Ad Creative

Why Emotionally-Driven Audio Works

Jan 20, 2022

How Purple Successfully Drove Results with Engaging Creative

Did you know? You could be missing out on success metrics by running campaigns that don’t make an emotional connection with your audience. In the publication Lemon., author Orlando Wood argues that over the past few years, campaigns have become increasingly promotional in nature—and as a result, less creative and less effective. 

This research got us curious. Advertisers often turn to visual mediums, like video, for brand campaigns and use audio mediums, like music and podcasts, for promotional campaigns. But does that approach make sense? Do brand campaigns have a place in audio, and if so, what’s the impact?

Our recent study shows that brand messaging not only works in audio, but can drive success across the entire marketing funnel.

Here’s why Brand Messaging Makes all the Difference

In partnership with Purple (a D2C mattress company) and Veritone One, we tested the effectiveness of brand vs promotional messaging. We also added a third creative that combined brand + promotional messaging in order to see if combining the creative types into a single ad could be a good way to drive results. 

But first, you’re probably wondering what makes creative “brand” or “promotional.” According to Wood, brand ads speak to the emotional right side of the brain, while promotional ads speak to the analytical left side of the brain. The table below shows a few characteristics of emotionally-rich creative.

Now, take a listen to all three ads below:

Brand + Promo

As you can hear, brand creative tells a story and uses that story to drive an emotional connection with audiences. And we have proof. Our Veritonic study, which tests “creative resonance,” (i.e., real-time feedback on a listener’s emotional state during an ad), showed that the brand creative outperformed the promo creative by 5pts, proving a clear preference. But how effective is that storytelling on a live campaign?

Results from over 25,000 survey responses from both control and exposed audiences revealed that brand messaging dominated across the entire funnel—showing higher memorability, brand sentiment, and intent to purchase compared to promotional messaging. On top of that, Purple’s attribution data showed that the brand campaign also drove higher website traffic—a sweeping success across the full funnel.

Most importantly, the results show that 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: unique characters, dialogue, a vivid sense of place, and humor.

It’s also worth noting that the Brand + Promo spot did not perform as well as the others. This 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. 

The bottom line is that audio is a right-brained medium, so we say go ahead and take advantage of that by  complementing  audio with right-brained ads. As you launch your next campaign, review your creative with that emotional lens in mind.

As for Podcasts, Brand Messaging Has the Potential to Really Shine

While our  test was conducted in Pandora’s streaming music environment, we are curious about how these results translate over to the podcast space. We hypothesize that podcast ads would see even higher results due to their innate storytelling structure. 

Many of today’s podcast ads are filled with promotional messaging: voiceovers instead of characters, one-dimensional copy over storytelling, and no clear sense of place. First-movers in the space set a precedent for leveraging podcasts as transactional opportunities to push out promotions. And we’re seeing this take place with host-read ads and our own Studio Resonate’s push to incorporate storytelling tactics. 

However, 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. Stay tuned as we test and learn more in this space!

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t underestimate the value of an emotional connection. Both Lemon. and our research show that consumers respond to ads that move them. 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.

  • Incorporate brand storytelling into your audio strategy. There are short- and long-term gains that can come from building your brand, so don’t miss out! Check out our previous article on this to learn more.

  • If you’re already running promotional creative, don’t worry! We’ve seen our partners have success running two separate brand and promotional messages simultaneously – just be sure to consider the ratio of brand and promo messaging to create a balance for the listener experience. But be sure to keep brand and promotional messaging in two separate creatives rather than trying to pack them into a single spot.

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