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Advertising Audience Insights

Announcing March AdNess — Press Release

 Back to Bracket

The Thrill of Victory, the Ad-gony of Defeat: Audio Analytics Platform Veritonic Pits NCAA Tournament Sponsors’ Ads in March AdNess Showdown

 
New York, NY — March 27, 2017 — Everyone’s talking about how teams in the NCAA match up. But what if the tournament’s sponsors competed, putting their ads in play?

Veritonic, the premier marketing analytics platform for sound, wanted to find out, so they launched March AdNess, in which ads’ sound and music go neck and neck, and only the sonically strongest survive. Full of upsets, underdog victors, and other surprises, this tournament promises to be as exciting as college basketball’s big event!

Sound is one of the most compelling elements in advertising, yet was neglected by analytics platforms until Veritonic jumped into the game. “There are tools for measuring almost every other aspect of content’s effectiveness, except sound,” explains Scott Simonelli, founder and CEO of Veritonic. “We’re providing the final piece of the puzzle. We help brands benchmark and test the emotional and demographic appeal of music, audio logos, voiceovers, and other audio assets used for marketing.” Veritonic combines proprietary marketing-response data with predictive algorithms and a unique demographic search engine, giving users insight into how their audio content fits with specific marketing goals.

The March AdNess tournament will also give insights into which of the 16 top NCAA tournament sponsors have scored a slam dunk with their ads’ soundtracks. Here’s how Veritonic did it: They assembled a panel of US Census-representative viewers from the general population, who interacted with the ad challengers via Veritonic’s patent-pending technology, which allows them to record their Emotions (more basic, visceral responses) and Feelings (more nuanced impressions, such as Energetic or Optimistic) as the ad plays. Panelists were also asked to report associations the ad evoked, including purchase intent and viewership of the actual NCAA tournament.  

The matches in each round will be scored using specific metrics collected by Veritonic’s platform. Scoring in the Round of Sixteen is based on the Feelings each ad evokes: how Energetic, Inspiring, Likable, Optimistic, Playful, and Unique each spot is. The Round of Eight will be scored on how well the ads evoke Happiness and Excitement. The Semifinals will be scored based on the impact each spot has on Purchase Intent, and the Finals will be scored using Veritonic’s proprietary algorithms to produce an Overall score.

Scores for all “competitors” and matches will be available at blog.veritonic.com/marchadness, chronicling each tournament milestone:

  • Round of 16: Monday 3/27
  • Round of Eight: Tuesday 3/28
  • Semifinals: match 1 Thursday 3/30, match 2 Friday 3/31
  • National Championship:  Monday 4/3

“The first round of matches makes clear the importance of music in establishing the mood of the spot and helping a marketer to achieve their goals,” explains Simonelli. “The spots that best evoke Feelings use music in a way that’s central to the spot, like Reese’s skipping a voiceover entirely and using ‘Let’s Get it On’ by Marvin Gaye, or Ritz Crackers and LG relying on heavily on music and saving the voiceover to the end of their spots. The lowest performers in the first round, by contrast, either don’t emphasize music, like Northwestern Mutual, or rely entirely on voiceover, like Allstate.”

“We were really surprised by some of the results,” Simonelli continues. “There were some upsets we didn’t predict, some come-from-behind victories. It really shows that just going with your gut isn’t enough when it comes to evaluating what works for sound in advertising and marketing. You need the data, and that’s what we’ve figured out how to gather and analyze.”

 

About Veritonic:

Veritonic is the premier marketing analytics platform for sound.  We help brands like Subway, Coca Cola,  Edmunds.com and CBS Television make data-driven selections about the audio elements of marketing campaigns.  Our software tests and benchmarks the emotional and demographic appeal of audio assets like music, voiceover, audio branding, and more.

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Audience Insights Branding

Introducing the QSR Index

Veritonic QSR Index

Veritonic Index of Brand Effectiveness

The Top Quick-Serve Restaurant Advertisers

 
As one of the biggest ad spenders, the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry is a bellwether of the advertising industry. Veritonic has used its technology to evaluate a curated set of ads from each company to come up with a metric for the overall performance of the QSR industry’s advertising.

[visualizer id=”839″]

Source: Veritonic QSR Index Survey. ©2017 Veritonic, Inc.

Key Takeaways

 
A few trends are immediately obvious.

First, the scores for any one brand may vary dramatically from quarter to quarter. Dunkin Donuts, for instance, moved from a 70 in Q3 to a 65 in Q4. This reflects the challenges that marketers at these companies face. Consistently crafting compelling and engaging messages is really, really hard. Add in the hard reality of continuously changing consumer preferences, and a tough competitive set, and it’s no surprise that a brand’s marketing performance will vary.

Second, the average scored moved DOWN in Q4. This may be a reflection of the Olympics as much as anything: some major QSR brands, including Subway and McDonalds, were on-air near constantly during the Olympics, with highly aspirational brand ads that scored really well in Veritonic’s index. It’s not a shock that brand ads, focused on reinforcing each brand’s key messages and values, performed better — in some cases, substantially better — than product or promotional spots. (“Come in now for a limited time value menu!”)

