What is Digital Audio Advertising?

Now that you know what digital audio is, find out how advertising within digital audio works.

Advertising on Digital Audio

Digital audio advertising is inserting ads into digital audio content to reach listeners. Digital audio ads can be heard in audio content like music, podcasts, and digital radio. Because you can’t “see” your audio ad, below, let’s help you visualize how listeners experience digital audio ads while enjoying their favorite music and podcasts.

Audio ads in Music

The most fundamental form of digital audio advertising are audio ads. Now this name can be misleading—all advertising that runs on Spotify is audio, right? What Spotify means when they say audio ads are ads that run during music-listening sessions, as opposed to podcast-listening sessions (more on that below).

Audio ads typically run 30 seconds and play in between songs for a more seamless user experience. Spotify ads never interrupt songs, as they run between songs so they interrupt the music-listening experience.

Audio ads in Podcasts

Podcast ads are audio ads that run during podcasts. If you’re a podcast listener you’re likely already familiar with this format. They offer two different types of podcast ads: Host Read Ads, and Voice Talent Ads. Host Read Ads are ads created and read by the show’s host— they usually run during a short break in the main content. Voice Talent Ads are pre-recorded by an actor or producer, created just for the podcast environment. 

Both types of podcast ads are great ways to drive awareness with a hyper-engaged audience.

Because podcast ads tend to feel like a natural extension of the show’s content, they can run throughout a podcast episode without being disruptive.

Podcast ads are typically placed at the beginning (preroll), middle (midroll), and/or end (postroll) of an episode. Preroll and postroll ads are often about 15 seconds, while midroll ads can stretch to 60 seconds.

Digital audio advertising vs. radio advertising

For many businesses, radio ads might be the most familiar type of audio advertising. But when it comes to promoting your business, digital audio gives you a level of precision around ad targeting and measurement unmatched by radio. And in 2021, it’s expected that digital audio will overtake broadcast radio as the dominant form of audio advertising.

Because digital audio is such a huge part of the day for so many people, it’s crucial to make this medium part of your marketing plan. 

70% of the total U.S. population already listens to digital audio — and this number is expected to keep growing exponentially.
The average American over the age of 12 listens to more than 16 hours of digital audio per week.

Top Benefits of Digital Audio Advertising

Digital audio advertising has a multitude of benefits. Here are three to keep top of mind when exploring ways to advertise your business.

Desirable Audience

Digital audio consumers tend to be younger, more diverse and more tech-savvy than radio listeners. And, because US adults spend an average of 8 hours with digital media per day, it’s more likely they’re logged in and hearing a message from an advertiser like you.

High Engagement

In the US, the average adult spends more daily time listening to digital audio on their mobile device than watching video or browsing social networks. That translates to 1 hour and 13 minutes per day listening to digital audio vs. 53 minutes on social networks and 52 minutes with video. The upshot? More chance for your business to be heard.

Contextual Moments

Getting context right — landing the right message, in the right setting, at the right time — is the holy grail for businesses. Context is a key differentiator for digital audio because it lets you reach your audience in ways other advertising platforms cannot, like when a jogger hears about a new energy bar while listening to a popular running playlist.

Digital Audio Advertising in Marketing Funnel

Now that you’ve learned the top benefits of using digital audio advertising, let’s turn it up a notch and check out how these benefits help your business. As more people seek out free music and podcasts, ad-supported streaming services like Spotify are positioned to lead the audio space.

Let’s explore how businesses have used digital audio advertising to achieve their marketing and business goals. Below is a marketing funnel, a traditional way to visualize the customer journey, with digital audio ad examples meeting listeners at different stages on their journey.


GAIA Design used Ad Studio’s real-time context (playlist) targeting to match their message to listeners’ moods and connect in the right moments.

By sharing their ad with relevant business-minded listeners, Google drove a 17% lift in awareness for the Think with Google Podcast.

Samaritans used audio to raise awareness about their core mission as a non-profit and highlighted the impact of listening to those in need.


MIDE used Spotify’s sound-on video ads, inserted when the app is in view, to connect with families during the pandemic and drive traffic to their virtual museum experience.

With a quick, simple introduction by the host, the Think with Google Podcast host boosted product recall by 16%.


Beyond building awareness for their new delivery service, Cabify — a European ride-sharing app — wanted to convert listeners to their app. The results? Cabify saw an impressive 20% lift in app openings among the 643k impressions achieved.

© In Collaboration with Spotify and Intellum

Jaidip Subedi

One response

  1. […] Audio advertising is one of the last forms of advertising that can’t be blocked, unlike when you browse the web. The listener has to make a choice between the content they want to hear and the ads that are relevant to them (location, demographics, time of day, history). […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *