Audio ads: how to make them effective

Audio ads have a massive audience, with over 400 million subscribers on streaming platforms like Spotify and Amazon Music. They’re also more accessible and cost-effective to create than videos. Customers are always on the go – commuting to work or working out at the gym, and they’re almost always listening to podcasts, music, or even the radio. This makes audio platforms the perfect place to ‘talk’ to your audience at each point of their day or customer journey.

At Voice123, we know that the secret to connecting with customers without the use of visuals lies in knowing how to harness the power of voice over to engage, captivate, and inspire your audience. So in this post, we’ll explore what are audio ads, the different platforms that major brands – like Mcdonald’s – use to run their audio advertisements, and the key steps involved in how to make ones that sell!

What are audio ads?

audio ads

Audio ads are advertisements in an audio format that are used to advertise a product/service to a specific target audience. They’re run or played on audio streaming platforms like podcasts on Spotify, songs on Amazon Music, or even online radio stations like iHeartRadio. They fall under the audio advertising and marketing umbrella, forming the foundation of many digital marketing strategies. And since most are non-skippable, they have a 24% higher recall rate than video ads. 

An audio advertisement relies entirely on sound, which makes it less complicated and more direct. But this doesn’t mean they can’t be as dynamic as video ads. For instance, the Snickers commercial-free audio ad is a commercial announcing that the station is going commercial-free. Confusing, right? But it concludes that all the ad needs are Snickers because Snickers satisfies. A catchy, memorable tagline with an intriguing voice over makes a powerful point in 30 seconds. And if you’re feeling like a Snickers after listening to this ad, then you know it works! 

So, creating dynamic ads that motivate your customers to action is possible, but you need to go beyond just knowing what they are and focus on where you can use them to get the best coverage for your brand.

Where to use audio ads

You can use them on streaming sites like Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music, or online radio. The platform you choose to advertise on depends on your target demographic. For example, a podcast audio ad can reach people during the day. Or, if your potential customers are youths, music platforms like Amazon Music will have the most reach, while advertising on radio sites will attract early-morning commuters.

So here’s a quick breakdown of the advertising options available on the 3 top audio/video platforms – Spotify audio ads, YouTube audio ads, and Amazon music ads.

1. Spotify audio ads

With Spotify audio ads, users can stream millions of songs and podcasts, and there are three different advertising options – displays, sponsored playlists, and branded moments. Spotify ads – between 15 and 30 seconds –  target specific locations and audiences, like work commuters. A brand can sponsor a Spotify playlist and include its branded content and product placement. Branded moments are customized advertisements played during specific times when users listen to music. So, Nike could advertise fitness equipment when you listen to your workout playlist because that’s when you’re thinking about exercise.

2. YouTube audio ads

As the world’s largest video streaming platform, YouTube audio ads have a potential global reach of over 122 million daily users. And there are two options – skippable and non-skippable. Skippable ads are up to a minute in length, but users can skip the ad after five seconds. So, the first few seconds are crucial! Non-skippable ads are usually 15 seconds long, and you can use multiple ads sequentially during a song or podcast to tell your brand’s story.

3. Amazon music ads

Amazon Music targets large audiences through Amazon audio ads, display ads, and sponsored stations where brands can advertise their products. There’s an option to combine audio with display ads – a banner featuring the product/service displayed on the Amazon Music home screen. Amazon also recently launched interactive audio ads that work with Alexa. So, after listening to an ad, a person can respond directly to the call-to-action through Alexa.

How to make audio ads

You can make audio ads by following these 5 steps: 

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Create a simple concept
  3. Craft a compelling script
  4. Choose inspiring music and sound effects
  5. Use a professional voice actor. 

Here’s more on each step.

1. Understand your audience

It’s a given that parents buy childcare products, and pet owners purchase animal products. So, identify the interests of your customer demographic and how your product/service can meet their needs. Then, tailor your audio ad to your target audience. For example, running a security systems ad like SimpliSafe during a true crime podcast on Spotify has more appeal than a random display ad on Amazon Music.

2. Create a simple concept

How much me time did you have today? 5 hours, 5 minutes, or 5 seconds? Was it enough to get a power nap, respond to last week’s texts, and catch the latest episode of your favorite podcast? Time is a luxury few have, so use your 30-second ad time effectively. Keep complex terms and tech specs to a minimum. And highlight your product’s value in plain language. For example, Honda avoids mentioning detailed car specs in the Honda E audio ad; instead, they mix a smooth voice-over with various car horn effects. Simple sounds that highlight the brand’s new electric car and self-parking capabilities.

3. Write a compelling script

Your audio ads must tell a story. Because it’s the story that decides whether a person listens to the ad or switches to another station. And when there are no visuals, you need robust and descriptive language to engage audiences. So, when listeners hear your voice over, they imagine that perfectly seasoned lasagna or sleek and shiny electric car. And if you need a little storytelling inspiration, check out our post on commercial script samples.

4. Choose inspiring music and sound effects

Who doesn’t remember the infamous Jurassic Park theme song? Now we know you’re humming along! That’s because the music sets the tone that connects audiences to your brand. Automatically bringing a brand to mind even when it’s 30 years old. So, use music and sound effects that match your ad’s tone without overwhelming the story. This makes your ads vibrant and ear-catching.

5. Use a professional voice actor

A professional voice actor creates the flawless tone and language essential to any voice over. Think of Queen Latifah’s smooth, enticing voice in the Pizza Hut commercials or Gordon Ramsay’s theatrical, entertaining voice in the AT&T commercial. Although you might not be able to hire these celebs, professional voice actors have soundalike styles that ooze the same vocal strength and smoothness to craft a memorable and persuasive voice. So, choose a voice actor who can match their tone to your message, content, and product integration.

Final thoughts

audio ads

From Spotify to YouTube and Amazon Music, audio ads are a powerful advertising method with the potential to reach millions. So, when you’re ready to create your audio ad, follow our five-step recipe for success. Start by understanding your target market to tailor your ads to your customers. Create simple ad concepts that are easy to follow, develop a compelling script, choose music and sound effects that spotlight your brand, and top it all off with a professional voice actor.

So, if you’re looking for a blockbuster voice for your next audio advertisement, post a project for free on Voice123, or use our Managed Services option and have our team oversee your project from start to finish.


What is an audio ad?

Audio ads are advertisements in an audio format played during podcasts and songs or radio programs hosted on audio streaming services like Spotify or online radio stations.

How do audio ads work?

Once the audio ad is recorded, it is uploaded to the audio streaming site where it’s played before, during, or after a song, podcast, or radio program, and the ad length can range from 15 to 60 seconds.

What are Google audio ads?

Google audio ads are internationally available audio ads that advertisers can use to target music and podcasts exclusively with audio ads on platforms like YouTube, which recently launched a dedicated page for podcasts.

What is the difference between audio ads and video ads?

The difference between audio ads and video ads is that audio ads have no visuals; they rely solely on music, sound effects, and voice overs to get their message across, and audio ads are mostly played during audio content, while video ads are distributed across various channels.


Related Posts