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Liberty Mutual, Indeed’s Strong Sonic Identities Drive Ad Wins

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From the growing prevalence of audio in our daily lives,  to sound’s inherent ability to move people, it’s clear that 2021 is the year that marketers activate their audio strategies more fully.

The Audio Ad Index is a monthly look at which advertisers are capitalizing on the moment and producing the most effective spots on traditional and digital radio, podcasts, and more. A Veritonic Competitive Intelligence report, each edition focuses on a key insight across the range of data points measured by the Veritonic Audio Intelligence platform.

Inclusiveness and Fun
Compel Listeners

Period ending March 31

Which brands’ audio ads scored the highest based on their ability to drive listeners to buy the product being advertised? The below measures the top spots by purchase intent score, calculated by the Veritonic Machine Listening and Learning (M-LAL ™) platform, and where each stands relative to its sector benchmark.

Strong brand identity drove big wins in March, exemplified by audio ads from Indeed and Liberty Mutual Insurance (with its first appearance in the Index). Other new entrants into the top 10 included Tide and Roman, while Farmers and Lowes continued to show their strength.

The Indeed brand continues to emphasize women and our current climate, proving that its forward-thinking, culturally-on-target perspective drives success. The company’s number one-scoring audio ad in March focuses on a female-owned business (and logically uses a female voiceover, as do four other ads in this top 10; historically, female voices are used only around 28% of the time). 

While the issue “Anita’s Outdoor Store” addresses is challenging — needing to hire quickly because the company is stretched thin — the spot is extremely positive (business is growing unexpectedly). Moreover, in a nod to the times, the business is an outdoor store. The combination of factors led to a 27-point jump above the benchmark for purchase intent.

Indeed, 2021

Similarly, but projecting a very different kind of brand identity, Liberty Mutual layers multiple brand elements into its winning audio ad this month. Its brand characters, LiMu Emu and Doug, along with sound effects and an overall lively production, perpetuate the brand’s fun image. Fittingly, the spot scored second-highest (78) for being “energetic.”

Liberty’s highly-memorable sonic brand, which ranked number one in last year’s Audio Logo Index, punctuates the end of the spot as always. With a purchase intent score 17 points above the benchmark for Insurance, the ad’s brand layers clearly work for Liberty.

Liberty Mutual, 2021

Lowe’s, in a return to the Index, leverages both of the above approaches to great effect. Lively and loaded with fun sound effects, its ad is also narrated by a woman.

Lowe’s, 2021

Curious about where your own audio marketing efforts stand? Contact us to get a look.

Methodology

Veritonic Competitive Intelligence empowers brands to understand how their audio marketing stacks up against competitors. It detects and scores audio advertisements across major verticals by analyzing an ongoing flow of thousands of podcast, radio, and other streams. Powered by Machine Listening and Learning (M-LAL™), the platform gauges the effectiveness of assets by correlating each with thousands like it that have been analyzed across the Veritonic database.

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Advertising Audience Insights News

3 Lessons Every Marketer Should Use To Jumpstart Their Post-Tracker Digital Strategy

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Digital advertising has become such a fundamental component of 21st century marketing strategies that the news last year of the impending expiry of third-party tracking sent shockwaves through companies large and small. The challenge for marketers now is whether to wait for these changes to take effect or get prepared now. As the clock slowly ticks to the end of Google’s two-year grace period, many find themselves doing more waiting than preparing. 

Here are three ways a forward-thinking and data-driven marketer can be prepared to hit the ground running when the transition away from third-party tracking is finally complete.

1.  Take advantage of the time you were given.

Marketers customarily have to work within constricted timeframes and adapt strategies to cultural shifts. This is not one of those times. Ample notice has been given to discover (or recover) alternative strategies, implement, and test them. 

In Ad Age’s reporting on “How Facebook and Snapchat are Preparing Brands for the Data Lockdowns,” they aptly remind marketers that “there is one benefit to relying less on data… brands will have to return to focusing on the design of their ads” (Ad Age, 2021). As targeting becomes less effective, marketers will have to get more clever with ad creative to reach their intended audiences. 

