How Do Podcast Ads Perform Vs TV Ads?

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A new study was released Tuesday that looks at how podcast ads stack up against TV ads and online video ads. Westwood One tested podcast ads through a partnership with creative testing service Advertising Benchmark Index.

In December, ABX tested five brands’ podcast ads, television ads, and online video ads. Ads were assessed on what’s called the total ABX Index, a summary score that incorporates Clear Branding, Messaging, Reputation, and Call to Action measures.

Here’s what Westwood One said was discovered…

On clear branding measures, all of the podcast ads tested were comparable to the television or online video ads that ran for the same brands. And Westwood points out that podcast advertising represents a way for advertisers to make the same branding impact as television in a far less cluttered environment.
– A major online job posting/recruitment website’s podcast ad scored a 107 in clear branding measures compared to their television ad which came in at a 102.
– A personal grooming subscription service’s podcast ad scored higher than that same brand’s television and radio ad.

Podcast ads that scored lower than their television counterparts were only slightly behind.
– A major watch brand had their television ad scored at 105 for clear branding. Their podcast ad saw a score of 103 for the same clear brand measure.

Cumulus Media/Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says, “These results dispel the myth that the visuals of television ads are necessary to make the same type of impact. According to a study from the Council for Research Excellence, 61% of the time, TV commercials aren’t being seen. With eyes on a second screen or the audience literally being out of the room, the importance of visual cues carries less weight than what an ad sounds like. The ABX data proves that podcasts can do it just as well as television can.”

The study goes on to conclude that podcast ads are as effective at driving conversation and purchase as television ads. ABX tested for call to action, or how effective are the ads at getting a listener to do something such as talk about a product or service, recommend it to a friend, or contact the company for more information. The top ads for the call to action metrics of “talk” and “purchase” were both podcast ads.
– A personal grooming subscription service’s podcast ad saw a score of 139 in making the audience talk.
– Also in the top five ranked ads was a major watch brand’s podcast ad, which scored a 111, the same score as their television ad.
– The personal grooming subscription service’s podcast ad was also tied for the top score in driving purchase.

And finally, the study concluded podcast ads are just as effective as their television counterparts at creating call to action. “Live reads are incredibly impactful, but they have to be done correctly and ‘make the brand the hero of the story.’”

One of the podcast ads tested was a live read for an insurance service. The first 30 seconds of the ad were focused on listing out all of the reasons that insurance shopping was a hassle. It wasn’t until the end of the ad that the benefits of the brand were introduced. By then the shopping hassles overwhelmed consumers. The podcast ABX Index score was a low 86. The brand’s online video ad tested higher at an ABX Index score of 108, placing in the top half of all ads evaluated by ABX. It was a shorter, 15-second ad where the benefits of the brand were introduced early on.

The lesson, according to Bouvard? “Live reads aren’t guaranteed success. They have to be executed smartly with a clear focus on what makes the brand or product the best choice for the consumer.”

Read more about the study HERE.

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