In this “audio-first” environment, campaigns this cycle will have another option for getting their message heard by voters.
Adsonica, a Massachusetts-based company making its first foray into politics, is offering a display ad product that contains an embedded audio file. In mockups seen by C&E, the viewer clicks on the display banner to hear a short clip from a candidate’s speech.
William Agush, an entrepreneur who founded the venture after working for years in commercial marketing through his company Shuttersong, said it uses a patented technology that embeds the sound over images.
“We optimized the product around the delivery of voice,” he said. “The ads can be run through any DSP or publisher site that accepts HTML5 ads and there is no coding of any kind.”
Beyond the novelty factor, there’s also a pricing hook for campaigns with extra cash to spend.
“If you’re buying video display, the first thing you have to have is video,” said Agush. “And then you’re probably going to pay anywhere from $9-$20 per 1,000 impressions, and that assumes you already produced the video ad.
“Display, ordinary static display, runs anywhere from $2-$5 per 1,000. We’re about 80-90 cents more depending on the volume.”
Agush said he’s party agnostic when it comes to clients and has been working with Joe Kuklis, of Wellington Strategies, to prospect campaign business. The product is a timely entrant into the market as voters are increasingly geared to audio advertising.
A recent Interactive Advertising Bureau study found marketers spent $479 million to advertise on podcasts in the U.S. last year, an increase of 53 percent over 2017.
That ad money is following listeners.
“Driving the growth in revenues is podcast listening which continues to surge in the US, increasing 7% in one year,” an introduction to the June 3 report by IAB and PwC states. “Today’s consumer marketplace, driven by technologies like connected cars and smart speakers has created an Audio-First environment where consumers use voice commands and receive responses audibly.”
No matter how receptive the environment, it’s never easy for a non-political vendor to enter the campaign market — particularly with a digital offering.
“This space is pretty mobbed up,” said one longtime digital consultant who spoke freely on condition of anonymity. “Your product better be pretty freaking amazing to cut through the layers of deeply entrenched loyalties and financial arrangements.”
After some pre-launch discussions with practitioners, Agush said he was surprised by some of the reaction. “When I talk to people [in campaigns], I’m surprised sometimes that they’re not that technologically engaged.”
Still, he believes his product, which is IAB compliant and works across mobile and desktop display inventory, could be the right solution for those seeking a technological edge this cycle.