Audio has grown as a medium like no other channel. Podcast consumption in particular continues to soar, with research from The Guardian reporting that 41% of podcast listeners are using the medium more than they were 12 months ago. The same research also reported that 65% of listeners paid attention to podcast ads, compared with 39% for ads on TV and 38% for radio ads.

A result of this boon in podcast consumption is that consumers are now looking for meaningful connections with brands, more so than ever before. Brands, therefore, need to cut through the noise to build these personal relationships with their audiences. We now listen to almost 70 million hours of podcasts per week, providing brands the perfect opportunity to capitalise on this and enter these spaces.

Take it to the next level with 3D audio

An example of what is possible for brands within this space is 3D audio ads. 3D sound recording uses a binaural head or editing software to make music and special effects (SFX) sound as if the audio is in 3D, travelling from ear to ear using spatial elements.  When we listen to audio, the left side of our brain lights up, the part which is responsible for memory and emotion.  Immersive audio ads have even been proven to increase long-term memory encoding by 36% compared to regular audio ads, while emotional response is also increased by 39%. This presents an even greater opportunity for brands, as they can add in additional benefits such as dynamic audio to immerse listeners in a way that also connects with their individual context. Further, this increases brand recall as products are more likely to be remembered by the listener.

A recent example of 3D audio is Transport for London‘s ad with the Homo Sapiens podcast, hosted by Chris Sweeney as part of its campaign to tackle sexual harassment. This is a host read ad that aims to engage audiences in a personal way to raise awareness of sexual harassment on London transport and what to do if they witness or experience it.

This 3D audio ad uses sound playback technologies that enable sounds to come from different directions, to mimic the way people hear sound in the real world. Recognisable sounds from the London underground are used here such as the ‘Mind the gap’ announcement, and the sounds of the busy streets of Soho, to make the listener feel as though they are living the experience. This took the campaign storytelling to a new level, allowing a closer connection with listeners by playing on the familiar sounds they hear every day.

As this is a campaign tackling a delicate issue, immersive podcast advertising was an effective medium in educating listeners on sexual harassment. By using the host Chris Sweeney to deliver the message over the 3D sound effects, it enabled the message to be conveyed in a sensitive and authentic way. 

Connecting with the consumer

It is imperative for brands to understand their audiences in order to better connect with them. An example of this from A Million Ads was our 3D dynamic audio campaign with Benadryl. The campaign used 3D audio technology, as well as date and time, weather and location to find the real time pollen data in the listener’s area. This data enabled us to recommend the correct type of relief for the listener, directing them to their local Tesco store. In total 112,218 ad variants were created, tapping into contextual consumer touch points, whether the listener was heading to a festival or a football match.

Audio is a powerhouse medium like no other, and with podcasts now an integral part of consumer’s everyday lives, brands now have a real chance to capitalise on this and create vital personal connections with their audiences.

To see this approach to audio production and advertising in action, join A Million Ads’ Director of Creative Production, Kim Aspeling for ‘The Power of Audio’ session on the Brand Innovation Stage, Day 1, 5 July. View the agenda here