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Audacy On Audio: 'Advertisers Are Getting It.'

Through better understanding of how consumers use audio, and how they respond to ads, radio has been able to show advertisers how to better tailor their messages to audiences, and how to best use audio media.

That's the main takeaway from the latest episode in the Radio Advertising Bureau's “Radio On Main Street” podcast series, covering the Association of National Advertisers' recent Masters of Marketing Conference, where RAB Senior VP, Business Development Tammy Greenberg interviewed Audacy Chief Marketing Officer Paul Suchman.

“There is something magic about audio that advertisers and consumers are leaning into, now more than ever,” Suchman says. “Maybe it's the fundamental properties of audio – that it's ubiquitous, screenless, handless, [and] with you wherever you go. It's the ultimate companion, an active participant in whatever you're doing.”

During the sit-down, Suchman cited a recent research study conducted by Audacy showing, from a scientific standpoint, what sets audio apart from other media. “We found that when audio goes into your ears and enters your brain, and you're super engaged with it, your brain releases a chemical composition of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine in the same quantities that get released when you receive a hug from somebody you love, or you're doing something that brings you joy. No other medium does that.”

How do these results impact audio ads? “The implication for advertisers is that when people are really consumed with their audio, advertisers [should] really think about the creative, the messaging, and how to insert themselves in that conversation,” Suchman says. “Advertisers are getting it and embracing that.”

Another Audacy study, with the purpose of better understanding audio's role in consumers' daily rituals, found that in whatever form used, audio is itself a ritual. “Audio consumers move seamlessly between different channels, from podcasts to streams to live radio,” Suchman says. “They're accessing it through their phones, carrying it over to the car, bringing it with them when they work, and when they come back into the house. We found there were 11 [daily] rituals, where audio was the soundtrack to that ritual – more than TV, more than digital, more than anything else.”

Additional research conducted to measure any 'wear-out factor' of audio ads showed there was none. “Engagement continued, and it became more effective at [both] the top and bottom of the funnel, the more an ad was heard,” Suchman says.

For Audacy's local sales reps, there's been no challenge when it comes to sharing this data with clients. “They know the business, their markets, their clients and their community so well, that they just absorb this information,” Suchman says, “[and] local advertisers want to hear it. They are as sophisticated as national buyers, they're even more passionate buyers of media.”

The findings suggest that both programming and advertising creative should rise to the occasion. “If you tell a great story, you are going to connect emotionally, and you are going to change the way people think [and] feel and ultimately, the decisions they make,” Suchman says. “We're encouraging and giving them permission to tell stories that are benefit-led [and] value-led, and that are not just about driving sales, because they're inextricably linked.”

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