One way to use this time wisely is to leverage pre-market creative measurement tools. A study by Nielsen showed that campaigns lacking precise targeting relied on the strength of their creative 18% more than targeted ads, contributing to 59% of the ad’s overall effectiveness (Nielsen, 2017). In other words, a lack of precise targeting doesn’t necessarily equate to ineffective advertising because creative can pick up the slack. Marketers can use this period before third-party tracking is completely lost to measure the financial impact of advertising creative on their business and redistribute spend accordingly. Pre-market creative testing should be considered a crucial part of the updated plan.

Creative testing can also help fill the void of tracking data while a campaign is in-market. With constantly evolving world events, the creative process should be constantly in motion, especially when working through channels where production costs are lower, like audio and email marketing. 

2. Turn to trusted channels with rich contextual targeting.

Effective advertising pre-dates cookie-based audience targeting. For decades, marketers looked to content as a proxy for audience, and achieved real results with this contextual approach. In the wake of new restrictions to third-party tracking methods like cookies and mobile ad IDs, contextual is having another moment. This has marketers reconsidering their overall media mix, and channels that offer targeting based on a detailed and data-driven understanding of content are rising to the top. Podcasts are leading that charge. 

Since its inception, podcasting has been a notoriously hard channel for audience targeting and measurement, but this hasn’t stopped flocks of performance-oriented DTC brands from getting great results from the channel. Moreover, podcasting has developed in a digital environment where cookies and MAIDs were never sure bets. Apple, the largest distributor of podcasts, is known for its closed-lip policies on data and has pushed the industry in this direction since early days. For a long time, marketers considered this a weakness, but the podcast channel’s lack of reliance on these identifiers is now a strategic advantage. 

Personalization is innate to podcasting in a way that makes the loss of cookies less of a disadvantage. For one, the content is often highly specific and maps directly against audience segments. Listening to podcasts about infant care? You’re most likely in the market for diapers. The content is also iterative and consistent; even without tracking the listener, it can be assumed that they will be back in the same place tomorrow, next week, or whenever the next episode is out. Podcast advertising serves as one example of myriad alternatives to how marketers can still find their target audiences, but in a way that is sustainable in a world where consumer privacy is becoming even more prominent. 

3. Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last shake-up.

It’s hard to say how far down the road of customer privacy we will go. Will it end with third-party tracking? Is first-party next? Evidence seems to show that this is just the beginning. It’s hard to imagine an open web without data and analytics, but just because it is unimaginable to most doesn’t mean it’s impossible (ahem, global pandemic). 

With the shifting culture towards higher expectations for corporate transparency and more respect for customer privacy, marketers should be prepared for more tightening of their data privileges. This could come again from big tech, or from the government, which has thus far played a minimal role in online consumer protections, especially in the United States. If what was nearly the end of Google in Australia is any indication of the road ahead, marketers should adjust their strategies sooner rather than later. 

Living through a global pandemic has taught us to be prepared for the expected and unexpected. By investing in strategies that aren’t so reliant on soon-to-be-extinct data, marketers will be prepared for the changes ahead. They may even make better ads because of it.

To learn more about pre-market creative measurement, contact us.

Sources: Ad Age, Nielsen

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Advertising

Capital One, Farmers Brand Personalities Propel Audio Ads

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From the growing prevalence of audio in our daily lives,  to sound’s inherent ability to move people, it’s clear that 2021 is the year that marketers activate their audio strategies more fully.

The Audio Ad Index is a monthly look at which advertisers are capitalizing on the moment and producing the most effective spots on traditional and digital radio, podcasts, and more. A Veritonic Competitive Intelligence report, each edition focuses on a key insight across the range of data points measured by the Veritonic Audio Intelligence platform.

Famous voices and cultural relevance resonate with listeners

PERIOD ENDING FEBRUARY 28

Which brands’ audio ads scored the highest based on their ability to drive listeners to buy the product being advertised? The below measures the top spots by purchase intent score, calculated by the Veritonic Machine Listening and Learning (M-LAL ™) platform, and where each stands relative to its sector benchmark.

February’s top 10 audio ads saw some new entrants, including Peacock, the sole entertainment brand on the list, and a range of finance brands — Capital One, Discover, and Bank of America.

