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Advertising Audience Insights

NEW DATA: Righting misperceptions about tier-two auto ads with Cumulus Media/Westwood One

The largest automotive radio creative test ever assuages advertiser fears about speedy disclaimers.

NEW DATA: Righting misperceptions about tier-two auto ads with Cumulus Media/Westwood One

You know the car ads that promote a big sales event? The ones in which, after the offer is described, the announcer speeds through a range of disclaimers (which are required for those kinds of ads)? That’s the “tier-two auto ad,” which sits in-between national brand advertiser campaigns in tier one and local dealer campaigns in tier three.

The common gut reaction has always been that they’re pretty annoying. But more than that, they’ve led to a perception that tier-two auto ads aren’t effective, and, as a result, to a reluctance by domestic dealer groups to buy these kinds of campaigns on radio.

But do those quick-talking disclaimers really have a negative impact on how consumers feel about those ads? The answer is a resounding no, and now the market has the data to prove it.

Cumulus Media/Westwood One spearheaded the largest automotive radio creative test ever — powered by the Veritonic platform — conducted to measure consumer response to tier-two ads. The study tested the emotional impact and effect on purchase intent of twenty, 60-second tier-two auto ads with over 873 auto-intenders. Disclaimers, on average, were just over 16 seconds long. Key findings include:

  1. Tier-two auto ads generally outperform tier-one: The 20 tier-two creatives (with disclaimers), on average, tested in the top 20 percent of a pool of 2,330 audio ads in the Veritonic database. Overall, they outperformed tier-one ads by 15%.
  2. Disclaimers don’t hurt the ads, and speed often helps: Fast-paced and normal-paced disclaimers yielded the same creative scores; faster disclaimers, in that case, allow more time for branding, messaging, or additional offers without any negative impact.
  3. The closer to purchase, the better the tier-two ads perform: Creative scores, relevancy and purchase intent scores were all higher among consumers who planned to buy a car within the next six months, as opposed to within 6-12 months. Purchase intent scores in particular doubled for those intending to buy in the next six months. The “sales activation” messaging of tier-two ads clearly works for this group.
  4. The stronger the creative, the higher the purchase intent: The top five-testing ads drove a 45% higher lift in purchase intent than the five lowest-ranked ads. This validates the necessity of testing audio creative pre-market to maximize the value of every campaign.

Tier two automotive ads were some of the best testing ads in American radio

“The Veritonic study debunks long-held myths about the use of disclaimers in audio advertising, offering important insights to enhance connections with in-market consumers,” said Stacey Schulman, Chief Marketing Officer for Katz Media Group. “Thanks to this study we can clearly see the huge benefits of marrying effective audio creative with radio.”

Revealing data like this is critical — kudos to our friends at Katz Media Group, the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and Cumulus/Westwood One for ensuring it gets out there — to correct a misperception in the market that disclaimers hinder growth. As the audio market moves more toward an evidence-based approach, all parties involved will benefit, from the advertisers who will spend every ad dollar with greater confidence, to their media partners who empower them to do it, to consumers who will receive more relevant, useful offers.

We’re excited to release this groundbreaking data jointly with our friends at Cumulus Media/Westwood One. See their coverage and get the full report.

To learn more about leveraging this kind of data to help your business, talk to us.

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Advertising

From Audible to MDC to Veritonic, the message is clear: you need an audio strategy

We were honored to be a featured participant in two great and important events before the July 4th holiday: Newark Venture Partners (NVP) Demo Day and MDC’s Immerse event in Soho.

At Demo Day, where some of the best, most innovative young companies pitch to a packed house of business leaders, investors and fellow startups — where we pitched Veritonic only a year ago — our CEO Scott Simonelli dug in on the power of bringing an evidence-based approach to audio marketing with Audible CMO John Harrobin and Ian Schafer, CMO & President at Muzik.

Five hours later we found ourselves at the swanky Galvanize coworking space in Soho, where Scott and MDC Partners Chairman/CEO Scott Kauffman chatted about the importance of audio measurement for brands.

While both panels covered a wide swath of the audio marketing landscape, the fundamental takeaway was clear: you need to be building a data-driven audio strategy now to capitalize on a massive opportunity.

Why now? There are plenty of reasons, but let’s focus on three.

1. Because the old frontier is the new frontier

John Harrobin from Audible was quick to point out the irony of labeling audio the hot new thing. And yet, it’s hard to find an article these days, if it relates at all to the current state of media and technology, that doesn’t touch on the “renaissance of audio,” driven substantially by innovations around voice.

The power of audio is both eternal and topical.

“Three seconds of sound can last a lifetime,” Scott said. Anyone who’s ever lost in Pac Man knows exactly what he means.

“Your eyes are busy but your mind is free,” John stated, perfectly capturing one of the many things that audio can do that other formats cannot. Combine that inherent power with the state of modern media consumption and things get really revealing. A recent Nielsen Neuro Science study found, for example, that TV ads aren’t seen 61 percent of the time — a reality driven primarily by our multi-screen culture. According to Edison Research, 44 percent of U.S. consumers say they’ve streamed audio in their cars.

