March 21, 2024

​​Hawk Talks: Q&A with Kieran Maguire, Audio Director, Goodstuff Communications

Written by Lucie Marand

Let’s hear it for audio as the ad channel continues to grow and innovate!

For Hawk Talks we speak to industry experts about current themes and issues in their sector.  This time, Jessica Harris talks to Kieran Macguire, audio director at Goodstuff Communications about his role, the growth of audio, and the key part it plays in raising brand awareness.


Jessica Harris: Let’s start with a bit about your role at Goodstuff and your media career to date.

Kieran Macguire: As audio director at Goodstuff, I work as part of a five-strong team of channel specialists specifically dedicated to buying audio for the agency’s advertising clients. This encompasses linear radio as well digital audio and podcasts.

Goodstuff was my first job in the world of media; I started as an account exec on the company’s graduate scheme and worked my way through to senior exec and manager roles before becoming a director. Over the last six years I’ve focused solely on audio which has been a great opportunity because the channel has evolved and grown hugely during this time, all the while continuing to be truly innovative.


JH: What does this evolution of the audio space look like, and how has that influenced the work at Goodstuff?

KM: The Covid lockdowns saw most of the UK confined to their homes and in need of entertainment, hence the big growth in radio listening over the past few years. At the same time, smart speakers became a commonplace household item, upping the convenience for people wanting to tune in to audio.

New digital technology has also played a role, helping to rapidly progress the data-targeting that is now available for audio advertising, which makes the offering much smarter.


JH: Where do you see the role of audio in terms of omnichannel advertising? 

KM: Audio, and more specifically linear radio, will always offer mass reach at an affordable price point; it’s a great supportive channel that helps to broaden the coverage of any campaign, and do so with a high frequency of ads. The digitalisation of audio listening complements this, broadening the offering by giving brands the opportunity to go beyond larger demographics and really hone-in to super-relevant audiences built from a range of live data points.


JH: What have been the biggest challenges and opportunities created by the proliferation of digital audio in the past few years?

KM: The main challenge is the misconception that audio works like traditional display or other performance media, whereby it’s possible to optimise live towards short-term actions such as clicks and attributions. The reality however is that although digital audio formats such as actionable audio ads can help to push consumers further down the purchase funnel, audio is primarily a brand awareness building media. As such, given the trusted nature of the channel, it offers the opportunity to be a highly effective longer-term solution for developing familiarity with the brand.


JH: How has your work with Hawk over the past few years helped to overcome these challenges?

KM: Hawk has helped us to provide a clear measurement solution for our digital audio campaigns. This is a big bonus for clients that want to build brand awareness, but also physically get people into stores; the footfall tracking tool, In-Store Impact, is really valuable, especially for retail clients, such as Bicester Village because we can provide extra insight with tangible results – cost-per-visit for example helps reassure the client of the successes of channel. Over time this allows us to test and trial various campaign and targeting strategies that we couldn’t do without Hawk’s measurement solutions.


JH: What are some of the most innovative campaigns and strategies you have activated with Hawk?

KM: Our recent relaunch of a consumer champion brand definitely fits this bill! It was the first time we were able to use online search data to create a bespoke audience profile; this was perfect for the brand as it doesn’t have a particular target demographic, focusing instead on shoppers that are savvy spenders and who would therefore benefit from its range of consumer advice. This was paired with clever use of adtech from audio partner AMillionAds to dynamically serve a variety of messages across the selected audience meaning each listener would hear a selection of key messages. Overall, the campaign was hugely successfully as it saw uplifts across ad recall and association rates.


JH: What excites you about the digital audio space at the moment and where do you see advances being made in the future?

KM: Expanding on the earlier reference to smart speakers, the fact that so many of us now have a screenless device in our home that simply responds to voice commands can only help to build the capabilities of audio advertising.

Audio advertising within mobile gaming is another opportunity because audio massively improves the user experience in this environment. Video ads are currently the norm, but these can be really disruptive – in contrast to audio, which unobtrusively plays alongside the game.


JH: What can we expect to see from Goodstuff in this space in the next few years?

KM: With invention at the heart of its agency mission, Goodstuff is increasingly excited about the growth and innovation opportunities that audio will undoubtedly deliver in the next few years.

Ongoing developments in digitalisation will allow us to continue to unify targeting at an omnichannel level using one data source such as Captify to run across multiple media, thereby aligning digital display and audio more closely.

As more clients see that audio offers more than broadcast reach, we expect the spend on digital audio to increase. And with increasingly smart, datacentric targeting, we can activate campaigns for any type of brand, whether that’s bespoke location-based campaigns, or nationwide ones that need to hit a specific audience that can’t be defined by one demographic.

Finally, more technology and product innovation will see brands engage in this medium in new and super-exciting ways. As an agency, it’s in our DNA to seize new opportunities; our actionable ads campaign for Subaru using Say It Now voice technology and the Hawk-driven campaign for the consumer champion brand outlined above are shining examples of this approach – and long may it continue!



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