New Research Confirms Audio Outperforms TV and Digital

By Idil Cakim, SVP, Head of Research & Insights, Audacy

Jennifer tumbles out of bed in the morning as the smart speaker streams NewsRadio KRLD 1080, her preferred local news source. During lunch breaks and after work at the gym, the Dallas native slips on her earbuds and enjoys listening to Unsolved Mysteries or another one of her favorite podcasts–ads included.

Jennifer is pretty typical. Around the country, millions of listeners stay engaged to audio throughout the day. But the advertising community has long held an implicit bias, believing people need to see a commercial to be motivated to buy the product. Now, two new studies debunk the tired myth that you need visual cues to impact consumer behavior. And more importantly, they show how Audio holds more attention than other media and drives key brand metrics.

Attention measurement comparing Audio and video

Global media and advertising network Dentsu’s Attention Economy team worked with Lumen Research on creating a methodology for calculating Audio engagement using visual metric equivalents. This approach creates a level playing field to compare the attention paid to ads in television, online video, digital display, social, podcasts and radio. Leading Audio players including Audacy provided samples of their advertising and programming. 

Audio holds more attention than video

The first of the two studies focuses on podcasts. Using these equivalized attention metrics, Dentsu’s research shows podcast ads garner the highest attention (i.e., attentive seconds per thousand impressions) when compared to other digital, social and TV. And for brand choice, podcasting provides an average uplift of 7%. For host reads, the number’s higher at 8%.

Radio is the subject of the second study. In this case, Dentsu’s analysis of the data finds that overall radio attention is on par with podcasting’s excellent performance and, again, very high compared to visual media. When it comes to brand choice uplift, Radio clocks in at 9%.

When looking at Audio holistically (i.e., including both radio and podcast), its prominence in consumers’ minds is evident. Average attentive seconds per (000) APM for audio advertising was 10,126 compared to dentsu norms of 6,501 APM.

Audio’s performance exceeds Dentsu norms on video, TV, digital display and social on every key metric that matters. Audio

  • Garners +56% more attention – more attentive seconds/ 1,000 seconds – than the average ad platform measured by Dentsu. 
  • Yields a solid brand recall average at 41% – above Dentsu norms (38%) 
  • Delivers an increase in brand choice that is +67% higher than Dentsu average of other media.

Confirming previous Audacy research

None of this is a surprise to anyone following Audacy Insights for a while. The Dentsu research aligns with our Engaged Impressions report. Our study from 2020 finds that Audio – when compared to visual creative for broadcast, cable, digital, and social – remains the most powerful of mediums because of its ability to deliver an immersive experience. That immersion triggers memorability, trust and connection – leading to attention – and delivers consistent results for marketers. This is a trend we have seen across our client work as well. 

Now, thanks to Dentsu, there’s another comprehensive, third-party study inclusive of podcasts and Radio showing Audio most definitely holds more attention than digital media, social and TV. 

Audio’s more efficient & drives brand metrics

By calculating the aCPM (attention cost per 1,000 impressions), Dentsu found that dollars spent on podcasts work harder than TV, digital, and social channels. However, it’s Radio that really shines in this comp, coming up more efficient than all other tested media.


Key takeaway: Audio is essential 

Lumen researchers also make a point about sales, sharing historical evidence of the connection between attention and sales. As attention to content and advertising increases, so do sales. The direct relationship to sales, coupled with cost efficiency, makes Audio the smartest investment choice when balancing for performance. 

What’s the net-net for marketers? To reach, connect, and mobilize consumers like Jennifer, Audio is the way to go. Give the medium its fair share to drive the highest results possible for your brand.

Want to talk more about reaching your target audience?

Let´s Talk

Source: Dentsu Attention Economy Podcast and Radio Studies, conducted by Lumen Research, 2023

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