Veritonic QSR Index Average

Lastly, not all brands are good at conveying their brand values in media. The lowest performer in our index is Starbucks, which (perhaps) spends more focus on their in-store experience than on marketing. They also spend relatively less than some of these other brands. In 2016, for instance, Starbucks spent approximately $387MM on Marketing, which is about 1.8% of their overall sales.

McDonalds, by contrast, spends almost 80% more relative it’s size, with about 3.2% of revenue going back into marketing. (That’s over $800MM.)

Methodology

 
Over 3000 panelists were surveyed beginning in July, 2016. 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.

Up to 2 ads from each brand were selected for evaluation. Ads were assigned to the quarter closest to when they launched, and thus not every brand was evaluated in each quarter.

Individual Results

Ads Brands Overall Excited Happy Authentic [stag_icon icon=”sort”]
QSR Index of Brand Effectiveness — Average Scores
69
74
77
65
[stag_icon icon=”caret-down”] 1
Burger King
71
78
83
65
[stag_icon icon=”caret-up”] 2
Subway
71
76
78
65
[stag_icon icon=”caret-up”] 4
Chipotle
70
76
82
65
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Arby’s
70
78
78
68
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
KFC
70
74
76
65
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
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.
Wendy’s
70
76
80
65
[stag_icon icon=”caret-down”] 2
Taco Bell
69
74
74
64
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Jimmy John’s
69
76
78
65
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Panera Bread
68
72
78
68
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
McDonald’s
68
74
76
65
[stag_icon icon=”sort”] 0
Pizza Hut
67
75
74
64
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Quiznos
67
74
74
62
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Dunkin Donuts
65
65
74
64
[stag_icon icon=”caret-down”] 5
Starbucks
59
60
74
65
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]

About Veritonic

 
Veritonic is the premier marketing analytics platform for sound. We help brands benchmark and test the emotional and demographic appeal of audio logos and other audio assets used for marketing, like music and voiceover. The Veritonic platform combines proprietary marketing response data with predictive algorithms and a unique demographic search engine giving our clients insight into how their audio content fits with specific marketing goals.

If you have questions about how your music and audio content stacks up to your competition, contact us.

If you have questions about the value of the music or audio content you are using in your marketing, contact us.

If you have questions about how to improve your music selection and the equity that your brand enjoys in music, contact us.

We turn audio files into valuable marketing assets.
 

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Audience Insights

Improve Your Ads in a Timely Manner

Advertisers seek to evoke specific emotions at specific points in time with their content. What they don’t know is whether or not these time-related creative decisions have the desired impact… or even if they make a difference! This type of efficacy data is hard to come by and some advertisers don’t even know it exists. But this data does exist, and it’s the solution to their time-related inquiries. It’s called time series data. This data can help them learn about the emotional impact all sections of a piece of content have on a target audience.

What is Time Series data?

Time Lapse

Time series data tracks how an audience responds to content on a second-by-second (or time series!) basis as they view or listen to it. Each individual in the audience reports the emotions he or she feels and to what degree he or she feels them. Together, these responses generate chronological data displayed using a line graph, which shows how the various emotions differ and overlap over time.

This allows the marketer or content creator to know how the audience felt at any specific time while exposed to a piece of content, and how quickly these individuals start feeling a particular emotion. It also gives advertisers a granular look at the emotional structure of their ads. If they want to know how their audience felt fifteen seconds into the ad, all they have to do is look at this data.

Why Should Advertisers Use Time Series Data?

Advertisers can use this data to learn how and when their audience responds to specific visual and audio components in their ads. For example, they can add a crescendo at a specific point in the music and see how the audience responds to that same spot with or without the crescendo. They could even experiment with two different pieces of video content placed at the exact same point in the ad, and see which evokes a stronger response. Testing multiple versions of an ad with these types of adjustments can reveal what appeals more to the target demographic.

Advertisers can also use time series data for the development of new ads. The data can help determine what part of the music to use in the ad, and how to match it to video. They can also use this feedback to tweak and manipulate weak areas. With a deeper understanding of how these changes impact the audience, advertisers can better assess both the strong and weak spots of an ad. By strengthening these weaker areas, the overall emotional impact could increase dramatically.

Examples of Time Series Data

An automotive company we’re working with wanted to evaluate two different spots to ensure that both stayed Happy and Relaxed over time. Veritonic Time Series Data Video A was consistently Happy and Relaxed. Video B, on the other hand, showed sharps dips for Happy right in the middle of the video, as well as at the end. Video B clearly had some specific areas that needed improvement to maintain the Happy emotion.

We also tested another video to evaluate whether it was Excited and Happy, and to ensure that all parts of it evoked the same levels of these emotions. As it turns out, the emotional response varied greatly across the timeline. The last sixty seconds most consistently evoked both of the target emotions Excited and Happy. However, the beginning and middle sixty seconds showed significant dips for Excited towards the middle and the end. Thus, the emotional message was inconsistent throughout the video. The beginning and middle reduced the overall excitement level.

Veritonic Time Series Data

A lot of emotional variation can exist across a single piece of content. It is up to the advertiser to decide whether this variation is helping or hindering the message of the ad. In this case, the client wanted a consistent emotional framework, and the ad didn’t match his or her intentions. Other clients, however, may want their audience to experience an emotional rollercoaster for a different kind of emotional impact. It all depends on what they want the ad to accomplish.

