Can you hear that? It's the sound of confidence despite the times.

In the Q4 2022 edition of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's (IPA) Bellwether Report, 41.8% of the leading marketers surveyed expected their industry's prospects to worsen in 2023  - but 39.5% expected their marketing spend to be higher, versus 15.3% who expect a reduction.

In other words, advertisers understand that investing in visibility during a possible recession is a smart move.

Overall media spend is planned to grow, with audio advertising turning a corner. Whereas, in the previous Bellwether, the number of brands planning to invest in audio channels netted out at -2%, this time audio spend is expected to go unchanged.

Whilst it is clear we are far from out of the woods when it comes to economic difficulties, it’s interesting to see that audio budgets have held up well. There are good reasons for that confidence.

Where it's at

The digital audio space is growing rapidly, and brands must capitalise on this.

In 2022, 27% of radio listening was through connected channels, according to Ofcom. At News Broadcasting, we are seeing similar figures.

So brands must now wise up to the fact that 2023 is the year to focus on digital audio advertising, while also prioritising awareness and brand safety.

Precision reach

Mobile phone and smart speaker are now the #3 and #4 ways to listen to live radio in the UK, according to Ofcom. The ability to use data in these channels opens up a world of targeting opportunities.

Brands can segment and target audiences based on demographic, behavioural characteristics and context. Location, weather and interests can inform the creative messaging served.

Direct or programmatic buying opportunities offer more control over impressions bought, opening up many of the benefits already enjoyed in the more established digital display market.

Engaging opportunity

Connected audio is a new creative canvas.

Dynamic creative, 3D audio and setups like sequential ads allow a brand to tell a story over time.

Digital audio also offers brands a unique chance to stand out from the world of social media scrolling and cluttered website display ad experiences. For example, 94% of podcast listening is done alone - your ad can own that one-to-one user attention, fully integrated into the content and conversation itself.

Listen to the future

Despite the uncertain economic outlook, the confidence shown by advertisers in increasing their marketing spend indicates the potential of the digital audio market.

I believe that digital audio advertising will continue to grow in the coming years and provide brands with a powerful platform to build their brand and reach their audience in a personal and impactful way.