The Rise of AI-Generated Audio in Publishing

AI voices are transforming publishing, but how and why?

Dimitris Nikolaou
Jun 17
5 Minute

AI voices are very good now

Over the past year, the quality of AI-generated voices has improved significantly, making it difficult to distinguish them from human voices. This advancement has accelerated the adoption of the "Listen to Article" feature by many publishers. Prominent publications such as The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Washington Post are just of a few that have already incorporated AI-generated audio into their articles.

People want to listen to articles, but there’s friction

Analytics indicate that audio articles have a 50% higher completion rate compared to traditional reading. Additionally, there is an increase in retention and a 40% rise in subscriptions for paid publications offering audio options. However, a notable downside is a significant drop in ad engagement. Listeners tend to browse away or engage in other activities, reducing the time spent on the page and consequently affecting ad revenue.

Audio Ads are the most influential form of ads

Audio ads have proven to be the most engaging and influential form of advertising. Studies show that audio ads achieve higher engagement and brand recall compared to other ad formats, making them a powerful tool for marketers. Therefore, the audio ads product likely has higher value and margins over visual click-through ads. Issues with attribution for audio ads have long been solved by podcasts and radio, either through awareness campaigns or coupon-code CTAs.

Overcoming Production Barriers in Audio Ads

A common friction point for audio ads is the high barrier of production. Studio voiceover, music, and SFX mixing require lengthy turnarounds. AI-generated voices are now being adopted to streamline this process. Platforms like Wondercraft offer an end-to-end online audio ad production studio, allowing creatives to produce ads simply by typing.

The Race to Dominate Native Audio Ads

Given that readers increasingly demand a listening feature and publishers are seeing a better user experience, it’s clear that publishers will increasingly adopt audio features and will seek ways to monetize this new product. Hence, the first mover of the Native Ads space to offer audio ads will capture a significant chunk of the market.

Integrating Audio Ads into Publisher Offerings

Brands will also capitalize on this medium. Publishers will start offering ad inventory for audio ads as part of their custom brand extensions, integrated into their current sales models. This shift addresses decreasing engagement with traditional ads as more readers switch to audio content, providing brands with higher engagement and recall while offering publishers a valuable new revenue stream.

page graphic element