A pair of partnerships announced Thursday by ad buying platform AudioGO could help put podcasts and digital audio into the marketing plans of millions of small businesses. Entravision has joined the self-serve ad buying service launched by ad tech firm AdsWizz in May 2019. And realtor chain Berkshire Hathaway will be promoting AudioGo to tens of thousands of its agents and brokerages across the U.S.
AudioEngage, the digital audio ad network of Spanish-language broadcaster Entravision, joins Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and other audio publishers on the platform designed for small businesses and agencies looking for an easy way to buy digital audio ads.
By simplifying the buying process for advertisers with small budgets, AudioGo is targeting the roughly 28 million small businesses in the U.S. that typically rely on Google and Facebook ads to market their goods and services. “What we continuously hear from them is they would like to advertise on digital audio but their budgets are too small,” says Alexis van de Wyer, CEO of AdsWizz, the advertising technology company that Pandora purchased for $145 million in 2018.
That often because it’s not viable for audio publishers to have sales reps managing accounts with shoestring ad budgets. AudioGo’s fully automated interface keeps the process simple for that bakery or auto repair shop with a $500 ad budget that doesn’t have the time to deal with multiple publishers.
Ad targeting is limited to age, gender, location (down to the county level), music genre, language (English or Spanish) and time of day. Unlike services designed for major brands, there’s no targeting based on first- or third-party data.
AdsWizz says it has about half of the top ten audio publishers currently offering inventory through AudioGo, including both pureplay and broadcast streamers.
Advertisers can supply their own creative or submit a script and have an-house staffer create the spot for them.
The hope is that making digital audio ad buying simple and inexpensive will allows publishers to tap into the millions of small businesses “which collectively are very important but which individually are not manageable because they’re too small,” van de Wyer says. That could help audio steal share from the massive market currently cordoned off by Google and Facebook.
After less than a year of beta testing, van de Wyer says they have seen “a lot of momentum and demand… Audio can deliver a very personal and impactful message for all those SMBs.” AudioGo aims to sign tens of thousands of small advertisers by the end of 2020.
While it can reach spoken word listeners through a mix of podcasts and talk radio, the service doesn’t yet have the ability to target specific podcasts or podcast categories. It’s working on opening up the service to allow advertisers to buy specific shows and podcast categories. “We’re in discussions with several major podcast publishers and there is interest from both advertisers and publishers,” van de Wyer explains. “This is definitely coming.”
The partnership with Berkshire Hathaway could bring more realtor business to digital audio. The real estate chain will be promoting AudioGO to its 50,000 network agents and 1,400 brokerages across the U.S. “This unique platform enables all of our network brokers and agents to reach potential buyers and sellers in new moments during the day,” said Wendy Durand, VP, Global Marketing at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. The national franchise has created sample scripts which agents can edit and customize for their local market.