Time series data can be a crucial tool for shaping the emotional impact of an ad. It enables advertisers to understand how their audience reacts to every second of the ad. From this, they can learn where they need to improve, and whether or not the specific points in the ad have the response they want. This is useful for both understanding the performance of current ads and the production of new ads. Really digging into the details of what is and isn’t working on a second-by-second basis in their content provides marketers with deeper knowledge. The more advertisers learn what and where content evokes particular emotions, the better they can cater to their target audience.

 

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

Audio Logo Index 2016

Introduction

An audio logo is a series of sounds or musical notes that uniquely identifies a company, product or service to its target audience.  Call them jingles, mnenomics or sonic branding, these short progressions of notes or chords are one of the most powerful weapons in the marketer’s arsenal.  Research has shown time and time again the deep connections between music and brain, and it’s no surprise that some of the best marketers in the world take advantage of this to promote their brands.

Veritonic Audio Logo Index report Yet music, and specifically audio logos, remain under-appreciated by most marketers.

Why?  Simply put, measurement.  The subjectivity and complexity of music have traditionally defied easy categorization and measurement, and the time-based nature of music has further clouded the ability to measure music’s effectiveness.

Veritonic’s technology and methodology for evaluating and ranking music for marketers solves these problems.  With this report, Veritonic is sharing it’s proprietary framework for understanding and evaluating the impact of audio logos in the market.

We’ve applied our methodology to the top audio logos in the United States, and have some findings to share.  Some are obvious, at least on reflection; and we think some are less so — especially in light of the obvious ones.

This report includes detailed data for the top 5 audio logos. If you’d like details on the others, or to have your audio logo analyzed, please contact us.

To submit your audio logo for consideration in future editions of this survey, please contact us!

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Executive Summary

  • Marketing Spend: There is a strong correlation between marketing spend and the performance of audio logos.  The most successful audio logos generally (but not exclusively!) belong to the biggest marketers.
  • Longevity Counts:  Most of the strongest performers in our Index have been in-market for a considerable amount of time.  Some have even been in use for decades.
  • Industry Performance: There is a wide variation by industry in the performance of audio logos. Some industries performed as well as one would expect.  But one industry in particular, which is known for having tremendous marketing budgets, performed very poorly in our standings.
  • Words Matter: There are many variables that impact the performance of an audio logo.  One of those variables is whether or not the audio logo has a spoken component.  We found that those audio logos with a verbal component strongly outperformed those without a verbal component.
  • Consider Branding: Audio logos that include the name of the brand in either a spoken or sung fashion tend to outperform audio logos that are purely musical in nature, or that don’t include the name of the brand.

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Methodology

Over 2600 panelists were surveyed beginning on October 1, 2016.  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.

Audio logos were selected for testing from the Interbrand Best Global Brands of 2016, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the S&P 500.  Only audio logos of brands with a significant US presence were evaluated.  For comparison purposes, control or “ghost level” audio logos were included in the evaluation.  These ghost levels consisted of professionally composed audio logos that were considered for major national and international brands, but were not selected and have never before been released to the public.

Panelists were asked to record their emotions as the audio logos played.  Panelists were then asked about a generalized basket of other feelings and associations the music evoked, including brands they may associate with the audio logos.  Panelists were contacted 48 hours later to test recall of the audio logos, and engagement with the audio logos was tracked throughout.

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, 48-hour recall, and Veritonic’s EchoTime™ data.

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Key Findings

Key Findings from the Veritonic Audio Logo Index

Correlation with Spend

It’s not a huge surprise that overall scores appear to be correlated with marketing spend.  Though the exact budget numbers aren’t publicly available, it’s safe to assume that Nationwide, Farmers Insurance and Intel are among the biggest marketers in the United States, if not the world.

Unaided Recall, with Veritonic EchoTime score

Longevity Counts

It’s also not a shock that some of the highest scoring audio logos have been in the market for 20+ years. Intel’s famous chimes were launched in 1994, as part of the launch of a TV branding campaign. Of course, this also reflects the marketing spend of Intel.

A side effect of longevity is repetition.  The “mere exposure effect” was demonstrated to increase the positive association with a piece of music as far back as the 1960s.  Audio logos by their very nature are prime candidates for benefiting from the mere exposure effect: after all, they are intended to be heard across every interaction with a target consumer.  Besides the fact that they’re often created by exceptionally talented composers, it’s also no surprise that many audio logos are referred to as “earworms.”

Interestingly, some audio logos that have been not been in front of consumers as much also scored well.  Green Giant’s famous “Ho-ho-ho, Green Giant” has been in the market since the early 1960s, despite a short hiatus in recent years.  And Folgers’ audio logo, another top-performing consumer brand in our survey, has been in market since 1984.

The takeaway here is that persistence counts.  Cumulative marketing spend can add up over many years.

Some Industries are Really Good at Audio Logos…

Really competitive markets breed really tough, innovative competitors.  It’s not a surprise then that an industry like financial services has developed some outstanding marketing tactics.   In fact, three of the top ten audio logos belong to P&C insurers (that’s home and car insurance to most of us): Nationwide, Farmers and Statefarm.

Veritonic Audio Logo Report Overall Score by Industry

…And Some Industries are Not So Good.

We’re looking at you, automotive marketers.

