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Facebook expanding into audio

Last month Facebook announced it would be releasing some new audio experiences across its platform this year. This move stems from the fact that more and more people are consuming audio content. There will be four main products and experiences being rolled out.

  1. The Audio Creation Tool will be a way for users to create engaging and fun audio formats. You will be able to use music, voice effects, filters and other tools supplied by Facebook to create pretty much anything you want!
  2. Soundbites will be created using the new audio creation tool. The idea is very similar to stories but focused on audio only. Short-form audio clips, allowing people to share anecdotes, poems and much more.
  3. Podcasts will be available to listen directly in the Facebook app, making the discovery and sharing of podcasts a lot easier. Facebook state more than 170M people globally are connected to podcast pages on Facebook, so having podcasts directly in the app will allow a more streamlined podcast experience.
  4. Live Audio Rooms are expected to be rolled out this summer in Facebook and Messenger as a way for communities to engage users around topics they care about. Live audio rooms will allow people to engage with groups without the added pressure of being on camera!

All Response Media viewpoint

Facebook have already said the only way this will work is if creators make money for their efforts, so they will be bringing out monetization models. We can also assume a big motivation for Facebook to move into this space is revenue growth for themselves! Whilst there is no mention currently of being able to buy audio ads within these experiences, we would predict it will not be long before something becomes available to advertisers. For us, this would present an opportunity to reach potential customers in new and exciting ways.

However, there could also be a downfall to advertisers being able to move into this space. Facebook is already quite a crowded space, with advertisers able to show in almost any part of the Facebook app. Could audio ads just create a more crowded space, where it is hard for a brand to really gain any traction? Measurement could also present an issue, where audio ads are very hard to measure, due to the nature of how the format is consumed.

For our clients, we would say it is an interesting development and for those who are active on their social channels, we would recommend making use of these new features when they come out. However, from a paid advertising perspective, we would say we need to see what gets rolled out and how things like measurement and deployment will work to really understand if it could be a key medium for our clients to expand into.

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