The future is here: Semetis launches first Audio DCO ads in BE | Articles

A little more than 6 months ago my colleague Jeroen introduced you to the concept of programmatic audio in his article ‘Programmatic audio - Changing the way of buying audio ads online’. Shortly after, my colleague Glenn explained you how to be more data-driven in your creative approach for display, video & audio in the article ‘On the front line of data-driven advertising’. As from 2019 we can finally glue both pieces together.

While in the past programmatic audio was theoretically feasible, the possibilities were rather limited and a proper execution has not yet been seen on the Belgian market. In the last months we are clearly seeing the shift from traditional-based audio reservation towards programmatic audio. The advantages are twofold and start with more efficiencies on the buying side such as increased flexibility in buying, but have moved on to efficiencies on the creative side: using programmatic data to build personal ads.

Traditional-based audio reservation towards programmatic audio

Let’s outline the efficiency advantages on the buying side. Why would anyone pick programmatic audio buying over traditional-based reservation buying? There are 4 key benefits:

  • No minimum investment needed: While IO deals mostly start from a minimum investment (often as from €5.000), we have no budget commitment when we buy our audio in programmatic. So this gives room for companies with a test and learn mentality to jump into the world of digital audio buying while only spending a couple of hundred euros.
  • Start/stop your campaigns on the go: Related to the previous benefit. As you have no commitment on investment or volume you are free to pause your campaign at any time. If you have multiple deals with different audio inventory you can pause the ones that are showing the least performances for your business.

  • Monitor and optimize in real-time towards your KPI’s in your platform: With reservation deals you have to proactively ask for a report to the responsible saleshouse. This often goes hand-in-hand with a delay and might not be fully transparent. In programmatic you own your KPI’s inside the dashboard of your DSP, which saves both time but also guarantees a better follow-up.

  • Currently the CPM’s are cheaper than for IO deals: As reservation deals guarantee you a certain amount of impressions, which is considered more premium and more expensive. In programmatic we are using real-time bidding, meaning that we bid in auctions with other advertisers and we are free to choose the CPM we want to pay. Of course the floor CPM can still vary based on competition but we have found out that currently our CPM’s can be up to 3-4 times cheaper than with traditional reservation buying.

Dynamic Audio personalization

Secondly we also see the advantages on the creative side evolving. As from March 2019 a new trend is emerging in the digital industry: Dynamic Creative Optimization for Audio. This means that from now on our total reachable audience does not have to hear the same audio ad but will hear a personalized audio experience based on a couple of predefined variables.

Technology players such as A Million Ads are building platforms that allow advertisers to scale personalised audio advertising into thousands of individual audio experiences all without exploding your studio recording budgets. How? By matching data signals with very short audio recordings and map these into a single, let’s say 30 second ad. This means that on a Monday morning the ad would literally say “It’s another Monday morning” simply because it’s able to match that particular recording with the time & day data signal.

Don’t believe this works? Semetis launched a first test for Scarlet (part of Proximus group). The process was cutting edge and had never before been executed on the BE market. Thanks to a very good collaboration with all parties we went from a conceptual idea to implementation in less than 6 weeks. In a next case study we will guide you through the different steps we undertook in order to lay out this unbeaten track, to make the whole concept more tangible.

Are we there yet?

Yes we are. But we need to keep in mind that this is only the start. We already defined some clear next steps and challenges we want to tackle in the near future:

  1. Increase our reach by addressing multiple channels: At the moment Spotify is the dominant player for programmatic audio advertising in Belgium. But note that the industry is changing quickly and a lot of important radio players are changing more of their offer to digital. At the moment the IP Network with strong channels such Bel RTL, Radio Contact, Nostalgie & Adwave became programmatically available. It will be a matter of time before the first Audio DCO case can be launched on these inventories as well.

  2. Get more personal: Find the right variables to be as personal as needed towards your audience. Using the location can already have a big impact as we are not used to these type of niche audio ads on the current radio channels. Personalization is about standing out.

  3. Measurement: Showing that personal audio is the next hype always needs proof. Currently it’s hard to measure audio effectiveness as audio ads are mainly unskippable. So there is no such metric as Listen-through rate. It will be important in the months to come to team up with the right partners to assist us in proper measurement of audio campaigns. Ideally we work with metrics such as audio ad recall.

Needles to say that we are more than eager for the future. We hope this is an eye-opener that shows that old-fashioned reservation deals are no longer the recommended way to continue. It could be the kick-off that was needed to change the way media investment is divided between ATL Audio and Digital. Of course we are far from there yet, but we like to be ambitious.


publication author frederic palella
Frédéric Palella

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