Four Keys to Great Radio and Podcast Ads

Written By

Liz Iversen

Published On

Monday, Feb 27
Senior man enjoying music on headphones.

A new study by Veritonic and Audacy found four key features in radio and podcast ads that maximize purchase intent, recall, and brand favorability. Want to create a winning audio ad? Utilize these “Fab Four” creative elements.

1- Master the music

Ads with music are more memorable than ads without, the study found. Whether on radio or podcast ads, music helps brands stay top of mind and propels listeners toward a purchase. Why is music so effective? According to SMI Copywriter Payne Ratner, “Not only can music underscore and accent aspects of the spoken word, most importantly, it is a short cut to emotions. Music touches the emotions. We have an emotional response to music–and that emotional response to music is associated with a product, so it seats the product more firmly and prominently in our consciousness.”

2 – Sonic branding

According to the study, “Sonic branding is central to how we feel about and identify with brands. A consistent sound logo can reinforce a visual and verbal brand identity and enhance brand recall.” At Strategic Media, Inc., we have been making expert use of taglines and utilizing sonic branding to create a memorable identity for brands for over 20 years. 

According to Ratner, “Sonic branding can be like hooks in songs. They are shortcuts to an emotional response. And when they are incorporated with taglines—which are the verbal equivalent of musical hooks or refrains in a song—like “I’m loving it” for McDonalds, with the little hum—they keep the product alive in the mind and the emotions.”

3 – Find your voice

When casting your audio ad, make sure the voice you choose matches your brand identity, personality, and audience, Vertitonic and Audacy recommend. They found that “the most consistent driver for ad success is having more than one voice, especially in back-and-forth dialogue.”

Are two voices really better than one? For Ratner, there is no easy answer. “Certainly two voices create a drama that spikes a listener’s interest,” Ratner says. “The downside is that often a two-voiced spot can grow stale quickly. It creates a story, but, once you know the ending, the story loses its power to interest the listener.” Ratner also cautions that a two-voiced spot requires the listener to personalize what is being said between the two people. Let’s say two voices are dramatizing the value of a product and one is convincing the other to use that product. “You’ll love it,” she says. The listener must then say, “if that product is good for her, it must be good for me.” This is a subtle shift, says Ratner, “but for a listener who’s driving, negotiating traffic, or dealing with a crying baby, it can require too much mental labor.”

While Ratner says he loves to write two-voiced spots, he’s come to the realization that often a single-voiced spot that directly speaks to a busy listener may have a more potent impact in the long run. 

“Of course, obviously, having just one voice is not in itself the answer,” Ratner cautions. Writing an engaging ad—whether single-voiced or with multiple voices—is an art in itself. 

4 – Message

When it comes to messaging, the study highlighted the importance of mentioning your brand a lot. “Brand mentions drive purchase intent,” the study found. “When ads contain four or more brand mentions, purchase intent rises by 4 percent.” The study also noted that disclaimers offer additional opportunities for brand mentions that can improve purchase intent.

Finally, the study advised rotating between two and four creatives for best results. According to SMI’s Christina Baeten, Director of Client Services, “I’d say that multiple creatives are always recommended for testing to identify the messages that resonate most with your audience, but having too many creatives can work against your brand depending on your brand awareness. There’s absolutely opportunity to tailor your message to your different audience targets, but consistency of message – especially for brands or goods that may not drive immediate engagement – is how you’re going to make sure your brand is front of mind when potential customers have a need that your product or service can fill.”

Want to learn more about creating winning audio ads? Read SMI’s “Top Ten Keys to Creating Great Radio Ads.

Find out how the experts at Strategic Media, Inc. can help you craft a great audio ad that will attract listeners and drive purchase intent. Contact SMI today.

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