What you should know about audio spending and pricing

As you consider your audio strategies, understanding revenue trends and opportunities is critically important.

The upcoming Voice Summit — sponsored by LMA and PILOT — will feature Gordon Borrell, President and CEO, Borrell and Associates. Borrell will speak on new research on local spending in voice advertising and the implications for determining reach and audio ad pricing.

We caught up with Borrell to learn a bit more about what he’s seeing in advertising revenues.

What are some of the leading trends you’re seeing in voice advertising today?

When you look at percentage growth, voice advertising is skyrocketing.  However, if you look at dollar volume, it’s still microscopic.  Overall, streaming audio advertising (of which “voice advertising” is a subset) it’s a $2.2 billion category, which is one-half of one percent of all advertising.

As more people adopt voicebots and marketers find clever ways to insert themselves, it has nowhere to go but up.

How do you think media companies should think about audio ad pricing?

Opportunistically. In the early days of a new medium (audiotex of the 1990s comes to mind), you can charge more for the excitement than you can the miniscule audience. Advertisers are willing to pay to look chic, or be part of experiments.  So don’t be shy, but don’t gouge anyone, either.

As you think about emerging platforms, what sort of importance should news organizations put on voice?

I’d put mid-level importance on it because it’s still in the very early stage. In other words, don’t put all your eggs there right now.

News organizations should be asking two questions: how do we adapt content to the new channel, and how do get on that distribution platform?  They aren’t “news” tasks per se, however, so you might see news organizations dropping the ball or thinking that the marketing or “new media” department might be responsible.

Adapting to the news channel required a hybrid news/technology approach that acknowledges that you can’t just cram a newspaper story or TV script onto the new platform and declare, “done!” There are other informational things that could be uniquely delivered via voice — not just a “story” or headlines.  The distribution piece is more of a technology/marketing task.

What’s got you excited about voice platforms today?

It opens up a new market and thus wide-open opportunities that many will be blind to.  True to form for any type of disruption, there will be two mistakes that will distract would-be competitors.  First, the “audio” industry that’s being disrupted (radio) will try to convert radio advertisers over to the new platform, not realizing that this is an opportunity to create net growth by going after businesses that would never advertise on terrestrial radio.

Second, everyone (including news organizations) will cram their existing business models onto the new medium, missing the opportunity to create something entirely new.  Meanwhile, anyone who understands these “new” opportunities will have the time of their lives creating a new busienss.

You can register for the Voice Summit here.