Audio Attention Data Shows How Humans React In Real-Time

How does sound in audio and podcast advertising affect and influence people in real-time? That is a question that Scott Simonelli, founder and CEO of Amazon’s Audible-backed Veritonic, set out to answer in partnership with Alex Browne, head of partner strategy at computer vision and AI company Realeyes.

Simonelli became interested in the human response to sound early in his career after writing music for television ads. He saw the advantage of using multivariant testing to quantify responses online. At that time, marketers were making decisions with no data to inform them.

“Sound is underserved,” Simonelli said. “And we still have miles and miles to go despite all the success and adoption, and mounds of data. We’re still scratching the surface of how sound effects people in real time.”

Attention quality was highest for the audio ads that had the highest voiceover volume at 36% compared with the ads with the lowest voiceover volume at 27%, and the ads that had too many competing elements within the creative at 25%, according to the controlled-study data released Tuesday.



Hundreds opted-in to listen to a handful of podcast ads for a vitamin subscription service with webcams enabled. Realeyes lent its PreView technology to capture and overlay reactions to the ads with the passive attention and reaction metrics captured via webcam.

"We know from a lot of AB testing on video and audio testing that minor changes, lazy decisions like choosing a generic soundtrack rather than something curated, can create a massive effect like cognitive friction," Browne said. "It could lead to a negative experience for the listener, where the spend isn't just wasted, but they could have a bad experience." 

The study also found that the proportion of the ad where people had sustained attention — meaning they did not look away or get distracted— was the weakest for audio ads with voiceovers that were low in volume, at 10% below the benchmark.

The proportion of the ad where people had sustained attention was similarly weak for audio ads that contained many competing sonic elements, such as audio with lengthier messaging—three or more sound effects and music — at 7% below the benchmark.

Seventy-five percent of study participants reported that a good-quality audio ad positively influences their consideration to purchase a product.

1 comment about "Audio Attention Data Shows How Humans React In Real-Time".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 21, 2024 at 8:13 a.m.

    Not surprising, Laurie, as radio attentiveness studies which I pioneered and conducted in the past have consistently shown that station formats which are basically of the talk variety---all-news, all- sports, all-talk/commentary, etc. garner far more attentive audiences than those featuring mostly music.

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