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Audience Insights

For Voices That Sway the Electorate, Listen to the Data

Veritonic Audio Intelligence Guides Political Ads In Texas

What’s your most top-of-mind product these days? Disinfectant wipes? Laundry detergent? A mattress that helps you sleep better? Many don’t necessarily think of political candidates as products, but if you do, they’re surely right up there, especially with election day only a few weeks away. 

As with any product that brands are trying to sell (whether generally or to capitalize on a particular, critical moment), political campaigns turn to advertising to make an impact. If they’re out to make those ads as effective as possible — and they’re savvy — here’s what else candidates and their proponents know:

  • Sound matters a lot. With audio’s repeatedly-proven ability to create emotional response, stick in your head, and drive action, political campaigns work hard to put the right voices in their ads. We examined this previously in the first episode of The Sonic Truth podcast.
  • Leveraging data yields the smartest choices. Election season brings a deluge of ads, many of which obviously start to sound similar. While it’s hard to know which are most effective to the naked ear, data proves that some work better than others. To not use that kind of insight is simply irresponsible campaigning that could cost a candidate an election. 

The People, a PAC that’s dedicated to supporting progressive candidates for state legislatures though highly-effective and cost-efficient ad campaigns, gets all of the above. Founded by media luminaries who understand not only storytelling but the best ways to ensure that people hear those stories, the organization ensures that data drives their decision making.

With that, as they were choosing creative options for ad campaigns for the Texas state legislature, they leveraged the Veritonic platform to quantify the effectiveness of several different voiceovers. The goal was to find and run the ads that would sound most “familiar,” engage people, and drive the most action.

Analyzing each ad with Machine Listening and Learning (MLAL™) — which correlates each spot’s inherent audio qualities with thousands like it in the Veritonic platform to make a prediction — the system determined that the ads voiced by “Jules” would perform the best. The People PAC selected that voice to represent the campaign — here’s one spot that used it.

The winning voice had the highest overall score (Veritonic Audio Score)*, which was well above the benchmark for “government and organizations.” It also scored highest for key qualities they were looking for, driving a particularly wide spread for engagement.

Yael Melamede, an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker who’s a founder and creative producer for The People PAC, said: 

We had a number of great voice auditions to choose from but I wanted an impartial/unbiased perspective on them. It was great to have some data around who was likely to be most effective in order to guide our final choice.

Ads are, of course, only one factor that helps determine the success or failure of the political “product” — the candidate. But when there’s so much at stake in the outcome, it’s hard to argue that every decision that goes into that campaign shouldn’t be based on evidence of what works the best.

* Veritonic Audio Score is a composite of recall, engagement, intent and emotional attribute scores.

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Audience Insights

In tricky times, the world turns to audio (again)

This article has been updated to include a new list of companies that are making audio content to support listeners. See below. 

From March 1933 to June 1944, Roosevelt addressed the American people in some 30 speeches broadcast via radio, speaking on a variety of topics from banking to unemployment to fighting fascism in Europe. Millions of people found comfort and renewed confidence in these speeches, which became known as the “fireside chats.” (history.com)

Not that he had too many other options at that point, but FDR clearly understood the power of radio to speak to and comfort the American people in a time of crisis. In both his choice of words and the manner in which he delivered them — informally, with calm — Roosevelt was a master of leveraging the medium to placate public concern, even if temporarily.

In our own current period of complexity, audio’s ability to comfort the world is more powerful than ever. Part of that power lies in the sheer number of options now available to us, from radio to streaming services to podcasts. Some of it surely lies in the fact that audio programming can be churned out easily wherever you are — perfect for the age of social distancing! 

But perhaps the most powerful part — as it was in the case of FDR — is built from smart, compassionate people. Getting up-to-the-minute news on developments is, of course, critical, but we’re talking about something different. Coming up with innovative ways to capitalize on the medium and develop programs that engage, distract, or otherwise remind us that there’s still a lot of fun to be had, is just as critical. We should be thankful for the people who do it.