In other words, people are distracted but they’re always hearing — and being influenced by what they hear.

At MDC’s Immerse event later that evening, the conversation between the two Scotts equally emphasized audio’s unique power: It’s not just about a brand’s look and feel anymore, it’s about how a brand sounds and feels — audio evokes emotion and catches attention faster than visuals.

There are so many facts and prognostications about the power of audio, it’s hard to know which to think about first (we’ve consolidated a bunch of good ones in this infographic to help). But this–a point emphasized by Scott Kauffman–is probably most telling: by 2020, more than 50% of searches will in fact be driven by voice. In other words, search is moving to audio. How can brands, agencies and platforms not be building voice into their strategies and testing which voices will be most effective at driving sales?

2. Because people tend to over-rely on technology

It’s easy to be taken with the bright, shiny object, and AI is only growing brighter and shinier. Rightly so; artificial intelligence, machine learning and the like are helping power our lives and businesses in ways no one ever thought would be possible. But the key word in that sentence is help; AI is a tool — it’s meant to serve and facilitate a strategy, but it’s not a strategy in and of itself (I’ve written about this before; unsurprisingly, the title uses a music metaphor :-).

While the conversation at Demo Day focused a lot on the growing power of technology, everyone agreed that people will always need to inform the machine-learning layer. John Harrobin exemplified the point in the way Audible customers regard many audiobook narrators — that is, as celebrities. There’s personality-power there that technology can’t capture in the same way.

As Brad Simms (CEO, GALE & Partners) articulated on the first panel at MDC Immerse, it’s easy to get carried away with technology and devise overly-complex solutions to problems that can be solved, at least to some degree, by merely listening to what your customers are telling you. Again, the point is not to take technology out of the equation, only to keep it in its proper perspective — as a supplement to a strategy that’s equally about listening to people.

Veritonic’s methodology for generating audio effectiveness data embraces a similar philosophy, as one Scott explained to the other Scott on the second MDC panel. Our “machine listening and learning” capability provides a unique, instant prediction of how clients’ audio creative will perform in the market. But our technology also queries panels of people to figure out how voice, music or any other sonic asset makes them feel (which, in turn, continually helps the system learn). That requires clients figuring out exactly what types of people they want to query, what questions they want to ask them and more — in other words, a strategy based on their specific needs and goals.

3. Because audio creative measurement is finally here

The most important word in the vocabulary of advertising is TEST. If you pre-test your product with consumers, and pre-test your advertising, you will do well in the marketplace. (David Ogilvy, 1963)

It feels like everything is measured these days, from overall campaign effectiveness to attribution to brand studies. And for good reason — testing means maximizing your opportunity to reach people, and it empowers you to spend responsibly. Why, then, has it been glaringly absent from audio creative — particularly quantitative analysis of pre-market audio creative?

Part of the answer is that the ability to measure a lot of audio creative — quickly and easily — simply hasn’t existed. Consumer neuroscience tools, for example, can be leveraged by brands, broadcasters and others to help predict people’s emotional response to ads. But studies like that don’t lend themselves to fast decisions, and they’re expensive.

Another part might be that marketers think they have audio creative covered with other kinds of measurement. Take attribution: if a certain piece of creative is what drove an ad’s success, then attribution, in theory, should reveal that. Perhaps, but attribution, as we all know, is a complex ball of wax and, more importantly, it’s after-the-fact — it measures what’s already in-market. If you subscribe to Mr. Ogilvy’s wisdom above, you know that pre-market testing is a very different, critical thing.

Yet another reason why there hasn’t been much audio creative testing might relate to the nature of audio itself, that is, it’s something that everyone has a strong opinion about. With music in particular, everyone wants to be the one who matches the perfect track with the rest of the media (ad, video, podcast episode, etc.). There’s something fun about the debate. But when opportunities like what the audio market is currently producing are at stake, sticking by a hunch, without the data to support it, is not responsible marketing.

Whatever the reason why it hasn’t existed, the good news is that audio creative measurement exists now, and it’s part and parcel of any sound audio marketing strategy.

About 10 years ago, if you were a marketer without a social strategy, or an agency without one for your client, you had good reason to be paranoid about your job. With the way the market is evolving now, when someone asks, for example, how smart speakers relate to your overall audio strategy, you probably don’t want to be the one without a good answer. And whatever that answer is, you probably want to be sure you’re backing it up with proof.

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights Branding

You never really gave a !@#$%!! about Laurel and Yanny

What are we hearing? It really doesn’t matter. But when it comes to how what we hear affects bigger business decisions, there is a sonic truth and it matters a lot.

Laurel and Yanny Just Doesn't MatterTired of the “Laurel or Yanny” debate? So is everyone. And the reason why is that you never really cared.

