Streaming Audio Amplifies Success for Retail Media Network Advertisers

It’s no secret that retail media is one of the largest and fastest-growing ad verticals in the U.S. According to the most recent eMarketer forecast, U.S. retail media ad spending will grow at a minimum of 21% every year through 2027. This will make retail media the fastest-growing ad spending channel in all media, and off-site media’s share of ad spending is a big part of this growth. Off-site media is expected to exceed $24 billion in 2027, up from $6.73 billion in 2023, with streaming audio well positioned to be a major factor in this astronomical growth as retailers look to leverage their data across more channels and engage shoppers with new formats.

As legacy identifiers erode and cookie deprecation continues, off-site media will take a bigger position within retail media to capitalize on valuable first-party retailer data. Retail media growth is incumbent upon new channels, such as audio, allowing advertisers to reach new audiences in new environments.

The role of audio in retail media

CTV and other emerging platforms have a lot of buzz among omnichannel marketers, but according to recent Dentsu and Lumen research, audio ads outperform visual ads, driving 50% more attention than the benchmark across video, TV, social and display.

Though shoppers spend 31% of their time with audio, only 9% of media budgets are allocated to it, presenting a runway for audio to grow as a new channel in commerce. For retailers, audio can unlock new revenue streams, especially among brand marketers where retail media networks (RMNs) hope to grow beyond commerce and shopper marketing investments. Walmart Connect, Kroger Precision Marketing and Dollar General Media Network are three retail media networks pioneering the diversification of their inventory into audio formats.

When a brand has a story to tell, it can be difficult with traditional search, display or on-site media. Audio, delivered via streaming radio and/or podcasts, offers a unique environment for them to deliver long-form and complex messaging. With a non-skippable 30-second audio spot, advertisers have ample time to educate shoppers and incentivize purchases with superior storytelling capabilities.

Why audio pairs well with retail media

Streaming audio providers like SiriusXM Media, representing streaming audio platforms like Pandora and SoundCloud, are leading the charge in partnering with RMNs as their audio supply provider. Advertisers benefit from the ability to leverage granular retailer audience segments, such as category buyers, lapsed buyers and custom audience segments with more advanced predictive models than ever before.

Retail media networks also provide closed-loop measurement for streaming audio and podcasts to seamlessly connect in-store and online retailer purchase data with audio campaigns ​and measure key metrics, including iROAS, aROAS, sales lift, new brand buyer analysis, household penetration uplift, unit uplift and much more.

Strategies for audio performance in commerce and retail media

Audio effectively produces emotional connections with listeners and creates memorable experiences that resonate with consumers. Shoppers spend nearly five hours with digital audio, allowing advertisers to reach their audience in moments contextually relevant to brand messaging. Imagine a household products brand that can reach shoppers who are listening while cleaning, inspiring them to make a purchase for spring cleaning. Picture a food brand that can reach shoppers while they’re cooking, inspiring them to purchase its products for their next meal. Or, a beauty brand that can reach shoppers listening as they do their personal care routine. And the list goes on.

Audio is a proven tactic in retail media for driving commerce, allowing brands to augment their RMN strategy in a number of ways:

  • Support brand and product launches: Enhance launch campaigns with audio ads to introduce consumers to a new brand or product.
  • Influence consumer buying at pivotal moments: Rather than focus on social influencer channels, embrace the power of audio to inspire shoppers when visual media is unavailable.
  • Move consumers down the funnel: Create audio campaigns with ads to generate awareness and encourage consideration and future purchases.
  • Scale messages across multiple brands and products: Use audio to support campaigns designed to spread brand awareness for multiple brands/products and increase engagement.
  • Align with season, holiday and tent-pole events: Align brand messages with music content curated for seasons, activities and moods.

Streaming audio is a long-proven tactic for brand-oriented marketers. With the added benefits of retail media partnership, audio is now primed to make its impact in commerce, helping advertisers reach new brand buyers and drive sales with more advanced targeting and measurement than ever before.