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The Future of Audio: an agency view

24 Oct 2019  |  Mesha Williams 
The Future of Audio: an agency view

The Future of Audio conference gave us a forum to learn about the new possibilities and challenges facing the market, writes MediaCom's Mesha Williams

There’s no denying that the power of audio lies in its ability to be pervasive. Audio is everywhere, and over the past couple of years we have witnessed an audio renaissance which has seen our ecosystem change. For a long time, the effectiveness of radio has dominated the agenda, but not all audio is radio.

Digital audio provides an entirely new level of contextual relevance. Current trends indicate that digital audio consumption will reach 42% by 2030 (Rajar and Bauer forecast). For clarification, digital audio in this instance is audio streamed over the internet to a connect device.

There is no denying that streaming has become mainstream, with c.11hrs being consumed on average per listener, and the latest figures show that Podcasts now reach 9.4m users weekly. Smart speakers ownership continues to increase with 28% of adults now claim to own a voice-activated speaker which has helped to boost listening hours online and via apps by nearly 30% year on year.

The increase of smart speakers has been driven by the continue to increase due to the barrier to using the technology is low. It is these digital moments which pave the way to more meaningful opportunities for advertisers however we still face a lot of challenges.

Voice activated devices have enabled us to verbally express ourselves faster and it is becoming a trusted source of information. Although we are learning how to capitalise on the rise of voice speakers, the data insights we receive to be limited due Amazon and Google reluctance to share.

As the voice revolution continues into 2020, we should not let this limit us from winning in this space as pointed out by Kathryn Saxon and Sarah Salter at The Future of Audio event. Voice features throughout the purchase journey and consequently our clients must find their own brand voice within this space and understand the best way to communicate with our audience in order to succeed.

As our ecosystem develops, measurement must be at the heart of future developments. Earlier I mentioned that although radio is audio, not all audio is radio. It’s important for us to remember this as we continue to evolve.

Creating a measurement tool like Barb’s Dovetail would enable us to transform the way we plan and buy our audio campaigns. We would able to analyse our delivered reach across audio and understand when, where and how our audiences have consumed radio and digital audio.

I have previously spoken about how important it is for events such as The Future of Audio to exist and I continue to believe so. As the evolution of connectivity moves away from smartphones, it offers new opportunities for audio, but with new opportunities come new challenges.

The Future of Audio gave us a forum to learn from those developing technology which would position audio, as a contender, as well as the power of voice.

It’s an exciting time for audio and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Mesha Williams is AV Associate Director at MediaCom

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.

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PaulineDennis-Chambers, Health care supoort worker, NHS on 25 Oct 2019
“Congrats Mesha, i am happy i have you guys to explain future technology to me because sometimes it is complicated.
Good job .”


01 Jul 2020 

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