Published on MediaVillage

A majority of Americans now are digital audio listeners according to Melissa Paris, Vice President of Sales Research and Analytics at SXM Media. To better understand this important population, MAGNA and SXM Media, the advertising arm of SiriusXM and Pandora which includes the SiriusXM Streaming Network, partnered on a research study, “Matched Audiences for Unmatched Audio Performance: Reaching the Right People through Digital Audio” that looks at the value of using advanced data to better target and reach digital audio listeners.

This study is the first of its kind for audio but it incorporates knowledge gained from previous studies on digital video, Kara Manatt, Executive Vice President of Intelligence Solutions at MAGNA explained. “We’ve never done anything like this with digital audio – testing how the same ad is going to perform with matched versus demographic targeting.” But, she added, “It’s not the first of its kind in the sense that we’ve done similar types of testing with digital video to understand how using these different methods of reaching people can affect ad effectiveness.”

The study used a combination of first party data from participating brands matched against a panel in a clean room and third party data curated by Acxiom. Manatt noted that brand customers within the first and third party data were those who have a high propensity to buy in that category, thus going beyond standard demographics. “To me that underscores the uniqueness of the study. The whole purpose of the study is to go beyond demographics and the fact that we are not just the age range we are in. There’s much more nuance to groups and individuals than the age range.” Any skew was strictly brand and customer base related.

Among the key findings, Paris explained that “People of all ages are receptive to digital audio ads in general. That was a baseline finding.” The study also found that digital audio ads have, “higher memorability and higher aided recall among matched audiences holistically when we compared them to demographic audiences,” noted Manatt.

“When we break it down by audience types, we saw that both first party and third party data sets we used beat out demographics alone. When we looked at unaided and aided recall in both of those metrics, first party drove the highest lifts in general, followed by third party audiences, followed by demographic audiences. This underscores the finding that memorability is much stronger among matched audiences,” Paris added.

In measuring the purchase phase, “We saw some interesting nuances. When we looked at people who were specifically new to the category, we saw that matched audiences showed a 3 times higher impact on purchase intent.” For her and of particular interest to advertisers, “We were able to prove that matched audiences are not only more effective, they’re also more cost efficient. With their ability to drive purchase intent, we saw that on a cost per person basis that the match to audiences is actually cheaper or more cost efficient than using demographic audiences,” Manatt stated.

“This was a study where we confirmed several theories we had,” explained Paris. “But for external audiences, I think the biggest surprise is the cost efficiency angle here.”

For Manatt, creative also impacted the study findings. When measuring audience reactions to the ads themselves, “and people are asked how they feel about those ads, we found if we can make some tweaks on what we know about these audiences, the ads perform much, much better. Even small tweaks in the creative based on the data used to reach these audiences help make the ads work harder. The big finding is making sure that we do our best to customize the creative based on who we’re reaching.”

“There’s a lot of evidence here for brands to do more exploration when it comes to digital audio. If they’re buying digital audio and they’re only using demographics this study will hopefully encourage them to try out first party or third party matched audiences, and if they are already using matched audiences, this will hopefully encourage them to think more about the creative approach. Maybe it’s time to start messaging these audiences uniquely through customized creative if they aren’t already,” Paris concluded.

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