The rapid adoption of smart speakers has created new opportunities for marketers to engage with consumers through audio advertisements leveraging the power of the human voice to increase brand impact and boost sales. New research from marketing and media research firm Neuro-Insight, commissioned by Octave Audio, Say It Now and Xaxis, shows that smart speaker advertising generates powerful responses in the human brain that can help make connections deeper between brands and consumers.
The study looked at consumer engagement in a 30-60 second conversation with a voice assistant and compared brain responses to traditional radio ads. It monitored cognitive functions such as long-term memory, engagement, emotional intensity, approach/withdrawal, and general attention.
The study found that branded smart speaker ads trigger a 25% increase in overall brain activity compared to the brand in standard audio ads. Companies say it has helped create stronger and more meaningful associations. He also found that engaging in a conversation with an ad via a voice assistant made branding moments 11% more memorable.
Additionally, saying the name of a brand to a smart speaker generated a 30% increase in overall brain response levels compared to a standard advertisement, while hearing a smart speaker response elicited 24% higher levels of positive emotional response, suggesting that having two-way conversation with a smart speaker is enjoyable for the listener.
The latest data from Edison Research shows that 35% of adults say they own at least one smart speaker, a three-point jump from a year ago. And that’s up from 16% in 2017 according to Edison’s annual Smart Audio report, produced with NPR and released in June. Half (51%) of respondents to Edison’s annual survey say they have purchased a smart speaker to replace a traditional radio receiver. This compares to 39% who said this five years ago.
The Neuro-Insight study suggests that the devices open up new opportunities for advertisers by making audio advertising “actionable”. This is a 30-40 second radio commercial voiced by a smart speaker, which includes a call to action from the smart speaker and a “frictionless” voice interaction that allows listeners to search for products, to have more information sent to their phone or to make a purchase.
According to research, interactive ads evoke 2.3 times more left-brain memory spikes compared to standard audio ads, which means they are more likely to result in greater information retention. When researchers compared the brain responses of listeners who “converse” with smart audio ads, they found improvements in:
- General Attention: +26%
- Intensity of emotional responses: +17%
- Memory based responses: +11%
Octave Audio Director Charlie Brookes said the study’s findings reinforce the importance of strategic and addressable audio campaigns. “Optimizing ad placements and intelligent speaker conversations enables brands to start the right interactions with the right listeners,” Brookes said in a press release. “The rapid adoption of smart speakers is driving innovation for audio advertising capabilities, making it an exciting time for brands to explore the influence of audio on audiences.”
The study took place from March 24-31 in London with 64 respondents aged 18-65, evenly split between four audience segments: affluent adults, passionate parents, destination dreamers and savvy buyers. All respondents were regular users of Alexa voice devices. Interactive radio ads from six brands were included in the study. In addition, six “print ads” from non-competing categories and brands were also included in the study, to provide a baseline of response.
Download the study HERE.