Trust in Short Supply? Audio's Immersive Nature Can Help Build It

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This year promises to be a catalyst for still more change across our society and Americans remain wary of how public and private institutions impact their lives. In fact, according to a recent study, fewer than three in ten U.S. adults believe the world is safer than before and 75% of Americans, across the political spectrum, agree that the political system is "in need of significant reform." The same study also shows that financial confidence is falling and many groups are experiencing heightened levels of stress across the board.

In an environment of such uncertainty, there is much need for trusted voices that can ground and guide communities. Consumers actually have no shortage of input. In fact, the typical U.S. adult is engulfed with content and advertising messages from seven different media sources in a given week. However, it is finding the specific medium that pierces through the clutter to hold attention and build connections that's the challenge. Recent data shows that audio has a critical role to play in these arenas.

Immersion and trust
By examining neurological data on media content and advertising, we can start to unpack why audio is so powerful. A key metric explored in some neuroscience-based studies is called "immersion." This concept, when viewed through a scientific lens, can be defined as a neurological measure of emotional connection, with heightened attention. The depth of immersion reveals what individuals most value and treasure -- and how minds and hearts connect to those things.

New peer-reviewed platforms give us the ability to measure variations in respondent heart rates to understand what the brain values. In a recent study, we tested programming and advertising content across several mediums and formats, along with a national survey, to create a multidimensional picture of media audiences. Results showed audio to be the most immersive medium and the most trusted media source, well ahead of other traditional and digital outlets. In fact, 7 in 10 (69%) US adults indicated they trust audio, well over other mediums, like social media (56%) and digital pureplays (44%).[1]

Audio connects the dots for trust
Trust is not built from an algorithm. It's about meaningful and personal connections. Audio's power in the trust arena comes from a sense of familiarity and belonging -- listening to content they love that's full of shared references and a sense of communal connection to their everyday lives.

So, what do marketers need to know?

  • Not all reach is equal: Marketing decisions are often based on numbers alone but looking beyond simple metrics and seeking avenues that also offer deep engagement will have the most significant impact.
  • Multiply campaign effectiveness with trust: Augment TV-heavy marketing buys with audio, which study results show touches people's hearts, connects with their minds and energizes them. Audio is trusted and more likely to trigger action.
  • Go all in, across audio: The medium is rich with authentic engagement opportunities, whether audiences are streaming sports games from their smart speakers, driving and listening to the latest news, or seeking some downtime with their podcasts. Go beyond digital pureplays, leverage the power of broadcast and streaming audio across formats.

Audio's immersive nature forges deep emotional connections between audiences and brands. This means greater trust - something that we can all use a bit of right now.


[1] Audacy Engaged Impressions custom survey, Alter Agents, n=1,008 (P18-54) August 2020. This finding is significant at p<.05 level (95% confidence level)

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