Farmers Insurance was the big winner with a typically-humorous spot driven by their now unmistakable brand voice, J K Simmons, as well as the consistent use of their mnemonic at the end of the ad (which ranked third in the 2020 Audio Logo Index). With a purchase intent score 24 points above the benchmark for Insurance (property and casualty), the power of that voice is equally unmistakable. 

The finding is consistent with a broader, recent study on the sector. Data demonstrated how insurance brands that leverage a unique personality in their audio ads are considerably more recognizable to consumers than “standard” voiceover actors — in Farmers’ case, by nearly 30 percentage points

Farmers Insurance, 2021

Capital One, which scored nine points above the benchmark for finance ads, leverages a similar strategy featuring actor Jennifer Garner across its campaigns. Interestingly, unlike the Farmers spot, this one identifies the personality (Garner) by name (it doesn’t in TV-versions of the ad). The difference suggests how different strategies call for some fine tuning of tactics. In this case, since multiple personalities speak for the Capital One brand in ads (Taylor Swift is another), listeners may need a little reminder of who is speaking. Each strategy — singular voice of the brand or rotation of big celebrities — is clearly powerful in its own way.

The return of Stamps.com to this month’s top audio ads — one of the few repeat winners — supports a trend we saw in January: messages about making pandemic life easier matter to people. The spot’s completely unadorned delivery — simply a male voiceover — likely has a lot to do with its extremely high score (80) for uniqueness.  

Stamps.com, 2021

Similarly, Bank of America’s high-scoring spot speaks to the times, focusing on what has become a hallmark of safe socializing — the outdoor deck. This ad, however, is sonically-enhanced — chirping birds, power-washing and more give it levity and the suggestion of fun to come. That tone made it the most powerful ad (scoring a 79) in the top 10 in addition to helping it beat the benchmark for purchase intent by 19 points.

Bank of America, 2021

Curious about where your own audio marketing efforts stand? Contact us to get a look.

Methodology

Veritonic Competitive Intelligence empowers brands to understand how their audio marketing stacks up against competitors. It detects and scores audio advertisements across major verticals by analyzing an ongoing flow of thousands of podcast, radio, and other streams. Powered by Machine Listening and Learning (M-LAL™), the platform gauges the effectiveness of assets by correlating each with thousands like it that have been analyzed across the Veritonic database.

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Advertising News

AutoZone, Indeed and Others Message Hope and Help in Top Audio Ads

From the growing prevalence of audio in our daily lives, to sound’s inherent ability to move people, it’s clear that 2021 is the year that marketers activate their audio strategies more fully.

The Audio Ad Index is a monthly look at which advertisers are capitalizing on the moment and producing the most effective spots on traditional and digital radio, podcasts, and more. A Veritonic Competitive Intelligence report, each edition focuses on a key insight across the range of data points measured by the Veritonic Audio Intelligence platform.

Uplifting Tone and Practical Help Resonate with Listeners

Period ending January 31

Which brands’ audio ads scored the highest based on their ability to drive listeners to buy the product being advertised? The below measures the top spots by purchase intent score, calculated by the Veritonic Machine Listening and Learning (M-LAL ™) platform, and where each stands relative to its sector benchmark.

Many of January’s winning audio ads hovered around cultural relevance with messages of hope and help at a practical level. 

AutoZone led the pack, driven by their spot that focuses on helping people get ready for the cold weather ahead by ensuring they don’t add battery problems to their list of troubles. The brand punctuates the ad with practical offers — a free battery test, a free charge — to support the message. 

AutoZone’s sonic decisions for this ad match the content well. The spot is very upbeat, leveraging music that the brand uses consistently across its ads.

The spot scored 20 points above the benchmark for auto parts ads across the Veritonic platform. 

Autozone, 2021

Job search-giant Indeed has a strong message of hope in the market right now, and their winning audio ad in this period was no exception. Focused on a woman who has started her own meal prep business — itself a mark of the moment with so many people getting food delivered — the spot is uplifting despite the heavy context it addresses. The owner has, for example, a waitlist for her services — business is strong.

Indeed, 2021

Jennifer Warren, VP of Indeed’s global brand marketing, said this week in The Drum, “There are people who are hurting so we had to step back and say ‘what is the role of our brand?’ We want to provide hope and inspiration to those out of work.”