Now, we’re not in the business of hurting robots’ feelings, so robots of the world (or people actually named Laurel or Yanny), please don’t hold that headline against us. Surely the question of what you hear has spurred tons of stimulating debate across media…and across the kitchen table. My daughter nearly sacrificed a week’s worth of dessert by calling me an idiot because I wasn’t hearing the truth (that, to her, it was clearly Yanny).

But, amidst deep analysis of the range of personal and environmental influences at play, the debate is, ultimately, just good intellectual fun. What you think you hear, apart from potentially causing a few mild scuffles, is not really going to affect your life in any important way. You’re going to keep doling out the brownies.

But when there’s something bigger at stake — when what we hear actually has a material impact on our lives — an objectively “right” audio becomes really important, especially in business.

An objective, sonic truth

As we all know by now, there is no one right answer to Laurel v. Yanny. People interpret what they’re hearing differently based on a whole host of reasons — everyone has their own sonic truth.

The marketing world obviously solved this problem with targeting; if you are, for example, a young woman listening on a particular kind of device, a brand could ensure that they’re playing to your sonic truth by serving you Yanny content. When targeting technology got really smart, there were suddenly plenty of right answers to go around.

Again, no one is really thinking about the hot business possibilities of Laurel v. Yanny, at least not yet (maybe if they were built on a blockchain). But when the question of what we hear does start to have real business implications, it’s a whole new, often very tense ballgame.

When the sonic truth matters

The critical question for businesses isn’t “what do people hear,” but “does what people hear impact them in a way that might make them a customer (or a better customer)?” Everyone, from the brands using audio to forge deeper customer connections, to the streaming services and radio networks trying to prove to those brands that their platforms are the best places to make those connections, needs to ask this. Does a given spot (or the voiceover for this podcast, or the audio branding in this video) get the emotional reaction we’re looking for? Is it memorable? Does it compel people to purchase?

Laurel or Yanny?While more generic ad analysis exists, amazingly, no one has really been able to figure out what works about audio in particular yet (in ads, videos, voiceovers, podcasts, etc.), likely because they’ve never had a reliable, easy way to quantify its value. Understanding the relative value of audio assets, and making objective determinations about which to leverage as a result of that insight, has been hard.

We’ve all heard the myriad stories of how audio gets chosen — like, “my gut is to go with the real “Freebird” in this ad because it’s a famous song that people love.”

What if it turned out that a majority of the population has a different sonic truth — that they’d respond just as positively to something that reminds them of “Freebird” at a fraction of the cost to the brand? On the other hand, what if the real “Freebird” is really the best way to go?

The point is, in a market where digital audio ad spend is expected to surpass $20 billion by 2020, there’s simply too much at stake to not look to the data for that objective truth.

So apologies to Laurel and Yanny, but when the question turns to effectiveness over perception — and understanding what’s quantifiably “right” is the difference between making a real impact on consumers or not, keeping clients happy or not, saving money or not — you’re just not that important.

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

New Feature: Predictive Baseline Reports!

Have you ever wondered how a given piece of audio will perform, but don’t have the time to run a full test? Perhaps your new TV campaign is launching in 12 hours? Or you’re meeting with the CMO in 20 minutes? Or you’re just debating with a friend over beers who sounds better for voiceover work? (Yes, that happens.)

Introducing the Veritonic Predictive Algorithm. Upload any audio asset or set of assets, and within seconds the platform will give you a prediction for how a General Population audience will score it. If you’re just looking for a quick read, or to settle a bet, you’re done. But if you need results from a specific audience — auto intenders, say, 18-34 year-old females in the Midwest — you can promote the tracks to a full test, with human Marketing Response Data.

How Does It Work?

Veritonic's Predictive Algorithm for Audio Creative Testing

First, the platform identifies what kind of asset is it: an audio ad, a voiceover track, and so on.
This ensures that predictions for voices are always based on voice data, while predictions for audio ads are based on audio ad data.

Then it uses sophisticated Machine Listening technology to compare the audio file to similar assets that the platform has collected data on in the past. The evaluation looks at the characteristics of the audio file, including the sound frequencies in the file, volume, and more, all using cutting-edge digital signal processing approaches. The algorithm then looks at the historical scores for specific attributes.

Lastly, the platform returns these attribute scores, along with an overall score, in a Baseline Report: the same easy-to-read report style that tests with human Marketing Response Data are presented in, along with the ability to then create a test if necessary.

Where Do I Find It?

The predictive algorithm is now built into the standard test-building process. This means that to create a Baseline Report, simply click on the “New Report” button in the left-hand nav. Follow the directions to upload tracks and you’re on your way.

Veritonic Predictive Baseline Reporting for Audio Creative

What If I Want Different Attributes?

To maximize the training data set behind the Machine Listening algorithms, we’ve limited this initial release to the most common attributes our clients have used to test assets. Over time, as we refine the algorithms and grow the database we expect the set of attributes available in Baseline Reports to grow.

What If I Need A Specific Audience?

