Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 | 7 min read
You’ve probably heard it a million times by now: 2015 is all about video. It’s the medium of choice for marketers and content creators who want to stand out in a highly competitive space and hold consumers’ attention, and brands are exploring ways to make video a central part of their content strategy.
But video isn’t the only medium getting more attention this year; brands are also finding new ways to work audio into their marketing mix. Like video, audio isn’t by any means new to the content scene – podcasts, for example, have been around for a long time.
Nonetheless, changes in social media, the music industry, and content marketing (like music apps becoming more social and paid media targeting options becoming more sophisticated) make it the perfect time to take a look at the various options that brands have in the audio marketing space.
Let’s get started!
Podcasts have been steadily gaining momentum over the past decade with popular series like This American Life and its spin-off Serial. The latter, which averaged 3.1 million listeners a week, generated a following that rivals that of some popular television series.
This transition into the mainstream has sparked increased interest in podcast advertising. MailChimp’s ad at the start of each Serial episode was hugely successful, leading to a big boost in online chatter about the brand. A young girl’s mispronunciation of “MailChimp” as “MailKimp” during the ad inspired 1,300 tweets with the tag #MailKimp between October 2 (the day of the show’s premiere) to November 21.
Podcast advertising is an opportunity for brands to connect with consumers who still might not have found the brand on social media, whether they want to get in front of a more mainstream audience (like Serial’s) or reach a niche group.
In addition to exploring podcast advertising opportunities, brands can also consider producing their own podcasts, from snackable news reports to how-to guides, interviews, and stories.
Music and social media make a great team, don’t they?
Seven of the top 10 most-followed Twitter accounts are managed by musicians. What’s more, a majority of the top Facebook pages are music-related, with Shakira’s official page claiming the most Page Likes – over 100 million of them!
New music apps and music-focused product updates come out all the time, like Tunepics and Snapchat’s music feature, which lets you add music tracks to your Snapchat videos on iPhones. Meanwhile, music streaming platforms like Grooveshark and Pandora include a variety of features that make them inherently social.
In addition to advertising on music streaming platforms through traditional ad formats, organizations can also engage audiences with branded content.
For example, Spotify’s free Branded Playlists feature allows brands to curate playlists and put their own stamp on them by including a brand logo and link to their website or campaign microsite. Since the tracks in the playlist need to be chosen by users rather than the brand, these playlists offer a great opportunity for brands to encourage audience participation.
The playlists are also a great way to reach the 15 million Spotify users who pay for a Premium ad-free account (and thus can’t be targeted with standard paid advertising).
One of the first examples of a Branded Playlist is Herbal Essences’ ‘Songs You Sing in the Shower’ campaign, which took place across Spotify and Facebook in late 2011. Fans were invited to contribute tracks to a playlist in a series of Facebook posts on Herbal Essences’ official page. This was incentivized with the chance to win a year’s supply of products.
More recently, the brand teamed up with Pandora to continue the theme of singing in the shower. This has been supported by a series of Facebook posts and Tweets offering free music downloads.
Did you know that Facebook can now detect what users are listening to or what’s playing in the background on their TV set, and automatically add it to their status updates? It only works if users have opted in to the feature (called “Audio Recognition”), but it’s particularly interesting for brands as it could help make ad targeting based on listening habits more effective in the future (if Facebook integrates this data into their ads tool).
Music tastes can tell us a lot about a consumer. For marketers, combining this with other data can help match products to a user’s specific interests. Keeping track of what users are actually listening to, instead of just the cool music they admit to liking, would lead to more relevant messages.
This type of technology could also be an opportunity for social networks that don’t collect as much user profile information as Facebook – for instance, Snapchat – to offer more granular audience targeting to advertisers.
Sprinklr Global Evangelist Ekaterina Walter defines Customer Experience Management (CXM) as the process of providing unforgettable experiences to your customers at every touchpoint – online, on the phone, on social, and in person.
From podcasts to music streaming services and photo sharing apps enhanced with music-focused features, audio content is undeniably an important touchpoint for consumers. Brands that stand out in this space and create memorable experiences around audio consumption are likely to come out on top in the age of the customer experience economy.
Your turn: What do you think is going to be the next big trend for audio in social media?
About the Author: Bianca Ohannessian is the Senior Content Manager at Sprinklr London. With a passion for fashion and an appetite for adventure, when she’s not writing copy, she’s out exploring the globe.