Sound advice: How to reach new audiences through streaming audio

Audio streaming is reaching audiences in places that video can’t go – it’s time to get your message into people’s ears

Streaming media is now well and truly mainstream – but it’s time to stop thinking of it as a homogenous mass. The different types of media we stream, and the ways in which we stream them, are creating new opportunities to connect with audiences – and to better understand them.

Nearly half the online population now streams entertainment content on a weekly basis, according to research – but what’s most interesting is how audiences are consuming different types of streaming media. 60 per cent of music streamers are listening on mobile devices, compared with 40 per cent of TV and movie streamers – and they’re listening to audio in places that video simply doesn’t penetrate.

For example, commuters are five times more likely to stream audio content than TV or video. When you’re working out, you’re 3.5 times more likely to be listening to content than watching it. And when you need to concentrate, the last thing you want is to be distracted – so it’s not surprising that three times as many people who are focusing listen to audio rather than watching video.

Audio is a particularly evocative medium. Podcasts directly address the listener, as Lea Thau, host and producer of the podcast Strangers (Radiotopia and KCRW) points out: “People actually listen…you are talking right inside someone’s head.”

Music builds an even more emotive connection, with studies revealing that people use music to regulate their moods and emotions. Streaming audio offers insights into why listeners have picked the tracks they’ve chosen, too; the 1.6 million followers of Spotify’s Dance Workout playlist are likely feeling very different to the 380,000 who are listening to Breakup Songs. Where social media enables people to present their public face to the world, music creates a more personal, intimate bond with listeners. “There is a really strong connection between music and experiences,” says cognitive neuroscientist Amy Belfi. “Music can take us back into a specific moment and cause us to feel all the emotions we were feeling then.”

The good news for brands is that many streaming audio listeners are expecting to hear advertising alongside their music and spoken word content. While many services offer a paid, ad-free tier for subscribers, ad-supported free options are also available. An estimated 15 per cent of the internet-using population is currently streaming music weekly using free services – going up to 20 per cent in mature streaming markets like Sweden and the US. It’s not surprising, then, that the music streaming ad revenue opportunity is worth $1.5 billion today – and it’s expected to reach at least $7 billion by 2030. The market for contextually-relevant, emotive and intimate advertising on audio is here – and it’s growing.

Three ways brands can use the power of audio to reach consumers

Build intimate, one-to-one connections with consumers

Audio has 100 per cent share of voice, and audiences are primed to listen – so think about how you can use native content and dynamic creative to reach them.

Target moods and activities

Correlating data such as time of day, location and playlist titles, it’s possible to gauge listeners’ moods, whether they’re working out, concentrating or getting ready to go out. Use this to direct targeted advertising that builds emotional connections.

Consider how people are listening

Listening in the car, on mobile devices and on smart speakers are very different activities and demand different types of messaging. Think about whether you’re addressing people directly, through their headphones, or making up part of the “background noise” as they drive, cook dinner or relax.

Source:, 17 Feb 2017

Why mobile video is massive and other lessons from Mobile World Congress 2017

Forget 5G, connected cars, virtual reality and waterproof phones; the most important trend at Mobile World Congress was mobile video.

How do we know? Look at the keynote speakers: the top dogs from Turner, Vice, Netflix and Discovery were all in town.

On other stages numerous TV networks, media and social media companies, as well as the biggest brands, e.g. Shell, Red Bull and Lufthansa, were talking up mobile video.

Why are these media bosses doing keynotes in Barcelona? Partly they are looking for new distribution networks for their own video content, such as Netflix. But mostly they are wooing brands to the lucrative branded/sponsored video market.

If video is the new mobile (Facebook CEO Zuckerberg told shareholders in February 2017 that the company was going “video-first” because “video is a megatrend on the same order as mobile”), then mobile video is the giant honeypot.

And publishers, broadcasters, social media, content creators and creative/digital agencies are swarming all over it.

