Major audio investment gap exists for marketers


Consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, yet brands only allocate 8.8% of their media budget to audio, with 25% of brands missing from audio entirely, a new report from WARC and iHeart Media finds. 

Why it matters 

The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio highlights a striking divergence between consumption of and investment in audio. Whilst WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9bn this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts, there remains a large audio investment gap. 

Consumers of every generation are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming and podcasts, driven by audio’s ease and accessibility: the spread of wireless headphones and smart speakers are all adding to in-car, at home and at work listening. A vast opportunity exists in this mass reach and high engagement audio advertising market.

Advertiser attitudes

In addition to highlighting how audio effective is across every stage of the funnel – with the ability to increase brand awareness, create favorability and spark conversion – the study identifies four key types of advertiser attitudes towards audio: 

  • Audio Avoiders: The 25% of advertisers who do not invest in audio at all.
  • Broadcast Believers: They have seen the benefits of radio and are beginning to delve into more forms of audio.
  • Digital Only: They have started to invest but are missing out on the full suite of audio options, particularly the 90% reach of broadcast radio.
  • Cross-Platform Champions: They explore audio’s full potential and continue to test, learn from and optimize their investments across platforms.


Whether brands tap into broadcast radio for its mass reach or its effectiveness or dive deeper into podcasting for its highest conversion rates, ight-sizing audio investment will drive real impact and growth for brands. 

This article first appeared in

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