Ad Performance: Audio vs Video or Print

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What are reasons that audio advertising may be more effective than video and/or print advertising and how much more effective is it?

Audio advertising is more effective than video and/or print advertising is true. The primary form of communication between human beings is speech. Fully knowing this, advertisers use this to their advantage when creating ads. This implication means that advertisements that are meant to be received by the human ear are far more effective than advertisements that are meant to be received by the human eye.

the Differences Between Ear and Eye

Advertisements created for the human eye are often in the form of pictures, logos, or videos. Although an image received by the eye may have a significant impact, visual images fade away after a short period of time. Visual images, or memories that are seen, are stored in what known as the human mind's iconic memory. The iconic memory has a storage capacity of about 1 second. This means that after seeing an image, regardless of how impressive it may have been, that image, or memory, begins to fade from the human brain within one second of seeing it.

On another hand, auditory images, or memories that are heard, are stored within the human mind's echoic memory. These memories tend to stay within the brain significantly longer than those stored in the iconic memory. The echoic memory has a storage capacity of between 4 and 5 seconds, meaning that after 4 to 5 seconds, the memory will begin to fade. Although a few seconds may seem minimal, when it comes to memories and how they are stored, it is paramount.

In addition to the different types of memory storage that occur within the brain, the human mind is able to process spoken word more rapidly than printed word. Spoken word is processed by the human mind within 140 milliseconds, while printed word is processed within 180 milliseconds. These differences seem small, but they hold a large impact when referring to the difference between audio and print advertising.

Spotify ads are more effective

A study was composed by Nielsen Catalina Solutions regarding Spotify and was implemented for a 12-month period. During those 12 months, auditory advertisements were run promoting consumer goods such as non-alcoholic beverages, food, snacks, personal care and home care products. The company also ran and continues to run video and display advertisements, the majority of their advertisements were audio clips.

After the 12-month period, Nielsen Catalina Solutions presented that the audio advertisements were 25% more effective than that of the video and display advertisements. The study showed that for every 1,000 audio advertisements played, Spotify earned $24 in revenue.
Although these advertisements were technically considered cross platform advertisements, the study still supported the claim that audio advertising is more effective than video and/or print advertising.

Ads on Pandora Outperform TV and Radio Spots

Nuero Insight, a company specializing in neuro-marketing was commissioned by Pandora to perform a study on how listening to audio affects the impact of advertising. One hundred participants listened to between 25 and 35 minutes of their own personalized Pandora playlist, while being exposed to audio advertisements. Each time an advertisement was played, their brain activity was measured in real time. According to the findings, "audio advertising elicited a better emotional response in the part of the brain related to long-term memory".
According to results of the study, participants’ long-term memory of the audio advertisements was 36% better than TV commercials and 39% better than mobile video ads.

audio advertising

According to the results of another study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions in 2015, advertisements on terrestrial radio received an average of $6 in revenue for every $1 they spent on the advertisement. According to a study done by Spotify around the same time, the company's audio advertisements drove a profit 60% greater than their expected benchmark of 1,600 online campaigns.
In addition, podcast listeners are more likely to take action in direct response to hearing an advertisement during their favorite podcast, with 45% visiting a website, 42% considering a new product or service and 37% gathering more information about the product.

Audio Ads Have Power to Move an Audience

Lightwave, a company specializing in advanced 3D computer graphics, partnered with iHeartMedia to perform a study on the impact of audio on advertisement effectiveness. According to the study, the audio clips within the advertisements engaged the participants' brains within different aspects. The study showed both emotional and physical engagement in response to the audio advertisements. Lightwave and iHeartMedia also compared memory encoding of audio and TV advertisements. Memory encoding is the first step in creating a memory that can be recalled later. The results showed audio advertisements outperformed TV advertisements in 87.5% of the tests. The memory encoding for audio advertisements was 220% greater than that of TV advertisements in some occasions. This impressive difference demonstrates the dominance of audio in referenced to memory and recall.


According to several studies across many platforms, audio advertising is far more effective than video and print advertising. The human brain is able to process audio easier than written word, printed word, or a visual image. The human brain is also able to store audio quicker and for a longer period of time than written word, printed word, or a visual image. The advertising world has become very aware of this and due to their knowledge of how the human brain works, has shaped the way they advertise to cater to the preferences of the brain.

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