Audio advertising within a personalised musical environment significantly drives brand recall compared to standard radio or TV ads

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Emotive environments increase the effectiveness of adverts by priming consumers to be more receptive toward brand messaging. Pandora, the music radio apps, says it has long seen its ad campaign performance hint at the successful combination of emotional context through music with branded content. Now, the company has partnered with neuroscience research firm Neuro-Insight to test these claims.

100 Pandora listeners between the ages 18-34 and 35+ were asked to participate in the study. Participant brain activity was tracked using Steady-State Topography whilst they viewed a stimulus. Each session lasted roughly 30 minutes with personalised songs from the participants’ favourite Pandora stations. Keri Degroote, Vice President of Research & Analytics at Pandora, explains:

“We hypothesized that ads served in a high-quality, personal and emotive environment would lead to a superior neurometric response compared to the norms Neuro-Insight has established for other media types. We were anxious to explore collecting data in this new way–and were even more encouraged by what it told us about the power of contextual relevance.”

The results show that audio ads within the Pandora personalised environment were 49% more memorable than Neuro-Insight’s established norms for terrestrial radio spots.

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Interestingly, audio ads via the Pandora setting were also 36% more memorable than the Neuro-Insight established norms for TV commercials.

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In addition, the audio ads studied were also 29% more memorable than the established norms for mobile video ads.

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Pandora highlights that this study confirms the company’s belief that more emotional content can increase ad effectiveness with consumers responding more positively to ads when they’re part of a personally relevant setting. Pranav Yadav, CEO of Neuro-Insight US Inc, explains:

“We have seen the impact of a strong context on advertising in other studies. We have also seen how emotionally powerful sound can be as a medium. In this case, the combination of personal relevance and music in the Pandora environment was received with high memorability, engagement and emotional intensity compared with other media norms.”

Personalised content settings certainly can drive a more positive response toward advertising. Spotify recently published research which found that audio is more personal and hence drives better ad experiences.

Whilst these insights seem compelling, it’s not clear whether Neuro-Insight established norms for radio, TV and mobile video ads reflect real life examples. In addition, participants may be biased having been invited to participate.