Audio Is ‘An Afterthought No Longer’, Topping ’24 Marketing Trends


    As the marketing community gears up for 2024, global advertising and PR conglomerate WPP asked ten industry thought leaders to reveal key trends that are expected to shape the landscape. Among those is a very good outlook for AM/FM and digital audio.

    Michele Arnese, Global CEO of sound branding agency amp, says audio is, “An afterthought no longer,” to brands worldwide. “Consumers will forget what brands say probably, they will forget also what brands do, but consumers will never forget how brands made them feel. Sound is gaining momentum in the brand world because it’s responsible for that feeling,” he adds.

    Looking ahead to 2024, the trend in sonic branding is expected to focus on the harmonious integration of human creativity and AI intervention. AI’s role in sonic branding is becoming increasingly important, as it helps process large quantities of data to better understand audiences and enhance the effectiveness of brand creation. Arnese says this technology is essential for brands to meet the growing demand for audio content, allowing them to create diverse and impactful audio experiences at scale.

    Arnese references the 2023 Spotify Culture Next report, which revealed that Gen Z listened to three billion podcast episodes in the first half of the year alone, representing a 76% increase from 2022. “There is a huge increase of audio demand for audio content.”

    By combining the nuances of human craft with the efficiency and precision of AI, Arnese concludes by saying brands will want to effectively target markets and tailor their audio content for specific moments and occasions, echoing recent 2024 predictions from Triton Digital. This trend points towards a future where AI and human audio creativity coexist, driving the evolution of sonic branding and enabling brands to deliver richer and more engaging audio experiences.

    Other trends forecast by WPP’s panel of experts included a lot more in the realm of AI. With large language models for rapid asset creation and tools for predicting audience reactions gaining prominence, AI becomes more integral to brand strategies. The prediction is that emphasis on maintaining a distinct creative vision that resonates with consumers on a human level stays paramount.

    Safety and security in AI applications will receive increased focus. This includes efforts to counteract bias in AI, utilizing new technologies to combat disinformation, and prioritizing zero-party data within a privacy-first marketing framework. These measures aim to build trust and deepen connections with customers.

    Influencer marketing, another area radio is familiar with, is projected to reach a value of $22.2 billion by 2025. The synergy between influencers and search engine optimization is critical, with effective SEO practices poised to revolutionize this aspect of marketing. Brands are also venturing into unconventional partnerships, including deeper involvement in esports and collaborative ventures with artists to capture new audiences.

    The entire list of WPP’s marketing trends for 2024 can be found on the agency’s website.


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