Digital audio ads are evolving into a powerful new channel for brands to reach people and build strong emotional connections.

audio ads

The rise of podcasts and music streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple Music, is giving new life to audio content. In the past, the term audio advertising was interchangeable with both traditional and digital radio advertising. While radio advertising is still central to audio advertising, it’s just one aspect of a new and growing way to reach people.

What makes a good audio ad

  • Write a compelling audio script
  • Include a call to action (CTA)
  • Make sure your sound effects match and elevate your message
  • Cast the right voice actor

What is audio advertising?

Audio advertising includes digital radio advertising as well as advertising on other types of media, such as music streaming, podcasts and audiobooks. These fast growing media are driving the emergence of audio search engines, audio SEO and making audio advertising the tool of choice for brands to reach their target audience in a meaningful way.

Why is audio advertising important?

The impact of audio advertising is real. A survey of nearly 1,000 podcast listeners found:

  • 45 per cent will visit a brand’s website after hearing their ad during the podcast.
  • 42 per cent will consider buying a new product or service.
  • 37 per cent will gather more information about the business.

The power of audio advertising goes beyond podcasts. Music streaming service Spotify reports that audio ads drive 24 per cent higher recall, and they are more than twice as likely to lift purchase and information intent than visual display ads.

With this kind of engagement, it’s important for brands to build audio advertising into their budgets.

Fast fact: In Canada, digital advertising spending will reach $9.58 billion in 2021. This is forecast to grow to $12.19 billion in 2024.

Two big benefits of audio ads

  1. Better brand recall: The emotional connection people feel consuming ads while listening to music or podcasts makes your brand more memorable.
  2. There are no distractions: People can only listen to one ad at a time. Your message is the only message, which helps generate more qualified leads.

How to create an audio ad

The range of digital platforms for audio ads combined with wide access to affordable professional recording equipment makes it easy to create and distribute audio ads. Here’s what you need to do to get started:

Write a compelling audio script

The script should be short, easy to understand and conversational in tone. It should also have a very clear message and approach, fit with the content on the platform, and embody your unique brand voice. Getting the script right will help you connect with listeners (your target audience) in a way that is authentic, makes them feel comfortable and provides them with a clear understanding of the value you can bring. If your audio ad is for digital radio, the script should take into account that the listener can be anywhere, unlike traditional radio, which is tied to a geographic area. In all cases, audio ads are inserted between other audio content. The transition into and out of the ad should be smooth and avoid long pauses, which will be interpreted as dead air.

Tip: Ads on music streaming platforms Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music typically run 30 seconds. Sometimes, depending on the message and the information a brand wants to share, they can run up to one minute — but no longer. Think about what you need listeners to hear and use straightforward language to tell them.

Include a call to action

End your audio ad with a specific call to action (CTA). Do you want them to visit your website? Do you want them to go to your social channels? Learn about a product or special promotion? Tell them the steps they need to take after they hear your audio ad.

Tip: If your goal is to get people to visit your site, create a special landing page for them. If you want to take advantage of a discount, create a promo code for the item. This will also help you measure the effectiveness of your audio ad.

Make sure your sound effects match and elevate your message

When there are no photos, images or video to capture attention and convey your message, music and sound effects become critical to establishing a sense of place, spirit and connection. If there’s too much background noise, your message will be lost. What is the volume of the theme music compared to the voiceover? Every detail is important.

Tip: You don’t have to start from scratch. Take advantage of the thousands of copyrighted songs, musical scores and sound effects online. Find a track that fits your brand and ad’s message. Then obtain a licence to use it from the owner.

Cast the right voice actor

While the script is essential in audio ads, it will only work if the voice actor delivers it in a way that is relatable and gives people a reason to listen.

Tip: Adopting a conversational tone requires a slower delivery.

Audio ads target and build an emotional connection with the audience. They are emerging as important new tools to add to your digital marketing strategy. This importance will only grow as the popularity of audio streaming platforms continues to rise. If you aren’t already using them, it’s time to get started.