Riding the Audio Wave

Feb 15, 2019 4 Min Read

I have been using Gaana via web and app since September 2015 and it was only recently – with the launch of Amazon music – that I moved out of Gaana.

What intrigued me most though, was my personal statistics that Gaana once showed me; I was consuming over two hours of music on their platform on average. It was surprising because I never knew I was using so much of their audio service. And mind you, I was using the free version, which means it had, or could have had, ads.

This made me think about the various contexts within which I used to play gaana.com

  1. Until I started swimming lessons last week, I used to play audio for around 60 min for my workout (running as well as weight training). I used to do this for five to six days a week. This totalled to 300-360 minutes each week, with no deficit of attention other than music and calorie burn (hopefully).
  2. I play audio in the office, while working on presentations, while writing this very entry, on most days. This is not just for 20 or 30 mins, but for over three to four hours at a stretch.
  3. I play audio when I am cooking on a lazy Sunday, again for over two hours.
  4. I play audio while driving, and I drive for a long time in Bangalore – you know, the Bangalore traffic.
  5. I play audio when there is house parties at home, which is typically weekends.
  6. I play audio when I decide to do nothing but read a book from my library.

Of late, I have also been asking Google Assistant to set up my reminders, which is more than once a day. I ask Google Assistant to make my calls every once in a while and have also started sending voice messages via WhatsApp.

An average Joe like me who believes that I do not have much time at hand, spends over few hours each day with audio as a medium, and that’s the opportunity that marketers have missed out on to reach to me. Did I also tell you that I cook and have house parties?

Potential Marketing Gold Mine

All those are marketing opportunities that were missed. All this while only one brand has engaged with me through this medium and that’s Good Day, which has a jingle during the morning runs. Oh, Under Armor bought Endomondo some time back and I missed that out.

Video may be the future of active engagement amongst consumers, but audio will never go out of scope. Audio has an advantage that no other medium has today – it lets you multitask. 

A recent report estimated that the next set of growth in India is going to come from audio. Only 76% of Indians are literate and with the Internet, there is always an input which today is via alphabets. There are a billion mobile users in India who will embrace digital platforms soon, but how will they do the input on their smart phones?

The usage of audio in the marketing mix should only have one aim and that is to create a better user experience. For that to happen, marketers should start understanding the consumers and their actions better – the context in which they use audio to engage. And then, provide a solution here. The enhancement on user experience can range from information broadcast, response or engagement, learn a new skill, purchase, etc.

What’s available out there?

Some use cases in the current ecosystem of music applications and owned apps, which an average Joe like me can think of, with minimum investment include: 

  1. Runners can be targeted with regular updates every day. Any music app will have the data on the kind of playlists that are being played. Do not go for scale here. Go for frequency on small scale.
  2. Effectively use music apps and CRBT in the morning to send reminders that are contextual.
  3. Effectively use music apps and CRBT in the afternoon; lunch period for reminders and announcements.
  4. Create a segment with music apps for people to learn about new places, culture.
  5. Commuters spend a couple of hours on travel every day. Create customised location-based communication for them.
  6. Engage with student community with arts & crafts segment, DIY segments using podcasts.
  7. Create self improvement or DIY segments for Students & Professionals, podcasting.
  8. Engage with home-makers with DIY segments.
  9. Create podcasts to engage with children and parents during exam season, admission season, etc.
  10. Convert the live sports channel to an audio segment if possible; a radio equivalent. Remember the Baby Boomers walking around with radios to be updated about the score?
  11. Language translators for travellers and foreigners.

Marketers, can arrive at much more use cases to engage with consumers across their audio consumption journey. Whatever you do, do not invest in banners for music apps, it doesn’t really make sense. Consumers are multi-tasking and marketers are paying for zero eyeballs, just impressions. 

Audio as a medium is passive in nature, and this means marketers should look at frequency of reaching and engaging over carpet bombing. The more you are able to engage with the consumer, the easier it would be to change their perception.

To conclude, I would say that there is a huge potential for brands to leap onto the audio platform and have the first-movers advantage. Pretty soon, we can see this space exploding beyond imagination and (if you hadn’t stepped in earlier), it would be too little too late by then. 

Rahul Vengalil is the founder and CEO of What Clicks, a digital marketing audit and advisory firm. 

Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.

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This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com with the consent of the guest author. 

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