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Fast Food Chains Heavily Invest In Digital Audio During Q1, AMA Analysis Finds. | Story

The ultimate prize inside a Happy Meal for audio sales reps just might be more advertising, and that is what they had during the first quarter. An analysis by A Million Ads (AMA) finds that the fast food category had huge growth in ad spending year-to-year, and the quick service restaurant ad category was as big as retail during Q1 among digital audio advertisers.

During first quarter, AMA says the retail sector dominated with 36% of the total advertising spend, followed by the entertainment and consumer packaged goods sectors, with 11% each. But most noteworthy is QSR, who represented only 8% of total impressions in Q1 2023. In Q1 2024, it skyrocketed to 44%. That puts it on par with retail advertisers. And on a global scale, retail and QSR also dominated ad spending, according to AMA.

The AMA says an uptick in retail and QSR adoption of digital audio advertising – both in the U.S. and globally – showcases a recognition that the targeting available allows for localization to push consumers to specific locations near them. The fact that consumers can get directed to a specific store or restaurant location, for example, showcases the contextual and data-targeting available through programmatic buying of digital audio.

The findings are based on a comprehensive analysis conducted by AMA of over one billion ad impressions during the first quarter.

“In Q1 of this year, we delivered over a billion impressions globally, a considerable year-over-year increase from the 360 million in Q1 2023,” said Steve Dunlop, founder and CEO of AMA. “This data shows that digital audio ad spend, including podcasts, continues to experience sizable growth. 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,” he said in a statement.

The AMA analysis shows that while ad categories like fast food category had huge leap in share among digital audio providers this year, several others were weaker. Entertainment ad spending, which made up 11% of digital audio sales during the first quarter of 2023, had a negligible share this year. And while CPG spending totaled 4% of digital audio sales this year, it was nearly triple that a year earlier when the segment represented 11% of digital audio ad spending. Apparel, healthcare and finance also saw their shares of digital audio advertising slip year-to-year.

Still, AMA says it is optimistic about the segment with overall audio advertising market forecast to continue to grow. It points an eMarketer forecast which says marketers are expected to invest $17.61 billion in audio advertising in 2024, with digital audio advertising expected grow 6.8% this year to $7.12 billion — or 40.4% of all audio ad revenues. And audio spending is projected to reach $18.42 billion by 2028 when digital will account for more than 47% of audio ad dollars. eMarketer predicts $8.74 billion will go to digital audio ads in 2028.

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