google audio ads youtube

Google Launches YouTube Audio Ads (Spotify Competitor?)

Sam Carr

Sam Carr

November 18th, 2020

Sam Carr is a content marketer at PPC Protect with 10 years of digital marketing experience. With a keen interest in ad fraud, Sam shares all his insights on the PPC Protect blog.

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If you thought Google already had all the ad types you could ever need, then think again!

Announced on 17th November 2020, Google has just released its latest ad type into beta. Known as Google audio ads, these ads are unlike anything Google has released before.

In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about these new ad types and what they mean for online marketers.

So, just like everyone is wondering right now, what exactly is this new ad type and what does it look (or sound) like?

What Are Google Audio Ads?

google audio ads

Also referred to as YouTube audio ads, this new ad format can be found on Google’s already huge YouTube advertising network.

But unlike other ads already available on YouTube, these new audio ads revolve entirely around the audio aspect. This means they have very limited and simple visual creatives. In Google’s announcement article, they described the creatives as being “a still image or simple animation”.

This is a far cry from the other types of ads currently available on YouTube, such as their popular video ads.

This means the audio aspect will be the leading role in the ad, which is exactly what Google wants. By introducing this new ad type, Google is filling a gap in its ad type lineup.

Did you know? YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users and that number is only growing year on year.

Discover more YouTube statistics here.

YouTube Audio Ads Specifications

Having looked through the audio ads specifications, there are a few interesting things that pop out.

All audio ads must be a maximum of 30 seconds long and be uploaded to YouTube as a normal video. The resolution of the video can be anything from 240p to 2160p with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The maximum filesize should be less than 128GB, and the creative should feature a static or light animation.

By now you’re probably wondering what these type of ads look like. Here’s an example of an audio ad with an animated creative:

And here’s the same audio ad with a static image:

What Is The Need For YouTube Audio Ads?

youtube audio ads needs

Let’s face it, Google is always looking at new ways to monetize their networks and audiences so they can make more money from advertisers. These new audio ads are just a new way for Google and advertisers to tap into a completely new market on YouTube.

According to Google’s internal research, more than 50% of logged-in viewers consume more than 10 minutes of music content every single day.

With streaming services seeing massive growth in recent years from the likes of Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and many more, YouTube has also seen a significant increase. Many users are now listening to music tracks and even full albums on YouTube. Combine this with the growth in other audio related content such as audiobooks, ASMR, and relaxing studying music, suddenly these ads start to make a lot of sense.

When users listen to these types of videos, they often won’t keep the YouTube window open as there is no accompanying visual aspect that goes with them. Many audiobooks and albums found on YouTube have static images that provide no additional information or entertainment. This lets users play the audio in the background while they study, relax, or sleep.

The problem is, if the user is not actively watching the video or has the window minimized, then traditional video ads aren’t going to be effective. Instead, Google needs a new type of ad that focuses specifically on the audio aspect, which is precisely what these new ads do.

Just like ads that have been played on the radio for decades, these audio ads don’t rely on visual creatives that the user must watch. They are short, engaging, and get the message across without the need for any visuals.

Considering how many brands and businesses still use radio ads today, Google clearly wants to cater to all advertising mediums.

Initial Audio Ads Testing Results

During Google’s initial alpha testing of the ads, they found that more than 75% of audio ad campaigns on YouTube drove a significant lift in brand awareness.

One of their early alpha testers Shutterfly, an image licensing and photography company used audio ads to influence listeners into purchasing items from their website. Here’s a full example of one of the ads they used and an idea of what YouTube audio ads could sound like.

According to campaign results from Google, Shutterfly saw a 14% increase in ad recall and a 2% increase in favorability among their target audience.

There was no comment on what kind of ROI they got, but it will be interesting to see how these new ads stack up to other ad types currently on YouTube.

One other thing to note is that Google does mention audio ads are often cheaper to produce than video ads. This could make it a perfect ad type for businesses with low budgets or just starting out with YouTube advertising.

New Competition On The Block?

This type of ad format is by no means anything brand new or innovative. Like we mentioned before, radio stations have been running similar types of ads for decades. The big news here is they are now available on the biggest video and online marketing platform in the world.

The launch of these ads could be a close competitor to the likes of Spotify which have been running audio ads for several years already. Placed between songs and playlists, Google’s ads are likely to also appear between playlists and long audio videos.

In addition to releasing the new ad format, Google also announced it would be launching dynamic music lineups. These group hubs categorize certain audio content into one channel that attracts users while giving advertisers a place to scale their ad campaigns. At the moment, Google currently lists the following lineups:

  • Pop
  • Rock
  • Country
  • EDM
  • Rap & Hip-hop
  • Made for Audio Music
  • Podcasts

Now these YouTube audio ads are in beta, it won’t be long before you start seeing and hearing them on YouTube. With Google continuing to grow its paid search network, expect even more new ad types to be released in the near future.

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