As with the set of initial attributes, we’ve limited the predictions to a General Population (GenPop) audience to maximize the system’s accuracy. If you need a specific audience, you can quickly promote it to a full test.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

You’re all set! This functionality is live in all Veritonic client accounts. If you have further questions or feedback, please contact your account manager or the client success team. We’d love to hear from you!

New to Veritonic? Get Started with Baseline Reports

Fill out the form below to get started using Baseline Reports for audio effectiveness analytics.

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Advertising Audience Insights

Key Takeaways from the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards

In its fifth annual Sports Sound Awards, Westwood One used Veritonic to test the audio effectiveness of advertisers in their Super Bowl Broadcast to determine purchase intent and the feelings and emotions associated with the ad.

Here’s what Veritonic client WWO found:

  • “Clothing, quick service restaurants, and auto aftermarket were the most likeable”
  • “Quick service restaurants, home improvement, and auto aftermarket scored high in trustworthiness”
  • “Great audio creative causes purchase desire”
  • “Millennials respond positively to great ads”
  • “Responses to ads differ between males and females while highest ranked categories were similar”
  • “Westwood One is the authority on effective creative”

Visit Westwood One’s Blog to read the full analysis.

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights Branding

Pandora’s Definitive Guide to Audio

Veritonic’s own Scott Simonelli recently spoke at Pandora’s “Turn It Up” event in Chicago. The conference, Pandora’s thought leadership event, highlighted the Power Of Audio. Scott’s presentation reinforced the key tenets of how to make effective audio ads. Steve Keller of iV Audio Branding demonstrated how sound and psychology interact with each other. And speakers from Pandora highlighted key trends in the audio advertising market.

Download Pandora’s 2017 Definitive Guide to Audio, and learn:

  • How streaming is changing the face of radio
  • About apps and the impact of podcasting
  • Why voice is the new touch

Download Now

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

Money Talks: 5 Insights from Financial Advertising Audience Data

Veritonic Financial Industry Ad Index

Financial services is one of the biggest industries in the United States. It’s also, not coincidentally, one of the biggest advertisers. Marketers advertising financial products spent $17.1 billion in 2016, which is predicted to rise to $19.7 billion in 2017.

Was this advertising a sound investment? Most of the ads were undoubtedly tested with a variety of market research tools, including traditional advertising effectiveness techniques. But no one asked how well the audio in each ad actually evoked the emotions each company was aiming for.

That’s because music and audio for advertising has resisted measurement — until now. The complexity and subjectivity of audio requires marketers to apply new tools and techniques to evaluate their effectiveness. Fortunately, advancements in technology and market research are enabling this type of insight.

We applied Veritonic’s patent-pending technology and methodology to test ads from 20 of America’s largest financial institutions across retail banking, credit card, and investing segments. We measured emotional resonance and audience engagement across 8 different emotions from more than 3500 US Consumers.

This report shares what we learned, including the critical role that aspirational storytelling plays in driving successful financial services advertising.

Methodology

20 diverse financial institutions were selected to represent difference sectors of the industry, including retail banking, credit card issuance, asset management, and online trading.

Over 3500 panelists were surveyed in June, 2017. The panel was carefully modeled to reflect US Census-representative distributions of age, gender, ethnicity and race. Household income and data about a variety of other demographic and psychographic factors were also collected.

Panelists were asked to record their emotions as the ads played. Panelists were then asked about a generalized basket of other feelings and associations the music and ads evoked.

All emotions and engagement were tracked using Veritonic’s patent-pending EchoTime™ technology.

Finally, scores were calculated using a proprietary algorithm that combines emotional response, engagement, and Veritonic’s EchoTime™ data.

Findings

What did we learn?

The American Dream is alive and well, and driving US consumer attitudes.

The American Dream is alive and well, and driving US consumer attitudes.

Three of the 20 spots tested featured homeownership themes. Those 3 spots — from PNC, RBC and US Bank — not only ended up in a three-way tie for top score (77), they consistently received the highest scores across age, income, gender and geography.

The top scores in each sub-category are similar.

Across the three subcategories we looked at — Credit Cards, Banks, and Asset Managers — the top scores were quite similar. The top score for Banks was a 77 (recorded, as noted above, by PNC, RBC and US Bank), while the top score for Credit Cards was a 76 (American Express) and for Asset Managers was a 74 (USAA).

The top scores in each sub-category are similar.
Lowest overall scores for TRUSTWORTHY.

Lowest overall scores for TRUSTWORTHY.

But it’s not all good news: in spite of their ability to evoke Happy, Trustworthy is the lowest overall category. In a sense, this is unsurprising, given the press financial institutions generally receive. It’s also concerning, given both the relatively low differentiation between institutions, and the relatively high spend on marketing.

MUCH bigger variance than Quick-Serve Restaurants.

Comparing the scores with Veritonic’s Quick-Serve Restaurant (QSR) index, the financial services spots we surveyed have a VERY wide variance in scores. The difference between the top and bottom overall scores is 22 points (from a high of 77 to a low of 55). QSR spots, by contrast, have a much tighter range. That is, they have lower high end and higher low end, with a spread of only 10 points (from 76 to 66).

