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Business case studies No 315 - 16.10.2020

Your Brain on Podcasts – podcast ads outperform social media ads

In this week’s egtabite we look at a US study by podcast network Wondery and Mindshare’s NeuroLab called "Your Brain on Podcasts”. This research demonstrates how audio storytelling outperforms visual storytelling on social media for emotional impact across categories, with podcast ads growing subconscious brand trust, as well as increasing memory encoding and emotional intensity. This kind of study is useful to attract new brands to podcast advertising by demonstrating its impact.

Building trust

Today’ media landscape has put advertisers into a battle not only for attention, but also trust. The study by NeuroLab found that when ads from two brands were run on two Wondery shows, Dr. Death and Life Is Short with Justin Long, the trust factor for the brand flipped from a negative to a positive. “Listeners trust the host of the podcast, and that halo effect benefits the brand,” said Hernan Lopez, founder and CEO of Wondery. Yet that’s not true on social media. That same brand had the opposite effect when it ran video ads on YouTube and Facebook.

The study compared ads from two brands, both host-read and producer-read versions of 15s and 60s podcast ads, versus the video ads on social media that were of the exact same length.

Emotional Impact and Memory Encoding

The results also showed that audio storytelling outperforms visual storytelling for emotional impact across categories. There was a +21% increase in emotional intensity when the same brand story was told just audibly versus just visually. Podcast ads are also characterized by high, sustained emotional intensity while social media ads tend to decrease in emotional intensity overtime.

The study also showed that podcast ads have a 9% higher average memory encoding level on a listener’s brain compared to the same brand ads on social media. “Consistent with previous NeuroLab results, audio advertisements increase through branding while digital video ads tend to suffer from conceptual closure,” the study says.

It is well-established that memories tied to emotions are more likely to be sustained over time and NeuroLab says that too is working in podcasting’s favour. Its data shows that podcast ads tend to be encoded on the brain with a higher emotional intensity than ads on social media. That’s especially true on longer one-minute ads, where researchers could see changing emotional levels as someone hears the spot. That suggests new emotions are being felt throughout the ad—similar to when someone listens to the show’s content.

In terms of ad formats, both host-read and producer-read spots performed better in terms of emotional intensity and memory encoding. The data showed a 30% higher average emotional intensity level of host-read ads compared to social media ads.

The study proves that deep connections are being made inside the brain of podcast listeners, between the podcast ads they hear and the products that they will later consider buying.

The study was presented during egta’s CEO & Top Execs’ Summit. Should you be interested in seeing the full study, please contact Declan Moore from Wondery.






» Presentation of Wondery at egta’s CEO & Top Execs’ Summit (here)
Only available to egta members. Please note you need to be logged in to access the content.

» InsideRadio press article (click here)

» Interview with Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez (click here)


» Check egta calendar of events here.

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