Less is more. Reduce audio word count and improve effectiveness

A major new study finds the lower the audio word count per minute, the greater the brand standout, which in turn increases campaign web response. Two major findings:

  1. Eliminating 10 words of audio copy increases the Creative Standout score by 1%. Creative Standout is achieved when consumers say “this ad stands out” and rate an ad with an 8, 9, or 10 on a one to ten standout scale.
  2. Eliminating 10 words of audio copy increases web traffic by 0.25%. Creative Standout in audio advertising is strongly linked to ad response via website visits. For each 1% rise in audio ad Creative Standout, website response rate increases by 0.25%.

Colourtext, a leading media analysis firm, examined over 10,000 campaigns that aired between 2019 and 2021. Activity included 615 national brands across 22 advertiser categories. Audiotrack text-transcribed approximately 70% of these advertisements. The average number of words per minute used in UK audio commercials is 169. This can vary widely from just 155 words per minute in the food and drink sector to 180 words per minute on average for financial brands.

To examine the impact of word density, Colourtext fused the Audiotrack database to 1,000 advertising effectiveness studies conducted by Radiocentre, the UK’s AM/FM radio advertising industry organization. There were 22 transcribed AM/FM radio campaigns that aired between 2020 and 2022 that are common to both datasets. Colourtext analyzed the relationship between word density and audio advertising effectiveness of the campaigns. Radiogauge campaign effectiveness studies measure a wide range of brand equity and advertising creative diagnostics. Creative Standout was found to be the metric that’s most sensitive to variations in word count.

The research concluded that for every 10 words per minute eliminated from an ad, Creative Standout can be expected to grow by 1%. Also, each 1% rise in Creative Standout results in a web response increase of 0.25%. A data model was built to understand the practical effects of word density and Creative Standout in audio advertising. Three ranges of word count per minute are examined: light (147 words per minute), medium (171), and heavy (195 words per minute). Campaigns with a heavy word count tend to feature terms and conditions or a lot of disclaimer copy.

Compared to 147 word per minute campaigns, ads with excessive 195 words per minute degrade the average Creative Standout score from 39.6% to 32.9%. This in turn reduces average web response rate from 1.8% to 1.3%. If just 24 words are added to a standard 30 second audio ad, a campaign could expect 160,000 fewer web visitors.

Removing 48 words from a 60-second ad script results in a:

  • +20% increase in Creative Standout score
  • +38% growth in web response rate
  • +160,000 addition in web visitors on a campaign with a 33 million reach






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