Even Visual Brands See the Power of Audio

While the old adage "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" still rings true today, we think that there is another way for beauty brands to connect with consumers. Traditionally we think about fashion and beauty as something we see with our eyes, which is why many beauty, fashion and other visual brands spend so much on visual mediums in order to get their products in front of consumers. While visuals are an obvious choice when it comes to these brands, there’s another option to reach and resonate with consumers: audio.

Power of Audio Advertising

Just as fashion designers are always thinking about creating the next new and innovative trends, marketers should similarly be thinking about new ways to connect with their consumers. There are other emerging technologies and channels that brands can and should be taking advantage of.

A clear example is the rapid advancement of voice-activation technologies, such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, which are effectively shifting how people today consume media.With these emerging technologies, all consumers need to do is ask Alexa, Google or Siri a question to get all the information they want. Because of this, brands need to understand that this shift in consumption requires an audio strategy, as brand logos will no longer be seen but rather heard.

As the leader in audio advertising, we understand that of the five senses, sound is processed the fastest by humans and has the ability to impact the other four senses. But what is the impact of sound on someone’s memory? We partnered with Neuro-Insight, a neuroscience market research firm, last year to get a better understanding of exactly how effective personalized, contextually relevant audio ads are. Through this study we found that audio ads served within Pandora’s personalized environment were 49% more memorable than Neuro-Insight’s established norms for a terrestrial radio spot, 36% more memorable than TV commercials and 29% more memorable than a mobile video ad. (See the study here or hear directly from Neuro-Insight CEO, Pranav Yadav, on our Power Of Audio Podcast.)

COVERGIRL is just one of the brands that understands this important shift brands need to make to continue to reach their target audiences. “COVERGIRL’s rallying cry, #IAmWhatIMakeUp, is grounded in the insight that, with makeup, you can present whoever you are, or whoever you want to be, to the world. How you represent yourself is so individualistic, and can change on any given day based on your mood, your mindset, or an occasion. The beauty of working within the audio medium is that it leaves so much to the imagination, literally enabling our audience to envision whatever version of themselves they’d like to put forth at that particular time – and then go create it with COVERGIRL,” said Ukonwa Ojo, Sr. VP COVERGIRL at Coty Inc.

The Visual Brand Study

This year, we wanted to spotlight the impact that audio can have on brands that traditionally rely on visual mediums. So, in our second partnership with Neuro-Insight, we focused more specifically on beauty brands, such as CoverGirl and Aveeno, and compared how effective audio ads during branding moments were compared to TV, radio and print ads in terms of resonance.

To collect the data, Neuro-Insight used a proprietary technology called Steady-State Topography (SST) to track participants’ brain activity in real-time while each person was exposed to a predetermined stimulus. SST utilizes a headset and visor that records brain activity via sensors on the scalp. (This video shows exactly how it works.)

In October 2017, 50 female Pandora listeners–between the ages of 18-34–were asked to participate in the study at Neuro-Insight’s New York headquarters. Participants were outfitted with SST hardware to measure the brain’s response to a simulated Pandora experience. Each respondent was asked in advance of the focus group about their music listening preferences, so that we could pre-load iPhones with their individual music tastes prior to their experience. Three pre-selected audio ads by Beauty brands, including CoverGirl and Aveeno, were peppered into the personalized music experience while Neuro-Insight passively monitored the brain response elicited.

What We Learned

We found that audio ads served in a personalized, emotive environment had greater resonance and brand recall with the listener, leading to more memorable and engaging campaigns than what is typically found on other media formats.

Lesson #1: Audio ads in this study served within Pandora’s personalized environment were 31% more effective for branding moments than Neuro-Insight’s established norms for a terrestrial radio spot.

Lesson #2: Audio ads in this study served within Pandora’s personalized environment were 27% more effective for branding moments than Neuro-Insight’s established norms for a print ad.
Lesson #3: Audio ads in this study served within Pandora’s personalized environment were 25% more effective for branding moments than Neuro-Insight’s established norms for a TV commercial.
From this study, we learned that audio is not only an effective form of advertising, but when you pair it with personalized and emotive adjacent content, such as a Pandora playlist, the effectiveness of the ad can surpass that of TV, terrestrial radio and print. Ultimately, audio can reach us in the moments that matter, where other mediums can’t.

In fact, for beauty brands like COVERGIRL, audio is the only media they can simultaneously engage in and seamlessly incorporate into their routine, without taking attention away from the task at hand— beauty.

Jenny Zirinsky, VP Global Media at Coty Inc., summed it up well: "Audio streaming presents a unique opportunity for us in the Beauty industry to connect with consumers. With the increasing prevalence of AI and Voice Control, understanding how to resonate in a screenless environment is crucial. By partnering with Pandora and Neuro Insights we were able to test our creative in an audio streaming environment without visuals. The results were strong, showing memory encoding of our audio ads and a performance that was more effective than traditional radio, TV and print norms for Beauty branding moments, as shown in the NeuroInsight methodology.”

To see how you can reach and connect with your target audience on Pandora, check out our advertising solutions here, or get in touch with a sales representative here.

To learn more about the state of audio advertising today, grab a copy of our free eBook: The 2018 Definitive Guide to Audio.