Do Your Ads Talk Too Fast to Your Audio Audience? How Speech Rates of Audio Commercials Influence Cognitive and Physiological Outcomes
In her audio research, Emma seeks to understand not just if consumers receive a message but how well they understand it. The study she presented was grounded in a sample of 200 English- and Spanish-speaking adults whose psychophysiological measures (heart rate and skin conductance), memory tests, and self-reported data were compiled to understand respondents’ ability to process speech at different rates of speed.
Emma used three different speeds for the study: 160, 180, and 200 words per minute. Her methodology demonstrated that advertising messages must be conveyed fast enough to keep the listener’s attention, but always at a moderate rate. In fact, at 180 words per minute, the phonological loop can fulfill its function of retaining information, and:
- Self-reported arousal was greatest,
- People’s perceptions of the ads were less negative, and
- Participants could effectively process the message with high emotional activation.
The upshot: Using fast speech style to convey information in a short period should be avoided if the goal is for listeners to understand and better remember the information.
As director of the UPF Media Psychology Lab, Emma analyzes people’s physiological response to their interactions with media and technology. In addition to academia, Emma is an award-winning radio dramatist, and voice-over artist for advertising and audiobooks.
The Myth of Targeting Small, but Loyal Niche Audiences: Double-Jeopardy Effects in Digital-Media Consumption
As consumers enjoy unlimited choices in the digital marketplace, some advertisers turn away from websites with mass appeal toward niche outlets for their small, but potentially loyal audiences. Harsh’s research found evidence that such a move is actually unwise, diminishing reach. He opened his presentation with the question: “Are blockbuster events like the Super Bowl still valuable in our fragmented media marketplace?” But, he pressed further, on what basis do audiences fragment? Web audiences follow the law of double jeopardy—that is, websites with more users (strong brands) also have high levels of usage (more loyal audiences)—he hypothesized. But, does this hold uniformly for all media categories?
Harsh’s methodology centered around monthly data from comScore Media Metrix to examine associations between users and usage of the 2,000 most popular websites in the U.S. for the calendar year 2014 on PCs and laptops. Results showed that unique visitors had a positive association with usage. In other words, double jeopardy (higher popularity drives higher usage) was supported better for more popular sites—(the top 20 percent of sites at the head of the distribution), like ESPN—than for less popular sites, like PGA Tour. PGATour, a niche site for golf fans, had the highest time spent in April (for the Masters’ tournament) when its reach also increases, a slide noted. Moreover, Harsh “looked at cross-visitation of these websites, and only 4 percent of ESPN users visited PGATour, while 79 percent of PGATour users visited ESPN.”
Implications for advertisers:
- Popular sites build both reach and frequency
- Unless campaigns aim for exceptionally high frequency, avoid advertising on niche websites
- Audiences of niche websites are disloyal (longer term)
- Users of niche sites also access popular sites, but not vice versa
- Focus on growing reach if goal is to grow loyalty, both in terms of behavior (e., repeat visitors) and attitudes—especially if high reach is likely to increase time spent and boost engagement
Bottom line: Although there will always be some demand for niche entities on the Internet, popular sites generate the greatest usage and loyalty.
Harsh worked for the BBC’s marketing team in Bombay before getting his PhD at Northwestern’s School of Media. At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Media, he focuses on the intersecting domains of media, technology and society—particularly how the interplay of these factors impact media users.
Quantifying the Advertising-Creativity Assessments of Consumers versus Advertising Professionals: Does It Matter Whom You Ask?
Consumers’ perspectives on creativity can be quite different from those of advertising professionals’ dimensions of creativity. So, the answer to the question of this study’s title is a resounding, “Yes”, particularly for advertisers considering design components of an advertising campaign. Erik’s research investigated how and why these assessments of advertising creativity differed. In the main part of the study, the same 20 ads (submissions to the Guldägett Awards— Sweden’s version of Clio) were shown to more than 4,000 consumers and more than 1,500 advertising professionals. The goal: to find out how the three best documented dimensions in the ad-creativity literature—originality, appropriateness and execution—contributed to the creativity ratings of the two groups.
Erik and team also compared how consumers’ and ad professionals overall creativity ratings correlated with consumers’ attitudes toward the ad, attitudes toward the brand and purchase intentions. A replication study then assessed the extent to which consumers spontaneously assess creativity when evaluating ads. It found that one-third of consumers do assess creativity spontaneously, and are able to rate it when prompted to do so.
Among the findings:
- Consumers place less emphasis on originality than do advertising professionals when assessing advertising creativity.
- Consumers give more weight to appropriateness and execution than do ad professionals.
- When they consider design components of their messages, advertisers need to clearly understand how the advertisement may be meaningful from a consumer point of view.
- An examination of prior research reveals a glaring gap: Most advertising agencies have yet to develop any formalized definition of advertising creativity.
Erik is a frequent public speaker about ad effectiveness and creativity. Among the books he has authored, his most recent “Bang for the Buck” was voted ‘Marketing Book of the Year’ by advertising professionals in Sweden.
How Do Generational Differences Drive Response to Social-Issue Ads? The Effect of Value Orientations across Generations in the U.S.
Yoon-Joo showed how her theoretical approach and measures can help advertisers craft their CSR messages more closely to their audience generational segments. Her research drew from generational cohort theory, which proposes that each generation (millennials vs. Generation X vs. baby boomers) holds unique value systems that govern their thoughts and behaviors. Applied to the context of advertising, cohort theory suggests that each generation may process advertisement messages differently on the basis of their unique needs and motives.
The study’s 196 study participants (21-60 years of age) viewed ads for a fictitious oil company advocating for energy conservation and a fictitious pharmaceutical company encouraging support for cancer research. Measures included attitudes toward the CSR ad and toward the product, purchase intention, willingness to visit the advertisers’ websites, and perceptions of an advertiser’s motive as genuine. Self-value orientations also were measured with a seven-point scale in which participants could report whether they agreed or disagreed with 16 statements. The scale referred to horizontal and vertical distinctions in values pertaining to individualism and collectivism, and differences in motives based on prosocial values (other-focused) and status-seeking (self-focused).
Yoon-Joo and her coauthor, Eric Haley (professor, University of Tennessee) who joined the Q&A discussion, found that each age segment may respond differently to message strategy under four values distinctions: uniqueness and independent freedom (characterized as HI, or horizontal individualism), status (VI, or vertical individualism), fulfilling social duty (VC, or vertical collectivism) or benevolence (HC, or horizontal collectivism). For example, although millennials did not support CSR initiatives motivated by a VC orientation, consumers from Gen X and baby boomers did. Baby boomers did not use a HI value, in evaluating advertisers’ motives in supporting social causes, whereas millennials and Gen X consumers did. And, millennials perceived that their status could be increased by consuming products of CSR-supporting advertisers, regardless of their value orientations.
Among the takeaways for advertisers in crafting CSR messaging:
- Consider the different motivational factors described above
- In reaching out to younger consumers, use advertising appeals emphasizing values of uniqueness or equality
- CSR initiatives could create programs whereby millennials can contribute to social issues by using their unique talents and skills or by sharing their own ideas in the form of cloud sourcing
At Washington State University, Yoon Jo’s research focuses on the roles of consumers’ underlying self-value, and their motives in perceiving CSR advertising and advocacy advertising. In the industry, she has taught at Immersion Programs at Ogilvy, McCann, Facebook and IBM Advertising, among others.