Audio and video are both effective ad formats, best combined into powerful advertising campaigns to reach the widest audiences.

difference between audio and video

Audio and video are fast-growing formats marketers should explore to promote their businesses to the right audiences effectively.

But which is best for your business? Enthusiastic marketers might feel pressure to choose the perfect option for their brand, but there’s more to the decision process than picking one or the other.

The right choice will depend on what you want to communicate and how your audience might best absorb your message. Of course, video is the standout choice when you need to show people something. However, if you want to engage audiences with impactful storytelling, audio could be your best bet.

Let’s have a look at how you can use these tactics for memorable advertising campaigns.

Video advertising versus audio advertising

How can you choose between two methods when both seem to be popular with brands and consumers alike? First, it’s helpful to understand a little about them and the advantages and limitations of each.

Video advertising

Video can live on your website and video hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Many brands get a lot of mileage out of video ads shared on social media. You can also create video ad campaigns through Google Ads to run on YouTube and appear in other online content.

Is video content creation worth your time? Eighty-seven per cent of marketers surveyed by Wyzowl said video offers them a positive return on investment in their marketing strategy. In addition, nearly 80 per cent said video has a positive impact on their sales.

Benefits of video ads:

  • Customers can easily visualize products and features.
  • Videos quickly provide context to audiences, with visual cues to help them decide if your product is relevant to them.
  • Visuals and sound together create memorable ads.
  • Quick recognition of logo and branding helps build awareness across channels.
  • The visual format allows you to feature multiple products together.

Video can give you a competitive advantage when your campaigns need to show products to customers or when the appearance of your products is the most significant selling feature. However, there are limitations to consider as you plan video campaigns.

Viewers need to see and hear your ads, which demands more of your audience’s attention. They may also view your ad with the sound off on some platforms. That means your visuals must tell enough of the story to hook them quickly. Consumers see a lot of videos online and may simply scroll past if you don’t catch their interest quickly enough.

Also, while you can use a high-quality video clip in multiple ways, it can be costly to produce.

Digital audio advertising

Digital audio includes streaming music, online radio, podcasts and other online audio channels.

Audio has seen massive growth in recent years as listeners began streaming their music through apps and exploring podcast content.

Estimates from eMarketer show active digital audio listeners spent two hours and five minutes per day consuming audio content in 2020 and predict that amount will grow in 2021. In addition, with the booming growth in the popularity of devices like smart speakers, audio consumption is expected to continue growing.

Benefits of digital audio ads:

  • Audio offers consumers deep immersion in your messaging and storytelling.
  • Passive listening allows consumers to listen more hours per week.
  • Digital audio is relatively easy to create without expensive technology and expertise.
  • Listening to ads is highly likely to lead to buying decisions.
  • Targeting can be contextual based on content.
  • There is less competition for attention, as people only hear one ad at a time.

Audio ads can be a valuable component in your campaigns and perfect when you want customers to imagine themselves enjoying your products. However, they may not work for every brand or product.

Your product may need to be seen for consumers to appreciate its value. Just hearing about your product may not give customers enough context to win them over.

It also may be more challenging for listeners to recognize your brand or connect an ad to your other marketing efforts, which reduces impact.

Which is better?

With a better understanding of video advertising versus audio advertising, you may still be tempted to choose between them for your next campaign. Instead, why not consider combining the two formats?

Combine both for audience reach

Both audio and video have a place in your marketing campaigns to ensure you reach as many relevant audiences as possible and don’t miss any potential customers. When you consider how different they are and how effective each can be when used well, you will realize a combination could create the most significant impact.

For example, you can create campaigns with powerful storytelling that listeners find irresistible, and then combine them with powerful video ads that show your customers exactly what you’re selling and how to make the most of their purchase after they buy.

Other benefits of combining audio and video advertising

Combining audio and video in your advertising campaigns can give you strong brand recognition. They connect to your other marketing, increase the chance consumers will purchase and help make sure you reach all possible audiences for your product.

Should my audio and video ads use the same messaging?

Once you’ve weighed audio versus video advertising and learned as much as possible about how these formats can reach your customers, you’re ready to create your ad campaigns.

Can I use one script for audio and video ads?

Using both audio and video doesn’t mean creating a script that you’ll use for both channels. It may be tempting to script your video ad and then repurpose it for audio, but this isn’t likely to resonate with your audiences.

Instead, keep your branding and messaging consistent and customize ads to the delivery format.

Tips when planning audio and video ad campaigns

You may want video ads for your social media accounts that are fast moving and visually appealing. However, they may need to have more information upfront to capture attention from users scrolling their feeds.

In contrast, ads that will be delivered via digital audio should play up the storytelling and offer ways for listeners to use their imaginations to connect with what they’re hearing.

You’ll also want to be sure that your ads are technically suited for each channel. The length and timing of the calls to action are likely to be different. Study and use best practices for each to ensure you are making the best impression possible.

Your advertising campaigns may already include social media ads, paid search advertising and display ads that appear while consumers are viewing other online content. It’s not that these are suddenly irrelevant, but you also must adapt to changes in what people are doing online and where they consume content.

As new channels become popular with users, advertisers need to figure out how to show up in relevant ways. The massive growth of digital audio and video consumption is a solid motivator to include these formats in your overall strategy to stay competitive.

As always, choosing between available options requires research and insight into each method. In addition, you’ll need to stay up to date on best practices, plan campaigns and execute/iterate once you see metrics. An agency already on top of industry trends and ready to execute at scale can help you make the most of your audio and video advertising campaigns.