Update: April 1, 2020

As we all get a little more settled in our new normal (at least what will be normal for a little while), we wanted to continue sharing the ways audio – be that radio, podcasting, or music – is here to comfort us.  There are obviously plenty more, as you see/hear them, don’t forget to share them! 

  • We are loving Pandora’s social campaign #WFHTips where members of the Pandora team share how they are keeping calm these days. This example is from our friend Steve Keller, Sonic Strategy Director at Pandora who practices ‘Virtual Commuting’.
  • Never expected 2020 was going to be the year that you took up a second career as a full-time teacher? Neither did we. Our partners at SiriusXM are giving parents a break with ‘Kids Place Live’ radio.
  • One perk for music lovers working at home is you can now listen out loud instead of through AirPods and have between-zoom-call solo dance parties. Veritonic team members were asked to each pick a song to add to a playlist with other audio industry members — check out our top picks! Isolation Radio.
  • Now trending on Stitcher is Westwood One’s new podcast: Scott Galloway’s The Prof G Show. A little humor and economic advice can go a long way in uncertain times like these.
  • Last but not least, sometimes being in the know can calm nerves. In case you want to stay up-to-date on the latest news (minus the fake news) Coronavirus Daily by our partners at NPR is our go-to.

If you wish to give to others during this time, consider MusiCares’ coronavirus relief fund. 

Here’s our favorites from last week:

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Advertising Audience Insights

What Winning Audio Ads Sounded Like in 2019 — 5 Key Learnings

What do you count on at the end of the year? Skating at Rockefeller Center? The annual showing of Scrooge (the 1951 British version, thank you.)? Eating until you pass out? 

For a lot of us, it is, of course, the ubiquitous “best of” or “year end” analyses, many of which focus on ads. What would this time of year be without the great reveal of this year’s John Lewis ad, the tear-jerkers, the massive missteps… dividing co-workers and families everywhere?! Great fun all around.

If at least part of all that analysis centers around cultural relevance, then the area to analyze going into 2020 is — from a channel perspective — audio. Everyone’s walking around with earbuds — when they’re not, they’re talking to a smart speaker. People aren’t looking at TV ads 61% of the time*, but they’re hearing them. Everyone and their grandmother are making podcasts, and a lot of new, innovative technologies are enabling them — and their advertisers — to turn great content into great business. The list goes on, and it’s only going to grow.

With that, what made for the best audio ads in 2019? We ran an analysis of the ad creative (in podcasts, streaming audio and radio) that flowed through the Veritonic Audio Intelligence Platform over the course of the year to find out. 

Powered by Machine Listening and Learning (M-LAL™), the platform analyzed thousands of 2019 audio ads — assessing each creative against myriad characteristics, correlating them with second-by-second human response data, and assigning a Veritonic Audio Score. Each score bakes in consumers’ emotional response, the ads’ ability to drive recall, impact on intent to purchase and engagement with each asset.

Brands with winning audio ads included Tommy John, Burt’s Bees, and Vital Farms.

Here are the five key learnings about the top 100 audio ads of 2019:

  1. Leverage female voice 

Consistent with a lot of research we did this year (with our friends at Westwood One, for example), data around the power of female voice continues to debunk the long-accepted assumption that consumers prefer male voices in audio ads. While, historically, male voices have been used around 75% of the time in ads, female voices test as well — and often better — than their male counterparts. Analysis of the top ads on Veritonic supports the trend.

  1. Size Matters

In this case, the shorter the better. A strong majority of winning ads were 15 and 30 seconds long. While a few non-standard-length ads (eg, 45 seconds) were tested in the system over the year, only 16 longer-format creatives made the top set (60-second ads). As some of our partners continue to experiment with less conventional, longer formats — many of which we’re seeing in podcasting — we’ll see how these numbers change in 2020.

  1. Don’t muddy ads with too many voices

From smart speakers to the ever-present “host v. announcer” podcast fracas, voice has never been more important. But, as this data shows, there is power in singularity of voice. 2019 audio ads featuring one voice, as opposed to several, brought a focus to those messages that clearly resonated with consumers. 

