January 13, 2021

Audio is Personal Primetime

By Idil Cakim, SVP, Research and Insights, Audacy

The way audio emotionally connects with audiences and captures their attention is second to none. Audacy conducted a groundbreaking study, Audio Amplification: Defining Engaged Impressions, in partnership with Alter Agents – an independent, third-party market research firm. The study consisted of two parts: a quantitative online survey and Immersion neuro tests based on biometric feedback.[1] The results showed how audio (OTA, streaming OTA and podcast programming and advertising) draws audiences, moves them emotionally and leads to action.

Heart, Mind, Action!

Immersion is a highly scientific measure of emotional connection and heightened attention. It is based on variations in heart rate and it is predictive of action, such as sales[2]. Science shows that our hearts and brains are connected. By measuring heart rate changes, we learned how content triggered audiences’ brain activity and drew them into experiences. Audiences were exposed to eight media types (OTA, streaming OTA, podcast, digital pureplay, linear TV, AVOD, digital video and social media), in key genres (news talk, sports, music, health and wellness, society and culture).
Across all media we tested, audio proved to be the most immersive medium. And Audacy’s audio content exceeded norms[3]! On a scale of 0 to 100, our audio content had an immersion score of 57, rising above the cross-industry average (50), entertainment (45) and advertising (43) benchmarks. Audacy’s content was also more immersive than linear TV (52) and social media (52).[4]

Audio Garners Undivided Attention

The survey findings underscored audio’s ability to hook audiences and hold their full attention. OTA and podcast listeners were more likely than average to pay full attention to audio — especially to sports and news content.

The Audio Attention Index
(based on those who pay full attention)



Our listeners followed a similar pattern – with podcast listeners paying undivided attention to audio across all genres, more so than the typical listener.

Podcasts Are Personal

When audiences were asked when they listen to audio content, podcast listeners said they savor their pods when they are alone. Whether delving into news, sports, society and culture or health and wellness topics, podcasters – and the brands serving them – enjoy personal primetime.

Top Listening Occasions
By Podcast Format

NEWS TALK   When I’m alone   Weekdays or weeknights   During the weekend
SPORTS   When I’m alone   Weekdays or weeknights   After work/school
SOCIETY & CULTURE   When I’m alone   During the weekend   Weekdays or weeknights
HEALTH & FITNESS   When I’m alone   Weekdays or weeknights   During work/school

Our first Audio Amplification: Defining Engaged Impressions study shows that in a given media mix, audio impressions carry significant weight. Audio is immersive and it energizes consumers to take action. Whether in-car, at home, on a mobile device or a smart speaker, audio delivers deeply personal experiences to audiences and consistent results for brands.

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[1] Engaged Impressions custom study was conducted with Alter Agents August – October, 2020. It is comprised of a nationally representative survey (n=1,008 U.S. adults 18-54) and neuro measurements of immersion (n=107,186 data points collected from randomly selected n=111 media consumers in NY, LA and Chicago markets). The neuro part of the study tested 22 clips from eight media sources across five formats.
[2] Immersion scores predict action with an accuracy of >80%. Used by leading brands like Warner Bros, Paramount, Microsoft, Accenture, CBS, and many others, Immersion reveals what audiences truly love and predict their future actions. Backed by 20 years of peer-reviewed science funded by DARPA, Immersion is the only software platform on the market that can accurately predict human behavior from the brain’s emotional activity.
[3] Immersion scores are on a scale from 0-100. The higher the number, the more immersive the experience is. Audacy performs above industry norms at a p<.05 level (95% confidence level).
[4] Audacy immersion surpasses linear TV and social media at a p<.10 level (90% confidence level).

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