Overall Score verbal vs non-verbal

Words Matter

It’s not a huge surprise that audio logos with words scored better than those without.  After all, our brains are wired to recognize and process language. What is surprising is perhaps the magnitude of the difference.  In our survey, the average “verbal” audio logo fared over 14% better than the average non-verbal audio logo.

Consider Branding

On the other hand, audio logos with a branded verbal component also tend to outperform those without a branded verbal component, by an even larger margin: almost 30%.Overall Score branded vs unbranded The verbal audio logos we examined include some with the name of the brand (“Ho-Ho-Ho, Green Giant!”) and some without (“I’m lovin’ it!” for McDonald’s).  Of course, this doesn’t mean that every brand should automatically refresh their audio logo to include the name of the brand.  Some brands, especially those with a large international presence, seek more universal sounds, like Intel.
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Individual Results

1. Nationwide

Overall
87.2
Unaided Recall
92

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
76 84 72 70 72 65 65 72 70 74 70 65

Our top-performing audio logo belongs to Nationwide Insurance.   The venerable audio logo is still going strong after more than half a century in action.  It’s a respectable performer in its ability to evoke Emotions and Feelings, generally in the upper quartile of audio logos we tested.  The top attribute in the Nationwide audio logo was the emotion of Happy, where it tied for 3rd — coincidentally with Statefarm, another P&C insurer.

The Nationwide audio logo really stands out, however, in 2 key areas: Unaided Recall and Engagement score. It had the top Unaided Recall score among the audio logos tested, by a significant margin. That the Nationwide audio logo would score this well isn’t a surprise, considering that Nationwide had enough confidence in the strength of their audio to engage in a gentle parody of it with spokesperson Peyton Manning last year (“Chicken parm/you taste so good…”).

Furthermore, the Nationwide audio logo was in the top decile of performers for Engagement.  The speed and pattern of the responses by panelists to the audio logo demonstrates how deeply planted the audio logo has become in panelists’ psyches.

2. Farmer’s Insurance

Overall
83.2
Unaided Recall
88

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
78 80 82 74 76 74 70 70 76 74 74 74

Our second-best performer overall belongs to Farmers Insurance.  This relative newcomer (by on-air promotion, that is) has taken a slightly different route to the top than Nationwide: while it scores well for Unaided Recall and it’s in the 90th percentile for EchoTime™ Engagement, it succeeds in large part by strongly evoking key emotions and feelings.  For instance, it’s the top performer in evoking Trustworthiness and Uniqueness, and also shares the lead in being a top performer for Innovative and Empowering.

3. Intel

Overall
82.7
Unaided Recall
88

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
80 78 72 74 74 70 70 70 74 74 72 72

This outstanding audio logo came in third overall in our Q3 rankings in large part because it “hits all the right notes.”  It ties for second place in Unaided Recall, and it’s near the top in Excited and in Engagement metrics.  However, the marketers at Intel will likely be most gratified to hear that the Intel tones tie for first for evoking the feeling of Innovative among audience members.

4. Green Giant

Overall
80.8
Unaided Recall
86

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
76 86 76 78 74 68 68 74 76 76 76 74

The next-best performing audio logo is the classic Green Giant audio logo, which has been in market since the 1960s.  The Green Giant logo scored at the top for Authentic and Confident.  That said, this well-known audio logo may be showing its age: despite its obvious strengths, it only scored in the middle of the pack for Emotional Response data, notably for Excited. It also lagged behind the other top performers in Engagement.

5. Hot Pockets

Overall
80.5
Unaided Recall
85

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
76 86 72 70 68 62 64 68 68 74 68 68

The Hot Pockets audio logo was a top performer, and introduces an element of branding — the “ding” of a microwave — that clearly evokes the process of delivering the product.  The Pavlovian sound is so distinctive that it actually has the best EchoTime score in our survey.  And everyone whose stomachs started rumbling as soon as they saw the brand name will be happy to hear that Hot Pockets’ audio logo also tied for the highest score in Happy.

6. McDonald’s

Overall
79.6
Unaided Recall
85

McDonald’s has been renowned for decades as a great marketer, so it’s no surprise to find them on this list. The “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign evokes great Excitement, and also has great Unaided Recall. Like many of the audio logos on this list, the sound has evolved somewhat over the years but its current iteration evokes a great deal of Excitement. In fact, it’s the sole leader for this attribute. It also ties for 3rd for Unaided Recall.

7. Chevy

Overall
79.5
Unaided Recall
88

Unlike many of its competitors, Chevy’s audio logo often plays at the start of advertising.  This strategy seems to work effectively, since it’s at the top of the rankings in the automotive sector.  While performing notably poorly in the Excited dimension, the audio logo scores quite highly for Trustworthy and Approachable, key attributes for a high-ticket product marketed as being dependable “like a rock.”

8. Folgers

Overall
79.5
Unaided Recall
86

The Folgers audio logo has been in-market for over 30 years, since 1984. Critical for a consumer packaged good (CPG) that’s seeking to be in every cupboard, it scores very well for Feelings like Approachable and Authentic.  It also successfully evokes Simple.  Reflecting the branded and verbal nature of the audio logo, it also has a very high Unaided Recall score, tying for third.

