Programmatic audio hit the right notes for our client

Programmatic audio is still a relatively new player in digital advertising, but it’s quickly catching on as more and more people tune into podcasts, music streaming, and other audio content on their mobile devices. The ability to reach engaged listeners in a less cluttered environment compared to display ads offers exciting potential for brands looking to drive awareness and engagement through audio storytelling.


Key terms 
  • Completed Listens: the instances where users finish listening to an entire audio ad. This metric gauges engagement and effectiveness. 
  • Completion Rate: the percentage of initiated audio ads that users listen to completion. It indicates the ad’s ability to retain audience attention.
  • Cost Per Completed Listen(CPCL): a key financial metric, representing the cost incurred for each successful completion of an audio ad. Advertisers monitor CPCL to assess the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their campaigns. Lower CPCL values suggest better performance and cost efficiency.
  • Conversions: signify desired user actions, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service, triggered by exposure to an audio ad. Conversions are crucial for assessing the campaign’s overall success in driving tangible outcomes beyond ad engagement.
Our approach

Back in 2021, we were eager to dip our toes into this emerging channel and decided to trial programmatic audio for one of our medical aid clients in South Africa. With the opportunity to increase brand awareness and potentially generate leads, they were the perfect candidate to test out this new ad format.

Since this was just a trial period, we didn’t set specific KPIs but rather wanted to see what was possible in terms of inventory availability and performance. Our strategy was to use very broad targeting to reach a wide audience base without too many restrictions – just location targeting to reach mass audiences across the available audio inventory.

We were able to easily repurpose existing banner ads from our display campaigns to use as companion banners alongside the audio ads as they played across podcasts, music streaming sites, and more. This allowed us to align messaging seamlessly across platforms. With creative that complemented the audio script, listeners got to interact with the brand on both a visual and auditory level.



The Results:

In the 3-month trial period, the ads received nearly 14,000 completed listens at an average completion rate of 66.5%. This resulted in an average cost per completed listen of just R0.14. Additionally, the campaign drove 3 “Get A Quote” form submissions for the client.

Based on these initial positive indicators, they’ve decided to continue running the campaign month-to-month. The minimal creative costs were also a major plus, as we could simply repurpose existing assets. Out of the three months, March saw the strongest performance with over 8,100 completed listens at a 67.6% completion rate by mid-month as we were able to access more relevant inventory.

So that’s the story of how we took programmatic audio on a test drive with promising initial results! With the right clients, audio can expand reach in an uncluttered environment. If you’re looking for an innovative way to reach audiences outside of traditional digital channels, programmatic audio may be the answer. Based on the success of our test campaign, we’re believers in its power. Reach out if you want to learn more about how we can help add programmatic audio to your marketing mix. With the right strategy, it can really sing for your brand.