Bid4Spots Radio Ad Auction Launches in U.K.

Bid4Spots, a competitor to Google Audio Ads, announced plans to launch an auction for remnant radio ads in the U.K. this fall. The company, which has been selling radio ads in the U.S. for two years, expanded into online radio ads in November.

The company holds weekly auctions for unsold inventory on more than 2,300 radio stations in the U.S. It uses a “reverse auction” format, where advertisers set a maximum CPM bid they are willing to pay, and the media owners compete for advertiser money, bidding down the price of available inventory until an advertiser accepts their bid.

A similar model will be used in the U.K. marketplace. Bid4Spots U.K. is being advised by U.K. radio specialist RadioWorks. Paul Mitchard, a U.K. radio advertising veteran, has been appointed to manage operations.

The reverse auction model works for radio stations, since any space not sold by the end of the week before it airs would otherwise go unsold. The stations can decrease the cost of ad space at their own pace, and can end the auction at will, so regular advertisers are less tempted to bypass regular contracts to see if they can get a better deal on auctioned ad space. It also keeps the final terms of the remnant sale confidential.

Advertisers are able to pick up radio spots at a discount, and not commit to long-term ad buys. They can also maintain a level of control over audience quality.

Google Audio Ads is an AdWords product created from Google’s acquisition of dMarc Broadcasting. It is currently in beta in the U.S., with ads currently delivered to more than 800 stations in 19 of the top 25 markets. Google expects to significantly expand that footprint once the test is completed. Google also struck a deal with ClearChannel last month that adds more than 675 radio stations to the program.

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