On a much more practical level, The Home Depot also hits the nail on the head of cultural relevance. Their top-10 audio ad, which scored 5 points above the benchmark for Home Improvement, focuses on points like “more time at home means more wear and tear” for your appliances. The spot also fittingly calls out home delivery.

Sonically, and similar to AutoZone, The Home Depot ads owe some of their success to the consistent use of a lively, up-tempo music bed. 

The Home Depot, 2021

Curious about where your own audio marketing efforts stand? Contact us to get a look.

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Methodology:

Veritonic Competitive Intelligence empowers brands to understand how their audio marketing stacks up against competitors. It detects and scores audio advertisements across major verticals by analyzing an ongoing flow of thousands of podcast, radio, and other streams. Powered by Machine Listening and Learning (M-LAL™), the platform gauges the effectiveness of assets by correlating each with thousands like it that have been analyzed across the Veritonic database.

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Advertising Audience Insights

10 Brands That Got Audio Right in 2020

Picture this: it’s 2015, consumer spending is up almost 5% from last year, the job market is doing great, and with the rise of the gig economy, everyone is taking Ubers to their side hustles to finance their way to see Hamilton (…with the original cast.) Oh yeah, and the words “Baby Shark” mean NOTHING. As a brand marketer, the world is your oyster. Your campaigns could be humorous, serious, audacious, whatever your heart desires. 

Remember that? Good times.

The pandemic of 2020 rocked and changed the lives of nearly every person on earth. And being that a marketer’s job is to reach and engage those people, I’d say the task marketers were faced with this year has been harder than anything the industry has faced to date. 

How do you console, support, not offend, and ultimately sell to an entire world in crisis? It’s not easy. That’s why we’re calling out the brands that did it right this year on our 2020 Top Audio Advertisers List. 

Let’s start with podcasts. 

The investment in podcasts by platforms and brands alike has been monumental in 2020. From Spotify’s acquisition of Megaphone, to Omnicom spending $20M on the medium this year, podcasting has had a better 2020 than a lot of us.

Listen below to a couple ads that make it clear why some of our winners deserve their seats on top: 

Honey

How many brand mentions in an ad is too much? How do you feel about, oh I don’t know,  FIFTEEN? It seems to work for Honey, considering it has the highest overall recall of any of the brands on our list. Take a listen to one of Honey’s ads this year, detected and scored by the Veritonic platform. You can’t miss its unique style that helps make Honey ads so memorable:

Just a warning in case there are any kids in the room! There is some explicit language in this ad.

Salesforce

B2B really stepped it up in podcast advertising this year, with eMarketer estimating a nearly 23% increase in spend from 2019.1 The spend appears to be paying off for Salesforce, as their ads win for purchase intent:

Each & Every

Am I the only health nut that wants a Molecular and Developmental Biologist as the founder of my deodorant brand? Apparently not. Because Each & Every made our list. The authenticity of their brand message and voice helps them rank extremely high:

Now onto radio.

O’Reilly Auto Parts

While pretty standard in content for an auto parts brand, O’Reilly ads include sonic branding at both the start and the end of their ads. Only about 12% of ads include sonic branding, even though sonic brands are shown to improve brand recall, especially when they contain a brand mention. So, even though this ad doesn’t score very high for uniqueness, its inclusion of sonic branding across the ad is definitely something to emulate. 

Varo

Did you know that about 20% of ads use only female voice, while 50% use only male voice? And to add insult to injury, did you know female voices have been proven to be more trustworthy than male voices?2

Now that we have that depressing statistic out of the way, take a listen to this Varo ad. Varo is one of very few brands that give female voices the wide majority of airplay. Hopefully in 2021 scientific evidence will prevail and we’ll see many more brands jump on the female-voice bandwagon. 

And last but not least, Audio Branding:

Every year Veritonic releases its Audio Logo Index, which analyzes consumer response to audio signatures. This year, an additional analysis was done for brands that changed their sonic identities to be more appropriate and mindful of our current reality. 

Download the guide to read our findings and to see if your brand made the list. 

2020 has had its flaws, but in many ways marketers rose to the occasion. Even if it gets a bit redundant at times, it’s still nice to hear brands sharing the ways they are lending their support during a year like this.

