Ciarán Cunningham summarises the learnings from the How Advertising Works And What Audiences Want event

Ciarán explained that the drivers of audience growth can be explained by applying Byron Sharp’s framework on how brands grow - years of data have shown that brand growth is primarily driven by the combination of physical and mental availability – physical availability is essentially how easy is it for consumers to get their hands on whatever it is they need ,whenever they need it. Looking specifically at audio's physical availability, the very significant increase in smart speaker and smartphone penetration means the vast majority of people have instant access to a pocket full of audio – all within arm’s reach.

With regard to mental availability, this is how readily a specific brand or service springs to mind in relevant moments of need, the research that Differentology shared shows that audio springs to mind an awful lot, is relevant in many moments of need and is hugely relevant to people across many moments of the day. And because of how strong audio is both in terms of physical and mental availability, more people are listening every week and they are listening for longer. And this is at a time when TV audiences are challenged in virtually every market and even the big digital platforms are struggling to maintain audiences,

The second takeout is that reach is a crucial driver of effectiveness. Peter Field explained that a key drivers of effectiveness is to build reach. Research from the UK and Radiocentre Ireland Campaign Effects research clearly shows that brands should maximise weekly reach on radio as many weeks as possible to maximise effectiveness. And the Differentology research commissioned by Radiocentre Ireland clearly shows that, rather than competing, live radio, podcasts and on demand audio play complementary roles for listeners helping to grow the overall audio audience, and deliver reach.  

The final outtake is for brands to focus on audio creative. Peter Field  talked about emotions working so much harder than rational communications and the importance of really strong creative work. New research released last week by System1 concluded that Radio is as likely to cause long-lasting effects through an emotional response as TV advertising. Ciarán added that audio radio is uniquely placed to build long term brand equity – brands can be with listeners in a most intimate one on one environment, they can show up at the most relevant times of day and most importantly, they can put the listener at the centre of their comms. 

Ciarán stated that there is huge opportunity for brands to put listeners at the centre of their comms through audio,  invest time in the craft writing of audio commercial, don’t place a condition on the length of a commercial, invest in a director, use strong actors not voice over artists, and focus on brilliant production to create highly effective audio creative.



Please click below to watch a full recording of the presentation.

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