5 Tips for Creating Great Streaming Audio Ads

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If you’re a pro at making Spotify playlists or love tuning in to your favorite weekly podcasts, you’re one of the many listeners engaging with streaming audio. You’re in good company – 523.9 million people subscribed to a music streaming service globally as of the second quarter of 2021, a 26.4% increase over the previous year. Digital audio ads have gained popularity as users want to listen to personalized audio content, on their time – because nothing makes a commute go by faster than hanging out with your favorite podcast hosts.

Streaming audio ads are played through online streaming platforms. Your message is inserted programmatically before or during music, news, and podcasts. Depending on the platform, you may also have the option to show a display ad while the audio ad is playing.

If this sounds interesting to you, keep reading! We know a thing or two about streaming audio ads. More specifically, we know what makes an audio ad shine.

Follow the 5 tips below to make great streaming audio ads.

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Streaming Audio Ad Formats

First, let’s go over where your streaming ads can be played. Ads appear pre-roll (before streaming starts), mid-roll (as content is streaming), and at the post-roll (at the end). Knowing your options can give you a better idea of which formats will fit best with your product or service. Digital audio ads are available on:

  • Podcasts
  • Music (in-stream or programmatic audio ads between songs)
  • Internet radio services, like Pandora and Spotify

    Pandora is one of the original internet radio services and remains one of the most popular audio streaming platforms in the United States. Pandora’s ad formats are robust, offering a variety of banner, video, and audio ads.

    Spotify is an audio streaming platform and is the most-used audio streaming platform in the United States. As of 2022, it has nearly 400 million active monthly listeners. Spotify offers 15- or 30-second audio spots with the option to add companion display ads.

    Podcasts are a relatively new, but powerful, advertising tool. They are available on multiple platforms, including podcast ad networks, publishers (like NPR), and hosting platforms (like Stitcher). Like traditional radio, you can choose live-read or pre-produced ads. Live-read ads are scripted or unscripted and read by the host(s). This gives them time to talk about their experiences with your product. Live-read ads become a permanent part of the episode.

    Pre-produced podcast ads are either read by the hosts or produced by the advertiser. These are dynamically inserted into an episode, meaning users will hear different advertisements depending on when they listen. These ads are best for businesses that want strict control over the ad content.

    You know where your ads can run – now, let’s dig into 5 tips to follow to create streaming audio ads your audience won’t forget.

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    1. Write a Great Script

    Just like the big screen, every good audio ad begins with a solid script. Start by clearly outlining what you want to say and how to say it. Ask yourself: If your listener remembers one key message from your ad, what do you want it to be?

    Put yourself in your listener’s shoes. They are likely multi-tasking while your audio ad is playing – driving, running errands, or heading to the gym. Their attention is divided. So how do you get them to listen? Write a script that incorporates some of these elements:
    • Tell a story 
    • Give a value proposition
    • Keep the tone conversational to make your brand feel more personal and likable
    • Use audio effects or music to enhance your message
      Key Element

      Memorable audio ads keep information simple and engaging, and have a clear message.

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      2. Include a Specific Call-To-Action (CTA)

      If you want your audio ads to drive action or results (that’s why you’re advertising, right?), it’s essential to include a direct call-to-action in your script. Be as specific as possible. Tell your audience the exact steps they must take to learn more about your offering. According to Spotify, ads with a direct call-to-action have 3x higher click-through rates than those with none. If you need some CTA inspiration, consider these:

      streaming audio CTA icon
      • Tap to find a location  
      • Visit mywebsite.com/audio
      • Use promo code “audio” at checkout
      • Sign up today to save
      • Schedule an appointment
      Create a special landing page, URL, or code for offers that you promote on streaming audio. That way, you can track the effectiveness of your ad.
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      3. Keep it snappy

      Typically, you only have 30 seconds or less for a Spotify or Pandora audio spot. There are some instances where audio ads run up to 60 seconds, but in general, you’re looking at 30 seconds or less. Spotify recommends your script be 55-70 words max.

      If you need help structuring your ad, follow this outline:
      • Hook: Grab the listener’s attention
      • Intro: Introduce your brand and purpose
      • Benefits: Tell a story or share information about your event, sale, or promotion
      • Wrap: Remind the listener why this product is great for them
      • CTA: Drive listeners to take action with a strong CTA
      If you’re rushing through the script or find yourself breathless by the end, edit, edit edit! This might be a sign that you’re cramming too many ideas into a :30-second spot.
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      4. Keep Transitions Smooth

      Ads are inserted between songs, interviews, and other audio content, so you’ll need a clean start and finish to your ad. Keep transitions smooth by avoiding long pauses at the start. At the end of your ad, avoid long fade-outs or abrupt cuts. With limited time, every second counts.

      smooth transitions streaming audio-01
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      streaming audio reaches you on the go

      5. Add Music and Sound Effects to Create a Mood

      Without visuals, convey the mood and setting of your audio ad through music and sound effects. For instance, if you’re selling meal kits, the ding of an oven timer or food sizzling can evoke images of cooking in a kitchen. Don’t go overboard, though.

      Music and sound effects should complement your message. Avoid loud noises or music that will distract listeners or take focus away from the point you’re making.
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      Make Streaming Audio Ads Work for You

      The streaming audio market’s growth offers a unique environment for brands to stay top of mind. By following these 5 tips, you can create your own memorable streaming audio ads. Did you notice that we don’t mention anything about buying expensive audio equipment? These days, creating a quality audio ad is simpler and more accessible than you think. Of course, if you’d rather leave production up to the pros, there are plenty of resources out there that can produce a spot for you.

      Digital audio reaches a highly engaged audience. It’s up to you to pique the listener’s interest through clear, concise messaging and engaging content. MPP’s digital marketing team manages programmatic audio buying on your behalf, so your team can focus on what you do best.

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      If you are looking for more information about streaming audio or podcast advertising, contact us.

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