MUCH bigger variance than Quick-Serve Restaurants.
LICENSED MUSIC is NOT a Guarantee of Success.

LICENSED MUSIC is NOT a Guarantee of Success.

Three of the spots tested licensed well-known music for use in the ad. Santander used Joe Cocker’s “Feelin Alright”; Eastern Bank used “Join Together” by The Who; and SunTrust used the well-known song “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield. Santander scored a relatively poor 67 overall, while Eastern Bank and SunTrust tied with a 71.

To get the full analysis, or to include your ad in the next Financial Services Index report, please fill out the form.

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Results

1. US Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
76
78
76

2. PNC

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
80
80
72

3. RBC

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
74
78
78

4. American Express

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
76
76
78
74

5. USAA

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
74
72
76
76
This report includes detailed data for the top 5 brands tested. If you’d like details on other brands or attributes, or to have your brand analyzed, please contact us.

6. SunTrust

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
74
76
65

7. Eastern Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
68
76
70

8. Fifth Third Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
70
72
72

9. Chase

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
69
70
72
65

10. Ally Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
68
70
72
62

11. Discover

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
72
65

12. ETRADE

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
65
68

13. Santander

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
72
65

14. Citi

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
66
64
72
64

15. Fidelity

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
65
64
65
65

16. Bank of America

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
65
60
72
64

17. Wells Fargo

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
61
55
60
62

18. TD Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
61
60
65
62

19. Charles Schwab

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
60
57
62
60

20. Capital One

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
55
54
57
54
Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

Missing the Mark(et): A Survey of the Underutilized Bond Between Music and Advertising

One study after the next proves that sound is fundamental to a successful advertising campaign. The sad truth about this, however, is that marketers spend only 12% of their budgeting on audio.[i]

Until now, no-one could easily evaluate the best audio to use in a cost-effective way. So gut feel has been a prime driver for the music and other audio used in ads. Because no scientific justification has been possible, sometimes the choice for a marketer between an expensive audio track and a cheaper one comes down to looking at the budget available. Effectively, there’s no “sound” argument for allocating budget!

Let’s delve deeper into the theories and research that prove that 12% just doesn’t cut it.

Listen to the Numbers

No matter the product, a marketer’s end goal is always to grow a memorable brand. This is done largely through creating influential ads that evoke enough interest and emotion in the product such that the audience will buy it. So, if the goal is maximizing consumer impact, marketers need to consider sensory depth, or the way that our senses complement each other to create a complete, and therefore more impactful perception of stimuli.

Veritonic - Listen to the NumbersAnd because marketers are confined to using only two of the five human senses, (sadly we aren’t advanced enough to advertise at scale through touch, taste and smell… yet), marketers and customers insights professionals must depend on the visual-auditory dynamic.

And there is strong evidence that when properly executed, music and visuals work together to improve marketing results. Oxford professor Charles Spence found that complementary sound heightens the impact of visual communication by over 1000%. However, a poorly compatible sound decreases the effects of visuals by 86%.[ii]

TAKEAWAY: There’s overwhelming evidence that sound raises the value of an advertisement. Yet marketers continue to allocate budget as if sound doesn’t matter.

Classical Conditioning

Customer insights and marketing professionals know all about classical conditioning, also known as Pavlovian conditioning. This is the process of pairing a product with a well-liked piece of music to generate a preference for the product. This creates a new association between the two factors, the music (with positive associations) and the product (which may be unknown). The converse also applies; neutral products accompanied by undesirable sensations generate an adverse association with the original neutral product.

Classical Conditioning with SoundIn 1982, Gerald Gorn performed the hallmark study that developed this framework.[iii] He paired an advertisement for a neutral colored pen – either light blue or beige – with both pleasant and unpleasant music. His test subjects were asked to pick a pen after being exposed to an ad with one or the other versions of the music. He found that the color of pen the subjects selected was heavily influenced by the music the subject was exposed: the color paired with the well-liked music was 79% more likely to be selected than the color paired with unpleasant music.

TAKEAWAY: An effective way to create positive interest is to complement the product with likeable music.

Peripheral Processing and Low Involvement Ads

One of the best ways to create these positive impressions — for, say, a product in an ad — is through peripheral cues. These are the features of an advertisement that are not the conveyed information about the product, like copy. Examples of peripheral cues in ads are background music, or the voice and appearance of a spokesperson appearing in the ad.

Veritonic Peripheral Sound in AdvertisingHow do we know this? In 1989, Judy and Mark I. Alpert showed that background music influences product choice through mood inducement.[iv] Other researchers like University of Freiburg professor Mark Zander similarly found that music can convey information about the brand or product being advertised in ways that words cannot.[v] And Debra Riley and Mark Andersen found that in low-involvement ads, or ads in situations that are unlikely to receive focused attention (such as at the end of a long sequence of commercials), the product-relevant information actually takes a backseat to the peripheral persuasion cues.[vi]

Simply put, these researchers have proved that music can and does distort the perception of brand or product irrespective of the portrayal of the product quality itself. Esteemed University of Leicester psychologist Adrian North has rooted years of research into this exact theory.[vii]

TAKEAWAY: For those who still think sound doesn’t matter: Yikes.

