If you listen to the radio, stream music, or subscribe to podcasts, chances are you’ve heard an audio ad. Unlike more visual methods of advertising, this type of ad relies heavily on stellar voice work, sound effects, music, and messaging to capture the attention of listeners. Despite the popularity of audio ads, they’re often overlooked and underappreciated as a method of communication from business to consumer. However, a good audio ad can succeed where other methods of advertising have failed, and can act as the driving force behind your next marketing campaign.
Unlike many visual forms of advertising, which are limited to being displayed in certain dimensions or locations (ie. billboards or online banner ads), audio ads can be played in situations where visual media is not available. Someone driving home from work, or listening to a podcast on their morning jog, will be able to hear your message without the need for a screen or a sign in front of them. In other words, audio ads possess a versatility that more visual methods of communication might lack. Remember, though, that the lack of a visual aid means that your audio ad needs to be especially engaging.
When we say audio ad, by default, we’re generally talking about a well-produced, company-created advertisement, with professional voiceover work and sound effects included. This is known in radio advertising as a produced spot. But let’s expand our definition a bit. Audio ads are really just any instance where your product is advertised using audio, right? This is where sponsorships and live reads come in.
Sponsorship messaging is becoming increasingly popular, especially on podcasts. If you’re a podcast listener, you know that podcast hosts will often take a break during their show play a message thanking their sponsors, and advertise a product themselves. This is a powerful (and more cost-effective) way to speak to your audience, because the message is coming from someone who enjoys your product, and whom the audience trusts. All you need to provide is a script, and it can be as vague or as specific as you’d like. The host can tell people all about your brand with their own personal cadence and flair, making the message really stick for listeners. (Sometimes, this is done live, rather than via a prerecorded message. When that happens, it’s a live read.)
Now, this isn’t to say a creative message with all the bells and whistles a marketing department can provide won’t always have a place in the world of audio ads. Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services favor these sorts of ads, because they keep listeners’ attention in-between songs by professional-grade sound effects and music in the background. There are benefits to both professional and more “organic” messaging, so do your best to determine what types of audio ads are going to be most effective for your company on different platforms.
As we’ve mentioned, audio ads are versatile, and the message can come from you, an influencer, or any other trusted source. As a result, they’re quite an effective tool for increasing engagement, especially among distracted or multitasking individuals- namely, those listening to podcasts while working out or completing some other activity. In fact, YouTube – a historically visual platform – recently rolled out its own audio ads program, as it recognized a need to engage those who might play videos of concerts, podcasts, and music while engaging in something else.
And these ads do work at capturing attention. Research shows that over 80% of podcast-listeners surveyed always pay attention to podcast advertisements, and over half of those surveyed reported purchasing something from a podcast ad.
Just remember that audio ads rely more on repetition to be effective, since they lack visual representation. Media Space Solutions claims your audience needs to hear your ad at least three times before they’ll take action. But, once the message sticks, it stays. There’s a reason people remember jingles from ads they saw over a decade ago.
Audio ads are just one of many forms of advertising you can use to promote your products or services, and the most successful businesses will take advantage of multiple mediums and messaging tactics to engage their customers. Looking to increase your paid media presence? The experts here at Relevance Advisors would love to work with you!