How to Mea­sure the Un­seen: Dig­i­tal Au­dio, Emo­tions, and Ad Ef­fec­tive­ness

Arabnet - The Quarterly - - Industry Stories - By Youmna Borghol | @yborghol

Re­search con­ducted by Choueri Group Data Team on in­sights to the im­pact of au­dio.

Ac­cess­ing Is The New Own­ing Over the past years, we have wit­nessed the rise of the ac­cess econ­omy, where con­sumers pay for ac­cess, not for own­er­ship. By pro­vid­ing con­sumers with con­ve­nient and cost-ef­fi­cient ac­cess to re­sources with­out the has­sle of own­er­ship, many ma­ture in­dus­tries have been dis­rupted. Uber, Airbnb, and Kick­starter are some ex­am­ples of ac­cess econ­omy com­pa­nies that are trans­form­ing the au­to­mo­tive, ho­tels, and fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­tries.

Me­dia is another in­dus­try where we are see­ing ac­cess-based dis­tri­bu­tion mod­els chang­ing the me­dia land­scape. Spo­tify, Pan­dora, Youtube, Net­flix and other stream­ing me­dia ser­vices are ob­vi­ous ex­am­ples. One of the first in­dus­tries to be trans­formed by the ac­cess econ­omy is mu­sic. The efffff­fect was mas­sive on the au­dio land­scape, as con­sumers shifted habits. Time spent on mu­sic apps has grown 79% in the last year and the global rev­enue from mu­sic sub­scrip­tion and stream­ing plat­forms has grown by more than 60%. Mu­sic stream­ing is chang­ing the way that the world is lis­ten­ing to mu­sic.

Stream­ing Has Gone Main­stream In MENA

There is a ma­jor shift in the way au­dio stream­ers are lis­ten­ing in MENA. Ang­hami, the only dig­i­tal au­dio plat­form in the re­gion, is reach­ing around 25% of the on­line MENA pop­u­la­tion monthly. The MENA au­di­ence is al­ways on and highly tuned in, with the typ­i­cal cross-plat­form user av­er­ag­ing 81 min­utes of lis­ten­ing per day. Look­ing at the con­sump­tion be­hav­ior through­out the day on Ang­hami vs tra­di­tional broad­cast Ra­dio, we no­tice that while ra­dio lis­ten­ing ac­tiv­ity over-in­dexes in the morn­ing, Ang­hami lis­ten­ing builds steadily through­out the day, peak­ing in the af­ter­noon and early evening. The MENA au­di­ences are us­ing dig­i­tal au­dio in their ev­ery­day mo­ments.

At this point, few would ar­gue that stream­ing is main­stream in MENA. How­ever, there are some in­ter­est­ing de­tails in the data.

1. MENA is lead­ing glob­ally Saudi Ara­bian au­dio lis­ten­ers are dom­i­nant in the global mar­ket; KSA has

the high­est share of time spent lis­ten­ing to dig­i­tal au­dio at 24%, com­pared to the US at 15%. More­over, KSA has a sig­nif­i­cant stream­ing reach of 51% of the on­line pop­u­la­tion, the global com­par­i­son is lower at 37%.

2. Mo­bile is driv­ing the huge stream­ing me­dia op­por­tu­nity 90% of mu­sic stream­ers are lis­ten­ing on mo­bile, com­pared to 72% of mo­bile con­sump­tion in MENA. The growth of mo­bile and au­dio is re­lated be­cause you don’t have to stop and watch au­dio; au­dio is ev­ery­where, in your pocket, wher­ever you are go­ing, on the move. 3. Ang­hami is built on MENA’S love of free au­dio stream­ing. Ad-sup­ported au­dio stream­ing will con­tinue to be Ang­hami’s most pop­u­lar prod­uct. As of Septem­ber 2017, 80% use the ser­vice for free and are, there­fore, ex­posed to the plat­form’s ads. Spo­tify stands at 70% and Pan­dora at 60%.

The Only Way Is Up

The love of free mu­sic stream­ing and the me­dia op­por­tu­nity cre­ated are be­hind the huge suc­cess achieved so far by the mu­sic stream­ing in­dus­try. It def­i­nitely had an im­pact on the time users spend on ra­dio’s for­mer lis­ten­ing monopoly. There is po­ten­tial for growth, and what is ex­cit­ing about the num­bers is the growth tra­jec­to­ries. New users are join­ing the trend ev­ery day and ex­ist­ing users are now lis­ten­ing to even more mu­sic. MENA users have in­creased at a sig­nif­i­cant rate; a 61% in­crease from 2016, up to 53 mil­lion in 2017. Not only is the num­ber of users in­creas­ing but also the time spent lis­ten­ing. Time spent in­creased 64% up to 81 min­utes in 2017. The other main thing to re­mem­ber is the makeup of that au­di­ence, as many of the peo­ple stream­ing mu­sic are harder to reach. 23% of Ang­hami users in KSA do not lis­ten to ra­dio, which re­sults in an in­cre­men­tal reach of 12%.

