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Ad Pros Explain Why Finely Tuned Audio Ads Will Perform Best In Back-To-Basics Primer.

Radio may be a hundred years old, but how audio advertising works is quickly evolving as consumers have more ways to access content whether it’s from their car radio, their phone or smart speaker. In a back-to-basics primer on how to approach audio advertising held Thursday by Audacy, one of the primary messages was the need to tailor audio ads in a way that they best resonate with consumers, which often means first acknowledging it’s not simply television without pictures.

“Because there are so many different elements in audio to catch an audience’s ear and you don’t want to blow them. You don’t have the visuals, so you need to fill the gap with things like music presence, sonic brand, and call to action,” said Amanda DiMarco, Director of Client Success at Veritonic. “It’s crucial to understand what are the driving elements. It’s almost more important for audio because you don’t have that visual to guide the message that you’re trying to drive.”

DiMarco also explained to the potential users of audio advertising that when approaching a radio commercial, it is better to talk more about oneself than the rival. “Mention your brand earlier on so folks know what they’re listening to right away and then they can just think about the details that are being shared about your brand,” she explained. “The more you mention the competition, the more you are putting someone else’s name out there. You have valuable time, whether it’s 15 or 30 seconds, you have to fill that time with what is important about differentiating you and your brand.”

She also said that use of things like a promo code, or a direct call to action to a website or storefront, helps to engage an audience and gives them a reason to follow-up on hearing a radio ad with some action.

Radio ad producer Dylan Riggs said it is also important to remember that radio spots should not be approached like an all-you-can-eat buffet. “The most common misconception is overwriting scripts and throwing too many things into one spot where it is not conversational anymore,” he said. “We have all heard the ads with a laundry list and at the end of the ad we have no idea what they just said, and if anything, you might be turned off or slightly confused which defeats the whole point.”

He instead recommended that each ad focus on a specific selling point, and if a client wants to highlight others that multiple ads that rotate are a better option. “We need to have a clear message – especially in radio,” he said.

Radio sales reps have long been telling clients that it is not a good idea to repurpose a television ad for radio, and DiMarco said there is more empirical evidence showing why that remains true. “Who is watching TV, listening to radio, or listening to podcasts – they are variations there,” she said. DiMarco also said with more campaigns being placed through dynamic insertion, it offers an opportunity for clients to use different voiceover talent, different script points and other varying elements on different media, all while sticking to a cohesive approach.

For decades radio personalities have been enlisted to talk up products on-air. Thanks to social media, the use of so-called influencers is hotter than ever and podcast host-reads have helped to keep audio in the mix.

Je-Anne Berry, Executive Producer of Branded Podcasts at Pineapple Street Studios, said there is no doubt that host-read ads have an impact. But she told marketers that nothing is more important than the ad coming off as plausible to the listeners who are today a lot more savvy about the fact that endorsement ads are paid for.

“Listeners can also tell when the involvement is genuine. So, you want an influencer whose involvement with your product is going to come across as genuine because the audience is decerning,” said Berry. She said that is even more a factor with podcasts where listeners have a closer relationship to the host and feel they are part of a community. “If you are integrating with a show because of the host, the audience has heard that host’s stories, they know their journey and the way they talk about things,” she advised.

One way around an authenticity hurdle, said Berry, is to have a host talk about how a product could help someone in their life. Or talk about how it addresses something they have been curious about. “Then, it really resonates,” she said.

Watch a replay of the Audio Creative Guide for Advertisers HERE.

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