Retail and QSRs Dominate First Quarter Digital Audio Ad Spend


With marketers expected to invest $17.61 billion in audio advertising this year, and projections reaching $18.42 billion by 2028, the digital audio space continues to provide a lucrative forecast for the industry, but two sectors in particular are feeding it the most.

Audio creative agency AMA has released new data divulging the sources of this surge in spending.

The study, which analyzed over one billion ad impressions from the first quarter of 2024, revealed that the retail industry maintained its position as the top spender in digital audio advertising, consistent with the previous year. However, the quick-service restaurant sector has seen a dramatic increase, matching retail’s spending.

QSRs captured 44% of total ad impressions in Q1 2024, a stark rise from just 8% in the same quarter the previous year.

Travel finished third, followed by auto, government, and healthcare.

Proportion of ad spend and impressions Q1 2024 AMA

This digital audio spend shift highlights the growing recognition among QSRs and retailers of the medium’s capacity to deliver highly targeted advertisements that drive consumer actions. These ads are particularly effective due to their ability to utilize localization, compelling listeners towards nearby store or restaurant locations.

AMA founder and CEO Steve Dunlop noted, “In Q1 of this year, we delivered over a billion impressions globally, a considerable YoY increase from the 360 million in Q1 2023. This data shows that digital audio ad spend, including podcasts, continues to experience sizable growth. IAB’s recent findings highlight this explosion, noting a nearly 19% YoY increase in US digital audio, helped by the growth of dynamic creative. With QSRs and retailers recognizing the unique ability of digital audio to deliver highly-targeted ads that drive real-world actions, this trend is set to continue.”


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