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“Audio is aggressively on the rise right now in terms of where people are spending time, but most important, where they spend what I’d consider their intimate time,” says Will Mayo, founder and chief strategy officer at SpokenLayer. “Whether it’s music or narrative content, that’s the time when people are most themselves, when they’re elevating their mood, when they’re learning, when they’re growing.”
The rise in popularity of audio content means that there’s an opportunity now for brands to tell their stories with branded content, and be part of that intimate experience in a way that wasn’t possible until recently, he adds.
“What’s been super interesting to witness in the rise of branded audio is how quickly the uptake has been in the last two years,” says Sabba Keynejad, CEO, VEED.IO. “Video was at the top of every company’s marketing plan. Audio was probably not even on the list for a very long time. But more and more people have found ways to consume audio in convenient ways, since it’s become incredibly accessible. Standing out with good branded audio is essential.”
It’s still quite early days for branded audio, though, Keynejad says, with best practices still being discovered and worked out. Brands are experimenting with a broad array of ideas. At VEED, they’ve seen a huge demand for creating branded audiogram videos that are distributed across social networks as a way to signal that you can access branded audio, podcasts, Clubhouse rooms, and so on.
Most of what we consume on our screens is visual, and browsing often happens with the sound off. With branded audiograms, which combine a simple visual along with an audio message, brands have an easy way to engage browsers and send them to other channels to subscribe to more audio content.
Short-form audio is also becoming more popular because of the prevalence of digital distribution via streaming and feed-driven content, Mayo says. You see this in music pervasively, where each user can experience a dynamic stream of content via services like Spotify or Pandora.
“But in the world of narratives, the reason that Spoken Layer is so focused on short-form audio is we see that’s where the industry is going,” Mayo says. “We believe that short-form audio is more distributable, more reusable, more engaging, and can keep the attention of a user, because they can get an entire package in a two- to three- to four-minute experience, as opposed to 20, 60, or 90 minutes.”
Right now, short-form audio is prevalent across the smart assistants — when you say ‘Hey Google’, or ‘Alexa, what’s the news’, short-form audio fills that experience. But now platforms like Spotify, and soon Pandora, are trying to diversify away from just music and become audio streaming companies, not just music streaming companies, so that people spend more time with their service.
“You’ll start to see more short-form audio bubble up in those platforms, because again, you can create a personalized experience with that,” he says, “as opposed to content syndication, which is what I think podcasts function as — more of a syndicated medium, like a magazine, compared to an article that lives on many different apps.”
The most important thing to remember with audio is that it’s not just an impression or a download or a single view of a piece of content, he adds. Audio has longer-term impact, but also typically it’s more important to expose a user with a higher frequency.
“It’s not just run one ad and see what happens,” Mayo explains. “It’s telling a story over time, keeping that brand top of mind. It’s not buying radio spots or buying ads on Spotify but making sure that a brand is tied into anywhere and everywhere that someone may listen to content, and the opportunity in narrative short form is massive, because it’s completely untapped so far.”
The social space is huge, with plenty of platforms and ways to access content, from Pinterest to Facebook to Instagram. But when it comes to audio, says Keynejad, we’re still working with a native podcast distribution system that hasn’t changed very much. The only real new entrant is Clubhouse. But that just means there’s so much opportunity as audio capabilities are extended across products and services in the social media ecosystem.
Of course, with any audio content, consistency of quality is important. Whether it’s ensuring voices within the same content are not at different levels, or extracting key audio signals from noisy backgrounds, you don’t want to create a jarring experience for the listener.
That said, while the opportunity is hot, says Mayo, this is the time to just start and iterate.
“There is no right way to do it; the only thing that matters is getting in front of actual listeners and seeing how they respond,” he says. “Making a small investment now, just getting your feet wet, is by far the most important thing. Having the perfect copy, recording perfectly, finding perfect placement or targeting, that’s the enemy, because audio, again, is a fluid, intimate medium.”
Learn more about using branded audio to create powerful, engaging content, from tips on creating the stickiest content to ways to ensure your audio messaging sounds great, every time, even when you’re not an audio expert, when you join this VB Live event.
Don’t miss out!
Register here for free.
Attendees will learn:
- How brands can include both branded audio and media, and user-generated media in their go-to-market strategy
- The benefits of branded audio media
- How offering services, or partnering with audio forward companies, to generate or support quality audio can provide a competitive advantage and differentiation
- Rebecca Michals, Director, Seller Community and Engagement, eBay
- Will Mayo, Founder + Chief Strategy Officer, SpokenLayer
- Sabba Keynejad, CEO, VEED.IO
- Sripal Mehta, Senior Director, API Platform, Dolby Labs
- Stewart Rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat
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