Single voices most popular for programmatic ads, research finds

Veritonic and Acast study compares programmatic ad trends around the world

Single voiceovers are most popular for programmatic ads across the US, EMEA, and Australia and New Zealand markets, according to new research from Acast and audio creative measurement service Veritonic. 

The research compared podcast advertising across different industries, bought programmatically through Acast within these regions. It analysed elements such as ad length, number of voice overs, genders of voices, use of sound effects, call-to-action placements, and more. This sample included 30 programmatic ads for each market served between the months of January and April 2023. 

While over 60% of ads in both Australia and New Zealand and the EMEA regions preferred the use of single voiceovers, this format represented the overwhelming majority of programmatic podcast ads in the US, with 86% having one voice.

The gender balance of voiceovers also varied between regions, according to the report. Although only female voices featured in around half of ads across all three regions, the US showed a relatively even split between male and female voiceovers (47% and 50%, respectively), while both Australia and New Zealand and EMEA had mixed male and female voiceovers and male-only voiceovers with around a quarter each.

Another similarity between these three markets is that the majority of programmatic ads featured were a minimum of 30 seconds in length - above 70% for both the US and EMEA regions - but only 56% in Australia and New Zealand, which had a nearly equal amount of 15-second ads. The use of sound effects was also consistently uncommon across all three markets, with the majority of ads eschewing them.

“As an industry there is still a lot of myth-busting to do around programmatic ad buying,” said Acast global head of ad innovation Elli Dimitroulakos. “At Acast, we firmly believe that programmatic advertising should not be a rigid experience for the media buyer, podcast host, and certainly not the listener.”

“Podcast advertising is effective because it’s a seamless part of the listening experience and that shouldn’t change based on how a transaction occurs. Programmatic ads can – and should – have creative elements that enhance the listener experience and brand relationship.”

Australia and New Zealand as well as the US had a strong preference for placing brand elements at the end of the ads, both over 90%, while only 33% of ads in the EMEA region chose to do that as opposed to putting branding at the beginning or middle of the ad. Ads in the US were also more likely to spell out the URL of a website at least once compared to EMEA, where only 6.6% mentioned the URL in the voiceover, or compared to Australia and New Zealand where none of the ads did so. 

The most common call-to-action placed at the end of the ads across Australia and New Zealand as well as EMEA was “Visit” while the US also included “Click” and “Call” in addition to that. There were no promo codes included in the voiceovers across any of the ads in all three markets, however. 

“Hope is not a strategy; it’s no longer enough for a brand to create an audio asset and simply hope it’ll move the needle,” said Veritonic CEO Scott Simonelli. “Having confidence that your marketing efforts and investments will pay off is crucial, especially in today’s economy."

“With audio reaching more than 214 million adults in the U.S. monthly and having a 36% higher impact on memory than video, marketers need to be leveraging creative testing solutions like the Veritonic platform to ensure they are putting their best audio creative forward, regardless of how the ad itself is purchased or served.”