The most interesting part of this disruptive market is that as consumers’ media consumption habits are evolving, brands are seeking better technology to target them with relevant content and occasions.
By Prashan Agarwal
Music streaming has become a part of the average millennial’s daily life, with users creating custom playlists for every possible occasion. The sheer number of people opting to stream music has seen the market explode to more than 150 million users in a span of three years.
The most interesting part of this disruptive market is that as consumers’ media consumption habits are evolving, brands are seeking better technology to target them with relevant content and occasions. Audio is one of the most effective mediums to do so, since an advertiser gets to reach consumers in a personalised environment in an uncluttered way.
Match the mood
Currently, only 10% of the Indian population is consuming music online. The number of digital music users is set to go up to 400 million over the next two years, creating unprecedented marketing potential on the back of customised branding solutions.
However, most companies haven’t truly leveraged the unique advertising opportunities created by Indian streaming platforms. Most stick to traditional methods like short commercials between songs or banner ads that already seem to be fizzling out in favour of sponsored playlists and newer forms of audio advertising. The consumer intelligence garnered by most streaming platforms should go beyond the bare-bones impersonal demographics as each playlist taps into specific emotional circumstances, offering brands the power to reach the right consumer with the right message at the precise hour.
A user may wake up to piano instrumentals by Yiruma or jazz by Kenny G, switch to EDM by Nucleya or Eminem’s hip hop while they hit the gym, hype themselves up with some Linkin Park or rap by Divine on the way to work, and relax to some soul music or ‘80s Bollywood classics after a tiring day. Each of these time frames offer marketers the opportunity to target them at increasingly specific levels.
In the wireless earbuds generation that we live in, most urban consumers are being bombarded with broad messages from a wide array of brands. The key here is that while our brains are designed to comprehend the multitude of messages in front of us in the form of digital ads, OOH and print jackets, we can only process one auditory message at a time.
This is exactly why an auditory message can command more attention, and cut through the clutter of daily life. Audio streaming platforms work for brands and complement their overall media strategy as they are able to provide the right reach in a highly engaged environment and serve ads contextually. Most importantly, they are an efficient media delivery vehicle with negligible wastage. The defining challenge now is for product teams of streaming players to come up with ways to reach audiences without interrupting their lives.
Hit the right note
Several researchers predict that by 2020, roughly half of all searches will be voice-activated — a nod to the growth potential of voice-connected speakers as channels for brands to provide value with info about the products and services consumers may be searching for.
Programmatic audio is a channel that enables advertisers to integrate digital audio as part of an omnichannel strategy; however, at the same time, brands need to understand that innovative ‘creatives’ for the streaming audiences need to be getting the share of creativity.
The list of engagement opportunities with streaming platforms is both vast and diverse, and most companies are aware of the need to balance keeping their users engaged while offering a strong proposition to prospective advertisers. This makes it a unique way to build a hyper-engaged loyal user base, with exciting opportunities for brands across sectors.
The author is CEO, Gaana