Audio’s impact on emotions: The impact of tailoring messaging by music and podcast genre

18 July 2022 | By: Jennifer Vargas, Sr. Product Marketing Manager

Audio sparks emotions. It triggers memories. It is a constant companion in a range of screen-free moments, from cooking to exercising, and other hands-free activity. This year, Amazon Ads and Wondery conducted the study Audio’s impact on emotions: The science of brand building with sound with neuroscience marketing firm MindProber. The study surveyed 180 US consumers to learn about the different ways that audio content impacts emotions and engagement. Participants were recruited by the vendor panel, opted in and were provided monetary compensation in exchange for participation.

Audio listeners today are reshaping the way we stream music. With the emergence of smart speakers, audiences can now have a more engaging experience with their favourite brands. And for brands, this innovation opens up new opportunities to connect with audiences using the power of sound.

Throughout this research study, we’ve been committed to helping brands understand the emotional impact and opportunities to leverage the power of audio to connect with audiences in relevant ways. In the first article, we dove deep on the emotional response to audio to answer: how does audio content affect emotions and engagement? In the second article, we explored the different ways brand messages were perceived over ad-supported content on smart speakers compared to other devices. For this article – the last of our three-part series – we’ll discuss how brands from different industries, can leverage a variety of audio content and context to generate different levels of engagement. But first, let’s step back to understand the methodology.

How it works: The science of brand building with sound

During the study, participants were provided with a handheld device that logged engagement1 observations while they listened to audio content in their homes for eight hours at their convenience over a four-week period. Over this period, participants collectively listened to over 1,500 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. Participants were also asked to complete surveys before, during and after their listening experiences, where they reported current moods and their recall of the advertised brands.

Match content to context: The value of tailoring messaging by music and podcast genre

The concept of matching content to context has become increasingly important for brands. In this study, we found that brands can reach listeners in relevant moments when they are feeling positive by tailoring their brand message to different types of music and podcast genres.

We dove deeper with contextual relevance to better understand how emotional response is driven by different advertiser industries. Here is what you need to know:

1. Genre insights

From sad to joyful tunes, music can spark a certain mood and emotion for audiences. In fact, we learned in the first part of this article series that audio is one of the fastest-acting triggers of emotional response in the brain.2 In this study, we asked participants to listen to a variety of genres, from rock music to true crime podcasts. Participants reported feeling happy, joyful and optimistic after their listening sessions to genres like hip-hop, R&B, and Latin music, and entertainment podcasts. Conversely, participants reported feelings of sadness after listening to country music and true crime podcasts.

Emotions differed based on content genre

Brands can align their emotional content with different music and podcast genres to reach consumers with contextually relevant messaging.


  • Rock music
  • Country music
  • True crime podcasts

Happiness, joy, optimism

  • Hip-hop music
  • R&B music
  • Entertainment podcasts
  • Family and kids podcasts


  • Latin music
  • Hip-hop music
  • True crime podcasts


  • Country music
  • True crime podcasts

For advertisers, this presents an opportunity to align brand messaging to specific music or podcast genre by using the right context. Here at Amazon Ads, we provide an array of contextual solutions for advertisers looking to reach genre enthusiasts with the right message in the right content and context.

2. Industry insights

We know contextual relevance plays a key role in reaching consumers, but we wanted to take this learning further to understand: Are there industry and genre combinations that work better than others? And how do they complement each other?

We found that there is high relevancy between content genres and certain ad industries, and those that complement each other may deliver the best results for brands. For example, automotive ads generated +1.8X greater engagement in rock music compared to the average engagement for automotive across the other genres. Automotive performed best in entertainment podcasts, +1.2X above the average of other genres. We also took a look at the CPG category and found that it performed best in family and kids podcast genres (+1.2X vs. average), pop and R&B music (+1.4X vs. average of both).3

Industry performance differed based on the genres their ads were delivered in

Genres and industries that complement each other may deliver stronger results for brands.

Most engaging genres by industry

AutomotiveCPGTune-inFinancial servicesHardlines
Top-performing podcasts genresEntertainment true crimeFamily and kidsFamily and Kids
True crime
Top-performing music genresRock

For advertisers across different industries, this presents an opportunity to reach and engage with audiences beyond just demographics, using a mix of top-performing music genres. We found that audio ads advertisers who reached audiences based on these behavioural audience signals saw a 58% increase in brand awareness compared to those who used just demographics alone to reach audiences.4

Can’t wait to learn more? Check out our free report (available in English only): Audio’s impact on emotions: The science of brand building with sound or visit part 1 and part 2 of our “Audio’s impact on emotions” article series.

Amazon audio ads are a great place to get started in selecting the right genre context for your brand. To begin, get in touch with an Amazon Ads account executive today.

1 Engagement is defined as various physiological responses detected by a device that participants held while listening to streaming audio.
2 Whitmer et al., 2021
3 Audio’s Impact on Emotions Study, 2022
4 Audio’s Impact on Emotions Study, 2022