…The highlight of Shell’s multi-platform #makethefuture campaign is a music video entitled ‘Best Day of My Life’ that showcases six artists and six alternative energy ideas from young innovators, which has racked up 48 million views on YouTube in five months.

If branded content can achieve stats like that, it’s no wonder brands are falling in love with video.

Click here for full article

Source:, 15 Mar 2017

The millennials are coming

In 2016, millennials purchased 4.1 million vehicles in the United States, accounting for 29 percent of the market. They now drive changes in automotive marketing and product features and are likely to influence future automotive developments more than any generation before them.

Autotrader found that millennial vehicle buyers do 61 percent of their research and shopping online and just 12 percent visiting dealerships. “Millennials feel the Internet is four times more helpful during the shopping process than TV or newspapers.”

And millennials like communicating through images more than older groups, Autotrader said.

Jaguar and Land Rover tried to capitalize on the millennial taste for photos and videos during last year’s multicity Art of Performance Tour and allowed participants to test drive cars. Using in-car video technology and special effects, videos were created for participants to post on social media.

Click here for the full report

Source:; 27 Feb 2017

How video storytelling and mobile have transformed Shell’s corporate marketing

Shell’s global corporate marketing has shifted entirely from one dominated by traditional media (i.e. TV and print advertising) and brand messages to one dominated by digital media and video-led storytelling.

And the stories it tells are no longer about Shell the company, they’re about the alternative energy start-ups it helps.

Malena Cutuli Group Head of Integrated Brand Communications & Capability at Shell talked to Andy Favell for ClickZ at Mobile World Congress 2017’s Modern Marketing Summit:

“Six years ago, when I joined the company, Shell’s global corporate marketing was 80% traditional communications and now we are doing 85% digital and content creation and 15% traditional. And that is for countries where digital is not easy to find, such as in Africa.”
The Shell corporate marketing team hasn’t run a TV ad for four years, with the exception of in China, where the last TV ad ran two years ago.

That doesn’t mean you won’t see a Shell ad on TV. TV advertising is still used by the retail marketing team (which is separate to Malena Cutuli’s brand communications group), to help sell Shell’s products – but you won’t see TV ads about Shell the company.

Click here for full report

Source:, 20 Mar 2017

Find Out How You Stack Up to New Industry Benchmarks for Mobile Page Speed

Consumers are more demanding than ever before. And marketers who are able to deliver fast, frictionless experiences will reap the benefits. Global Product Lead Daniel An set out to help marketers better understand how various industry sectors are performing when it comes to mobile page speed.

The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis. Yet 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem.

It’s no secret that shoppers expect a fast mobile experience. If there’s too much friction, they’ll abandon their cart and move on. Today, it’s critical that marketers design fast web experiences across all industry sectors. Consumers want to quickly pay bills on finance sites, get rapid results when they’re browsing vacation reviews, and view an article immediately when they click through.

Despite the fact that more than half of overall web traffic comes from mobile, our data shows that mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop. In short, speed equals revenue.

Click here for the full report

Source:, Feb 2017

Creativity in Constraint: Unlock New Forms of Storytelling With 6-Second YouTube Bumper Ads

As part of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, YouTube challenged agency creatives and filmmakers to tell a video story in just six seconds. The request proved an amazing catalyst for innovative storytelling. Tyranny of the blank page? You’ve just met your video match.

It probably took you around six seconds to read that intro paragraph. Think it’s possible to tell a compelling video story in that time?

“Challenge accepted,” said the agency creatives and filmmakers featured below. They responded not with long-form cutdowns or even six-second distillations of 15-second stories. Instead, they crafted films specifically to fit the :06 format—a format that YouTube recently began offering advertisers to help them capture attention in today’s mobile world.

Take a look at these remarkable pieces, and learn how their makers approached filming, editing, and weaving an impactful story in six seconds.

