Audio: A Beacon of Trust in the Age of AI

By Idil Cakim, SVP, Head of Research & Insights 

Trust is the number one value brands need to instill in the new age of AI. Here’s why: Today, there’s much excitement about its potential to boost productivity, streamline workflows, and allow us to focus on what truly matters in our lives, both at work and personally. AI-generated images have captivated many, with 40% of people enjoying these digital creations. However, there’s a significant hurdle: trust. A staggering 75% of US adults believe AI can deceive them with false information, raising concerns about authenticity and reliability. This finding also highlights the need and opportunity for advertisers to communicate transparently, from the inception of their products and services to points of delivery. 

Amidst this consumer skepticism, the human voice stands out as a beacon of trust. According to Audacy’s Innovation Tracker (June 2024), people are more than twice as likely to trust a human voice (55%) over AI-generated content (23%). This preference also extends to advertising, where consumers express greater comfort with audio ads crafted by humans compared to those produced by AI.

This trust in human voices isn’t just a preference; it’s a critical factor in advertising and content consumption. Advertisers increasingly recognize the importance of transparency and genuine human connection to earn and maintain consumer trust. This is where audio platforms such as radio and podcasts excel, offering a unique avenue for brands to connect authentically with their audiences.

Radio hosts, for instance, are valued 2.5 times more than social media influencers for delivering news (56% vs. 22%) and twice as much for sports commentary (40% vs. 21%). Similarly, podcast hosts are preferred over social media figures when discussing social issues (43% vs. 34%). These statistics underscore the profound impact of human voices in fostering meaningful connections and reliable information dissemination.

Why should a marketer care? Because in a time when there is so much debate about what’s real and where privacy lines have to be drawn, brands will need to choose trusted channels to communicate with audiences. Audiences now have much to choose from when consuming content, and they think twice before sharing their personal information. They are seeking reliable sources of information regarding what’s close to home: their communities and teams. As the Audacy Innovation Tracker reveals, even those at the forefront of new technologies who want to share data to get personalized content are still more likely to trust the human voice. 

While AI brings undeniable benefits to efficiency and creativity, the enduring trust and connection provided by human voices and connections remain irreplaceable. Whether through radio broadcasts or podcasts, these platforms continue to play a crucial role in shaping how brands engage with consumers, emphasizing authenticity and building lasting relationships based on genuine human interaction.

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Audacy Innovation Tracker, Online survey conducted on Ask Suzy platform, June 2024, A18+, M:F=50:50, n=1120

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