  1. Music isn’t a given for ad success

While melody may make for stronger audio logos (as we demonstrated in our most recent Audio Logo Index), the practice may not always extend to using music in ads. Of the highest-scoring audio ads in 2019, over 75% did not include a music bed, possibly suggesting that the added secondary element may distract from the primacy of message. 

  1. Direct response is a mixed bag

Compared with something like digital display advertising, audio is obviously still a bit challenged when it comes to driving fast, easy conversion. Voice command/commerce will likely start to change that soon (as evidenced by, for example, Pandora’s recently-launched interactive voice ads). In the meantime, 2019 audio ads that included a URL for a listener to visit performed similarly to those that did not.

Happy end-of-year-analysis to all. Look for new kinds of data out of the Veritonic platform in 2020 to help you understand and quantify the most effective way to use sound.

In the meantime, learn more about Veritonic Audio Score. And if you have any questions about this analysis, contact us.

*Nielsen Neuroscience

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

The Sweet Sound of Insurance

The 2019 Audio Logo Index is out now!
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Is it possible that, these days, we’re hearing brands more than we’re seeing them? There’s a lot of evidence out there that would suggest we are.

Start with the simple fact that, according to Nielsen Neuro Science, TV ads aren’t seen 61% of the time — but they’re heard.

Next, I’ll be the millionth person this week to remind you of how hot podcasting is right now — from the fact that one-in-three Americans listened to a podcast last month, to Spotify’s acquisitions of Gimlet and Anchor. Once some of the growing pains of its ad model get worked through, the opportunity for brands to more deeply impact people through podcasting will only grow.

The smart speaker opportunity may be even more exciting; its full potential is still unknown, but the big-win possibilities are already blaring. When, for example, voice commerce truly kicks in and it becomes common for someone to regularly “talk to” their favorite brands and buy from them directly, we can all pretty safely declare those businesses the Leonardos of the audio renaissance.

But that’s smart speakers phase two. To get there, brands first need to be entrenched in their customers’ psyches, and an impactful signature sound is one reliable way in.

Of all of the components of the holistic sonic brand — anthem, functional sound, etc. — the audio logo is paramount. From ads to experiences, the logo is the quick, ubiquitous identifier that triggers (hopefully positive) emotions in consumers — a little sound with outsized impact. It needs to be right.

Based on the freshly-released results of our 2019 Audio Logo Index, the annual ranking and analysis of the sonic logos of some of the biggest companies in the world, insurance brands seem to be getting it better than anyone. That sector led all others, with Farmers® and Nationwide sonic logos claiming the top two spots in the US, and Liberty Mutual scoring the highest for recall.

This year’s Index goes even deeper than before, with new insights into major businesses’ mnemonics — the power of repetition, the ideal placement of brand mentions in an ad — and much more.

Download the Index and have a look, and check out what The Drum has to say about it. Then talk to us about how this data — and much more coming out of the Veritonic platform — can help you ensure that, when someone asks you about your audio strategy, you have an answer that’s leading you toward your own big win.

The 2019 Audio Logo Index is out now!
Download
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Advertising Audience Insights

Can A Scoring Standard Make Audio Creative Better?

“Despite each 30-second commercial costing upwards of $5 million, on par with recent years, there was a lot of mediocrity.” – AdAge

If you believe certain narratives in the media, you might think that creative is getting a little knocked around these days. The above quote comes from a review of ads from the last Super Bowl, and it’s not the only one like it. A lot of people seem to be complaining that creativity in marketing could stand to be just a touch more creative.

Here’s another common narrative – that a focus on the mechanics of advertising, powered by robots, has often left creative somewhat neglected:

“The last few years the industry has been laser-focused on efficiencies … What hasn’t happened much until recently is taking feedback from the data and trading and incorporating that back into creative.” – AdExchanger

Critical mechanics and efficiencies, like programmatic, for instance, are only growing as AI and machine learning flourish. But, as a recent Nielsen study found, targeting, reach and frequency – the levers most easily pulled by automation – are together only responsible for 36% of the effectiveness of an ad. Creative’s impact on ad effectiveness? 47%.

