The rise of audio ads: 85% of UK advertisers to boost investment

Jul 3, 2019 | Ads, Content marketing

Investment across digital audio is set to grow significantly in the next 12 months and beyond, according to new research.

DAX, the digital audio exchange created by Global, has released findings which reveal that investment across digital audio is set to grow significantly in the next 12 months and beyond.

DAX’s annual report, The Rise of Digital Audio Advertising, explores advertisers’ and media agencies’ views on digital audio in 2019 as well as their expectation for the future. Research firm MTM surveyed and interviewed 215 senior and mid-level executives at leading media agencies and UK brand owners.

The report revealed that interest among advertisers in digital audio is stronger than ever. Seventy-eight per cent of UK advertisers say that they will increase spend across music and digital radio, while seventy-five per cent said that they will increase investment in podcasts, in the next 12 months alone.

The report revealed growing confidence in digital audio as a powerful advertising tool. Eighty-six per cent of advertising agency executives and 66% of brands said that they now see digital audio as a key part of media strategies. With listening figures growing consistently across all formats, and proliferation of quality audio publishers and platforms available, advertisers also reported increasing numbers of stand-alone digital audio campaigns.

Ollie Deane, Director of Commercial Digital at Global, said: “The findings in this year’s report show an extremely positive outlook for digital audio advertising, with 85% of advertisers planning to invest further in digital audio over the next twelve months. The ability to target a listener at the right time, in the right place and in the right context, has always been and continues to be our focus at DAX. Now, the value proposition and opportunities in digital audio are clearer, so too is the prominence of digital audio in advertisers’ media strategies. As new technologies continue to emerge and we see campaigns tailored to listeners in connected cars, cross platform attribution and improved measurement tools will be essential for driving the industry forward.”

Participants surveyed identified four factors driving investment in digital audio: increased podcast listening, smart speakers and connected cars, the rise of programmatic trading and cross-platform targeting opportunities.


New technologies such as smart speakers and connected cars are seen by advertising and brand experts as key drivers for reaching audiences at scale. Seventy-six per cent of advertising executives believe that growth in smart speakers allows advertisers to effectively target audiences in the home. In addition, the rollout of 5G connectivity is expected to create an important new vertical for advertisers to target audiences in connected cars.


Whilst advertisers reported the exponential growth of podcasts, they acknowledged podcasts are not a substitute for radio. Podcasts offer advertisers contextual opportunities across listeners’ interests and a range of ad formats from spot ads to authentic ads read by the podcast host. Seventy-five per cent of advertisers plan to increase spend across podcasts in the next 12 months. Advertisers claimed that Podcasts have found an audience in commuters, and 85% claimed that digital audio is effective for reaching consumers on the go.


Programmatic audio and the opportunity to deliver targeted campaigns in a brand safe environment is viewed by the industry as critical to further grow investment in the medium. Seventy-three per cent of advertisers credited digital audio as a great way for reaching new audiences of all ages, notably younger listeners, which other media struggle to reach.


More than half of respondents (53%) rated digital audio as the medium developing the most innovative opportunities for advertisers, above all other media, including social media, digital video, outdoor, TV, radio and print. Notably, advertisers said that the ability to combine digital audio with out-of-home advertising to deliver location-based targeted campaigns, will unlock more value from digital audio advertising in the future.

To read the full The Rise of the Digital Audio Advertising report complete with quotes from executives at leading media agencies and leading UK brand owners visit

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