Musical Fit and Congruence

Veritonic helps with musical fit in advertisingMusic has an impact on “high involvement” ads too. These ads work on consumers through the active cognition process of the listener, or the method in which we rationally consider and internalize information presented to us, a distinction put forth by Richard Petty, Tom Cacioppo and David Schumann in 1983.[viii] Music supports these ads through “Musical fit,” or the music’s relevance to or reinforcement of the ad’s central message.

In 1991, Deborah MacInnis and C. Whan Park found that a high musical fit aids in ingraining the basic brand message and product in the listener’s mind.[ix] They also found that it can positively impact how the product information is perceived. This congruence, or the degree to which the musical choice suits the central ad message, bypasses conditional responses and directly amplifies the likeability of the advertisement itself.

TAKEAWAY: No matter the ad, music can reinforce and amplify its message.

Congruency and Likeability Matter. Familiarity Does Not?

Congruency and Familiarity in music in advertisingMichael Blecha of Butler University posits that congruency is not just about picking a great song, but rather about perfecting its interaction with the ad.[x] Congruency increases the more the song suits the content of the advertisement. Blecha examined the role of three factors of a soundtrack and assessed how much they really mattered: music congruency, likeability, and familiarity. Congruency and likeability increased product interest and ad favorability. However, the relationship between music familiarity and positive response was not statistically significant.

It makes sense: creating an interest in a brand or product is not an unprovoked endeavor. Audiences will only choose to learn more or purchase a product if the ad activates an urge in them to do so.

TAKEAWAY: Engagement requires either an emotional connection to an advertisement via a pleasant sound, or a rational connection between the sound and the message.

So How Can Marketers Use Music to Amplify Their Messages?

Music in advertising takeaways from VeritonicThere are two main take-outs from the research findings.

  1. First, brands that wish to emphasize utility and product quality, especially in high involvement ads, need to utilize congruent audio to achieve a significant musical fit.
  2. Second, advertisers seeking to increase brand familiarity and popularity in low-involvement spots must utilize classical conditioning through likeable music and periphery cues. However, the subjectivity of musical fitness means it differs between demographics. Thus, it is paramount for brands to pre-test audio tracks for upmost effectiveness and resonance within the target audience.

Finally, it is the market researchers’ responsibility to push the envelope when it comes to quantification of the acoustics-emotion tandem. Most research has focused on quantifying music along the dimensions of Valence (what specific emotions are evoked) and Arousal (how strongly those emotions are evoked). But marketers don’t speak in that way.

Rather, Marketers and Customer Insights professionals need a platform to translate the measurement of music in their marketing into their own language.

Sound matters.

Music and other media of sound have the unmatched ability of evoking emotions in a matter of milliseconds. Some of the best advertisers in the world have long recognized this: Coca Cola, Nationwide, and Kit Kat; the list goes on.

The world is screaming that sound matters… and that’s music to our ears!

Have another great case study to add to this list? Share your suggestions by leaving a comment below.

  1. 12%:Martin Lindstrom, Brand Sense, , https://books.google.com/books?id=tzPrvHf2WIAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. Charles Spence: https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/id/466945/Knoeferle%20Multisensory%20brand%20serach%202016.pdf and http://digitalistnetwork.com/audio-branding-if-youre-not-doing-it-youre-failing-at-marketing/
  3. Gerald Gorn,
    The Effects of Music in Advertising on Choice Behavior: A Classical Conditioning ApproachAuthor(s): Gerald J. Gorn Source:  Journal of Marketing,
    Vol. 46, No. 1 (Winter, 1982), pp. 94-101 http://www.academia.edu/11010337/The_Effects_of_Music_in_Advertising_on_Choice_Behavior_A_Classical_Conditioning_Approach
  4. Background Music As an Influence in Consumer Mood and Advertising Responses
    Judy I. Alpert, St. Edwards University
    Mark I. Alpert, The University of Texas at Austin, http://acrwebsite.org/volumes/6949/volumes/v16/NA-16
  5. Musical Influences in Advertising: How music modifies first impressions of product endorsers and brands, Mark F. Zander University of Freiburg, Germany
    http://parc.typepad.com/files/music-in-advertising—mark-zander—psychology-of-music-ms.pdf
  6. Debra Riley and Mark Anderson in 2015
    The impact of music pleasantness and fit on advertising attitudes for low and high involvement consumers
    http://www.mbd.ase.ro/RePEc/aes/icmbdj/2015/ICMBDJ_V1_2015_69.pdf
  7. Adrian North, Uses of Music in Everyday Life http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/mp.2004.22.1.41?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents, http://audio-branding-academy.org/congress/2k09/speaker/prof-dr-adrian-north/
  8. Richard Petty, John T Cacioppo, David Schumann http://www.psy.ohio-state.edu/petty/PDF%20Files/1983-JCR-Petty,Cacioppo,Schumann.pdf
  9. Deborah MacInnis and C. Whan Park, The Differential Role of Characteristics of Music on High and Low Involvement Consumer’s Processing of Ads https://msbfile03.usc.edu/digitalmeasures/macinnis/intellcont/music_high_low91-1.pdf
  10. http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1251&context=ugtheses
    Michael Blecha, Butler University 2015
Categories
Advertising

