How SXM Media uses research and sonic science to develop more effective announcer read ads
There’s unquestionably something very special about podcasting: it’s unique ability to storytell, the low barrier to entry, and of course, the special intimate bond that happens between host and listener. While the above all contribute to the medium’s fast growing popularity, they also cause hesitancy from advertisers to tap into the power of advertising at scale.
At SXM Media, we’ve approached the space very carefully and with the attention to detail it deserves. Part of our plan is to explore and methodically test every aspect of podcast advertising, starting with ad length and ad format
A New Take on Announcer Read Ads
Host Read ads have proven popular due to their native experience and the host’s trusted and familiar voice, however they’re not without their challenges. Host Reads’ inflexibility to give specific prescriptive copy and lack of scale that National and Global brands are looking for have led way to a different ad format: the Announcer Read.
Our in-house creative agency, Studio Resonate, set out to develop a creative offering that would address the fragmented podcast mediascape and complement our full-scale advertising product that combines reach across 5,000+ podcasts.
Casting the right voice-over artist is key. We hand-picked our selection of VO artists for the Announcer Read to be able to carry the same trust and intimacy that brands desire from a Host Read. These diverse voices we cast for Announcer Reads carry specific voice attributes that we tested – and now know – resonate with podcast listeners, allowing advertisers to achieve attention and recall, and drive action and intent.
All of our Announcer Reads are performed as natural, podcast-style reads, with the goal to sound contextually appropriate across many podcast genres. This offering has allowed us to provide a host-like experience while specifying copy to a much larger audience across our entire podcast platform.
Putting it to the Test: Measuring Ad Length and Effectiveness
In a recent study—partnered with Xfinity and Signal Hill Insights—participants were served 15 and 30 second Announcer Read spots created by SXM Media’s Studio Resonate while listening to either a Hidden Brain or Oprah Super Soul Conversations podcast. All of the Announcer Reads ads were compared to a Stitcher benchmark, which was developed over the course of years of podcast and effectiveness research, where a vast majority of the tested creatives were Host Read ads. Here’s what we learned:
Announcer Reads can be as effective as Host Reads
All of the Studio Resonate Announcer Read ads we tested were just as effective at driving brand recall as our Stitcher benchmark. In particular, there was no significant difference between the 15s Announcer Read and the Stitcher benchmark. This is pretty remarkable considering most of the research in-market today touts Host Read ads as the highest performing podcast ad format in comparison to pre-recorded and/or announcer reads.
Ad length effectiveness can vary by KPI
Looking at longer creatives, we found the 30 and 60 second Announcer Read ads outperform 15 second ads for mid and lower funnel KPIs, such as brand familiarity and leading listeners to act. Why? 30 and 60-second creatives give brands more time to build not just awareness, but also to more fully explain products and services—more time to help listeners understand, and ultimately entice them to act.
What does this mean for advertisers?
Announcer Reads can be useful for a wide range of objectives allowing advertisers to scale their podcast strategy while maintaining the integrity of the podcast environment. While value of the Host Read is still undeniable, we have now established how to use our best-in-class Announcer Reads to get similar results using insights to curate campaigns that combine scale, efficiency and industry-leading effectiveness. Whether it’s a 15s Announcer Read to generate brand recall at scale, or longer-form audio to get extra time to push listeners through the funnel, these insights mean more opportunities and strategies for advertisers of all sizes.
Our research partnership with SXM Media has provided the start of a playbook that can help us map KPIs to creative ad lengths. Whether we want to drive sales of a specific product or amplify our brand messaging, we now feel more informed based on this research to drive optimal ad effectiveness.
This also gives brands of all sizes the opportunity to enter the podcast space with a low barrier to entry. A 15s Announcer Read allows brands to dip their toe into the space while still getting the powerful brand recall podcasts have been known for.
Put these insights to work:
You’re one step closer to mastering a podcast ad buying strategy. Get started by working with your to learn more about our podcast offerings and how you can work with our network to fully harness the power of the Announcer Read at scale.