Note from the author: 

The data and rankings included in this post were collected from the Veritonic platform, specifically Veritonic Competitive Intelligence. The platform analyzed over 10,000 radio and podcast ads that ran in 2020, which was then ranked by Veritonic Brand Score – a rating standard for audio creative which incorporates the overall emotional resonance, memorability (recall), purchase intent, and engagement of ads in a brand’s catalog. To learn more about Competitive Intelligence and how it can help you develop a winning audio strategy, contact us at info@veritonic.com.

1 eMarketer
2 NPR

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Advertising News

Sleeping Soundly with Veritonic Competitive Intelligence

For better audio campaigns, listen to the market

Think of the last time you bought something substantial, say, a new mattress. If you’re like most people these days, in addition to investigating certain features and such to help you make a decision, you looked to guidance from the market — you read reviews (from both people and ‘experts’). You looked for five stars, a large volume of feedback (with an emphasis on the most recent), trends and stats on which mattresses are most popular, anecdotes about the mattress things that matter to you, and so on. 

A new bed is obviously not only an expensive purchase — it’s a meaningful one. Will it make a good ‘home desk’ in our current, bizarre reality? Will you have to re-engage with a chiropractor in three years? With that, making your decision based on quantifiable insight on what’s happening in the mattress market is just responsible buying. In modern times, it’s a required checklist item.

Buying a bed v. buying a ton of media

What’s at stake when you launch a huge consumer ad campaign? While many might argue that more diligence should go into choosing a mattress, if you’re a marketer, you likely disagree. It goes without saying that if your campaign bombs, and it comes out that you launched it without paying attention to what’s happening in the market … yeah, you’re declining that Zoom meeting. In that scenario, the repercussions of less-informed choices are bigger than wasted budget alone: losing market share, tainting an otherwise popular brand — they’re all on the table.

So, like all responsible buyers, you make sure you have clear intelligence before you make a move — where others like you are spending and why; which channels, creative elements and more are working best for them; how new activity is changing things, and more.

It matters more in audio marketing

If you’ve had a chance to read news beyond the pandemic and the election, here are some items you may have seen recently: 

  • Omnicom is doing a $20M upfront buy on Spotify podcasts
  • NBCU is running audio-only interstitials before many of its TV ads
  • By 2028, voice assistants are projected to be in 90% of new vehicles sold globally
  • 53% of people who hear a smart speaker ad buy the product 

The list goes on to continually prove the point: Audio’s primacy as the marketing channel to connect with people — from podcasts to voice activated ads to sonic branding — is only growing. Like all responsible marketers in the 21st century, you need to focus on where the eardrums are. 

Veritonic Competitive Intelligence makes it easy and effective

So you need clear insight into the landscape to make more responsible decisions about audio marketing, the most critical space right now. Veritonic Competitive Intelligence brings that insight. But its value goes even further. 

Let’s say you’re the mattress company marketer. You know buying podcast inventory is probably a smart move, so you validate it with competitive intelligence data and see what other mattress companies are doing in podcasts. But to glean campaign effectiveness more completely — and efficiently — you recognize that you also need:

  • A holistic view of the audio landscape, like a sense of how other mattress companies are marketing on other channels.  Is your competition also investing in streaming services, radio, etc., and which of those channels is working best for them?
  • An easy way to know when new competitor ads launch and how they’re influencing the market
  • Fast results 
  • A common rating system for understanding success

Veritonic Competitive Intelligence brings it all together on one platform — to not only provide the insight and marry it to other key metrics like creative effectiveness, but to make it easy to understand and act on all of it.

We hope you’re as excited about this launch as we are. With the confidence that your every move in audio marketing is the right move, backed by evidence, we’re guessing you’re going to start sleeping a little more soundly. 

To get a walkthrough of Veritonic Competitive Intelligence, click here.

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Advertising

Making Do, and Still Making Great Brand Messages, with NPR

“We’re the people — we go on.” (The Grapes of Wrath)

It’s amazing to look around and see the myriad ways people and businesses are refusing to let the current socioeconomic situation slow them down.

Can’t see your favorite band at Coachella because it was postponed to October? They’re playing for you online. Can’t wait until the fall to get great business insights from the rescheduled Advertising Week EU? They’ve launched an amazing new podcast — Great Minds, featuring everyone from Martin Sorrell to Ndaba Mandela — to rise to the occasion.

