There is something special in the sound. Sometimes it feels like magic that can’t be explained: the wonder of hearing a favorite song for the first time, the captivating climax of a captivating podcast, the hypnotic buzz of white noise. But the unique power of sound can actually be explained, with science, of course.
We partnered with the research team at Neuro-Insight, a leading cognitive research company, to understand why sound, especially digital audio, has such a distinct impact. What we’ve discovered, both through survey data and Neuro-Insight’s Steady State Topography technology that measures brain activity in real time, is that digital audio is particularly powerful because of its interactivity and personalization.
HOW SOUND WORKS: THE MEDIUM HAS A DISTINCT NEUROLOGICAL IMPACT
Let’s take a step back to understand how sound works. Once it has passed from our ears to our auditory cortex, different processing centers extract elements of the sound – pitch, rhythm, timbre and volume – then put it all back together 30 milliseconds later. Recent advances in neuroscience show us that sounds actually affect us through all the key centers of the brain, affecting both the emotional, memory and engagement centers.
To understand our cognitive processing of audio signals, Neuro-Insight uses four proprietary metrics: engagement (reliability and relevance of the ad), emotional intensity (strength of emotions related to the ad), memory long-term memory for global features (memories, feelings and themes associated with the announcement) and long-term memory for details (the specific message and details of the announcement). Together, these measures paint a complete picture of our ability to retain information and how we connect emotion to those memories.
THEATER OF THE MIND: DIGITAL AUDIO HAS SIGNIFICANTLY MORE IMPACT THAN RADIO
It’s clear that sounds have an impact on the brain, but our research with Neuro-Insight revealed that certain types have a stronger impact than others. Their technology showed that the listening experience of digital audio was significantly higher across all parameters compared to radio, resulting in higher recall, engagement, and emotional intensity.
Neuro-Insight believes this improvement is directly related to the inherent qualities of digital audio, particularly personalization and interactivity. Unlike traditional radio, digital audio allows people to tailor what they hear so it connects directly to their specific interests and the moment they are. experiences on digital audio platforms. As a result, people are turning to music and podcasts throughout key moments in their daily lives, using audio to enhance their experiences. And in today’s media landscape, that matters: 66% of participants said there was too much visual stimulation and the audio provided a nice escape.
LISTENING ON SPOTIFY TAKES THIS COMMITMENT TO A NEXT LEVEL, WITH DEEPER PERSONALIZATION
In our research, we found that the power of digital audio is further amplified on Spotify. When Neuro-Insight measured the brain activity of users listening to different types of audio, it was clear that Spotify offered the most engaging audio experience.
Spotify’s extensive product features are designed for interactivity and personalization, and Neuro-Insight attributes the increase in engagement metrics found in search to these qualities. But it turns out that these qualities didn’t just elevate Spotify above other audio formats. Neuro-Insight research found that the Spotify experience also drove higher engagement than TV, digital video and social media. It’s a testament to the power of audio: Spotify’s deeply personalized platform seems to create a more engaging experience than watching a TV show on the couch or passively scrolling through social feeds.
ALL EARS ON YOU: WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS
In today’s crowded media landscape, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to break through. But through the Spotify Advertising experience, merging the power of personalized audio and interactivity, advertisers have the ability to connect with their audience in meaningful context while being deeply immersed in what they’re listening to.
Spotify’s impact on the brain, as measured by Neuro-Insight, can have a significant impact on ad recall and brand impact. Our research has shown that 93% of brain engagement with content translates directly into ad engagement when the listener switches from their music and podcasts to the ad. As a result, ads saw a 19% higher brand impact on Spotify compared to all other media.
For advertisers, that means there’s a huge opportunity to get all ears on you.