The new au­dio land­scape is a re­al­ity, and ad­ver­tis­ers need to adapt to the new world or­der for au­dio. The op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with a hard-to-reach de­mo­graphic through dig­i­tal au­dio plat­forms means that ad­ver­tis­ers can now reach ev­ery­one through au­dio plat­forms com­bined.

Mar­keters Ex­pect To In­crease The In­vest­ments In Dig­i­tal Au­dio Ads

In a re­cent Choueiri Group sur­vey on the fu­ture of dig­i­tal au­dio ads in MENA; it was shown that mar­keters to­day spend less than 5% of their dig­i­tal bud­get on au­dio plat­forms, 69% ex­pect to in­crease their in­vest­ment in dig­i­tal au­dio ads and cur­rently, 77% of their bud­get is spent on dig­i­tal cam­paigns. MENA au­di­ences have started to em­brace au­dio stream­ing for a few years now, but the adop­tion of dig­i­tal au­dio ad­ver­tis­ing may be in the crawl stages. The main dig­i­tal au­dio chal­lenges for MENA mar­keters are un­der­stand­ing the im­pact of dig­i­tal au­dio ad­ver­tis­ing and know­ing how to plug it into the mar­ket­ing mix as it doesn’t fall neatly into ei­ther the tra­di­tional or the dig­i­tal camp.

Why Ev­ery Mar­keter Needs a Dig­i­tal Au­dio Strat­egy

The ben­e­fits of dig­i­tal au­dio ad­ver­tis­ing ex­tend be­yond reach. Au­dio has a dis­tinct power to build long-last­ing emo­tional con­nec­tions with con­sumers, a power aug­mented by dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy that is mak­ing au­dio ad­ver­tis­ing pre­cise, mea­sur­able and rel­e­vant.

To quan­tify the im­pact that mu­sic lis­ten­ing has on brands and cre­ate global bench­marks for the re­gion, a Brand Im­pact study con­ducted by DMS, Ang­hami and Nielsen, an­a­lyzed mul­ti­ple cam­paigns, across sec­tors and mar­kets. Re­sults show that au­dio ads are 3x as likely to lift pur­chase in­tent than dis­play ads, 2x as likely to lift brand aware­ness, and 2x as likely to lift brand fa­vor­a­bil­ity. Dig­i­tal au­dio stream­ers are also twice as likely as non-stream­ers to ad­vo­cate for and feel emo­tion­ally con­nected to brands, and twice as likely to have ra­tio­nal as­so­ci­a­tions with the brands. In gen­eral, re­gard­less of brand or sec­tor, stream­ers are more likely to al­lo­cate pos­i­tive at­tributes to brands com­pared to non-stream­ers.

Re­search re­sults also in­di­cated that when brands add dig­i­tal au­dio ads to an ex­ist­ing broad­cast cam­paign, the av­er­age pur­chase in­tent in­creases by 11%. The re­sults are aligned with global find­ings, con­firm­ing that au­dio is no longer one uni­fied chan­nel. Broad­cast and dig­i­tal au­dio very much com­ple­ment each other, and if mar­keters are only con­cen­trat­ing on one of them, they may be miss­ing out on the ben­e­fits they both bring to the ta­ble.

We are ob­serv­ing the be­gin­ning of an evolv­ing land­scape. The op­por­tu­ni­ties are end­less and ex­cit­ing. Whether or not dig­i­tal au­dio will dis­place au­dio in the fu­ture is not clear. But what’s clear is that the new au­dio land­scape is evolv­ing and it will keep evolv­ing with the grow­ing ac­cess econ­omy. It’s time to shift the men­tal­ity away from think­ing about de­fined si­los like dig­i­tal and ra­dio, and start hav­ing a full au­dio con­ver­sa­tion. As the world con­tin­ues to go mo­bile and em­brace stream­ing, the brands that know how to take ad­van­tage of th­ese plat­forms, how to be part of the mo­ments when peo­ple are lis­ten­ing and watch­ing, are the ones ready to win the fu­ture.

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