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For More Effective Ads, Focus On Brand Mentions, Unified Messaging And Host-Read Spots.

As the fight for consumer attention grows ever more challenging given a multitude of messages across all media every day, the effectiveness of radio advertising has become more crucial than ever. Citing hundreds of audio ad tests along with other research commissioned by Cumulus Media, this week's Westwood One blog reviews the best strategies for standout spots.

“Focusing on creative is critical for advertisers and brands,” Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “Paying attention to the creative used in audio ads will never be wasted time. Armed with these best practices, advertisers and brands can develop quality audio creative that can move the sales needle.”

The key to effective creative: plenty of brand mentions in an ad to drive higher recall and lifts in consumer familiarity, affinity and likelihood to seek more information. Pointing to results from hundreds of Nielsen brand effect studies, the blog shows that while 1-2 brand mentions generate 59% brand recall, additional mentions lift that up to nearly 80%, with 3-4 mentions pushing recall to 66%, 5-6 to 71% and seven or greater to 77%. Moving from 5-6 to 7-14 brand mentions in an ad, meanwhile, boosts familiarity 67%, affinity 40% and likelihood to seek information +43%.

Research from ad testing company Millward Brown, which proves the effectiveness of fewer messages in a spot, also suggests that the most effective campaigns stick to one unified message across all media, using consistent creative. Compared to non-unified messaging, ads with one focus are 57% more effective.

Another notable finding from Nielsen shines a light on the power of ads read by station hosts, which outperform non-host-read ads in terms of consumers' likelihood to seek information (+60%), purchase intent (+50%) and recommendation intent (+50%). Additionally, based on a Nielsen study of 1,000 Americans 18+, nearly half of AM/FM radio listeners and more than half of podcast listeners agree that host-read ads get more of their attention than recorded commercials. “With an already built-in meaningful relationship existing between listeners and the people they listen to on broadcasts and podcasts regularly, advertisers benefit from having their ads read by DJs and hosts,” Bouvard says.

Using these and other ad content strategies, marketers can, according to research cited by Westwood One, convert existing demand by featuring product information or price to persuade ready-to-buy consumers to choose one product over another, and create future demand through targeting broad audiences with emotional messaging. “In both cases, audio creative is the lever that advertisers and brands can pull in order to achieve either the goal of short-term sales activation or lasting brand building,” Bouvard says.

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