Why You Need Great Radio Creative & How to Get It

Written By

Liz Iversen

Published On

Thursday, Oct 28
Young adult smiling while they wear sunglasses and red headphones.

Great marketing starts with great creative, and Nielsen has the data to prove it. A new Nielsen study analyzed 500 ad campaigns and found that targeting was only 9% responsible for improving a brand’s sales. What boosts sales the most? The creative. The study found that creative is responsible for 47% of an ad’s impact on sales. Reach only accounted for 22%.

“Creative generates almost half of sales effect, way more important than media,” said Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Bouvard in a company video. “Creative is five-times more powerful than targeting at generating sales, so creative matters.” 

Alright, so how do you get great creative? Here are some tips from Cumulus Media/Westwood One and SMI.

Cumulus Media/Westwood One: The fewer messages, the better the advertising recall

SMI: Identify the problem the product/service will fix

According to Bouvard, the more messages an ad attempts to communicate, the less listeners will remember. A study by Millward Brown shows that the first message in an ad with four messages has only 43% of the recall of an ad with one message.

SMI has long known the benefit of simplicity in radio. In our blog post, “The Top Ten Keys to Creating Great Radio Ads,” we wrote, “Packing too much into the ad overwhelms the listener. Leave the kitchen sink in the kitchen. One good point, made well, stays with the listener.”

When crafting an ad, choosing this main point is key. Payne Ratner, SMI copywriter, offers this advice: “At the outset, identify the problem the product/service is going to fix. Start with a question (or a statement – but a question is better) that empathically identifies the struggle of the listener and resonates, emotionally, with that real problem and shows how it can be solved. Finding the ‘right’ question can focus your writing and help you present a solution that engages the listener emotionally.”

Cumulus Media/Westwood One: Don’t worry about wear-out

SMI: If an ad does wear out, change it

According to Bouvard, “Wear-out is the point where creative performance declines by 50% from its peak. This occurs because of listener fatigue due to message frequency in a continuous time period.”

The best way to avoid wear-out, according to Bouvard, is to develop quality creative. “The better the audio creative,” he says, “the longer an ad can run.” At SMI, we have ads that have run for months—or years! If an ad is particularly effective, we often pinpoint messaging that is especially resonant and adapt this messaging for creative on other channels. For example, effective messaging may be pulled from a 60-second broadcast radio ad and incorporated into podcast talking points or a 30-second spot on Pandora. 

If an ad that was once effective is garnering less response, however, we conduct creative analyses to determine why the ad performed well to begin with. We then apply those learnings to the crafting of new creative.

Cumulus Media/Westwood One: Say the brand early and often

SMI: Also include an early offer mention whenever possible

According to Bouvard, “Hundreds of Nielsen brand effect studies reveal the more brand mentions in an audio ad, the greater the ad recall and the stronger the familiarity, brand affinity, and likelihood to seek information.”

In addition to mentioning the brand often—and to mention it early on in the ad—at SMI, we have found that including an early mention of the offer drives greater response. If, in the CTA, the spot drives listeners to text a number or visit a URL to receive a discount, we work an additional offer mention into the body of the spot whenever possible. This clues listeners in to the discount right away, so they will be listening for the response channel when it is re-stated in the CTA.

Cumulus Media/Westwood One: Women prefer a female voiceover

SMI: Using multiple voices maintains listener interest

A series of studies by Cumulus Media/Westwood One, Veritonic, Nielsen, and ABX concluded that women prefer female voiceovers, and female-voiced ads perform as well or better among men.

SMI agrees: Female voiceovers are a valuable asset and are often underutilized. But another technique that we have seen work is alternating voices. Each shift in the speaker re-attracts the attention of the listener, leading to greater memory and recall.

For more creative best practices, read “The Top Ten Keys to Creating Great Radio Ads.” And to hear your brand on radio or podcasts, contact SMI today.

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