5 Takeaways from the 2017 Sync Summit

Veritonic sponsored the Sync Summit on June 12-13 at Webster Hall in New York City. The Sync Summit is an annual conference that brings together an audience of musicians, producers, music supervisors, and the people that license music for television, film and radio. The event is a unique opportunity to learn about the operational side of so-called “sync licensing”, short for the license to synchronize a piece of music with visuals or other media. music selection

Many of the panelists were music supervisors, and the discussion revealed a lot about the challenges they face when searching for and licensing music. There was also much discussion about the best ways for artists to stand out from an increasingly crowded field of rights holders looking to license their music.

Here are 5 key takeaways from the Sync Summit:

1) Getting Music Prepared to Sync is Difficult

There are three common types of difficulties that music supervisors and marketers encounter over and over again.

Music that isn’t pre-cleared

One of the biggest themes of the Sync Summit was rights clearance. Music supervisors often receive music that isn’t pre-cleared. The music selection process often happens at “crunch time”, and going through a time-consuming legal process to clear the rights at this point is not ideal. This legal process often entails contacting and calling several people who claim ownership of the music, which means more time is wasted figuring out rights issues than focusing on a music pitch. Pre-clearing the rights to music, and documenting those rights, is critical to a successful sync.

Music that doesn’t have metadata

Music that isn’t pre-cleared is a problem in itself, but music that is pre-cleared but isn’t labeled as such can be equally problematic. If the metadata attached to a track does not indicate whether the music is pre-cleared, supervisors are more likely to ignore music submissions (one of the key reasons supervisors often work with trusted sync agents or libraries). With a vast quantity of music sent to them daily, decision makers need to know quickly if the music in front of them is ready to use.

Metadata also can (and should) include contact details, as well as genres, moods, etc. These seemingly simple items will help music supervisors discover and find an artist’s music when they’re looking for it.

Music that doesn’t have stems

A music supervisor might love a track, but doesn’t want to use all the individual components that make up the final track. For instance, what if they decide that the vocals don’t support the story or message, but they still want to use the instrumentals? In scenarios like this, having the individual files that get mixed for the master recording, called stems, is very useful. If the artist provides stems to a music supervisor, it makes it easy for them to tweak the music however needed to make it fit the ad.

This also gives rights holders more bang for their buck. An artist can have the same piece of music synced multiple times because he or she can create different variations of the same track that are customized for each project.

2) Too Much Music!

Music Supervisors receive a ton of both solicited and unsolicited emails from artists and other music sources daily. It’s incredibly difficult for music supervisors to sift through all of these emails and tracks, and as a result, a lot of music gets buried deep in the inbox. record selectionWhile many music supervisors want to make an effort to go back to something that piqued their interest, sometimes these good intentions don’t come to fruition and music continues to get buried under more music. For artists, this means they have to find a way to stand out in all this clutter.

The music supervisors emphasized that in order to stand out, artists need to communicate with concise emails that are descriptive (make it clear what genres, moods, etc. the tracks contain, and how they’re responsive to the search the supervisor is conducting) and that contain a limited number of tracks. The more tracks they send, the more likely they will be ignored. Email itself has its own metadata — music supervisors will use the search tool in their email to find music.

3) Budgets Continue to be Challenging

Budgeting for music continues to be a challenge. Music supervisors need to know when they can and cannot present a piece of music to a client because it might not fit the budget. For instance, they shouldn’t present a well-known artist if it risks disappointing the client if it turns out the budget is too small. Instead they try to find soundalike artists that will fit their budget.

4) The Role of Music Supervisors Is Getting More Strategic

Ward Hake from 21st Century Fox made the point that music supervisors are playing a more strategic role in content production. This can take several forms. One example is music supervisors playing a greater role in the financials and budgeting of a production, like giving feedback to producers and directors that “for episode 9, you don’t need a $40K song for 10 seconds in a bar scene.” He also sees more of a role for music supervisors working to translate feedback to and from creative teams to studios, using music to help tune a production: suggesting options that will maintain the director’s vision while being responsive to the studio’s feedback.

Nick Felder from Coca Cola made a similar point. Coke has been noted many times for being at the forefront of using music to connect with consumers. Coke is in so many countries that a great deal of this music activation activity is decentralized. But for large global events, like the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics, Coke will begin planning 18-24 months out for “sound that will resonate globally.”

