Ad Tech, Digital Advertising

Google enters the ‘programmatic audio ads’ game

July 2, 2018

As more streaming music services lean into automated advertising, Google is getting into the game with programmatic audio ads.

The online advertising giant announced on Wednesday that it will begin offering programmatic audio ads through Spotify, SoundCloud, Tune In and Google Play Music. Starting this week, brands will be able to buy the ads through Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager.

The new audio advertising offering comes at a time of growing buyer demand, according to Google, with the company citing research claiming that over 1.2 billion people use music streaming services on a daily basis.

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Google’s entrance in the industry

Audio ads are now available via DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM) meaning advertisers can now purchase spots on Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, and TuneIn, with Pandora coming soon, via the platform.

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Google announced this week that they have added a full suite of audio inventory to DBM and advertisers can buy programmatic audio ad spots – in a variety of lengths, within Google Play Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, and TuneIn; with Pandora being added shortly.

Google’s entrance into the space comes at a time when music streaming services are building out their ad-tech platforms even further. On Thursday, SoundCloud announced its adding programmatic audio and video inventory via AppNexus’s marketplace. And earlier this week Pandora—which Google said will join DoubleClick’s audio ads. Through DBM, advertisers will be able to target audiences with audio ads by demo, context, language or geography. For now, audio buyers won’t get to overlay any proprietary data from within Google’s ecosystem.

Buyers using DBM for audio ads will be able to view and measure inventory alongside their display, video and other programmatic buys in the platform. Because DBM is leveraging the IAB’s VAST 4.0 standard for delivery, it will be able to glean insights for reporting and measurement that are similar in video, like when a user hits certain points in an audio file or presses mute.

Details and Implications:

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Audio inventory within programmatic is still in its infancy, but it’s growing rapidly. Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) are adapting to consumer’s shifting behavior. Spotify was an early adopter as they launched the capability in 2016; that same year a few other DSPs like The Trade Desk and AppNexus also launched the ability to buy audio via the auction.

DBM’s launch of programmatic audio is a part of Google’s larger music focus – they recently rolled out their new YouTube Music platform earlier this month to compete in the music streaming market.

Streaming services like Spotify, Google Play and iHeartRadio are quickly gaining traction due to their portability and content packages that are now available to consumers. “About a quarter of user time spent on mobile is spent listening to music and podcasts,” said Payam Shodjai, director of product management at DoubleClick (DBM). “Marketers want to reach their audiences wherever they are. We think audio is a part of that story.”


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