The Future of Audio is Here
Digital technology has “brought audio into places it hadn’t been for a lot of people,” Edison Research SVP Tom Webster told marketers in New York. And with more integration on the horizon, it’s essential for brands today to build a thoughtful audio strategy that carries them into the voice-activated future.
“What we’ve seen at Capital One is the level of retention and engagement on audio compared to other channels,” notes Liz Anderson, senior manager of Corporate Communication at Capital One of the financial company’s strategy. “We partnered with NPR to tell this really cool, completing story where people are really engaged, they’re listening, they’re willing to go down the ‘rabbit hole’ with you, and become really educated on topics.”
During The Future of Audio Summit at Advertising Week, Anderson and other industry leaders discussed the trends in tech and consumer behavior that are shaping the media landscape of tomorrow, and the best tactics for leveraging audio to achieve a one-to-one connection with audiences.
Key Takeaways from the Summit
1. Digital Disruption Has Helped Audio Flourish
Mobile devices and ubiquitous broadband fueled the growth of podcasting, which has seen double-digital increases in audience annually for three years straight. Now, smart speakers and voice activation are driving increases in time spent with audio – from broadcast radio to streaming music.
2. Major Digital Players Drive Podcasting Towards 100M
Pandora, Stitcher, Spotify, Google and others are entering the spoken word space through podcasting. Along with them comes the promise of enhancements to tech infrastructure, discoverability of content and user experience. Podcasting “is a portable medium,” says Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn. “We can capture attention minutes that simply aren’t available to streaming video or to display.”
3. DTC Brands Have Embraced Audio & Seen the Benefits
“[Away] feel that they’re selling an experience, not necessarily a suitcase,” says IAB EVP of Industry Initiatives Anna Bager. “Podcasting is really fantastic if you want to do that, because it doesn’t seem like an ad. You can provide the user with something much more rich and valuable.” Podcast ads and sponsor messages allow brands to build one-to-one connections with consumers in a brand safe and low fraud environment.
4. Creating Emotional Connection is Paramount
“80-90% of decision making takes place in [the] subconscious,” explains Neuro-Insights CEO Pranav Yadav, whose research has found audio to be a powerful format for creating a memorable impression on the brain. “You find relatability in the content.”
5. …As is Mastering Your Frequency & Diversifying Your Media Plan
A recent experiment by Pandora’s Insights Lab exposed test groups to either 2.7 or 1.3 audio ads weekly. The research found that the group exposed to audio ads at a higher weekly frequency had a 47% higher rate of lift in conversions. And your audio strategy shouldn’t compete with other media. Audio “is highly complementary,” notes Brad Kelly, General Manager of Nielsen Audio. “The combination of radio and TV combined make a stickier message.”
6. When it Comes to Voice, Utility & User Experience Are Make or Break
Through smartphones, speakers, cars, etc., voice activation is becoming part of everyday life. And some of the most popular functions on these devices are those that create convenience – reading recipes out loud, controlling thermostats, turning on TVs. As Google Home’s Head of Partner Marketing Julia Chen Davidson puts it: “[Voice can] help with the little tasks, so they can get back to the stuff that matters.” Brands attempting to leverage these new technologies must carefully consider how and if their voice experiences are adding ease and efficiency to consumers’ lives.
Sources: Edison Research, Share of Ear, 2018. Edison Research, Infinite Dial 2018; The Feed by Libsyn.IAB/PwC Report 2018.
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