5) Artists Increasingly Open to Sync

However, it wasn’t all gloom and hard work. Eric Shaw from Sony said attitudes among artists toward sync has changed dramatically over 11 years since he started. Specifically, artists and rights-holders are far more receptive to sync licenses opportunities. Where once syncing was looked down on, now it’s welcomed, and frequently a key part of the monetization strategy.

That’s our wrap-up on the 2017 NYC edition of the Sync Summit!

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

Take(away) 2: Additional Insights from March AdNess 2017

With March AdNess 2017 now well in the rear view mirror, we wanted to look at some of the other big takeways from the tournament. Specifically, we wanted to focus on 2 areas: how varied the results were by region; and the phenomenon of “Unlucky Losers”: essentially, the spots that had the bad luck to be paired with the top contenders, but were themselves great spots.

Regional Results:

The Takeaway: be mindful of your target audience’s geography.

Regional Summary

Unsurprisingly, since it was the overall winner, Reese’s “Spring Song” ad took the top spot overall in three out of four regions in the U.S. The only region that didn’t give it the top spot was the West, where it still placed second, two points behind Nabisco and Ritz’s “Crisp & Thins” spot.

Ritz was a strong performer throughout the tournament. “Crisp & Thins” showed up in the top two spots in both the West and Midwest.

Capital One was also a strong performer, only losing to Reese’s in the final. But Capital One got lucky: it actually came in third place for its overall score! It benefited from a good draw in the tournament, competing against a relatively weak ad from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the first round. In fact, Capital One was only in the top two overall for the Northeast.

Ranking by Region

Northeast

In the Northeast, Reese’s and Capital One were the clear favorites, with only a single point separating their overall scores.

Coca-Cola was close behind, just a single point behind Capital One. The Northeast was good to Coke, scoring the “Waltz” spot more favorably (81 overall) than any other region. In fact, Coca-Cola didn’t make it to the top four in any other region!. The South gave it a 77, the West a 76 and the Midwest gave it its lowest overall score, a 73.

South
In the South, Reese’s and LG tied for the top spot overall with Infiniti, Dove, and Ritz Crisp & Thins tied for third place.

West
In the West, Ritz Crisp and Thins actually took the top spot with a two point lead over Reese’s which came in second place. Capital One and LG were close behind.

Midwest
In the Midwest, Reese’s took the top spot with Ritz Crisp & Thins only three points behind. Infiniti and Dove tied for third.

What were the final ads’ strongest attributes by region?

The Northeast, South, and Midwest all agreed that Reese’s “Spring Song” was particularly Happy. This was a top Emotion for these three regions. The West, however, were particularly Excited by this ad, and the Northeast and South found the ad to be extremely Likable.

For Capital One’s “Ringtone”, both the West and Midwest agreed that the comical ad was especially Happy, whereas the Northeast found it particularly Likable and Playful. The South, on the other hand, thought it was especially Energetic.

Unlucky Losers? (Or, Ads That Got Knocked Out Early That Actually Performed Very Well Overall)

The Takeaway: great ads are hiding in plain sight.

Nabisco had the bad luck to be paired with eventual champion Reese’s in the second round. If Nabisco had been matched up with any other ad in round two, it would have made it to the final four (though Reese’s still would have taken the win in a finals matchup). The West, in particular, showed a strong preference for the Ritz Crisp & Thins ad. For this region, the Crisp & Thins ad took the top spot with a two point lead over Reese’s which came in second place. Capital One and LG were close behind. Thus, despite getting knocked out early on, the Ritz ad did have a pretty “explosive” impact.

Similarly, LG’s “Mascots” couldn’t match the strength of Reese’s “Spring Song” in the first round, but it was only two points behind in the Feelings round. Overall Mascots was only four points behind Reese’s. It tied with Capital One for fourth place overall. The South, in particular, scored the LG ad quite favorably, where it tied Reese’s for the top spot.

Conversely the LG ad scored a little less favorably for the Northeast and Midwest. The “Mascots” didn’t make it to the top four ads for these regions. While it was not powerful enough to beat Reese’s in the first round, and didn’t score quite as favorably with the Northeast and Midwest, it was still one of the top ads overall.

The last “unlucky” spot was Dove Real Men+Care (Unilever). Their ad got knocked out in the first round of the tournament by fellow CPG giant Nabisco (Ritz Crisp & Thins). Despite this, it actually held up pretty well across each region. It tied for second place in the South, and for third in the Midwest. For the full audience, it tied with Infiniti for fifth place overall.

The Takeaways:

In our report on the Finals, we pointed out that Nostalgia played a big role in this year’s top spots. We also saw big variations in results by age group (millennials vs 35+), suggesting that the sentiments anchoring nostalgia may vary substantially by life stage.

In this post, we highlighted the differences arising from different regional associations with the music and visuals in each spot.

Lastly, even some of the spots that “didn’t do well” actually did really well: they just had the misfortune of going up against a juggernaut.

If you have additional questions, or would like to dive more deeply into the analysis, please contact us or let us know in the comments.

See you at next year’s Tournament!