Some other science-driven tactics, like ASMR, are starting to infiltrate ad creative, but are people more fascinated by how that creative is being delivered than the creative itself? When we tested Michelob’s ASMR Super Bowl ad, the response was underwhelming.

Creative “Magic” at Scale?

Ensuring creative hits home with audiences is complex, in part because not all channels are created equal. How do you maintain a high standard of creative when – as with a buying method like programmatic – when you’re trying to do it across billions of ads?

The creative fodder of Super Bowl (or Grammy or Oscar) ads – big-budget productions that often rightly end up on the awards circuit – is obviously different than creative you might find in a long-tail display ad, at the end of a podcast, or on your local radio station. And if, per the above, one can’t even guarantee that the big effort put into the former automatically equals big success, where does that leave the latter?

Audio’s double-edged sword

Audio, as we’ve been hearing frequently, is undergoing a “renaissance,” from podcasts about every subject under the sun, to the fact that you’re probably talking to your smart speaker right now. Does that renewed emphasis mean audio ad creative has achieved a new level of awesomeness? Not necessarily.

Audio has both inherent creative advantages and disadvantages. For instance, it doesn’t have the benefit of a great visual to give it extra power. Or perhaps because, historically, there’s been so much emphasis on big TV ads – and fascination with their big cost – especially around the aforementioned events, people just don’t expect as much from pure audio channels.

In our new audio reality, that expectation is surely changing.

Audio can also do things that other channels and formats cannot. The host-read ad of podcasts, for example – based on precedents set at the dawn of TV and radio – is now often the ad format of choice, connecting trusted host to a product.

Does it guarantee success? Not necessarily.

A common metric to raise the bar

No matter which of the above scenarios resonates with you the most, whether some audio creative needs triage or some just a little love, a robust scoring system will help make it more effective. Why? Because a common, easily-understood metric for the power of audio assets – from ads to voice to sonic branding elements – gives businesses a simple touchpoint for where they stand relative to others in the market, and where they need to improve.

Creative effectiveness data has, in some cases, led to potentially industry-transforming findings. A study we powered for Westwood One, for example, proved that disclaimers in auto ads on the radio – generally thought to be a necessary evil – did not negatively-impact perception of those creatives. Several other studies have proven that consumers in many instances prefer female voiceovers to male, bucking the longstanding trend of 75% of voiceovers being spoken by men.

Not every finding can transform the market. But a fast, reliable way to gauge similar truths about their own audio creative can help transform a business.

People and robots come together

Some audio creative scoring does exist (for example, Ace Metrix asks about an ad’s music when they test a video ad). The question of how it’s typically done takes us back to that dichotomy between human and machine. Only a human can bring that true “magic” to creative. Similarly, only human response to that creative can bring insight into its true emotional power. With that, some businesses test with human panels, leverage neuroscience, and the like.

But what of efficiency? Like Sinatra sang about love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. The best insights in the world aren’t worth much unless you can discover and act on them nimbly; the brand that’s engaging people with high-impact creative on smart speakers right now is miles ahead of the brand that’s still poring over data.

When the efficiency of machine builds in – and constantly learns from – that human judgment, the true path to better creative is not only revealed, it’s revealed quickly and easily.

A score built like this will not automatically lead to superlative audio creative everywhere. But it will, in combination with industry and platform-specific norms and benchmarks, provide much-needed tools that help make creative as core to the renaissance as smart speakers or podcasts.

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Advertising Audience Insights

NEW DATA: Michelob achieves calm, but does it win?

The Power of Audio in Super Bowl Ads

If you’re playing along with the periodic release of Super Bowl ads in the lead up to the big game, you may have noticed a small trend: a few of them are clearly counting on the power of audio for their success.