9. Statefarm

Overall
78.9
Unaided Recall
84

Another insurer, State Farm’s audio logo scores well across a number of dimensions but is not the leader in any one category in our survey. It evokes Happy, but is only in 9th place for Unaided Recall. Similarly, it’s in the 80th percentile for our EchoTime™ Engagement metric.

10. T-Mobile

Overall
77.4
Unaided Recall
82

T-Mobile’s distinctive chimes score reasonably well for the Emotions Happy and Excited.  While it’s only 10th for Unaided Recall, the tones are apparently very distinctive for those who do recall them: the audio logo is in the top decile for Engagement.

11. Autozone

Overall
77.2
Unaided Recall
82

Similar to T-Mobile, Autozone’s audio logo scores well for Happy and Excited.  It’s also in 10th place for Unaided Recall, while still being in the top decile for Engagement.  It’s also a strong performer for Confident.

12. The General

Overall
74.4
Unaided Recall
81

Another insurer, The General Insurance, takes 12th on our list.  It’s audio logo evokes the Emotion Happy.  It’s also perceived as one of the most Unique audio logos in our survey.  It’s in the second quartile for Unaided Recall, but is only in the 50th percentile for Engagement.

13. Duracell

Overall
73.4
Unaided Recall
80

Another longstanding audio logo, Duracell’s “Coppertop” audio logo is solidly in the second quartile of logos in our survey.  This is in spite of the fact that it scores below average for Happy.  While it does take 13th for Unaided Recall, it only scores in the 50th percentile for Engagement.

14. Meow Mix

Overall
67.6
Unaided Recall
76

Meow Mix’s eponymous audio logo scores well for the Emotion Happy, which is not a surprise given the close association with pets.  It ties for 6th for Approachable, and also scores highly for Reputable.  Perhaps because of its’ branded and verbal nature, it is in the second quartile for Unaided Recall.  However, the Meow Mix audio logo ranks near the bottom for Engagement.

15. Old Spice

Overall
66.7
Unaided Recall
72

Old Spice’s whistle successfully evokes Excited, perhaps the most important emotional component for a brand currently focusing its marketing on a younger male demographic.  It also ranks well for the Feeling of Likable.  While it only ranks 15th for Unaided Recall, the Engagement metric puts it in the 70th percentile.

16. AT&T

Overall
59.6
Unaided Recall
65

A brand very much in the news right now for its proposed acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T’s 4-note logo is relatively new in the market.  It ranks in the 2nd or 3rd quartile in most of the dimensions our survey covered, including Excited, Happy, Innovative and Unaided Recall.  The audio logo slightly outperforms on the Engagement metric, where it’s in the 70th percentile.

17. BAND-AID

Overall
59.6
Unaided Recall
68

A well known brand but not a prolific TV advertiser, BAND-AID’s audio logo may suffer from lower ad spend than many of the other brands on this list.  In fact, it performed well for most metrics evaluated.  The stark exception was that the audience perceived it as the least Exciting audio logo evaluated, tied with one of the Ghost Levels.

18. HomeAdvisor

Overall
57.3
Unaided Recall
64

One of the smaller brands tested, HomeAdvisor’s audio logo stacks up very favorably when measured on the basis of marketing dollars. The audio logo, featuring a chorus singing the name, evokes Happy and Confident. It also ranks in the top quartile for Confident, important for a brand acting as an intermediary for handyman and home renovation services. It scored in the second quartile for both Unaided Recall and Engagement, which makes sense given it’s smaller advertising budget and the relative newness of the audio logo.

19. Gillette

Overall
55.1
Unaided Recall
62

Gillette’s audio logo was relatively undistinguished in our survey.  It’s strongest performance was in Confident.  But it was only in the 2nd quartile for Engagement and Recall.

20. Little Caesar’s

Overall
49.1
Unaided Recall
54

Reintroduced in 2012, Little Caesar’s iconic “Pizza Pizza” tag line and audio logo may be struggling to break through to an audience that’s more fragmented than when this audio logo was last an essential part of the brand’s marketing.  It scores in the 4th quartile for Unaided Recall, but jumps into the 1st quartile for Engagement.  This likely reflects the familiarity of a slightly older demographic.

21. United Healthcare

Overall
49.0
Unaided Recall
55

Another financial services company, United Healthcare operates in the medical insurance area.  It makes sense that their audio logo evokes Confident and Authentic.  While United Healthcare’s Unaided Recall is relatively low, in the third quartile, it outperforms on Engagement, coming in as a  second quartile performer.

22. Liberty Mutual

Overall
47.8
Unaided Recall
54

Liberty Mutual’s audio logo is at it’s best with emotions, where it’s in the second quartile for Happy.  It’s other strengths are that it’s quite Simple. As a newer entrant in the audio logo space, it’s no surprise that the Liberty Mutual audio logo is only in the third quartile for Unaided Recall.  As with United Healthcare, LMI also outperforms on Engagement, where it comes in in the second quartile.

23. Always Discrete

Overall
37.9
Unaided Recall
43

The Always Discrete audio logo tested very well for the Emotions Happy and Excited. It also outperformed for being perceived as Simple. Given the very focused and specific appeal of the underlying product, it’s not a huge surprise that it scored in the third quartile for Unaided Recall, but for those who did recall it, it resonated very strongly, coming in the top quartile for Engagement.

