Will The New Audio Advertising Format of YouTube Help Brands Up Their Game?

Will The New Audio Advertising Format of YouTube Help Brands Up Their Game?

YouTube’s venture into audio advertising

Just like video, audio advertising is also becoming an in-thing in today’s marketing world. YouTube, the go-to platform for people to stream videos of anything under the sun, is now pushing into the domain. With this, the video giant is targeting people who use YouTube to listen to music while working out or doing other activities.

This is a move that put YouTube in direct competition with Spotify, the popular music-streaming platform that offers free ad services. The latter is currently working with renowned brands to drive engagement and advertising revenue at a time when the growth of premium subscribers is stunting.

With this venture, YouTube seeks to leverage its capacity as an audio-streaming platform by rolling out what it calls, “dynamic music lineups”. This can be either viewed by audiences as a music video or listened to as background music. These lineups feature some famous genres, such as Latin, hip-hop, K-pop, and Top 100s. There are music tracks that suit different moods of listeners or meet their interests, for example, fitness.

YouTube has already moved its testing from alpha to beta stage, inserting 15-second of audio ads into its music playlists. The tests of the new format showed a significant rise in awareness among the brands that took part. Shutterfly, for instance, saw a significant 14-percent ad recall lift and a 2-percent favorability boost among its audience using the new YouTube audio ads.

Media buyers that are on Google Ads, as well as Display & Video 360 platforms, can purchase audio ads on cost-per-thousand basis in programmatic auctions. Moreover, they can have the same targeting options as they have while running video campaigns on YouTube. As people are stuck indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are seeking more and more digital entertainment, YouTube’s audio ads captured this consumer behavior perfectly.

What does YouTube expect from its audio ad format?

YouTube estimates that its new advertising format will boost the advertising revenue of brands, thanks to its massive collection of streaming music. Currently, it has 70 million more official music tracks, live performances, remixes, music covers, and other entertainment content.

Google’s advertising revenue jumped 9.8 percent to $37.1 billion in the third quarter from a year before as some brand marketers restarted their digital ad spending to target and draw consumers who spent most of their time online during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ad growth of the Alphabet-owned company included a 32 percent gain to $5bn for YouTube, and with a 6.5-percent rise to $26.3bn in search advertising revenue.

YouTube’s emphasis on boosting advertising revenue from music content benefits its record label partners and artists. Subscription revenue for these artists is extremely important, and music companies are now starting to recognize the tremendous advertising opportunity. YouTube is confident about the scale of use, saying that more than 2 billion viewers watch at least one music video every month, and over 50 percent of those consume 10 minutes of music content daily.

There is no doubt in the fact that video is still the biggest category for the video-streaming giant. About 85 percent of music consumption on YouTube is with video playing on people’s device. However, the remaining 15 percent presents a good opportunity for brand marketers to explore audio ads. The visual component of YouTube’s audio ads is usually a still image or a simple animation—something that resembles YouTube in-stream video ads, but they include a clickable link to the company’s website.


Audio ads can enable YouTube to maintain growth momentum. Music artists and record labels can use the platform’s audio ads to make more money, which can ultimately offer revenue-sharing opportunities to content providers.

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