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Advertising

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

Listen to this article.

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

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

Inclusiveness and Fun
Compel Listeners

Period ending March 31

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

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

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

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

Indeed, 2021

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

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

Liberty Mutual, 2021

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

Lowe’s, 2021

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

Methodology

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

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Advertising

Capital One, Farmers Brand Personalities Propel Audio Ads

Listen to this blog post.

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

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

Famous voices and cultural relevance resonate with listeners

PERIOD ENDING FEBRUARY 28

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

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

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

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

Farmers Insurance, 2021

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

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

Stamps.com, 2021

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

Bank of America, 2021

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

Methodology

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

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Advertising News

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

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

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

Uplifting Tone and Practical Help Resonate with Listeners

Period ending January 31

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

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

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

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

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

Autozone, 2021

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

Indeed, 2021

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

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

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

The Home Depot, 2021

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

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Methodology:

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

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News

Why sound will matter even more in 2021

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Now let the music keep our spirits high

Jackson Browne, 1974

I won’t linger on the typical refrain about what a crazy year 2020 was. But it is part of my job to reflect on where our market fit into all that craziness and to think about how what we learned this year could move our industry forward in a fruitful way for everyone.

From a sheer business standpoint, audio, arguably more than any other channel or format (and with expectations obviously adjusted for the pandemic), thrived in 2020. Driven by podcasting and voice, perpetually anchored by radio, and constantly innovating technologically, sound proved its power everywhere. Think of some of the highlights:

  • Spotify continues to double down on podcastingpurchasing Megaphone for $235 million.
  • Agencies express similar enthusiasm, with, for example, Omnicom committing (relatively) big dollars upfront to Spotify podcasts.
  • SiriusXM makes sure it’s solidly in the game, buying Stitcher. 
  • The Insurance sector massively boosts its network radio spend, with, for example, Progressive devoting 44% more budget than in the year prior.
  • Different kinds of market players enhance their audio capabilities, as, for example, Shutterstock buys AI music platform Amper.

We count ourselves among those proof points as well, as we received new investment from forward-thinking VCs who understand both the power of audio and that meaningful data underpins all of the above. 

Maybe, more importantly, sound continually proved its ability to move people and comfort them through troubled times. 

A favorite song’s power to pull you through needs no quantifiable support — we’ve all called on it, no doubt more this year than ever before. But when we think more about the above Jackson Browne lyric, we understand that “music” can be about more than song alone. Voice, for example, as we all know, has tremendous power to drive emotion. In its purest form, that can come from hearing from an old friend. The business application is, of course, less significant in the grand scheme of things but powerful in its own context. And the marketing world is getting better at leveraging that power both effectively and responsibly. 

Rishad Tobaccowala, whom I interviewed last week for The Sonic Truth podcast (episode to air just after the new year), dropped more wisdom on the subject in one conversation than I think I’ve ever heard. We’ll save most of it for the episode, but one tidbit: building on the adage “music takes you where you want to go,” he added, “voice takes you to whom you want to go.” Nothing connects with and moves people like the right voice.

Taking it closer to the business application, Rishad continued: “People talk about the need to personalize at scale…voice allows you to scale intimacy.” There were plenty of signs this year that companies got it. Take Amazon, for example, which started enabling brands to create custom voices on Alexa. Why? Because they know that brands could, as described in Business Insider, “…experiment with voice emotion, resonance, and personability — data which in turn could develop Alexa’s abilities to engage with consumers.”

Related, looking more broadly at tone, I think about our own Audio Logo Index, which came out in May. In a special supplement to this year’s book, we looked at how certain brands — Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Home Depot, and others — demonstrated how much they understood this power. While their classic audio signatures were as omnipresent as ever through the year, when it came to advertising during the pandemic, they knew that tempering things — altering those legendary audio brands, softening voices, and more — would strike that right tone with consumers. The data supported the strategy: all of those modified ads were among the highest-scoring on the Veritonic platform. 

2020 reemphasized how the right sound makes a huge difference to people. 2021, which is happily already shaping up to be a way better year (think vaccines), is when that realization turns more to activation. We know the amazing potential of audio to move people, and the table has been (and continues to be) set to make that happen. Whether it comes from brands jumping more firmly into voice commerce or investing more deeply in audio marketing, we are, as always, ready to play our part by ensuring that every decision, grounded in data, comes with total confidence that they’re moving people the right way.

Click Here to See and hear the 10 Brands That Got Audio Right in 2020.

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

10 Brands That Got Audio Right in 2020

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

Remember that? Good times.

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

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

Let’s start with podcasts. 

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

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

Honey

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

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

Salesforce

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

Each & Every

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

Now onto radio.

O’Reilly Auto Parts

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

Varo

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

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

And last but not least, Audio Branding:

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

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

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

Note from the author: 

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

1 eMarketer
2 NPR

Categories
Advertising Branding

Which consumer brands are winning audio?

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

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

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

Continue reading on Mediatel News.

Categories
Advertising

Audio: Old Medium, New Tricks

Audio is one of the oldest forms of marketing. Make sure it’s effective with one of the newest forms of analytics.

