Thought Leadership

Let’s Get Personal: Dynamic Creative Optimization for Audio

October 24, 2018
By Nina Harvey, Head of Audio

Audio is certainly a hot topic of 2018, and more and more buyers and sellers are turning their attention to how to capitalize on these growing, engaged and valuable audiences.

This makes sense as I think about my own daily audio experience. I listen to a variety of streamed spoken word and music content via apps on my phone – as I wake up, leave my house, commute to the office, do some focused work (like writing this blog post), nip out to pick up a matcha or grab lunch, commute home via the gym and supermarket, then get back home to cook dinner – all with my headphones on or connecting to a speaker. Throughout the day, I’m offering a plethora of opportunities and data signals for brands to deliver precise audio messaging that will resonate immediately.

Brands who are active in programmatic audio buying can target my IDFA and lat/long location in the OpenRTB bid stream, overlay their first-party data, potentially buy in third-party data via their DSPs DMP partnerships, or target inventory coupled with a content producer’s first-party data through a PMP. The emotional connection that audio advertising can deliver resonates in this highly personal, one-on-one connection. For example, a music publisher segmenting my playlist or the music genre I am listening to enables a buyer to infer my mood and deliver more personalized, relevant ads. Instead of listening to one generalized creative, it is now possible to segment me with other like minded/located/interested audiences to deliver a custom creative that can impact me specifically.

While programmatic creative isn’t necessarily a new tool for buyers to utilize, there is an opportunity within the audio world to provide deeper personalization and, therefore, better performance and campaign efficiency for brands through Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO).

Brands utilizing DCO can build out a campaign with a variety of assets triggered by specific data points, and can edit their campaign on the fly. Conscious and subconscious personalized messaging can be used to catch attention and subtly build awareness.

Frequency, the Creative Management Platform that optimizes audio creative based on performance, uses data to understand the rate at which listeners engage with advertisers. Using multiple data points such as location, weather, day of week, and time of day, advertisers can move weight to creative that resonates best with listeners.

In a recent US campaign with Frequency, listeners were twice as likely to engage with specific messaging on a weekend night, so the advertiser focused their buy and optimized on what they saw as the best messaging and time.

A Million Ads, a London and New York based agency specializing in personalized audio advertising, provides a great visualization of how DCO can work for a brand interested in creating a unique audio experience.

Visualization from A Million Ads

In this graphic visualization (click the image to enlarge):

  • the first division is a branch determined by the closest airport to you
  • the second is the weather where you are
  • the third is a rotation of airport specific holiday destinations available
  • the fourth is the temperature you could be enjoying there
  • the fifth is the flight time from that particular airport
  • and the sixth is a dynamic sales message call-to-action
  • This adds up to more than 12,500 possible personalized ads.

Of course, not all campaigns need to be as complex as this example. Production resources must also be taken into account when determining whether DCO is the appropriate strategy for a client, as well as the specific campaign KPIs.

When DCO makes sense, the results can be compelling. An on-demand streaming company using data driven dynamic creative audio partnered with a leading UK Energy provider on a campaign that delivered both personalized and non personalized audio creative to their audiences. Using DCO technology, the listener’s location and current weather were combined with ad sequence and music mood and moment data. When comparing listeners exposed to the non personalized and personalized ads, the energy provider saw 52% uplift in recall, 49% uplift in engagement and 2.4 time more conversations in those receiving the personalized creative.

Listening to some relaxing music I wind down after a busy day, reflecting on the potential audio presents to users through personal and relevant creative. I realize that not only can audio advertising enhance my overall listening experience, it can also enhance my sleeping experience – thanks to the great discount code I heard two days ago, my new mattress will be arriving tomorrow!  

For more information about programmatic audio here at Rubicon Project, please reach out to your account director or email us at We would love to hear from you.


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