June 30, 2022 | By: Alyson Sprague, Sr. Program Manager
Audio plays an important role in our emotional lives. We use energetic playlists to get us hyped for a workout, break-up songs to heal heartache, and podcasts to learn, laugh, and feel. The strong emotional connections consumers have with audio presents an opportunity for brands who want to build meaningful connections with their audiences.
Amazon Ads and Wondery worked with neuroscience marketing firm MindProber to collect engagement insights from 180 US consumers, aged 18 and older to answer the following questions:
- Emotional response to audio. What emotional response does audio elicit in listeners? Can audio content change moods? Does engagement differ between streaming audio, broadcast radio, and linear TV? How does emotional engagement with streaming audio translate to effectiveness for brands?
- Your brand on smart speakers. Are brand messages delivered in ad-supported audio content on smart speakers perceived differently than those delivered on other devices? How do interactive audio ads on smart speakers engage consumers? How can brands use these insights to build meaningful and relevant connections with consumers?
- Context and content. Do different music or podcast genres generate different levels of engagement? How do different industries perform in a variety of audio contexts? Which genres deliver higher engagement levels for each industry? How do podcasts and music differ and complement one another?
We will explore each of these questions in a three-part blog series. In this first post, we’ll explore the lessons our research uncovered about the first topic listed above, and share insights about how audio impacts listeners’ emotions. We will summarize our findings and end with actionable recommendations for brands.
Step 1: Recruitment: For this in-home audio study, participants were assigned to listen to a podcast and music content on mobile, desktop, or smart speakers. Each audio content selection included streaming audio ads for a diversity of ad industries.
Step 2: Engagement measurement: During the study, 180 participants were provided with a handheld device that logged engagement1 observations while they listened to eight hours of audio content at their convenience in their homes over a four-week period. Over this period, participants listened to a total of 1500 hours of ad-supported audio content on either mobile, desktop, or smart speakers. The observations were compiled to create engagement scores for each device group.
Step 3: Surveys: Participants filled out surveys before, during, and after their listening experiences. They reported current moods, and their recall of the advertised brands.
After listening to streaming audio sessions, the most common emotions reported by participants were positive, the study shows. For example, happiness, joy, optimism, and confidence were the top four reported moods. Anger, annoyance, and sadness were the bottom three.2
We compared the emotional response reported for each group: mobile, desktop, and smart speaker listeners. We found participants who listened to streaming audio content on smart speakers reported higher levels of optimism, joy, happiness, and trust, than those who listened to the same content on mobile or desktop.
A majority of participants (51%) reported a shift in mood after their audio listening experience. Mood shifts differed by genre. For example, 55% of participants who listened to pop music reported a positive shift in mood, while 27% of participants who listened to true crime podcasts reported a negative shift in mood.
We collected engagement levels using the handheld measurement device described earlier in this post. We compared our streaming audio readings to benchmarks in MindProber’s benchmarking database for broadcast radio and linear TV. Our research highlighted consumers had higher engagement levels on streaming audio than other media channels. This result was statistically significant.
Based on these findings, we see that streaming audio has the power to impact how consumers feel and experience the world. Most frequently, streaming audio makes consumers feel happy, optimistic, joyful, and confident. When streaming on smart speakers, listeners report even higher levels of joy, trust, and confidence. Our research also found that streaming audio is an engaging media for listeners, outperforming engagement scores for both broadcast radio and linear TV.
Whether listeners are working out in their living rooms or cooking in their kitchens, brands looking to connect with audiences may want to consider working with Amazon Ads to help build a connected home strategy. This may improve audience engagement by delivering your message on smart speakers on the Amazon Music ad-supported tier. Brands can also work with Wondery to create customer messages that appear during branded segments within podcasts.
This blog post is the first of a three-part series covering insights and recommendations from the study, Audio’s impact on emotions: The science of brand building with sound. In our next post, readers will learn about the power and impact of listening to streaming audio on smart speakers. And we will dive into how ads with Alexa calls-to-action (Alexa CTAs) can help change consumer perception and behavior toward your brand.
For more information, please download this free report (available in English only).
1 Engagement is defined as various physiological responses detected by a device that participants held while listening to streaming audio
2 Audio’s impact on emotions study, 2022