While using voiceovers and audio in ads is certainly not new or “rocket science,” it’s a shiny new object for Rishi Mulgund, Performance Marketing Director at Haleon. It brings a level of authenticity and connection that stops you scrolling your social media feed late at night - and that’s what effective data driven marketing is all about today.

At Haleon, Rishi and his team have run multiple tests to see how ads with voiceovers impact on users’ attention span, responsiveness, and conversion. The results mirror other studies run by Kantar, Meta, and YouTube: ads without sounds are just too easy to skip. In return, ads with sound provide a 25% uplift in sales and 10% lift in ROAS (return on ad spend).

Why sound matters

Marketers have become too used to optimising for “audio off” mode. On social media, in particular, we’ve had years of people scrolling without sound. However, the rise of the creator economy on platforms like TikTok, which deliver added authenticity with original audio, and the fact that it’s much easier to listen to the sound on your phone through Bluetooth headphones, combine to make audio a “shiny new object” again.

Audio not only gives you more authenticity, it also makes ads more accessible, especially in the healthcare space. Rishi talks about how audio ads can reach a wider population - a point he’s proud of on behalf of Haleon.

Be too enthralling to skip

Another essential benefit of sound and voiceovers is that ads are more arresting - not so easy to skip past. Rishi uses a simple question to test whether an ad is good: would he scroll past it if it showed up on his TikTok feed at 10.30 at night? That’s how you know when you’ve created something that’s relatable, gripping, and effective.

The data backs this up. In Haleon’s experience, ads with sound delivered a 25% increase in sales and a 10% increase in return on ad spend. And that’s simple data driven marketing: testing two versions of the ad, with or without a voiceover, before any other type of creative optimisation.

Tune in to the full episode to learn more about how audio can enhance your creative effectiveness and listen to Rishi’s key learnings from Pixar’s Ed Catmull’s “Creativity, Inc.”asset

The host of the Shiny New Object podcast is Tom Ollerton, founder of Automated Creative.