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New Study Shows ‘Emotional Storytelling’ Makes Audio Ads More Effective.

In a current advertising environment – where visual media are more often used for creative campaigns designed to make an emotional connection between the brand and consumers, while audio ads are more focused on promotional campaigns – radio and other audio-driven media may be losing out. That's a key takeaway from a study by SiriusXM in partnership with Veritone One and direct-to-consumer mattress company and radio advertiser Purple.

“Consumers respond to ads that move them,” the research says. “There are specific storytelling elements that drive consumers to action – like having unique characters, clear setting, and humor –that listeners both relate to and act upon.”

SiriusXM's report cites System1 Group Chief Innovation Officer and “Lemon” author Orlando Wood, who says brand ads speak to the emotional right side of the brain while promotional ads speak to the analytical left side. Over the past several years, campaigns have become more promotional, and therefore less creative and less effective, it says.

The study, which tested the effectiveness of Purple messages focused on brand, promotion or a mix of both, was conducted among a sample of 25,000 participants in Pandora’s streaming music environment. While brand spots included storytelling, dialogue between characters with unique identities, a clear sense of place and word plays, promotional ads had no plot and used straightforward copy from a single, detached voiceover.

On scales of recall, brand sentiment and intent to purchase, brand spots outperformed promotional ads or brand/promo combos, while Purple’s attribution data showed that the brand campaign also drove higher website traffic. “Consumers were drawn to the emotional storytelling of the brand creative, accomplished by images evoked not by visuals, but by the creative use of sound,” the report says. Spots using both brand and promo were least effective, which is “likely because packing a mix of both elements into a single creative may require too much switching between the emotional brain and the analytical brain.”

SiriusXM's report suggests brand ads would have a potentially greater effect in podcasts given their lean toward storytelling. “[While] first-movers in the space set a precedent for leveraging podcasts as transactional opportunities to push out promotion, as we think about the next wave of advertisers to enter podcasts – brands that are out to bolster upper-funnel metrics – we believe there’s opportunity to re-write today’s podcast ad and pivot to emotionally-driven storytelling tactics as illustrated by Purple’s creatives within this test.”

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