This post is an updated version of the original article, which was first published on November 21, 2016.
Before launching your first online audio ad campaign, it’s important to consider how advertising with sound differs from visual or text-based media. From learning how to write a radio script (which translates well to audio ads), to hiring the right voice over, it’s important to put yourself in the listeners’ shoes as you create your ad.
More and more listeners are switching from radio to audio streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and Google Play. Being able to create a crafty audio ad for these platforms will be vital to your company’s success in this new age of audio.
These eight time-tested tips can help you to get into the right frame of mind, as well as yield the best results from your campaign.
Plus, we have a few awesome audio ad examples from Spotify and Pandora for you to peek at.
1. Keep Your Audio Ad Simple
If your listener remembered just one key message from your ad, what would you want it be?
Choose one important message, and focus your effort on driving it home.
When listeners are hearing your audio ad, it’s likely that they’re multi-tasking – whether they’re driving, washing the dishes, or out for a run – their attention is already divided. So make your ad memorable by cutting back on the information that the listener has to remember.
You only have around 30 seconds or less for a typical Spotify or Pandora audio spot, so your message has to be crystal clear.
2. Cut to Your Audio Ad’s Value Proposition as Early as Possible
Always lead with the most important information.
This goes right back to the point above on honing in on your key message. Now that you know what you want listeners to remember, cut to the chase and spend the rest of the time you have reinforcing that message.
Even if you feel like you’re repeating yourself, your listener is more likely to retain your message if they hear it more than once!
3. Difference Between Audio Ads and Radio
Even though some fundamentals, such as script writing and great voice over casting, are essential to both audio ads and radio commercials, some elements are different.
For instance, the listener isn’t likely in your geographic region, so you’ll have to consider a broader audience.
Further, the listener is much more mobile. Traditional radio tends to reach people in the car, at home, or at work. However, when it comes to online radio, listeners could be anywhere, as long as they have a connected device.
4. Conversational Tone in Your Audio Ad Voice Over Can Be Powerful
As Dale Carnegie aptly pointed out in his classic book, ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People,’ people like listening to friendly people, who speak clearly and in a conversational manner. This has never been truer in modern times, when peer-to-peer style voice over reads (under ‘Most In-Demand Vocal Characteristics’ section) are dominating the advertising space.
When you post your voice over job for your audio ad, you can provide artistic direction to auditioning voice over actors that includes a read that’s conversational and friendly.
Read more about voice over trends in Voices.com’s Voice Over Industry Research Reports.
5. Slower Voice Over Delivery Forms a Connection with the Listener
When you’re writing a voice over script, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the voice over talent only have a limited amount of time to deliver the whole read. You don’t want your audio ad to sound like the rapid chatter associated with disclaimer statements, such as those that appear at the end of a prescription drug commercial!
When you want your ad to be conversational, it pays to be sparing with the copy. By nature, conversations are much slower than ads you hear on television or on the radio.
Give time for the listener to mentally absorb what they’ve just heard and take action.
6. Loud Background Music is Distracting
You don’t necessarily need to eliminate background music, but rather, consider the volume level of the background music in comparison to the voice over, which should be heard front and center.
On the topic of background music, license a track from a music provider.
There are literally thousands of tracks to choose from online and you’ll be sure to find one that represents your brand and matches the performance style of the voice talent.
7. Create a Smooth Transition for the Listener
An audio ad isn’t listened to in isolation. Ads are inserted between songs, so you’ll need to have a clean start and finish to your ad.
Avoid long pauses at the beginning of your ad, as it will give the impression that there’s dead air. On the tail end of your ad, avoid long fade-outs for the same reason.
Get creative! This is a savvy audience.
8. Include a Call to Action in Your Audio Ad
Drive traffic to your website or social media site by instructing listeners how and where they can learn more about your offering. Use a call to action (CTA) that references the exact next steps that you want your audience to take.
Do not lose valuable time meandering to the ‘ask,’ just make it short and snappy.
Pandora and Spotify Ad Examples
So now you have a framework to build an awesome online audio ad. However, you might want some real examples to sink your teeth into. Here are some of the best ad examples on Pandora and Spotify:
Kingsford and Dispatch – Spotify
Kingsford is the leading charcoal brand for barbeque grilling. Dispatch is a popular Indie-Roots band. Together they combined for a very unique Spotify ad campaign.
Kingsford came to Spotify to find out how to reach their core audience (male millennials interested in casual grilling) for a summer campaign.
Spotify used their streaming intelligence to discover the band Dispatch was at the top of the list of bands that male millennials interested in casual grilling listen to.
Dispatch recorded custom interviews and audio ads for Kingsford and put together a Spotify playlist of their favorite grilling and summer-related songs.
As a result, over half of listeners said the ads positively increased their interest in Kingsford Match Light charcoal. Kingsford also saw a 7% rise in brand consideration after the ad campaign.
Esurance – Pandora
Esurance partnered with the podcast Serial in a first-to-market sponsorship on Pandora. Esurance spokesperson, John Krasinski, recorded custom audio spots which welcomed the listeners to the Serial station on Pandora (click ‘view demo video’ within this link to listen to Krasinski’s voice over). There were 11.7 million streams of the Serial podcast, meaning huge time spent with the Esurance brand messaging.
Kraft – Pandora
Kraft used Pandora to advertise Velveeta Shells and Cheese. The campaign accounted for 9% of Velveeta Shells and Cheese’s total incremental sales for the year.
Truvia – Pandora
Truvia Nectar got super creative on Pandora. They incentivized the audience to interact with their ad for at least 15 seconds to unlock one hour of uninterrupted listening. The audio ad campaign had an average of 44 minutes time spent listening per user.
Samsung – Spotify
Samsung made a combo of audio and video ads to Spotify listeners about their M-series wireless audio systems. 40% of listeners planned to look for more info about the multiroom audio systems.
What do you think? What’s your favorite online audio ad? What are some pointers that have helped you run your online audio ad campaigns?
Leave us a comment below!