The same is happening on a day-to-day business level. When our partners at NPR’s sponsorship subsidiary National Public Media (NPM) needed to temporarily leave behind their amazing production studio, producers had to adjust quickly to the new normal. Because their Spotlight mid-rolls feature a voice from the sponsor, the team pivoted to remote recordings with guests joining from home. With that, they wanted to ensure that the quality of these custom sponsor messages would be just as high as those recorded in the studio, and that NPR listeners would respond to them just as favorably.  As any diligent business would, they turned to the data to find out.

NPM leveraged the Veritonic platform to measure how podcast listeners reacted to two variations on a custom mid-roll creative where the featured voice was captured during a remote recording. In addition to indicating their overall response, listeners were asked to assess the sound quality of the “remote” spots.

Both mid-rolls performed above the Veritonic Audio Score benchmark average, and post-intent numbers for the Spotlight audio featuring a customer voice were higher than a standard mid-roll.  That additional lift held strong even with the difference in audio quality.

Most encouragingly, after listening to both spots 87% of the audience felt that the audio quality was very good/good.

Making do in tricky times does not mean you have to sacrifice quality and impact. We continue to be proud to provide our agile clients with the means to prove it.

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Advertising Branding

Which consumer brands are winning audio?

“We’re now thinking about the sound [of a brand advert] first versus the look second. It’s a really interesting way of approaching that immersive consumer experience.”

– John Burke, global chief marketing officer of Bacardi and president of Bacardi Global Brands

The proof is now abundant: getting audio marketing right — powered by a methodical strategy — has never been more critical. If a global CMO testimonial like the above — declaring that audio now takes precedence over visual — doesn’t convince you, consider any of the latest realities about the audio market.

Continue reading on Mediatel News.

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Advertising

Full-flight Optimization: Attribution Comes to Veritonic

The stats around how critical the audio market is to marketers continued to pour in through 2019. From the rocketship that is podcasting to the fact that audio accounts for the majority of adult time spent on mobile, last year’s message was clear: build a solid strategy for audio or squander a tremendous opportunity to influence customers in the most culturally-relevant way possible.

2020 is the year that we take that message to the next level. 

With the urgency established, marketers now need clear guidance on what exactly to do to maximize the opportunity — a “map of winning the audio renaissance,” if you will. We’re building a lot into the Veritonic audio intelligence platform to give marketers that holistic guidance in one place and help bring that promise to fruition.

Today, we’re proud to announce one of the first and most critical pieces: attribution data will now be available in the Veritonic platform. Flagship partners include LeadsRx, specializing in radio and TV attribution, and Podsights, specializing in podcasts.

Attribution data, as most of you probably know, guides marketers on the best way to optimize their campaigns once they’re out by homing in on which parts are most responsible for driving desired results (site visits, conversions, sales, etc.), and why. 

So let’s say you’re a sneaker brand advertising on podcasts that’s trying to drive a special offer for show listeners. And your attribution data proves that your midroll ads targeted to shows with high listenership among urban moms are driving the most sales. So yeah — you build up that end of your campaign.

Audio creative data, foundational in the Veritonic platform, focuses on optimizing creative pre-launch, allowing marketers to determine which audio ads — or parts thereof — are most memorable, emotionally resonant, engaging, and likely to drive sales.

This data can tell your sneaker brand — before the ad even goes out — things like how it scores relative to other ads like it, the optimal voice or script to leverage, where to place a brand mention, and much more.   

Tie both datasets together and what do you get? We like to call it “full-flight optimization” — clear direction on how to capitalize on what works the best across the entire campaign lifecycle, all in one place.

The value doesn’t end there. Marketers are clamoring for modern analytics platforms. As we’ve discussed a lot, predictions on what drives the best results need to be smarter and come faster. Tying attribution data (the factors that drive a conversion) back to a particular piece of audio creative helps our platform predict how effective that kind of creative will be. And smarter predictions breed faster, more reliable insights. 

So big thanks to our friends at LeadsRx and Podsights for helping us fulfill the promise of fast, comprehensive audio guidance for marketers in 2020. We’re rapidly filling in the map, making the path to deeper connections with people through sound clear and easy.

To learn more about the integration of attribution into the Veritonic platform, contact us.