‘Think of your story like a joke’

“The biggest surprise was honestly the fact that six seconds really is enough time to get a big message across. When I was writing, it was hard to keep the narrative small enough when I was thinking in words, but once I divided the time into images, it felt like there really was enough time to say something bigger.

Think of your story like a joke. Distill it down to the punchline and then figure out how to build that with whatever tools you have at your disposal.” —Maud Deitch, Creative, Mother NY

“The High Diver” from Mother NY

‘One word, one image, one second is enough for someone to be drawn in’

“We originally thought the time constraint would be a hindrance to tell an emotional story. But we quickly learned that you don’t need to tell an entire story in the traditional sense to evoke emotion.

One word, one image, one second is enough for someone to be drawn in. The story we chose to tell, of a little girl blowing out her birthday candles, can spark a myriad of thoughts and emotions, leaving the viewer with a desire to watch more. That’s the beauty of storytelling.” —Mia Kuhn, Producer, TBWA/Chiat/Day

“Breath” from TBWA/Chiat/Day

‘The core of every good story is change’

“Restrictions are important to creativity. Hurdles give us direction on where to go and what to jump over.

The core of every good story is change—a square becomes a circle; a character learns about herself; a landscape shifts. Six seconds is a limited time frame to show that transformation, so I knew I had to pinpoint the exact moment that everything changes.” —Tony Xie, Associate Broadcast Producer, Droga5

“Modern Love” from Droga5

‘Our brains aren’t really constrained by time’

“I was surprised by the efficiency and power of images, and the elasticity of the brain. It’s only six seconds. 180 frames. But watching the film, our brains aren’t really constrained by time. The images feel much longer to me in my memory.

If anything, I was surprised to learn that a six-second film felt longer to me than many 30-second films I’ve made.” —Topher Cochrane, Senior Producer, Leo Burnett

“Tattoo” from Leo Burnett

‘Keep everything simple’

“The time limitation forces you to find creative ways to establish the who, what, and where very quickly. Keep everything simple: the idea, the narrative, the visuals. You can say a lot if every element is working together.” —Lawrence Chen, Director, BBDO; Daniel Adrain, Creative Director, BBDO

“Time Travel” from BBDO

‘Start with something relatable’

“Like with all storytelling, I wanted to start with something relatable. That’s always important, but here, especially so. There’s no time with six seconds, so when your audience can relate, they’ll project their own experience into the piece—filling in the blanks and giving you freedom to move more quickly through your narrative.” —Alexander Engel, Filmmaker

“Deliverance” from director Alexander Engel

‘Build curiosity’

“For this short format, I thought about ways to quickly seduce my viewer and build curiosity, but then leave them with the lasting message and metaphor that I was imparting. The work should be layered, but not overly laboured, so that it presents itself with ease.” —Lake Buckley, Filmmaker

“Loveletter” from director Lake Buckley

Plan for six seconds—and create something amazing

All that creativity, all those emotions, all those stories you just watched fit into 42 total seconds. The creatives and filmmakers here emphasized simplicity, strong visual elements, fundamentals of good storytelling, and leaving some things up to the viewers’ imagination. So start with an image, a punchline, a feeling—and create something amazing.

Source: www.thinkwithgoogle, Jan 2017

Amazon Raises Ad Stakes With Video Advertising

With little fanfare, Amazon Video Ads (AVA) rolled out this week to advertisers working with the Amazon Media Group (AMG).

The new out-stream video advertising product allows advertisers to run an autoplay feature in videos as shoppers browse on the Amazon platform across desktop, tablets and smartphones. The ads are muted by default. With a click, site visitors can choose to view the ads in full-screen mode and listen to them.

Amazon engineers developed the video ads to follow Media Rating Council (MRC) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standards, which means that at least 50% of the advertisement must remain in view for 2 consecutive seconds. The autoplay feature starts only when the ad is in view, and it automatically pauses when the ad goes out of view.

