Brands enter 2023 under strain from economic turbulence. Organizations are reviewing and controlling costs, with marketing and ad spending among the areas under scrutiny. Marketing teams require even better advertising insights to insure commercials cut through with consumers and generate ROI.
With global ad spending expected to hit $740.9bn this year, conjuring creative that captures attention in an ever-competitive market is vital. But what aspects of commercials get people talking? To find out, we turned to comparative text analysis.
We rooted our comparison using two key media types – video and audio. As well as incorporating both off online and offline distribution, these traditional ad types get people talking. We used a social listening tool to gather online conversations in America throughout 2022 around both types of commercials, before uploading them to our text analysis platform.
Relative Insight’s comparative methodology surfaces the differences in text data sets – highlighting what matters most to different audiences. It also offers an unbiased analysis of text data, uncovering only statistically significant differences in multiple data sets, rather than the hypothesis-based approach required for more time-consuming manual analysis.
This approach meant that, when it came to identifying how people talk about video and audio commercials, we were able to reveal some surprising advertising insights.
Attitudes to video and audio commercials vary
There was a stark difference in how the public talked about the placement and nature of video and audio ads.
Video ads were seen as an inconvenience. Whether they’re interrupting viewers’ favorite shows or delaying them watching a YouTube video, this intrusion influences the types of words and phrases people use when describing the ads. They’re 2.1x to use words relating to ‘disinterest’, such as ‘tired’, ‘boring’ and ‘repetitive’.
It was repetition which grated most. Tweeters used the phrase ‘keep getting’ 11.8x more and ‘see one more’ infinitely more, highlighting their frustration at seeing the same video ads.
“If I see one more Ryan Reynolds mint ad on YouTube I’m going to lose my mind.“
This irritation led to one desire: skipping ads. People talking about video commercials used words relating to ‘avoidance’ 2.0x more. They were 3.3x more likely to use the word ‘skip’, used ‘skipping’ 3.6x more and discussed whether videos were ‘skippable’ or ‘unskippable’ infinitely more.
In contrast, our advertising insights suggest that audio commercials aren’t seen as intrusive, and can even be welcomed. The public were 1.4x more likely to use words on the topic of ‘interest’ when talking about audio ads, including ‘interesting’, ‘curious’ and ‘interested’.
“Just heard a pretty interesting radio ad. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning company has a clearance on seer 14 units because the government won’t let them sell them next year.“
Rather than an intrusion, online conversations about audio ads suggest that they’re more likely to be thought-provoking for audiences.
Audiences’ surprising focus when viewing video ads
Our advertising insights analysis also identified the different elements which viewers and listeners focused on. For audio commercials, it was unsurprising that discussions about the language used over-indexed compared with conversations about video adverts.
Listeners were 1.4x more likely to highlight aspects like ‘words’, ‘language’, ‘phrases’ and ‘accents’. They also referenced ‘communication’ 1.3x more, with discussions highlighting both what adverts said and how they said it.
“Radio ad used the word sparkle and now I can’t stop saying spar-kle in a childlike singsong cos I think it’s funny.“
However, when it came to video ads, it wasn’t just visual elements that grabbed attention. Counterintuitively, discussions were 1.8x more likely to talk about the music in these adverts.
“Dear @vrbo, thank you for having YouTube ads that are just nice, calming music. So far you’re the only YouTube ad that makes me want to use your product.“
“Does anyone know what is that music to the new #smirnoff tv advert?? Driving me bonkers! 😂”
Whether in online or traditional TV commercials, audiences are more likely to pay attention to the background music than in audio commercials. Equipped with these advertising insights, brands developing visual creative should be aware that the accompanying soundtrack can have as much resonance with consumers as the visuals.
Video commercials associated with certain sectors; audio more general
Interestingly, there was a clear split in the sectors people associate with audio and video commercials.
Conversations about audio ads were more likely to cite a diverse range of industries and products. Listeners were more likely to talk about ‘car dealerships’ (27.9x), ‘underwear’ (9.1x), ‘gambling’ (4.4x), ‘banking’ (1.7x), ‘mortgages’ (5.9x) and ‘diet’ (7.6x), among others. This suggests that there’s room for brands to capture attention, with no one sector dominating the space.
“Radio ad for a car dealership in Tucson: ‘The doctor told me to calm down so my heart doesn’t explode, so now I have to figure out a way to get your attention besides screaming’. Really resonated with me.“
Discussions around video ads were dominated by politics and other polarized subjects. This is despite political adverts being distributed across audio and video channels. Viewers were 2.1x more likely to talk about ‘politics’ and other hotly debated issues – for example, they referenced ‘abortion’ 4.7x more.
This also led to tweeters suggesting that video ads aren’t trustworthy. They were 3.2x more likely to use language related to ‘controversy’, were 2.4x more likely to associate video ads with ‘falsehood’ – using the word ‘lying’ 3.6x more – and suggested they were ‘unethical’ 2.1x more.
“Oh no another month of almost every single TV and YouTube ad being a political attack ad for me. 🤦”
Developing ads that resonate
Our comparison of discussions about audio and video advertising has highlighted the variations in how the public consumes commercials. The advertising insights uncovered using our text analytics platform can help brands develop video and audio advertising which cuts through.
Brands tread a fine line when creating video ads which resonate. If a brand’s ad is served too widely, too often, it’ll alienate consumers. They only have a couple of seconds before viewers skip, so offering something instantly engaging, possibly through the ad’s soundtrack, is vital for attracting attention. With video ads mainly associated with politics and other controversial areas, advertisers need to find a way to cut through with audiences.
Memorable audio ads contain a combination of thought-provoking concepts and captivating use of words. Listeners are less inclined to skip, but need something ‘interesting’ to remember the commercial. Discussions focus on less polarizing topics and more on products and services.
Text analysis helps brands and agencies understand what makes their different target audiences tick. Whether it’s survey, social, review, customer or any other form of text data, Relative Insight’s text analytics software offers new perspectives to help you get ahead.