Let us know if this sounds familiar.
You’re driving to work. It’s 8:15 am and your listing to your favourite radio station. Suddenly an audio ad comes on for the latest new product, whether it’s a sofa, car services, or literally anything else, it doesn’t really matter.
You know it’s an ad, you’re not particularly interested but you listen anyway because you’re waiting for the host to come back on and entertain you.
But then you hear the same advertising message again the next day, and the day after that, and the week after that, and when it comes time for you to replace your worn-out sofa or take your car in for a repair, what is the first place you’ll think of?
This is audio advertising in a nutshell. It is subtle, repetitive, and darn right effective.
Now we know what you’re thinking, “I thought video was king in advertising, and yet here is another thing I need to produce to promote my business”. Well yes… and yes again.
While video will still be the most important advertising tool in your arsenal, it doesn’t hurt to have a mix of media and advertising channels at play, and audio advertising happens to be highly effective. Although it’s fairly simple to produce and certainly cheaper to run than a TV commercial you can expect to reach a wide audience through digital audio advertising making this a powerful advertising medium.
In this blog post, we will be answering the most common questions about audio advertising: what is it, how it works, why it’s effective, what some of the current trends are, how to create an ad yourself and how an audio advertising agency can help. We’ll also explain how to convert audio advertising into something meaningful that will convince listeners to become your customers.
Let’s start with the basics…
Audio advertising: What is it?
Audio advertising is exactly how it sounds. It’s a way to reach audiences with your marketing message using audio. Typical examples of this include traditional radio ads, in-store advertising, or podcast advertising.
At a time when audio content and consumption is trending, it’s unsurprising that audio advertising has already made its way into our favourite podcast and music streaming services, like Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and more.
How does audio advertising work?
The goal of audio advertising is to have your message heard, considered, and acted upon by the listener. In order for your message to have the desired effect, it must be concise and convincing.
Many audio ads include a jingle, that helps you to remember the business name and what they do. To this day, most of us will still hear Wynne Evans singing the words “GO COMPARE!” whenever we think of a comparison website and you only have to hear the phrase “I’m Lovin’ It” to instantly think of McDonald’s. It’s like uttering magic spells that conjure up various brands in your mind. How did they do it?
It might seem like magic, but really it’s simple psychology.
Catchy, concise, emotive, repetitive: the key ingredients to make your digital audio advertising a success.
Why is it so effective?
Audio advertising is effective because it tugs on the strings of buyer psychology. What do we mean by that?
Audio advertising isn’t like other forms of advertising. Although it utilises “in your face” marketing gimmicks, like catchy sound bites which make the ads stand out, ultimately audio advertising is subtle in its approach.
The goal is to influence the listener subconsciously over a period of time until the business being advertised becomes the go-to company that you would approach when you are in need of their products or services.
You may think, “that doesn’t work on me”, but this form of subliminal advertising is often supplemented with video ads, social media marketing and tv commercials, portraying similar messaging that is absorbed and processed over time. Your audio ads should form part of your wider digital advertising strategy, so make sure you consult your digital advertising team on the best approach to take before you do anything else.
Digital audio ads are often used to present brands as the leading authority in a particular industry so much so that their name becomes synonymous with the product or service they sell.
When you think of a sofa, you might think of DFS. When you think of fried chicken, you’ll likely think of KFC. When you think of a phone, your mind jumps to either Apple or Samsung.
Do customers think of your brand when they think of the products you sell?
Reaching a wide audience
Part of what makes audio advertising such an effective medium is just how far a message can travel in the space of 30 seconds.
Unsurprisingly, the use of digital audio in daily life exploded under lockdown. More people than ever before are listening regularly to the radio with figures estimating over 39 million UK listeners will be tuning in this year. Listenership online has also reached new heights, with roughly 14 million podcast listeners, and 17 million people now listening to content on Spotify.
That is a massive audience. With audio advertising, your message has the potential to reach millions and by selecting the right stations and using programmatic audio ads you’ll be able to reach the right audience at the right time.
Looking at the stats above, it is clear that both radio and digital audio advertising have benefitted from a recent uptick in listenership, but we have also seen potential growing for more long-form audio content, particularly podcasts which discuss topics in great detail or dive into deep discussions with high profile guests.
Spotify’s listenership will likely continue to grow, with smaller music streaming services also seeing an increase in online engagement, while popular radio networks look for new ways to hold onto high-performing hosts and engage listeners.
The UK radio industry will also be looking to focus more resources towards their online streaming platforms, as listenership online continues to reach record shares of over 50%.
How to create effective audio ads
We are going to run you through the general process of creating digital audio ads yourself. While it seems straight forward there are a number of details you’ll need to consider carefully when you’re putting an audio ad together, which we will discuss below.