Specifically, as Ad Age reported, at least a couple of brands, including Pepsi and Michelob, are leaning on the audio phenomenon known as “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response” (ASMR) to make a more impactful ad. ASMR, in short, prompts people to “experience a calming or tingling sensation in response to certain sounds like whispering and finger tapping.”

It’s certainly the right time to be leveraging the power of audio — from smart speaker adoption tripling in the past year, to the fact that TV ads aren’t seen 61% of the time (Nielsen Neuroscience). So Pepsi, likely understanding that and a lot more about the “audio renaissance,” puts Cardi B, apparently a loyal devotee of ASMR, in a diner, tapping her nails on a can of Pepsi.

Michelob goes much deeper with the technique, putting Zoe Kravitz on a mountain in Hawaii, drawing a quiet focus to every sound, from fizzy pour to breathy whisper. The ad even has Zoe sitting at a table with two microphones, a direct nod to the way most ASMR videos are made.

Still of the Michelob ad.

Will the power of audio help determine a clear ad winner on game day? We tested these ads on the Veritonic platform in two phases, along with a few other ads released early, to find out.

  • In phase one, six ads were assessed across a range of emotional attributes — happiness, relaxation, uniqueness and more — as well as for their ability to drive purchase of the product.*
  • In phase two, we tested the audio portion of the ads alone to see if perceptions of the spots change.
https://youtu.be/9sYElEbRzKA
Pre-released Super Bowl Ads (full ad with video/audio)

All the results are above, but here are a few standout learnings:

  1. If Michelob’s goal was to create a feeling of relaxation amidst the chaos of the Super Bowl — “a disruptive quiet,” in the words of Azania Andrews, VP of Michelob Ultra — then they nailed it. The ASMR-fueled ad scored the highest for relaxation. It also showed a reasonable lift in purchase intent.
  2. On the other hand, the Michelob ad tested relatively low across other measures, from “makes me feel good” to likeability, suggesting that promoting a feeling of calmness alone might not be enough to drive a broader positive response to the ad.
  3. The Pepsi ad did the best overall, with high scores for happiness, authenticity, likability, playfulness, and uniqueness, perhaps driven by the bigger star-power (Steve Carell, Cardi B and Lil Jon) and humor.
  4. In the AUDIO-ONLY test, the Pepsi and Pringles ads remained at the top, suggesting that, whether they intended to or not, they’re less dependent on visual to be effective.
  5. Likewise, the Michelob ad, engineered to be driven by audio, ranked at the bottom of the audio-only test, perhaps because the beautiful visuals aren’t there to support the ad’s frequent silent spells.
Pre-released Super Bowl Ads (audio only)

When brands and audio platforms are making audio ads, the diligent ones aren’t just recycling the audio from a TV ad — they’re custom-creating based on what’s right for each channel. But, as we note above, there’s a new reality that’s been created by new watching habits: now, a majority of the time, TV ads are heard but not seen. And, no surprise, not every ad creator is thinking about that reality as they create.

It seems that those who are — the brands engineering their ads to ensure that they don’t necessarily need to be seen to be effective — are following the winning playbook.

See and hear all of the above spots (and more) here.

* measured by asking how likely people are to purchase the product before exposure to the ad, and after.

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

80’s music in ads ‘Rock(s) the casbah’ for Millennials

Nostalgia is known to be a powerful emotion and is a common theme in advertising. Nostalgic cues delivered by music in particular are a dominant feature in TV ads:

  • 60% of YouTube’s most-watched global ads in 2018 featured popular music, 80% of which was nostalgic music;
  • and last year most of the major UK Christmas TV ads featured nostalgic cues, 59% of which included nostalgic music
    This got me thinking about what type of nostalgic music is the most effective, especially when on closer examination of the 2017 major UK Christmas TV ads, I found that the nostalgic tracks used span many decades (see figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1 UK Christmas Ads

Figure 2 UK Christmas Ads
Figures 1 and 2: 2017 UK Christmas ads analysed: Aldi, Amazon, Argos, Asda, Barbour, BBC, Boots, Debenhams, Heathrow Airport, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Lidl, Matalan, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Sky Cinema,Tesco, TK Maxx, Toys R Us, Very.co.uk, Waitrose

A lack of research in this area inspired me to focus on this for my MBA dissertation, and one of the key research findings was surprising:

Millennials showed a higher emotional response and a more positive attitude to the brand when watching an ad featuring 80s music than watching an ad featuring music from their teenage years. Why?