“In the insights industry, there is a real gap between what has been traditionally available and what we need today,” says Tim Warner, who heads PepsiCo’s consumer and market research…. Leading consumer goods companies want to upgrade decades-old techniques, such as consumer surveys … which are seen as too slow, too expensive and often incomplete. (FT)

With all the technological innovation out there for marketers, it’s hard to say why market research hasn’t caught up. Maybe it’s hard to break out of “just what we’ve always used.” Maybe some lucky salesperson from the old guard scored a two-decade-long contract.

Whatever the reason, brands are increasingly less willing to wait around for a research vendor to assemble the right panel, organize data, suggest how to use it… and pay a hefty sum for the privilege. Business decisions — from product to marketing — need to be data-driven to be responsible business decisions, and the process for gleaning and leveraging those data needs to be modernized.

Ad creative needs smart, fast, actionable research more than anything. Why? Because, as Nielsen Catalina documented, creative drives nearly 50% of advertising effectiveness, more than targeting, reach, and brand combined. With that much power, who wants to leave figuring out what’s most effective to “the old methods that were invented before the digital era?”

In audio marketing, the problem is actually compounded. More than just facing legacy measurement systems, many of the biggest companies in the world have yet to measure audio creative at allIn today’s “audio renaissance,” how is it possible that decisions about ads, sonic branding, voice and more are still often made by gut? Look no further than the most commonly referenced stats (e.g., smart speaker adoption is growing faster than the early days of smartphones; 65% of podcast listeners are inclined to buy a product advertised on the show; etc.) to understand just how unsustainable that is.

So, for marketers concerned about getting audio marketing right — and tired of hitching up the horse and buggy of traditional research to try to figure it out — there’s good news: Machine-learning measurement — that quickly and accurately predicts how people will respond to audio creative — is here. It’s called the Audio Effectiveness Platform. 

What makes an audio effectiveness platform effective? Four things.

Merely moving from traditional research methods to a predictive platform is a big step as it is. But four critical components need to be present to fulfill the big promise.

1. The robot has to continually absorb tons of creative data

The smartest machine learning platform in the world can’t learn without analyzing a large and  steady volume of audio assets, from voices to streaming ads to sonic logos. Creative needs to be assessed for characteristics like timbre, brand mentions, use of music and the like, then weighed against other assets in the system for its’ ability to drive the marketer’s desired outcome. 

Let’s say a sneaker brand is assessing 50 voices for the one that will sound most “inspiring” to podcast listeners. The platform needs to be able to analyze those voices against a critical mass of other voices that have been gauged for their power to inspire podcast listeners.

Pandora’s Lauren Nagel describes a similar test that Pandora did on The Sonic Truth podcast.

2.   It needs to know what “effective” is

“…market research was all about mitigating risk of the decisions that the business had already made,” says Stan Sthanunathan, who has led consumer insights at Unilever since 2013. “Today our role has changed to anticipating consumers’ desires….”

For the system to predict how effective audio creative will be, it first has to understand what “effective” audio marketing actually is. An aggregate of different research philosophies points to four key components. Effective audio marketing:

  1.   grabs someone’s attention (engagement)
  2.   connects with them (emotional resonance)
  3.   is memorable (recall)
  4.   persuades them to want to buy the product (purchase intent).

While “machine learning” generally describes how a platform gets smarter as it processes more data, we like to think of the audio version as “machine listening and learning,” or M-LAL. “Listening” describes the machine’s ability to hear and understand the assets, and “learning” means evaluating them in the context of everything ingested and analyzed previously.

Back to our example: let’s say our sneaker brand is also looking for the voices that are most likely to persuade consumers to buy its sneakers. To predict it accurately, the machine obviously needs to be listening to and comparing against thousands of other voice assets that have scored relatively high for purchase intent in podcasts.

3.   It needs to keep getting smarter…with the help of people

While survey-based businesses are emblematic of “the old ways,” human response data is still important — just in the right context. Predictions need to be constantly validated and panels of people can help do it.

Back to the sneaker brand. Let’s say the platform, assessing a particular sponsor voice, predicts a relatively high score for “inspiring.” Without losing much time, the brand should be able to check those results against any custom audience segment it wants — say, several hundred in-market sneaker buyers in the midwest who listen to podcasts at least twice a month.

Once that data reinforces (or corrects) the prediction, those new learnings need to flow seamlessly back into the platform. That, in turn, makes the robot predict even more accurately next time.

4.   It needs to produce a simple, standardized score quickly

Intelligence about audio creative needs to be robust, cost effective and fast. But ultimately, if it can’t actually be put to good use easily then what’s the point? 

The most useful output of audio effectiveness analysis is a simple score that not only incorporates the most relevant data, but that adheres to a standard that makes comparing across the market easy.

One more time to our sneaker brand. With smart speakers as a key part of their strategy, they know the “voice of their brand” needs to resonate with listeners as much as, if not more than, their competitors. The platform needs to make that benchmarking easy. 

A simple, universal score makes the relative value of their voice asset — and their smartest path forward —  clear as a bell.

It’s unsurprising that audio, which is driving some of the most ubiquitous innovations in the modern era, is driving innovation in analytics as well. Technology at its best gravitates to where it’s needed the most. If one innovation ensures that millions of podcast listeners get ads for products they actually care about, another one needs to ensure that what they hear actually compels them to buy.

From the earliest days of radio, the smartest brands, media companies and others have always known just how resonant and powerful audio can be. Now, in the audio renaissance, the same types of leaders are embracing technology to reveal that power clearly and quickly. And it’s only getting smarter.