Coming up with a concept
When coming up with a concept for your audio ads, it must be relevant and on message. Stick to one thing. Don’t go rattling off a million reasons why your business is the right choice. Choosing one good one is enough.
If you can, think of an angle that will either make the ad emotive, or comical. This will help to make it more impactful on the listener, and therefore more effective and memorable.
Writing the script
When writing the script for your audio ads, you’ll need to keep it concise, and to the point, while also making it catchy and reflective of your brand voice.
Don’t lose sight of your goal. If your goal is brand awareness the message can be broader, but if your goal is to convert listeners into customers keep a tight grip on your messaging. Informing listeners of a time-sensitive deal may encourage them to buy from you quickly, but whatever you do, don’t forget to include a clear call to action.
Make sure you time your script before it comes time to record it. If you are only given a 30-second slot and your running over time you’ll need to cut it down, and you don’t want to leave that to the last minute.
We recommend giving yourself as many ad options as possible before you get into the recording studio. If you intend to place your ad on various platforms, you may be allocated various slot lengths, a minute here, 30 seconds there, so make sure you have written scripts that accommodate those times.
You may also want to tailor your messaging for different audiences, or time slots. If you’re advertising on the local radio station, remember that the listeners will, generally speaking, reside in the local area. Different stations may be home to different demographics of listeners that are of a certain age, or stage in their life which is important to consider before purchasing an ad slot on that station. The same goes for digital audio advertising platforms.
Recording the audio
When it comes time to record your ad, you’ll need to consider the following. Who will be reading the script and where the audio will be recorded?
If you haven’t already chosen to use an audio advertising agency to manage the process for you, then you’ll need to hire out a recording studio.
To ensure the audio is produced to a professional standard, we recommend hiring a professional audio engineer or producer and using an experienced voice actor to convey your marketing message.
Think carefully about your brand and target market before choosing a voice actor.
The voice you use should reflect your target audience and your brand. If you are looking to attract both men and women, think about the age range or accent of the voice actor you choose. You should also consider who your audience is more likely to trust to talk about the kind of product or service you’re offering.
If your brand and products are specific to Scotland, you may want to choose someone with a local accent, whereas if your company operates across the whole of the UK, you may opt for a more neutral one.
Details like this may seem trivial but they will have an impact on how your ad is perceived by the target audience and whether or not they will relate to and trust your message.
Distributing your ad
Knowing where to place your ad can sometimes be a struggle. This may have been the first thing you thought of, in which case, you’ve probably already spoken to the relevant people who can help you get your message in front of the right audience at the right time.
Audio advertising through traditional radio is fairly straightforward. You will need to set up a call with their advertising team to discuss rates, time slots, and in some cases, the station will even help you record your radio ads. They won’t feature anything that’s less than professionally produced, so if they can hear your cats meowing in the background, forget it.
Digital audio advertising, on the other hand, is a more hands-on approach. You’ll need to do your market research to find out which platform is best for reaching your target audience and set up a business account on your chosen platform. You’ll then need to upload your audio and set up the advertising yourself. You may want to consult your digital advertising team who will be able to conduct the necessary market research in advance.
Programmatic audio advertising has made delivering ads through multiple platforms a lot easier to manage. Through enhanced targeting capabilities, brands are able to serve different ads to specific target audiences depending on data points such as demographics, listener’s location, interests and past purchase behaviour through most platforms. You can set this up to run automatically before publishing your ads.
If you want to feature on a specific podcast and gain product endorsements from the podcast host you’ll need to deal with them directly. Rates for this will vary depending on their reach and influence and how much they like your products. They may ask for a freebee to try it out for themselves. They may ask you for an audio clip to play, a script to follow so they can discuss the product themselves or they may go off book and talk about the features they liked the most. Podcast advertising is often a mix of audio meets influencer marketing.
Why you should use an audio advertising agency?
As you can see, creating an audio advertisement from scratch is not only a costly endeavour, it’s also time-consuming, and involves a lot of insider industry knowledge that you and your team may not have.
An experienced audio advertising agency will not only have the necessary knowledge and skillset to create a unique, catchy and impactful audio advertisement, but they may also have existing relationships with radio stations and networks which they can leverage to get you a better deal. Why spend hours stabbing in the dark, when you could leave all the hard work to the professionals, or call on them for the advice you need to succeed in this market.
What’s more, you know that at the end of the process, you’ll have a high-quality ad that will showcase your business in the way it deserves to be heard.
Our audio team are pros at what they do. They transform ideas into compelling audio that speaks directly to the needs of consumers and positions clients as the leading authority in their industry.
At AVC Immedia we have over 20 years experience of making effective ads, which run on our in-store music services. These ads take the services to a new level, talking directly to your customers, highlighting offers, promotions and brand values that a busy shopper may be otherwise unaware of. With our ability to influence the listeners at the point of purchase these ads have proved effective in increasing sales for our clients.