Podcasting and digital audio has grown at an astounding rate over the last several years. It is now a very large part of the media landscape. With the rise in adoption of digital audio comes a wave of new technologies to support this booming medium. This past year (2022) welcomed a plethora of groundbreaking audio innovation that has pushed digital audio and podcasts past their traditional boundaries and limitations. This review article is centered around measurement technologies, audio simulation and voice manipulation, as well as new ad formats for enhanced listener experiences in different contexts. Let’s take a look at some of the most ground breaking audio technologies we saw come to market and rise in popularity this past year.
One of the main focuses of 2022 has been deeper data transparency and more advanced measurement technology. Data collection and reporting has been a consistent topic of conversation in digital audio as the medium continues to mature and solidify its position in the mainstream. Although the audio and podcasting industries have seen major advances in previous years centered around listener data and deeper insights for content publishers and creators, this year’s focus of measurement technology was very heavily centered around the advertisers.
Measurement and analytics technology broke new grounds in audio data with deeper intelligence, tracking, and reporting capabilities on listener behavior for ad content. This has allowed advertisers to be able to receive more accurate and granular measurement and attribution data to track real-time campaign performance and listener actions driven by their ads.
Advertisers are now able to accurately measure ROI on their advertising spend as well as optimize campaign performance. By gaining more transparent and actionable insight into audio advertising performance, including verified audience reach, ad conversions, and detailed campaign metrics and lift reports, advertisers can now begin to treat their audio strategies with the same maturity as other established mediums. There’s no more guesswork in their audio campaigns. But rather verified real-time data to understand exactly how ad campaigns are performing and exactly how an audience is reacting.
New Ad Formats
The continued meteoric rise in ad dollars, as well as a continued boom in audio and podcast listenership, over the last few years has led to some major milestones in how advertising and publisher content is created and distributed to wider audiences. This year saw a major rise in adoption of new ad formats and capabilities. These break-throughs have given advertisers more creative freedom and control over how their audio campaigns can connect with their audiences, as well as giving the publishers more options in monetizing their content.
One of the biggest technology trends of the year for audio advertisers has been the rise in dynamic ad insertion. This has allowed publishers to vastly increase their monetization opportunities. It has also allowed advertisers to better target, reach, and optimize their ad campaigns and audiences. The continued innovation surrounding dynamic and programmatic audio advertising will continue to see major progress in the coming years. Advertisers are investing more time and money into scaling their audio strategies and campaigns across this maturing landscape.
Another area of innovation for ad formats is interactive capabilities for audio advertising. The new era of audio advertising will focus on the ease of conversions for audio and podcast listeners. This requires innovative technologies to allow for hands-free interactions with the audio, such as voice interactivity and head nod detection, as well as creative on-screen engagement tools for media players, native apps, and streaming destinations. The industry has seen a flood of new product releases in this area over the past two years. This has included head nod detection capabilities, accessibility tools, floating player capabilities for long form listening, as well as the first version of interactive calls-to-action, or CTAs, ever released for podcasting. Since then, the industry has seen an uptick of interest in using these technologies for increased interactivity, audience engagement, and optimized CTAs for audio and podcast listeners. We will continue to see more of these technologies over the next year that will further mature this medium and progressively break down industry barriers previously believed to be impeding limitations.
In addition to technologies coming out for powering the rise in audio and podcasting, we have also seen new technologies around the actual idea of audio itself. These technologies include capabilities such as audio adjustment and manipulation, voice simulation, and automated text-to-speech configurations. This has allowed for real-time audio manipulation that can be baked into any native application. Things like silence reduction and voice boost are now possible and valuable in automated optimization of audio prior to distribution.
Voice Cloning and Audio Deep Fakes
We have also seen a rise in voice simulation capabilities that can not only manipulate audio, but actually create and simulate a human’s voice with as little as two sentences of audio data. To take it a step further, the ability to automatically convert text to speech has seen a popular rise of interest amongst mainstream publications and digital content creators as well. This allows for a form of audio consumption of their textual content without the effort and overhead needed for manual audio recording. The audio can be configured to simulate a specific human’s voice or geographic accent to better connect with audience identities.
This area of voice simulation has become a hot topic of discussion this past year. This is due to the deep technologies necessary to achieve accurate representations of a human’s voice, but also in contrast, the privacy concerns that arise when doing so. The industry will continue to carry this conversation further as the landscape matures and reaches wider adoption of certain technologies and audio capabilities.
Explore Backtracks Today!
To say this last year of audio and podcasting technologies has been groundbreaking would be an understatement. At Backtracks, we have been hard at work this last year continuing to build, optimize, and release new products and platform capabilities that continue to modernize and shape the future of audio. We have seen instrumental growth with not only our technologies, but also our breadth of publishing partners, advertising partners, and brand partners who have continued to scale their usage of the Backtracks platform. As we scale, our partners continue to scale with us.
The Backtracks team is continuously striving to reach new heights and new technologies in the world of audio. We invite you to explore a teaser of what’s coming next in 2023: ”What’s Next for Audio in 2023”