Ad Engagement Increases With Each Audio Exposure, a Joint Study by Audacy and Spark Foundry Confirms

PHILADELPHIA, PA – July 19, 2022 – A groundbreaking audio study, conducted by Alter Agents – an independent market research consultancy – in partnership with Audacy and media agency Spark Foundry, has concluded that ad engagement climbs with each audio exposure across industry categories, audio platforms and genres. This distinctive content peak study shows that exposing audiences to audio messages consistently offers resounding benefits in brand equity and sales. Audio seizes attention and builds intention, frequency after frequency. It offers brands opportunities for engagement and impact throughout the life of a campaign. 

The results are especially powerful in a media landscape where advertisers are yearning for audience attention. Audio simply does not erode. It hooks listeners right out of the gate and delivers strong engagement and consumer action at even the highest levels of exposure. Audacy and Spark Foundry devised a custom neuroscience study in partnership with Alter Agents to gauge audiences’ second-by-second engagement (i.e., Immersion) with audio content and advertising, across advertiser categories, audio platforms, and genres. 

  • Spark Foundry provided samples of its clients’ advertisements in the retail, financial services, and QSR industries.
  • Over the course of a week, participants (national sample of P18-54) were exposed to a randomized rotation of audio content and advertisements up to 15 times.
  • The team measured brand KPIs (e.g., brand opinion and intention to purchase) through a follow-up survey. 

“The study, based on an incredibly rigorous design that combines neuroscience and survey methodologies, proves the strength of audio in the media mix,” said Idil Cakim, Senior Vice President of Research and Insights, Audacy. “Audio’s ability to scale its effect through higher frequencies shows its unique ability to engage and drive value.”

“After participating in the study with clients across several categories, the research reinforced that audio is a critical element in the media mix for brands looking for increased consideration and favorable brand opinion,” said Adam Weiler, Executive Vice President of Data, Technology, Analytics and Insights, Spark Foundry. “The study helped us better understand the importance of frequency as a measurement metric, and how it can be used to help brands reach their goal of using audio to be top of mind for consumers close to the point of purchase.”

Immersion is also correlated with key brand success metrics. The higher the immersion, the higher the purchase intent, and frequency drives it all. The study also revealed creative best practices to capture and sustain audience attention. Results concluded that revealing savings, innovation, or other unique benefits or characteristics of the product or service during the ad increases immersion. Finally, strong messaging at the end helps seal the deal. Together, these tactics deliver listener immersion that escalates within the 30-second ad, ending brand time with listeners on a high note.


Our methodology is powered by Immersion, a cutting-edge agile neuroscience platform that measures physiological cues that indicate a respondent’s neurological response to content, experiences, and products. It gives insight into unconscious brain activity, cutting out bias or imperfect recall. 

Immersion is measured by tracking variations in heart rate rhythm. The variations are caused by changes in brain activity. This reveals unconscious reactions to stimuli, revealing brain reactions to content real-time. The content receives an Immersion Score, with higher scores indicating a greater likelihood of future action and peak moments corresponding with long-term recall. 

For the purpose of this study, Alter Agents gathered 571,050 data points by testing 81 audio clips – retail, financial service and QSR advertisements embedded in news, sports, music, health and wellness and society and culture genres – among 141 listeners. Participants were exposed to each ad 15 times over the course of seven days.

About Audacy

Audacy, Inc. is a leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company that connects with 200 million consumers. Powered by its exclusive, premium audio content that includes unrivaled leadership positions in news and sports radio, Audacy operates one of the country’s two scaled radio broadcasting groups, a rapidly growing direct-to-consumer digital audio platform, multiple audio networks, a major event business and a leading, award-winning podcast studio Learn more at, Facebook (Audacy Corp), X (@AudacyCorp), LinkedIn (@Audacy-Inc), Instagram (@lifeataudacy) and Threads (@AudacyCorp).

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