24. BMW

Overall
27.4
Unaided Recall
33

BMW’s audio logo is relatively new in the market, introduced in 2013.  This may account for it’s relatively low performance, in the third or fourth quartile virtually across the board.  One bright spot is that it actually generated a relatively high score for Excited, which meshes nicely with the brand’s values.

25. Audi

Overall
19.8
Unaided Recall
25

As with BMW, Audi’s relatively new audio logo was also not one of our top performers. It generally scored on par with, or slightly below, BMW’s audio logo. The one spot where it significantly outperformed BMW was in Engagement, where it jumped up to the second quartile, relative to it’s Unaided Recall, which was in the 4th quartile. This may indicate that fans are beginning to recognize and respond to the sequence of sounds.

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About Veritonic

Veritonic helps brands identify the audio content that best resonates with their audience.  The Veritonic platform combines proprietary marketing response data with predictive algorithms and a unique demographic search engine giving our clients the ability to quickly discover, test and benchmark audio content to fit their specific marketing goals.

If you have questions about the value of the music or audio content you are using in your marketing, contact us.

If you have questions about how your music and audio content stacks up to your competition, contact us.

If you have questions about how to improve your music selection and the equity that your brand enjoys in music, contact us.

We turn audio files into valuable marketing assets.

To submit your audio logo for consideration in future editions of this survey, please contact us!
Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

Market Research Lessons From the 2016 Election

Market research lessons from election 2016
 
It’s now been just over a couple of weeks since the 2016 presidential election was concluded, and virtually all of the forecasts were wrong. Polls predicted a small but persistent lead for Hillary Clinton. Even respected forecasters like FiveThirtyEight were predicting as late as the morning of the election that HRC would win. And while she did succeed in winning the popular vote, Donald Trump ultimately won the election by amassing well over the required 270 electoral votes.

How did the forecasters get it so wrong? And given the close relationship between the techniques that both polling companies and market researchers use, what lessons can market researchers take away from the election?
 

The Root of all Evil: Sampling Error

 
The wrong predictions are rooted in many causes, but from a market research perspective, they all boil down to sampling error. What is sampling error? Instead of trying to collect opinions or feedback from everyone, which is obviously not feasible, researchers collect feedback from a smaller subset, or sample, of the population, and extrapolate conclusions from that data. When the sample doesn’t accurately reflect the larger population, researchers are far more likely to draw the wrong conclusions.

sampling error led to missed forecasts in election coverage How did sampling error play into the missed forecasts about the election? One of the most controversial hypotheses before the election was that many Trump supporters, embarrassed by his positions and rhetoric, declined to identify themselves as supporters to polling organizations that contacted them, the so-called “Shy Trump” effect. While specifics on the voting data is still coming in, and will be analyzed for decades to come, early data indicates that this fear is correct. Many Trump supporters, especially women, have since told exit polling organizations, that they were reluctant to share their support for Trump.
 

The Very Model of a Modern Major General (Election)

 
A closely related issue is the model of the voting electorate that the forecasters used. Simply assessing the sentiment of a sample of the general population is not sufficient. Forecasting the outcome of a vote means making assumptions about who will actually make it to the voting booth to cast a vote, and then make sure their sample reflects this makeup. Pollsters, like market researchers, slice the population into actionable segments they can contact, like “soccer moms” or “auto intenders.” With a groundswell of support from certain groups of voters that were generally underrepresented in most polling models— for instance, market research lessons from Veritonic white males in the midwest states with less than a college degree, but also certain sectors of the Hispanic electorate — it’s not a shock that the models got the outcome wrong.

The sampling error is further compounded by researchers’ ability to contact individuals, period. The traditional technique for polling was to randomly telephone individuals and have a person ask questions. In a time when virtually the entire population had landlines, and could reliably be counted on to answer them, this was a great technique. But a broad variety of technologies have made the simple contacting of panelists much more difficult. Landlines have been in decline, in favor of cell phones, which marketers are actually legally prohibited from calling by an automatic dialing system. Even the ability to screen calls makes it that much easier for potential panelists to avoid being contacted.
 

Not All Bad

 
Market research is impacted by all of these factors. And yet, there is cause for optimism. Companies specializing in finding panelists from a broad variety of backgrounds have sprung up over the last few years, facilitated by the internet. Even though the panelists from these companies are generally compensated, which introduces its own set of biases, they’ve “raised their hand” and are available to ask questions. This virtually eliminates the “Shy” phenomenon.

Similarly, the fact that these panelists have raised their hands greatly reduces the “contactability” issue. There may be timing to consider — it will always be difficult to get a large number of responses in an hour, for instance — but generally panel providers have contact details, and permission, from their panel members.

Veritonic.com market research insights Technology makes modeling the desired population easier too. Marketers generally develop highly detailed models of their desired audience. Many panels available for commercial use have deep background data on individual panel members, collected when they sign up or over time, making the construction of a representative panel matching a marketer’s needs much easier.

Market researchers can also use data to refine their survey taking experience. For instance, at Veritonic we monitor the feedback and completion rates on our surveys closely. Our surveys largely consist of listening and responding to music and similar audio, and panelists taking our surveys tell us it’s a much more enjoyable experience than other market research experiences they’ve participated in, and we constantly think about how to make it an even better experience.

