Digital Radio Gets Real-Time With Xaxis

Trading desk partners with Triton Digital

While no medium is totally efficient, digital radio advertising can be particularly wasteful. For example, someone in New York may listen to a Los Angeles sports radio station’s online stream to keep up on the Southern California sports scene, but that person isn’t going to care about some local LA car dealership’s upcoming sale or a new bar that the radio host claims is the best spot in SoCal to watch the Lakers play.

That sort of problem is easily solved in the word of display advertising, where contextual targeting has in many cases given way to real-time bidding, or the ability to buy ads on the fly that are targeted to a specific type of user. Now RTB is coming to digital radio courtesy of WPP-owned agency trading desk Xaxis.

Through a partnership with Triton Digital—which provides digital services and applications to radio companies, handling more than 2 billion online and mobile audio impressions per month—Xaxis Radio advertisers will be able to target the New Yorker listening to LA sports radio online with ads for the best Big Apple bar to catch a Lakers game. Triton Digital has access to digital audio inventory from companies like Cox Communications, NPR, and Slacker Radio, though not all publishers are yet on board for RTB advertising.

“There’s tremendous benefit to broadcasters in being able to target advertising through RTB that was previously mistargeted,” said Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser. “They realize that big national advertisers are going to be attracted to extending their audience buys.”

Last week Triton Digital had announced a deal with data platform eXelate to that will see data around consumers’ purchase intent, household demos and behavior blended into Triton’s ad platform for ad targeting. Xaxis will be able to use that data in addition to the data housed in its own data management platform (DMP). Because Xaxis Radio plugs into Xaxis’s DMP, advertisers will able to connect their digital audio buys with their online, social, mobile and video campaigns to measure performance across channels.

“We can see how [the digital audio campaign] impacts the rest of the media plan. [For example] we can say that if one user hears two radio ads, they are now X percent more likely to recall the brand, instead of inferring that the dots are connected,” said Mike Finnegan, product manager for Xaxis Radio.

While RTB is generally considered the domain of direct-response advertisers, Lesser said that digital radio advertising is more upper-funnel (more like online video ads) but with the targeting precision of online display ads. Xaxis began testing Xaxis Radio two weeks ago with two clients, each of whom was looking to target 18-to-24 year-olds (Lesser said that digital audio skews toward younger users). One advertiser was looking to promote a product launch to raise awareness via branded display and radio by calculating online GRPs. The other ran an awareness play as well but also wanted to be able to attribute the campaign to see if they’re actually hitting the right audiences.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this story listed Pandora among the companies that Triton Digital works with. That is not accurate. In fact, Pandora does not sell inventory in this manner.