First-Ever Podcast Creative Test Gives Brands a Playbook to Drive Branding, Messaging, Reputation and Call to Action
As America’s largest audio network, understanding what goes into high quality audio creative is a major priority for Westwood One. Sound is what we do, and we want to insure audio creative is resonating for brands.
Creative is crucial to driving ROI
According to a Nielsen study of 500 advertising campaigns, creative drives 47% of all sales lift. Creative matters; how an ad is received by a listener has a huge impact on sales effect.
Creative is so important that we’ve led many audio testing campaigns. We’re able to gauge how certain aspects of audio creative elicit emotional responses like happiness or excitement, and as a result build brand equity, as seen in our VERITONIC testing of our Westwood One Sports Sound Awards: Basketball Finals edition spots.
Our gender tests found that ads should have a female voiceover and our testing of tier two automotive ads revealed disclaimers are hugely useful to in the market auto buyers.
We have plenty of audio creative testing under our belts – but just for AM/FM radio. Until now.
First-ever podcast creative test answers the need for advertisers to understand the podcast environment
For the first time, we’ve tested podcast ads through a partnership with Advertising Benchmark Index (ABX), a creative testing service that evaluates every type of brand creative across all media.
“ABX has measured more than 160,000 ads in 14 countries for every media type, but these were our first podcast ads. Generating high performing audio creative is relatively easy if you carefully follow some best practices and provide your creative team with feedback on what is working,” says Gary Getto, President of ABX. “Creative is a real difference-maker.”
Insuring audio creative is effective is vital as more marketers and agencies consider podcast advertising as a viable media option. There is high interest in this exciting medium: 70% of brands and agencies have discussed the potential of investing in podcast advertising, according to the latest 2018 survey from Advertiser Perceptions.
In December, ABX tested five brands’ podcast ads, television ads, and online video ads. Ads were assessed on the total ABX Index, a summary score that incorporates Clear Branding, Messaging, Reputation and Call to Action measures.
So what did the creative testing reveal?
On clear branding measures, all of the podcast ads tested were comparable to the television or online video ads that ran for the same brands
Podcast advertising represents a way for advertisers to make the same branding impact as television in a far less cluttered environment. A major online job posting/recruitment website’s podcast ad scored a 107 in clear branding measures compared to their television ad which came in at a 102.
Similarly, a personal grooming subscription service’s podcast ad scored higher than that same brand’s television and radio ad.
Podcast ads that scored lower than their television counterparts were only slightly behind. A major watch brand had their television ad scored at 105 for clear branding. Their podcast ad saw a score of 103 for the same clear brand measure. That’s the power of sound.
61% of TV ads do not have “sight, sound, and motion”
These results dispel the myth that the visuals of television ads are necessary to make the same type of impact. According to a study from the Council for Research Excellence, 61% of the time, TV commercials aren’t being seen. With eyes on a second screen or the audience literally being out of the room, the importance of visual cues carries less weight than what an ad sounds like. The ABX data proves that podcasts can do it just as well as television can.
Podcast ads are as effective at driving conversation and purchase as television ads
ABX tested for call to action, or how effective are the ads at getting a listener to do something such as talk about a product or service, recommend it to a friend, or contact the company for more information.
The top ads for the call to action metrics of ‘talk’ and ‘purchase’ were both podcast ads.
A personal grooming subscription service’s podcast ad saw a score of 139 in making the audience talk. Also in the top five ranked ads was a major watch brand’s podcast ad, which scored a 111, the same score as their television ad. The personal grooming subscription service’s podcast ad was also tied for the top score in driving purchase.
Podcast ads are just as effective as their television counterparts at creating call to action.
Live reads are incredibly impactful, but they have to be done correctly and “make the brand the hero of the story”
One of the podcast ads tested was a live read for an insurance service. The first thirty seconds of the ad were focused on listing out all of the reasons that insurance shopping was a hassle. It wasn’t until the end of the ad that the benefits of the brand were introduced. By then the shopping hassles overwhelmed consumers. The podcast ABX Index score was a low 86.
The brand’s online video ad tested higher at an ABX Index score of 108, placing in the top half of all ads evaluated by ABX. It was a shorter fifteen second ad where the benefits of the brand were introduced early on.
The lesson? Live reads aren’t guaranteed success. They have to be executed smartly with a clear focus on what makes the brand or product the best choice for the consumer.
- On clear branding measures, all of the podcast ads tested were comparable to the television or online video ads that ran for the same brands
- 61% of TV ads do not have “sight, sound, and motion”
- Podcast ads are as effective at driving conversation and purchase as television ads
- Live reads are incredibly impactful, but they have to be done correctly and “make the brand the hero of the story”
Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer at CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One.
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.