Host or Announcer-Read Sponsorship Messages?: A New Study With Veritonic Decides

February 2023

In the audio industry, it seems that there is a near constant debate about the best ad formats– between announcer or host-read spots, with most publishers favoring host-read credits. However, a recent Sounds Profitable Study, conducted by Edison Research, found that 78% of listeners equally find both types of messages as “useful.”¹

The Sounds Profitable study focuses on produced ads, which are similar to commercial radio advertisements. At NPR, sponsor messages are created using trusted voice talent, a departure from the industry standard. So, in order to better understand how NPR sponsor messages measure up, we partnered with the audio research platform Veritonic to understand:

  1. How, if at all, do NPR host reads and announcer-read credits differ in effectiveness? 
  2. How do they perform relative to Veritonic’s benchmarks for audio advertising?

Our methodology

We selected nine (9) NPR sponsors and recorded one of their 30-second scripts with announcer Chioke I’Anson and Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me! host Peter Sagal. Each test pod consisted of one (1) brand from the Auto, Financial, and Miscellaneous categories. 321 panelists, who all self-identified as NPR podcast listeners, listened and responded to the host and announcer read for each brand.

Subaru Announcer-Read Message

Subaru Host-Read Message

Equal effectiveness

However, across other components of recall, purchase intent, and engagement, host and announcer reads scored within less than one point of one another. The two forms of sponsorship messages were notably equally effective at driving purchase intent.

It’s worth noting that both styles were effective among regular program listeners. With the much-loved Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, announcer and host-read sponsorship messages performed equally well – scoring within one point of one another across all components.³ Average recall was 18.5% higher than the recall benchmark for podcast audio tested in Veritonic, revealing that both announcer and host-read messages are remembered by the show’s audience.


Insight for financial brands

A a 6% increase in recall for announcer read messages over host reads in the finance category revealed that announcer read messages were more effective than host-read for financial sponsors. Announcer reads were scored as more relaxed and less energetic, indicating that a calmer tone may be more effective when it comes to financial brands. This finding is supported by Nielsen’s discovery that non-host read messages work best for building affinity, while host-read messages boost search and purchase intent.

NPR drives purchase intent

Not only does NPR stand out in its effectiveness of sponsorship messaging, but also in driving purchase intent. Compared to Veritonic’s norms across their entire database of audio testing, NPR spots – both announcer and host-read – stand out for driving +8% higher intent to purchase after hearing the spot. These spots and voices are well-trusted, with 18 years of brand safety under their belts.

Additionally, the NPR sponsorship team carefully crafts the right message for sponsors on an individual, bespoke basis. Using thorough A/B testing, artful storytelling, and precise targeting solutions, our team works with brands to create the most effective message for the NPR audience.

The bottom line: NPR is a unique platform, with a unique audience. NPR host-reads and unique announcer-read credits are, on average, equally effective in driving recall, purchase intent and brand perceptions.

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