Even as Pandora expands its advertising offering to video, some ad agencies are starting to get excited about the new possibilities for advertising in digital audio.

Sure, radio has existed for years. But Serial has ignited new interest for sponsoring podcasts, while new technology is promising programmatic-style ad-buying and targeting in streaming music and radio.

While consumption is growing healthily for those outlets, building a bigger audience for buyers, for some, one of the biggest benefits is that audio is relatively untainted by the fraud, viewability and other ills that have plagued pictorial digital display.

“There isn’t as much challenge as it related to digital audio,” Horizon Media chief digital officer Donnie Williams says in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“Things like ad blocking, fraud, viewability – they don’t have as much of an impact there. It’s a pretty clean transmission as much as communicating a brand message, and it’s pretty powerful.”

Horizon is the US’ largest independent ad agency. So, what can it do with streaming music, radio and podcasts?

Podcasts are becoming attractive for commercial sponsorships, though that sector is small-scale due to lack of available analytics. But online radio and music services are seeing burgeoning consumption.

And Williams imagines more. “Translation technologies take the written word and turn them in to audio,” he says. “That’s pretty interesting – it’s hard to read if I’m trying to multi-task. If I can convert text copy in to audio, that’s a meaningful user experience.”



This interview is part of our series “The Road to Cannes”, presented by FreeWheel. Please visit this page for additional segments.