January 14, 2022

Digital Marketing Education

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Amazon’s Audible begins $500 million media review

Amazon’s Audible is set to conduct a global media agency review, with a request going out to all major holdings companies to field interest in managing its $500 million in yearly ad spending, according to people close to the pitch.

Audible is Amazon’s streaming audiobook brand, it also carries podcasts, and it is a prolific advertiser. The service is one branch of a broader audio strategy taking shape within Amazon, which also runs Amazon Music, Prime Video, Twitch and Alexa-powered speaker devices. Amazon, through Audible and its other services, has been competing with growing audio ad giants like Spotify.

This week, invites and basic requests for information were sent to all major holdings companies, including Omnicom, Dentsu, Publicis Groupe, Havas, Interpublic Group of Cos. and WPP, according to a person who was briefed on the plans. Audible will be taking pitches starting early next year, this person said. ID Comms, a consulting firm, will advise Audible on the process, according to people familiar with the review.

ID Comms declined to comment. It is the same firm that helped Facebook, now named Meta, conduct a media review this year, after which it chose Publicis’ Spark Foundry as its agency.

The Audible account will likely be a hot one to follow in the ad world, because it is so closely connected to Amazon, which has become a force in advertising. All the major agencies have dedicated resources to provide marketing services on Amazon, and many ad agencies already have pieces of Amazon’s advertising business. IPG has an internal agency called Rufus that was built to service Amazon’s ad account, for instance. Around the world, Audible works with Publicis’ Spark Foundry in the U.S.; Omnicom’s Hearts & Science in the U.K. and Australia; MediaPlus in Germany; and Initiative in India and France, according to ComVergence, which tracks agency deals.

“Audible is a highly successful business now facing more competition from Spotify and others,” said an executive who is knowledgeable about Audible’s ad review. “Perhaps it will be brought closer to Amazon … like merging with Amazon Music or putting Audible under Prime.”

Representatives from Omnicom, Publicis, WPP, Havas, Dentsu and IPG were not immediately available for comment.

Amazon declined to comment on its review process, but an Audible spokesperson said in an email: “We’re always working to ensure we have the right processes and teams in place to serve our global customer base and provide them with the extraordinary listening experiences they expect from Audible membership.”