The results of the 2016 election should give everyone reason to pause and reflect. But market researchers should not be overly concerned that the missed forecasts require tossing out all of the survey techniques that have been honed over the past hundred years.
 

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

3 Things We’ve Learned Testing Music for Pharma

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Over the past 24 months, we’ve tested thousands of pieces of music, for hundreds of TV spots. These include many spots for the pharmaceutical industry, including both “over the counter” and prescription medications. We’d like to share some of what we’ve learned.
 

Mood Matters

 
First, Mood Matters. Most pharma spots follow a similar script, familiar to the advertising industry, beginning with the introduction of a problem: a condition or ailment that needs treatment. The solution is then introduced, typically either a product or medication being marketed by the pharmaceutical company, which leads to a resolution.  
 
Mood in Pharmaceutical AdsThe United States introduces an additional wrinkle for pharmaceutical ads. These types of ads are generally regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires that these types of ads generally “present the benefits and risks of a prescription drug in a balanced fashion.” TV and online video ads generally do this by presenting the risks of the drug in a short section the FDA calls the “major statement.”
 
These statements of risk present a real challenge for marketers. How do you talk about a risk that your product poses to your audience, while generating and maintaining enthusiasm for the product? One answer lies in carefully calibrating the emotions that the spot evokes — and music is a crucial lever for performing that calibration. A marketer we worked with recently wanted the start of the ad to be happy and calming; for the music to be slightly nervous during the major statement; and the spot to end with happy, upbeat music.  The Veritonic platform measured the occurrence and intensity of the emotions and feelings the music evoked in the marketer’s target audience.  Evaluating the music with this approach allowed them to optimize the emotions and associations that the audience felt during the spot.  
 

Timing is Key

 
Veritonic Pharmaceutical Advertisement TestingSecond, Timing Is Key. That same spot had very precise spots where the emotions had to change.The first 10 seconds of the ad needed to be happy and calming; the second 10 seconds to be slightly nervous, coinciding with the presentation by the voiceover of the risks of the drug; and for the final 10 seconds to have a happy, upbeat resolution.  Using data about the emotional profile of the tracks, the agency and the composer were able to refine the music to precisely shape the tracks to evoke the emotions in exactly the manner and scope that the marketer wanted.
 

Regulated Industries Must Pay Extra Attention

 
Third, regulated industries like the pharmaceutical industry may need to pay extra attention to emotion and other attributes that their ads and music may evoke. For instance, Veritonic was asked to evaluate the music for a TV ad marketing an over-the-counter sleep aid. Unsurprisingly, the music in the spot built off a lullaby-style theme. But playing too heavily off the lullaby theme risked making it seem as if the product was targeted to children. That’s a real problem for pharmaceutical marketers: it misses the mark, audience-wise.  
 
Timing in Pharmaceutical Ad TestingPerhaps more importantly, it risks making the spot appeal to a demographic, in this case, children, that the drug was not approved for. Since the product is available without a prescription, the ads don’t have the same burden of presenting the risks. However, the marketers are still forbidden from pitching the product to an audience — children! — that it’s not tested and approved for.
 
Happily, using testing data the marketer was able to identify two tracks that jumped out as being for adults, while sticking with the lullaby and sleep theme that their marketing strategy required. But this happy resolution merely underscores the importance of the emotion and other attribute data when selecting music for advertising pharmaceuticals.
 

Do you have other insights or questions from selecting music for pharmaceutical ads?  Please share them in the comments below!

 

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

Why Should I Test My Music?

Soundboard by Veritonic
 

You test everything, why don’t you test your music?

 
Advertising today is data driven.
 
Yes, that’s right: the days of “Mad Men,” drinking martinis and dreaming up amazing campaigns, then releasing them on TV in a blaze of glory, is on it’s way out.  Creativity is still central to advertising— and always will be! — but resources are too scarce and competition is too great to allow the decisions on potentially millions of dollars in ad spend to be made based on gut alone.  That’s why more and more companies are committing to making their decision-making process for marketing and advertising more data-driven.
 
What does that mean?  Usually it means that data is applied to the core creative concept, in the form of a focus group, which is almost never of the size to reveal statistically significant measurements.  The visuals get tested, the copy is tested, the ad buy is informed by data, and the size and composition of the audience that sees the ad is measured.  Even the choice of colors is informed by data.  For online advertising, the use of data is even more pervasive: the ad units may be A/B tested, the audience is micro-targeted, and the viewability of the ad is measured more and more frequently.
 
In fact, there’s really only one area of advertising that doesn’t have any data supporting the decisions that get made: selecting the music.
 

Music Defies Easy Measurement

 
Why is this?  Music has some characteristics that defy easy categorization and measurement, and addressing these issues is complex and time-consuming.  Music is highly subjective, for one: who doesn’t have a special memory of “that song they played at prom”, or a similar association?  These experiences lead individuals to make decisions that may not reflect the tastes and associations of the audience the marketer is trying to reach.  Similarly, until recently, no one has applied any psychological framework to music, but that’s changing as research reveals how music impacts the brain.
 
