Background information

In today’s egtabite, we take a closer look at insightful research by ARN Neurolab that uses cutting-edge neuroscience research to deliver a better understanding of consumer behaviour and provide new insights about the power of audio to inform better content creation, audience connection, and commercial investment.

Sound You Can See – radio, podcasting and music streaming

ARN launched ARN Neurolab - the first in-house media research initiative of its kind in Australia - in late 2020. Neurolab’s first study – Sound You Can See – demonstrated how the brain processes radio, podcasting, and music streaming as fundamentally different products, which offers advertisers unique opportunities to promote their brands across each medium. According to the study, radio has an unrivalled ability to engage listeners, and to do so for extended periods. Radio ads cause 60% more neural engagement than other audio formats, keeping the brain alert and engaged. Comparatively, podcasting provided an environment primed for high levels of memory encoding, and music streaming’s relative strength was enhancing emotions and feelings and influencing attitudes.

A Sound Connection

The second study by ARN Neurolab – A Sound Connection - looked at how audio affects attention, attitude, memory, engagement, and arousal in the minds of consumers and how to best use audio alongside other marketing channels.

Best practice for effective audio

The study revealed how small changes to audio can lead to significant increases in the connections consumers have with the content and brand messaging. For example, for gender neutral brands (ie. with no specific gender skew), a female voice can spark 15% more brain activity than a male voice. Using two voices conversationally can be 20% more effective than one, three or four voices. In terms of duration the data showed that 15 and 30-second ads are equally effective - good content is always good, regardless of duration.

TV, radio, & outdoor work best together

A Sound Connection also explored how consumer’s brains process audio creatives differently from audio-visual creatives. The results showed that running the same messaging within audio and audio-visual creatives belonging to the same campaign, increases the chance a consumer will encode the information. The brain invests over 10% more resources when processing audio than when processing audio-visual content.

The research showed that beyond increasing reach and frequency, simultaneous advertising across mediums enhances consumer connections. It proved that audio content has 30% more impact when run concurrently with audio-visual creatives. TV, therefore, enhances the already strong radio message.

Repetition builds reputation

When it comes to building long-lasting brand love, the study showed that while well-known music is attention-grabbing in the short term, bespoke music such as custom jingles or sonic branding is better for creating long-term connections between consumers and brands.

Creating a successful campaign is heavily reliant on a brand’s ability to capture the attention of the consumer. Whilst eye-tracking studies have allowed audio-visual mediums to promote their capacity to capture attention, audio mediums have begun utilising neuroscience. In doing so, ARN has been able to clearly demonstrate that a successful audio strategy at both a creative, and at a campaign level, is imperative when it comes to increasing attention, memory, engagement, and arousal.” Says ARN Research & Neuroscience Specialist – Dr Shannon Bosshard.

“For example, we know that radio is an incredibly engaging medium and notoriously versatile. For brands advertising in this space, they are able to capitalise on this versatility, and craft creatives that express who they are. Our research demonstrates that both memory and attention are higher for brands that craft their own bespoke audio to accompany their brand messaging. Using neuroscience, we are able to measure these effects and have demonstrated that bespoke audio works just as well as famous music, and generates 15% more activity across areas of the brain responsible for encoding and retrieving memories.”

Audio has your attention – you can’t close your ears

ARN’s latest research Ears Wide Open looked at the role of audio within the attention space. When compared to visual attention where no eyes on advertising equals no attention, audio attention works differently. Even when we are highly distracted, we are still processing information. Audio gets a 30% cut-through even when the consumer’s attention is at its lowest. ARN tests showed that an audio ad playing in the background while respondents where highly distracted still generated 30% recall compared to 78% recall for an audio ad that is actively being listened to with no distractions. Audio is a powerful influencer of brand perceptions, and is always being processed.

For more information on ARN Neurolab and their research please see their website.