You would expect Millennials to respond more positively to the music from their own youth as research shows that the peak musical memory age is from when you were between 14 and 17 years old (1, 2).

But musical memories are also formed from hearing music played by your parents or grandparents (tracks from their teenage years) and this is known as a ‘cascading reminiscence bump’ period (3).

These two musical memory periods differ in the way they evoke nostalgic emotions as tracks from another generation will usually evoke positive, happy memories of ‘the way it was’ (4) and are associated with a time before you were born. This ‘historical’ nostalgic reaction is less risky than evoking personal nostalgia, which can remind you of ‘the way I was’. Music can instantly transport you back to a personal moment in time and if a song is associated with a negative event in your life, this negativity can instantly be transferred to the brand if featured in an ad.

So, what if your brand targets both Millennials and Generation X? How can you choose a track which will evoke positive emotions for both age-groups?

Do the ‘Safety dance’

Using gut feel to choose the right song will get you a long way, but with large media budgets in play and ROI always front of mind, pre-testing your ad’s audio content (i.e. doing the safety dance) should be the tune of the day.

Television delivers 71% of total advertising-generated profit, yet it is pervasive with 2.6 billion ads seen in the UK every day with each person ‘viewing’ on average 43 ads daily (5). Brands need to stand out but not just visually as ‘viewing’ does not mean consumers are paying attention – 21% of people leave the room during ad-breaks and 40% look at a second device. However, consumers still ‘hear’ the commercials (6) making the audio elements and music in an ad paramount.

Using nostalgic music in an ad is one way to get stand-out and brand recall, increase brand attitude and achieve better overall ad performance, but how do you know that the track you choose is evoking the right nostalgic feelings i.e. ‘the way it was’?

The music selection clearly needs to fit a brand’s values as well as the ad creative but understanding the target audience’s emotional response to the music is also essential. And the only way for brands to determine this is to test music with their customers right at the beginning of the advertising process.

References

(1) Hemming, J. (2013), ‘Is there a peak in popular music preference at a certain song-specific age? A replication of Holbrook & Schindler’s 1989 study’, Musicae Scientiae, 17(3), pp.293-304.

(2) Gerlich, R., Browning, L., and Westermann, L. (2010), ‘I’ve Got The Music In Me: A Study Of Peak Musical Memory Age And The Implications For Future Advertising’, Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 7(2)

(3) Krumhansl, C. and Zupnick, J. (2013) ‘Cascading Reminiscence Bumps in Popular Music’, Pyschological Science, 24(10), pp.2057-2068.

(4) Marchegiani, C. and Phau, I. (2011), ‘The value of historical nostalgia for marketing management’, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 29(2), pp.108-122.

(5) Thinkbox (2018) TV Advertising’s Killer Charts – What Every Marketer Should Know. Available at: https://www.thinkbox.tv/Research/Nickable-Charts/Killer-Charts/TV-advertisings-killer-charts-full-deck (Accessed: June 1, 2018).

(6) Council for Research Excellence (2017). Nielsen Neuroscience Study: The Mind of The Viewer. Available at: http://www.researchexcellence.com/files/pdf/2017-03/id423_cre_the_mind_of_the_viewer_arf_presentation_3.14.17.pdf (Accessed: June 1, 2018).

Findings are part of an MBA Thesis by Michelle Heywood: Identifying Generation Differences: The Impact of Nostalgic Music in TV Advertising on Emotional Response, Brand Attitude and Purchase Intent, Brunel University London

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Advertising Audience Insights

NEW DATA: Radio Rocks The Vote

Katz Radio Group proves the power of radio to move swing voters in Florida

Katz Radio Group proves the power of radio to move swing voters in Florida

Greetings from Orlando, where team Veritonic is all over Radio Show, the industry’s annual confab.

