7 Reasons Why America’s Most Trusted Medium Is Scorching Hot
Winter is most definitely here. While temperatures are falling and the light is getting flatter, I want to share something to warm you up: Audio is on fire. 125 million Americans now listen to podcasts monthly. More of us tune into the radio than use Facebook each week. Digital Audio is the fastest-growing form of advertising, with a year-to-year increase over 50%.
Audio is accessible virtually everywhere and on every device. Compared to other media, it’s the ultimate companion—with us wherever we go, whenever we want to be with it. And it’s the only medium that you can be actively engaged in while doing something else. Need to drive the kids to school? Want to squeeze in a run? Is it time to cook dinner? No problem. Audio engages the ears but leaves the eyes and the body free.
For advertisers, radio, podcasts, and Audio streaming deliver outstanding results. Brands can accompany people wherever they are—and in environments where busy consumers are listening and most receptive to messages.
Science proves that Audio works. At Audacy, we conducted neuroscience research to understand the way Audio affects the brain—how it impacts what we think, how we feel, and ultimately, the decisions we make. We discovered that the medium is way more immersive than any other, even when including linear TV, streaming video, and social media platforms. That’s because Audio enters our ears and slips into our brains. And when a consumer is deeply engaged and listening to content, the brain releases serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. The combination mirrors what’s released when we hug someone we love. That connection is so powerful. Our research shows that Audio exceeds all other advertising norms when it comes to garnering attention and creating an emotional connection, helping advertisers have their messages land with impact.
In a separate study, we asked the question: When does Audio advertising peak with listeners? When does its effectiveness erode? We wanted to understand the optimal frequencies for advertising to help our clients better plan the most effective Audio campaigns.
What we uncovered surprised even us. Repetition increases immersion—without erosion—even at the highest levels of exposure. Depending on the category, the advertising message effectiveness keeps building, even with a frequency as high as 15. Audio hooks in listeners and simply does not erode. What’s so amazing is that Audio ads drive both top of the funnel awareness and bottom funnel purchase intent.
Marketers already know Audio is the number one reach medium. Nielsen shows radio alone reaches roughly 9 out of every 10 people in the United States each week, surpassing television, digital, or social media.
But with the growing usage of digital streaming and podcast consumption, marketers can now target listeners with more precision than ever before. We build cohorts based on over-the-air, digital Audio, and podcast consumption. This type of targeting advancement has fundamentally advanced Audio’s value proposition from one of reach and frequency to one of reach, frequency AND precision.
Yet, despite this massive reach (with targeting precision), Audio remains a medium deeply connected with its local communities, often defined by demographics, interest, passions, or geography. Listeners trust content creating a personal connection to home-grown talent. 71% of weekly Audio fans tune in because the hosts are local.1
With strong economic headwinds on the horizon, we all need to spend marketing dollars wisely. Audio provides an excellent ROI. Last year, Audacy conducted a study with our partner Neustar that revealed even a 2% shift of media investment to Audio surges brands’ return on ad spend by as much as 23%. Savvy brands invest significantly in Audio. When the investment shifts become seismic, so do the results—just ask Ford, P&G, or Mastercard.
Often called the “theater of the mind,” Audio creates stories for the brain to illustrate. The sounds we hear trigger emotions using our own contexts and without any visual biases. Advertisers have so many tools to utilize to tell their stories from great writing to sound effects to sonic branding. Audio, when done well, is a creator’s paradise. By using our imagination, we’re actively participating in the story creation process—advertising’s holy grail. When marketers tell a story about their product that listeners can visualize, engagement skyrockets—and so does the likelihood of taking action.
While other media continues to be disrupted and fragmented, and once stalwart platforms are coming under heavy scrutiny, Audio continues to evolve by finding new growth channels, new engaged listeners, and new creators to make amazing content.
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1 Audio Amplification: Engaged Impressions Study, Alter Agents, August-October 2020