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New adventures in audio ads: From ‘creepy’ to contextual

New adventures in audio ads: From ‘creepy’ to contextual

Now that contextual advertising is seeing a resurgence, and personalised ads are facing more scrutiny, how do the two approaches compare, and how are they changing?

That was the key question discussed at Mediatel’s Future of Audio Europe event in London, in which Flora Williams, head of implementational planning at OmniGov, and Emma Raz, director of commercial at NumberEight discussed evolving advertising strategies with The Media Leader’s editor Omar Oakes.

Watch or read a summary below:

In an increasingly regulated digital environment, advertisers must determine how they can deliver audio ads that are relevant to their audience.

Personal vs contextual: the debate continues

“Personal used to mean that which is relevant to you,” explained Raz, but this has evolved into a situation where “we need to know everything about you: your personal information, your email, your identity, your phone number, and we might give you something which is relevant.”

Following developments in privacy legislation, strategies are returning to the core of personalisation: “It’s about getting to know you as a person. Your context relates to who you are”, which, in a wider context, includes environment, habits, actions, and content consumed.

From a media perspective, Williams (pictured, above) agreed that while the language was slightly different, the meaning was the same: “Personalisation means targeting the person, and often this means the demographics – age, where they live, etc – whereas contextual is about what the person is doing and consuming. It’s not just about where they are, it’s also about the content.”

When it comes to adding contextual insights as additional spend to the media budget, Williams maintained that the decision depends not only on individual KPIs, but also on timing and whether it adds any value. As with anything, the spend – and the resources – need to be justifiable: “it does work, but you can’t do it just for the sake of doing it.”

Privacy and tech 101: how not to be creepy

With constantly advancing technology, the extent of insights and information that can be captured seems limitless. So how can companies avoid being intrusive, and instead be helpful to a public that is becoming increasingly aware and privacy-savvy?

According to Raz, hardware, such as smartphones and smart speakers, are not the issue, but rather: “How can it work for us, how can it inform us about what the people really need? How can we leverage this in a meaningful way?”

She went on: “If you want to avoid the creepy factor, it comes down to the type of data that you use – demographic information gets used and abused by the industry.” For example, rather than showing all women over the age of 25 baby-related advertising, targeting their hobbies and interests would be more effective. “I, for one, have a dog!” added Raz (pictured, below).

Working with individual likes and dislikes helps companies target in a way that is inclusive while simultaneously remaining ethical, but how exactly data is used remains a challenge for many businesses and organisations. “The way we look at it,” said Williams, “is that relevancy is appropriate when you don’t look at personal attributes, and instead look at behavioural signals. More contextual, less invasive.”

Another way to avoid “being creepy” would be to investigate frequency capping to limit “bombarding people” across radio, streaming, podcasts, and more, suggested Williams, noting that the technology on metrics for audio in particular needs more work.

Mediatel are the audio experts operating at the centre of audio trading, distribution and analytic processing. Contact us for more information on J-ET, Audiotrack or our RAJAR data engine. To find your new job in audio visit Mediatel Jobs a dedicated marketplace for media, advertising, martech and adtech roles.

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