As Katz radio group has begun leveraging our platform to generate ongoing research around radio’s influence on the electorate — and to create best practices for making more effective political radio spots — what better place to announce its first findings: radio has a strong ability to influence crucial swing voters in the current U.S. Senate race in Florida.

The Veritonic platform identified undecided voters in the hotly-contested race between Republican nominee Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. The voters assessed political ads for their emotional appeal and ability to influence a vote.

One group of panelists rated television ads from the Bill Nelson campaign. Because the Nelson campaign isn’t running radio ads yet, a second group of panelists listened to the audio bed from the TV campaign as a proxy for radio spots. Listen to one of the spots here.

The results were substantial.

Radio creative can deliver the same emotional impact as TV

The audio spot demonstrated an emotional impact on par with the TV spot, for example, delivering 93 percent of the impact generated from the TV spot when it came to trustworthiness — obviously a key element of political campaigns. For some emotional attributes, the impact of the pure audio spot exceeded that of TV. Voters, for example, found the radio ad to be 9 percent more inspirational than the TV spot.

Radio influences a person’s vote

Perhaps most critically, the radio spot drove the swing voters’ intent to choose Bill Nelson as effectively as the TV ad — both showed an 8 percent lift.

Katz is continuing to investigate best practices for political ads and the importance of radio for the political market. Get the full research note from Katz here.

To learn about how you can conduct similar studies on the Veritonic platform, contact us.

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Advertising Audience Insights

NEW DATA: Proving the Power of Personalization with Pandora

NEW DATA: Proving the Power of Personalization with Pandora

Dynamic audio creative drives better ad performance

It’s hard to deny that a customized brand message — to someone’s gender, age, location, weather, behavior, preferences and more — is going to resonate better. It’s customized for them. Dynamic creative optimization was created to do this on the fly and at massive scale, piecing together the most relevant components of a given ad for each person in real time.

Dynamic creative is, of course, not new to digital advertising — the practice has been a component of programmatic display, video and other advertising for years. But audio is catching up, and there’s no time like the present; with, for example, 160 million people streaming audio weekly, the prospect of brands engaging each of those listeners with the most targeted message is simply too great an opportunity to squander.

With that, we’re proud to provide the testing platform for Pandora’s new ad products around personalization to help them determine just how powerful customized audio ads can be for brands and consumers alike.

The test:

Pandora evaluated 12 customized ads against each other and one, non-customized control ad. Personalization included different messages and voices for men and women, and time of day. The ads were assessed for a range of emotional qualities — if they felt exciting, happy, inspirational, interesting, unique, and made people feel good — as well as for how much they drove intent to purchase the product, and how memorable they were.

Creative Testing Results

Key findings include:

  1. Dynamic ads perform better
    Overall, 11 out of 12 personalized ads ranked above the non-personalized control. Perhaps most importantly, the dynamic ads drove 125% higher lift in purchase intent, and 13% higher recall, than the control.
  2. Younger people are even more receptive to personalization
    18-34 year olds in particular responded even better to the dynamic creative, with personalized ads driving 133% higher lift in purchase intent, and 43% higher recall, versus the control.
  3. Don’t poke the sleeping man-bear
    Messages delivered to men in the morning (and related to morning) performed substantially worse than the other time periods — driven by very poor recall — especially among 18-34 year olds.
  4. Room to get even more personal
    Two-thirds of respondents were unaware that they were being dynamically targeted by the audio ads, which suggests that there may be room to personalize more — grounded, of course, in solid data safe-handling practices — without triggering “the creepy factor.”

The study not only validates Pandora’s investment in dynamic creative optimization, it helps them guide their clients on exactly how to personalize to different segments to generate the best results. In other words, on how to capitalize on the sonic truth.

As always, the data makes a difference.

See TechCrunch’s coverage of Pandora’s personalization release and the study here, and Pandora’s post here.

To dig into these results further, and to see where your own creative stands, talk to us.

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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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