Ad tech is finally waking up to the potential of audio. After text, display, and video, advertising on audio platforms seemed like the next logical step, but it’s only with the recent spike in the usage and the widespread adoption of streaming services and podcasts that the big players are taking notice.

On May 31, AppNexus announced a global programmatic partnership with SoundCloud to help the streaming provider monetize its vast inventory of audio content. Advertisers can now access SoundCloud’s audio and video inventory via the AppNexus Marketplace in the form of 15 or 30 second pre-roll or in-feed spots, either through open RTB or direct deals.

AppNexus will allow buyers to target users by age, gender, genre, geography, and device type. The solution is being presented as a means to reach a highly engaged millennial and Gen Z audience that’s on the go since most users access SoundCloud on the mobile.

AppNexus is thrilled to partner with SoundCloud as it continues to evolve its programmatic business. Audio and video formats present a compelling opportunity for advertisers, who will now be able to reach SoundCloud’s community of young influencers and engage them with targeted advertisements through the AppNexus Marketplace.

— Michael Rubenstein, President, AppNexus

This is not the first time AppNexus is offering access to audio inventory though, back in 2016 when Spotify first started selling, both AppNexus and The Trade Desk inked business agreements with the streaming service to help sell its inventory in the form of ad spots within music playlists. On its 2018 Q1 earnings call, Spotify announced that its programmatic business grew 94% YoY.

Those kind of numbers can make anyone sit up and pay attention. So, Google is playing catch up by integrating audio inventory from multiple services into DoubleClick, including Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, and TuneIn. In addition to offering standard targeting options, DoubleClick will use the IAB’s VAST 4.0 standard for ad delivery, meaning that buyers will get access to insights and reporting about the performance of audio ads just as they do with video.

It’s still early days for audio ads in general. But the demand is definitely there. Now, it’s really just a question of showing them the breadth of inventory available.

— Payam Shodjai, director of product management at DoubleClick

These are still nascent times for programmatic audio, but given the interest that ad tech giants are showing for the segment, it’s on its way to becoming a channel of ad delivery that may one day equal, perhaps even beat display and video. The inventory already exists, it’s just a matter of buyers opening up to the idea.


Shubham is a digital marketer with rich experience working in the advertisement technology industry. He has vast experience in the programmatic industry, driving business strategy and scaling functions including but not limited to growth and marketing, Operations, process optimization, and Sales.

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