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Which consumer brands are winning audio?

10 Mar 2020  |  Scott Klass 
Which consumer brands are winning audio?

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New market intelligence sets a sonic path for marketers, writes Veritonic's Scott Klass

“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. The total US podcast audience is growing at an annual rate of 20%.

Almost half of all British households will have a smart speaker by 2024. Mastercard believes in audio so much that it released a pop song version of its sonic brand.

So it appears that if you don't have an audio strategy already, it’s high time you develop one. Part and parcel of that strategy, as any responsible marketer would tell you, is ensuring that every decision is grounded in data. If you are, for example, spending on podcasts, you want proof that they’re the right podcasts, that your ads have the most effective creative composition for a given audience, and so on.

Seeing (hearing) the market is step one

The starting point of that data strategy seems intuitive: get a clear view of who’s doing what in the market and what’s working for them. But in audio marketing to date, that insight really hasn’t been available.

It’s emerging now, and only by seeing this intelligence can marketers get a handle on where their own sonic efforts stand (or should stand). Then they can plot a strategy (e.g., where to invest, how to divide budget, how to build winning creative), continually check that data to optimize, and truly start capitalizing on the massive opportunity.

Competitive Intelligence answers key questions

This foundational level of intelligence goes a long way in the development of a solid audio strategy.

Volume / Frequency

Let’s say you're an insurance brand trying to decide how to allocate budget for audio. One of the first things you might want to know is how much audio inventory your competitors are buying.

Assessing radio ads across a handful of markets over the past month, the Veritonic Audio Intelligence Platform reveals that both Progressive Insurance and Geico are spending relatively heavily.

Then you might want to look across the market at some of the qualities of those ads that are driving success.

Voice Gender

With the power of voice growing exponentially, the characteristics of voice that drive ad performance are among the most common elements analysed by brands on the Veritonic platform. Gender, it turns out, makes a difference.

As we’ve reported often, while male voice has been used about 75% of the time in audio ads historically, numerous studies have shown that female voice performs equal to--and often better--than male voice. Combine that with the fact that women control over 80% of household purchases, and it’s easy to understand why you might consider bucking the historical trend in your own strategy.

Assessing major Insurance brand ads alongside the Automotive sector, it appears that Insurance may be ahead of the cultural-commercial curve:  58% of the top decile of Insurance ads analyzed use female voices, while only 18% of the top Auto ads leverage a female voice.

While Allstate was a hands-down winner for recall, two of the Progressive ads scored highest for purchase intent.

Ad length

How long is long enough to get your message across and drive a favorable response? Here again, competitive intelligence helps provide an answer.

For the two main sectors analysed here, it seems clear that shorter is better.

In Auto, while the top two ads are 30-second spots, 15-second spots dominated the top decile of the category (followed by 30’s, then 60’s). While the split was a little more even across the top Insurance spots, the two best-performing ads were a 15-second spot from Geico, and an even shorter ad from Allstate.

Clear insights into audio ad trends are foundational for any marketer charting their course in what’s becoming the most critical channel in media. The above, of course, only skims the surface; with thousands of major brands around the world running more audio ads across an ever-expanding media landscape -- and new creative elements constantly being introduced into those ads -- there’s a lot to make sense of on an ongoing basis.

When getting audio right matters more than ever, who wants to be the marketer who ignores the sonic truth?


To learn more about Veritonic Competitive Intelligence, contact info@veritonic.com.

Scott Klass is SVP, Marketing at Veritonic

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