The company reports that based on early tests, the video ad and placement performs best in the first five seconds of play, with the optimal length of the video advertisement at 15 seconds or less. It’s all about driving down the cost of video views across the marketplace.

While Amazon Video Ads are not available today for placement outside of the marketplace, building out a network isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities. The company has been running Google Shopping Ads.

Amazon Video Ads are being offered in a variety of countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, and Spain.

The expansion of Amazon’s advertising platform and cloud services through Amazon Web Services (AWS) has helped founder Jeff Bezos and company catch the attention of executives at some of the largest and most successful advertising holding companies, agencies and brands. Making good business decisions has made his pockets a little deeper, enabling the billionaire to expand his empire. In fact, Forbes reports that Bezos added $20 billion to his net worth over 14 months through December 2016 — the largest gain of anyone in the world.

Source:, 10 Mar 2017

Dynamic emails lead to 18pc higher click rates on mobile: report

While standard email campaigns have become stale, kinetic email marketing optimized for mobile devices and with interactive elements can enhance click rates by almost 20 percent, according to a new report from Experian.

The report looked at the difference between static emails and more kinetic, interactive email marketing to gauge how much more effective the latter is than the former. The data found that kinetic emails performed significantly better than static in terms click rates and engagements from consumers.

“Kinetic email opens up a new approach to how we interact with our mobile inbox, and it is starting to show some real results,” said Yara Lutz, senior vice president of client success for Experian Cross-Channel Marketing. “It’s best to roll out simple techniques to start, in order to introduce the experience and continue to build upon it throughout your program.”

Kinetic email

In the modern age, even as consumers are becoming more and more reliant on mobile devices and remaining connected to their digital lives at all times, email marketing has slowly fallen by the wayside compared to social media advertising and native advertising.

Where once email marketing served as one of the best ways to connect with customers on a digital level, it now is often overlooked as a marketing opportunity in favour of other strategies.

Part of this has to do with the static nature of emails. Most emails come in plain text or HTML format, with occasional images and links.

But this is not the only way email marketing has to be. Many brands should be more aware of the possibilities of kinetic email, or email that is more dynamic and interactive.

Some brands have already taken advantage of this strategy, adding interactive elements that play best on mobile devices and mimic app-like behaviour.

Experian took a look at the data behind kinetic email to get a better handle on how much it affects customer engagement.

The data unsurprisingly showed that kinetic email had significantly better returns on engagement than static email.

Kinetic emails had an 18 percent higher click rate and a 10 percent higher open rate than standard email marketing messages.

Additionally, average revenue-per-email increased 8 cents from 6 cents in the previous quarter for brands that began using kinetic emails.

Dynamic and interactive

This strategy of offering kinetic emails with dynamic, interactive content is especially well suited to mobile devices.

While brands have long been able to format emails to look good on mobile, it is only now through kinetic email that they are beginning to take full advantage of what mobile can do for email marketing.

This is important given that 56 percent of total email opens in Q4 of 2016 were on mobile devices.

Some of the brands who have taken full advantage of the powers of kinetic email include Sephora, which used a dynamic email quiz, optimized for use on mobile devices, to recommend products to its customers.

Elsewhere, Vivino saw an increase in app opens thanks to an AI-based email campaign that automatically generated dynamic newsletters.


Vivino saw app opens rise after a kinetic email campaign

These campaigns show the data Experian mined in practice, exemplifying how dynamic and interactive emails optimized for the mobile device can have a positive impact on email marketing.

“Email has been going through an evolution for several years now, as mobile has become a dominant force within the space,” Ms. Lutz said. “We’ve already seen a shift in how marketers approach all types of campaigns and cater to the possibilities that mobile can provide.

“What started with designers optimizing campaigns to be responsive and updating content to be geared toward the mobile open, has advanced into new opportunities where users can interact with their emails mimicking an in-app experience. As devices become smarter, we can only expect the same with email as we tag along for the ride.”

Source:, 14 Mar 2017