranging from basketball superstar LeBron James to Superman. 

Interestingly, these gigs in Fortnite may also present a realistic taste of how the general public will initially interact with the metaverse. Instead of virtual worlds being something that take over real life interactions, they will instead be an area where people dip in and out at their pleasure. Therefore, these digital audio concert experiences are actually pioneering how the metaverse will operate in the coming years.

Game on with audio ads

With audio pioneering the metaverse and the podcast boom it’s needless to say that audio ads have also been thriving. In fact, a recent study predicts an 84% growth in digital audio ad revenue for 2025 compared to 2019. The growth is immense because audio ads have the capacity to operate in many digital markets from gaming to podcasts and beyond. 

The non-interrupting nature of audio ads in mobile games engages the 2.8 billion mobile gamer audience without obstructing their game play. In turn, they leave a positive impression on the gamer and lead to awesome results for the advertiser. 

The exponential and continual growth of the audio ad market has meant that the numbers speak for themselves. Spotify’s CEO sees a $18 billion dollar opportunity in selling ads

So what does this all mean

Audio is an incredibly important asset to our ever increasingly digital world. It builds communities, hosts experiences and provides evermore commercial potential for brands and advertisers. 

Audio is not only shaping how we operate today but the future as well. 

Figuring out the best way to utilise audio technology will put any brand, music label or individual light years ahead of the competition. I am excited to see where this audio renaissance goes and glad to be steering its takeover in the mobile environment.

*Kane Tanaka is the oldest person alive at 118 years old, be sure to wish her a happy birthday on January 2nd