Music also has a temporal component that makes it unique.  It must be consumed over a period of time, unlike an image or copy.  Music is also frequently asked to evoke different emotions at different times throughout an ad: for example, happy for the first ten seconds, then nervous for the next ten seconds, before resolving to an even happier state for the last ten seconds.  As we like to say at Veritonic, music has “lots of nooks and crannies!”
 
The format of music also defies easy categorization and manipulation.  It usually exists as a collection of .MP3 files, which is a file format designed for compression, not easy categorization.  Even at the most sophisticated agencies, music is frequently stored in a folder in the iTunes account of the music supervisor, or maybe the creative director.  Formats and storage options like these don’t lend themselves to sorting, discovery or collaboration.
 

Music Metadata Isn’t A Help

 
To the extent that there is data to facilitate the selection of music for advertising, it’s in the form of “metadata”.  These are simple tags added by the composer — or even more frequently by the ad agency’s interns! — that list the artist, title, date of creation, and maybe the owners of the tracks’ copyrights.  In fact, most of the metadata is concerned with the administration and usage of the music, rather than anything useful to help select it.
 
The data that most music libraries have isn’t any better or more helpful.  Libraries or online aggregators and resellers try to augment the “typical” metadata by having staff or interns add simple generalizations about the music, like tempo or beats per minute, genre, and instrumentation.  They may also try to categorize the “mood” of the music, boiling down the entire piece to a single “emotion”.  These tags have the same issues as metadata: they’re the output of a single person’s perceptions of the emotion, who almost certainly doesn’t represent the target audience that the advertiser or user of the music is trying to reach.
 
Testing can address all of these shortcomings, and give data that far exceeds these limitations.  Advanced psychological frameworks can give insight about how people respond to the audio stimulus.  And built-to-purpose audiences – that match the audiences marketers are trying to reach – can give their opinions about the music, revealing the emotional texture of music, while also informing the marketers and composers about how well the music supports the story the marketer is trying to tell.
 

Supporting Creativity

 
Will this limit creativity?  Far from it.  If anything the reverse is true.  Data can support making choices that would otherwise be perceived as risky or out of the mainstream.
 
For example, a prominent music publisher told us about a doo-wop track that he felt would be perfect for a TV spot he was working on.  But without data to support the choice, he couldn’t convince his client to go with a musical style that isn’t in the mainstream right now.
 
There’s also a ton of research that shows that the rigor of an objective decision-making process can actually improve creativity.
 
That’s why you should test your music.  You test everything else, and that data makes for better marketing and better results.  The technology is here to address the difficulties in testing music, helping you make better decisions about the music in your marketing
 
Have you tested your music, or used any data to select music?  Let us know what you’ve used and your experience to date in the comments!
 

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

Enhance Your Music Tastemaking Skills With Data

Enhance music selection with data from Veritonic

Music selection can make or break an ad. Music supervisors and creative teams have tremendous taste and experience that is critical for making these decisions. But with millions of dollars in ad spend on the line, it’s becoming too risky to rely on the opinions of a few individuals. What to do? Use data! Here are seven reasons you should support your musical taste with data.
 
tastemaking

1) Minimize subjectivity

 
There will always be some degree of subjectivity in the music selection process. And there should always be real humans helping select music; after all, the whole purpose of music in ads is to have an emotional impact on people. But smart marketers know that “you are not your target audience.” (Usually, anyway.) Having real data from your target audience that quantifies this emotional impact can help make the decision making process better, and easier.
 

2) Quantify your music

 
Matching music to advertising demands data. Simple attributes like beats per minute or instrumentation can help creative professionals narrow down the list of possibilities.  More advanced data can quantify the emotions, feelings and other associations that music evokes in people. Simple insights like these can make a good spot into a great spot.
 

3) Create objective metadata

 
Metadata can be very subjective: typically, it’s manually entered by a single individual. But if you test your music, augment your traditional metadata with marketing response data. Think about how much more comfortable you’ll be when you know that your audience perceives a particular track as “Exciting” or “Authentic,” before you recommend it for an ad!
 
track

4) Benchmark your music

 
Data also lets you compare the performance of new music to tracks you’ve used in the past. Evaluate how well your music evokes a consistent set of emotions, and ensure your audience receives a consistent message. Even better, collect data on your competitors’ music and compare it to your music!
 

5) Track emotions over time

 
Unlike the visual or copy in advertising, music happens over time. The data you use to evaluate music should reflect this temporal component! Record emotions from your audience over time to determine the changes occurring throughout a song and ensure you use the right portion of the song. And analyze this data in chart form to see if the music matches the story arc.  
 

6) Compare competing tracks

 
Music is rarely “one and done.” Typically, the people responsible for music must choose between multiple tracks. Compare how each track scores against your goals. Which one best evokes Sincerity? Which one best evokes Optimism? Which one makes the audience Happy for the last :15? Allow the data to educate you about the benefits and drawbacks of all your tracks, not just one.
 

7) Use Data As the Key, Not the Lock

 
Data is not a straightjacket. Instead, it’s the key to unlocking even more creativity. Can’t convince the client to use a really funky track that you know would be perfect? Let the data show why it’s right. Sitting around the conference room all day, arguing endlessly about which version to use? Instead of fighting with your co-workers about what song you think is a better, sit back, relax, and let the data do the talking!
 
How do you use data in your music selection process today?  Please share it with us in the comments below!