Ads see 19% higher brand impact on Spotify vs all other media: Spotify's Sonic Science report

The second edition of the report highlights the role and importance of audio in the media mix of brands and agencies

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Ads see 19% higher brand impact on Spotify vs all other media: Spotify's Sonic Science report

Spotify has released the second edition of its Sonic Science report - which highlights the role and importance of audio in the media mix of brands and agencies.

As per the report, entertainment and social interactions have always been an integral part of consumers’ lives while they are working together, shopping, attending concerts, sporting event, movie viewing or even participating in group activities.

“The Spotify listening experience creates a halo of good vibes and these positive feelings extend to the ad experience, too. Even when they’re streaming sad music, listeners get a mood boost when they tune into Spotify. That’s what our participants reported after the majority of their Spotify listening sessions- regardless of when they listened, what they listened to, and what they were doing at the time,” the report mentions.

Moreover, the findings also showed that 93% of the brain’s engagement with the content transferred directly into ad engagement and as a result, the ads saw 19% higher brand impact on Spotify - compared to all other media.

Based on Spotify listeners’ electrodermal activity, it was also found that while the listeners streamed, they were able to understand whether the audio content they heard caused emotional arousal.

“By studying acoustic attributes - i.e. bounciness, danceability, energy, instrumentalness, and ‘speechiness’ (aka the presence of spoken words in a song), there is a 30% increase in accuracy in the ability to identify listeners’ contexts while they’re listening to music.

Listeners are more likely to stream music with a high rate of: Acousticness during moments of focus or relaxation, like while they’re studying or chilling; Speechiness while engaging in activities with movement, like walking, working out, or eating; Instrumentalness while focusing, whether that means studying, chilling, gaming, or being online; Danceability while engaging in active and/or social activities, including working out, housekeeping, and partying. But danceability is also used to enhance everyday routines like cooking and eating; and Bounciness while engaging in highly physical activities, including walking, working out, or housekeeping,” the report highlighted. 

Furthermore, the Spotify report also mentions that having known that electrodermal activity (measured through our sweat) signals emotional activation, it also provides a physical indicator of listeners’ engagement as Spotify during the research found that listening to Spotify increased listener ad engagement by 11% to 23% above baseline.

“It’s one thing to engage with the music and podcasts in your ears, and another to engage with advertisements. But our research found that Spotify listeners’ high level of engagement stays consistent while listening to audio ads. MindProber calls this “the carryover effect,” and it has meaningful implications for advertisers: The more impactful the audio content, the more impactful the subsequent ad will be,” the report stated.

As per Spotify, the listeners on the app are primed to embrace brand messages: 73% of participants agreed that they are open to listening to ads on audio streaming services if the tone fits what they’re doing at the time. 

Further, one in five study participants reported looking up a brand or product online after hearing about it in a Spotify ad, and when asked ‘how likely are you to purchase a product or service that you heard about on Spotify in the future?’, 30% said they were ‘likely to purchase a product or service’ that they heard about on Spotify.

Richard Frankel

Addressing a round table conference, Richard Frankel, Global Creative Director, Spotify, stated that the philosophy of the tech company has been that the listener comes first and that data drives direction about the repertoire they share with the platform.

He also went on to add, “If content is king, then context is the God because the way in which that content intersects with the listeners or the IPs in a way with just the moment that they’re in is precisely what makes it elegant, emotional and important for them.”

Elaborating on how the research was conducted for Sonic Science, Frankel said that the pre-recorded Spotify music and podcast experience was conducted on respondents who were brought into Neuro Insight’s NYC lab and given a phone with either a preloaded Spotify playlist or a podcast episode. 

“After this, each person was fitted with the Neuro Insight’s SST head kit to allow recording of their subconscious responses to the stimulus while the respondents watched a first-person walkthrough of the city,” he added.

He also went on to add that as of now, Spotify enjoys an audience of 489 million monthly active users across the globe, out of which 40% are premium users and the remaining 60% of users opt for free service.

The report also mentioned that when it comes to the measurement of the impact on engagement, it is the centre of the brain that controls the triggering of engagements like personal connections, relatability, relevance, fulfilling need etc.

“Seven in ten participants of our research also pointed out that digital audio is more engaging because it feels more personal and intimate,” he added.

He also went on to state that the long-term detail memory centre of the brain was responsible for controlling the encoding of message and branding, experience details, decision making and new memories while the global memory centre was responsible for past memories, narrative connection, audio and visual themes and mood.

“It is the emotional intensity centre that determines the strength of emotion, overwhelmingness and indifference,” he added.

Later on, he also expressed that the research also highlighted that Spotify is much more engaging than radio, social media and television as there is a high level of content engagement therein juxtaposed to other platforms with audio parameters and that the fall off from content to advertisements is significantly low.

“Digital audio is used every day, but there is a right time for ads to be relevant which is why Spotify will be sharing the findings of the research with their partners and suggest to them the right yet creative way of advertising on the app or web,” he added.

In the views of Frankel, India has largely been a video-first market which is why Spotify through its Sonic Sound research aims to emphasise how important it is for audio to be a part of the brand’s media mix.

He also pointed out that advertisers should be mindful of rolling out their ads and aligning them with the right kind of playlist as that often leads to high engagement and recall from the listeners.

Supporting the research conducted in NYC, he also highlighted that the consumer behaviour in India is also similar to that in the developed countries as the majority - nearly 75% - of the population comprises of less than 35-year-olds and that the playlist patterns are similar universally.

During the course of his interaction with media, Frankel also stated that monetisation through ads on podcasts on Spotify will also be coming to India by the end of this year.

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