Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Unveiling the Power of
Audio in the Connected Car

Unveiling the
Power of Audio in the Connected Car

By Reggie Shah, Senior Director, Research & Insights, Audacy

Today’s modern fleet of connected cars is advancing with intelligence, safety, and interactivity at its core. Equipped with smart dashboards, and the integration of cutting-edge AI technology, the vehicle’s cabin has transformed into an immersive and interactive experience.

Audacy’s research has been the roadmap for the industry, revealing the hottest trends in automotive tech and how users are steering their experiences. Through four waves of surveys spanning from 2021 to 2023, we’ve examined the connected car experience, seeking to understand what truly revs up drivers’ engines. And the resounding answer? Audio is the driving force behind an unforgettable journey.

Audio Dominates the Next Dashboard
Dominates the
Next Dashboard

While video has been a hot topic for dashboards the last couple of years, drivers don’t seem interested yet in video features for their next vehicle. 

What’s much more important is the ability to receive news alerts and to effortlessly transition listening between phone, home, and car audio systems.

I would like my next connected car to have

% of connected car respondents

Ease-of-Use and Safety Are Drivers’ Top Priorities

When it comes to what connected drivers value most, ease of use and safety are at the top of the list. More than content! And it makes sense since the two are so closely connected. The easy-to-use dashboard lets you quickly access the music or podcasts you’re looking for. And when you’re not spending time searching, you’re practicing safe driving habits.

Dashboard systems are the future

Driver behaviors and priorities have changed dramatically in the last two years. Accessing audio through the dashboard increased by 10% from 2021 to 2023, while phone usage for audio dropped by 17%! Using your phone while driving is clearly on its way out. We’re ready for the easy-to-use, intuitive car dashboard.

Meet the Radio App and Voice Users
the Radio App
and Voice Users

Throughout the study, Radio App and Voice users emerged as super users. While there’s only a 30% overlap between Radio App and Voice users, we found they had a lot in common.  

Not only are their demographics similar, so are their habits. 

Radio App Users

73% Ages 25-54
55% Male

Voice Users

71% Ages 25-54
55% Male


Radio App




want to listen to their favorite Radio personalities while driving

Seamless Experiences Are a Must-Have

These highly engaged power users expect uninterrupted transitions for audio as they move between their home, phone, and car systems. Whether it’s their favorite station or enjoying quality time with David Spade on the latest Superfly episode—they demand a smooth experience without any interruptions.

“It is important for me to continue listening to my audio content when switching from home to the car and vice versa”

% of respondents

Users who want a smart system that recognizes the driver and sends personalized ads

% of respondents

But there’s more to the seamless experience than switching devices—Radio App and Voice Users are more likely to want a smart system that sends them personalized ads. 

Personalized ads are more engaging because they target your interests and behaviors, and they won’t take you out of your element. These users are ready for your message. You need to talk to them – here’s why.

Radio App and Voice Users Are Ready to Spend

Radio App and Voice Users are much more likely to spend in big-budget categories like home improvement and financial services. 

Spending categories: $1000+ annual spend

% of respondents

And They Take Action After Hearing Radio Ads

These tech-savvy users take action after hearing radio ads at nearly double the rate of the typical adult.

Actions taken after hearing radio ad in car

% of respondents

By targeting and creating personalized ads to these audiences, advertisers have an incredible opportunity to move listeners through all stages of the funnel. 

These power users take 2x more action than all listeners. Consistently.


After hearing an ad in the car, nearly half of Radio App Users looked up information about it online, vs 22% of all listeners.


31% of Radio App Users and 27% of Voice Users walked into the store they heard about. 2x higher than all listeners.


27% of Radio App Users purchased the advertised product. This is more than 2x higher than all listeners.


We know how powerful word-of-mouth can be. 35% of Voice Users discussed the product with friends and family — 75% more than all listeners. 

Your Connected Car Takeaways
Connected Car

Turn the Volume Up

Audio owns the dashboard – by a wide margin, drivers want Audio (AM/FM, stream or podcast) over other forms of information or entertainment on their smart dashboards.

Smart Dashboards > Phones

With safety and ease-of-use being top priorities, the smart dashboard has become much more important than the phone for the in-car experience.

Connected Car Users Take Action

Radio Drives Tune-In

1/3rd of Radio App users tuned in to watch that TV show or movie they heard about on radio, nearly 2x the rate of all connected car listeners. 23% of Voice Users subscribed to a video streaming service after hearing about it on radio, more than 2x the rate of all connected car listeners. We call them churn-busters.

Mobilize Voters

When hearing radio ads about community activities, Radio App Users are 2x more likely to show up. Political candidates who tailor their message to Voice Users not only connect with their audience but also double their chances of turning listeners into voters.

Source:  Audacy Connected Car Study,  Wave 4 (Nov. 2023)