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  • Writer's pictureRon Jaworski

30% of your visitors prefer audio, take action

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

I recently stumbled upon a very interesting data point about how humans learn:

They are best served by hearing information through oral material such as conversations, debates, or lectures. Furthermore, they are quite effective at it as they are able to recall up to 75% of what they’ve heard.

So, two things immediately stood out for me:

  • Audio is the preferred intake method

  • Recall is through the roof.

Now, I dug a little deeper and it turns out that the stat provided is a little vague without a clear point of origin.

The plot thickens, eh?

Sort of.

This notion that people learn better when taught in a way that matches their specific learning style, whether it’s visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or some mix of the three, is widely considered a myth.

In fact, research has suggested there is no correlation in any meaningful way with the dominant learning style. In other words, learners don’t really benefit from their preferred style nor is every type of content the same in terms of comprehension, which I’m sure you know yourself.

But this is beside the point.

The keyword here is preferred.

Everyone has preferences in how they want information presented and how they consume it.

If 30% of the general population prefers an audio content intake, the implications are huge.

In a world where:

  • 75% of the US 13+ population or 212 million people are monthly spoken word audio listeners, and 45% or 127 million people are daily spoken word audio listeners;

  • Audio captures 31% of media consumption;

  • Digital audio will account for 11.7% in 2021 or 1 hour and 34 minutes per day;

and so on, it’s clear that audio content is more relevant and omnipresent than it has ever been.

As it continues to play a big role in our daily media diet, it keeps on growing. Heck, only a few days ago, we at Trinity Audio reached an amazing milestone: 1.7 million weekly listeners on our partners’ sites.

There is plenty more interesting data I could bombard you with but all of it points to the same thing:

the importance of audio experiences.

Audio experiences as an answer

One logical conclusion is that if your content is being overlooked or underperforming, it's time to package it differently. Notably, get it ready for eardrums.

The simple truth is that audio is where people are hanging out these days. More and more are joining each day, moving away from screens and into the comfort of the screenless media landscape. This user behavior means having your content accessible via audio is a major opportunity to:

  • Increase your exposure

  • Engage with a growing base of listenership

  • Form meaningful connections with your audience

So, for the 30% that best comprehends via audio, they would most certainly have a better experience through it.

To back this up, there are certain parallels we can draw from the scientific approach to comprehension.

It is widely accepted that working memory capacity correlates significantly with all of the person’s characteristics when it comes to the way information is processed in the brain. The cognitive load increases when information processing becomes complex for the individual.

In terms of content consumption, this means that the preferred intake style can optimize the consumption and make it easier for people to understand the content. In our case, almost one in every three people have an auditory content intake, which means it’s a big opportunity to cater to their needs.

The best part about creating an audio experience is that there is no limit on the length and format. You can literally leverage any kind to attract and retain your audience with the targeted content you create on your site.

On a small side note, I’d add that further research suggests it is likely that a person only thinks that a certain intake style suits them. In reality, it’s just a learned behavior because that’s the only method known to them, and it might not align with their brain patterns. Considering it’s theorized that 65% of people are visual learners, it’s important to present complementary intake styles to maximize your content’s value.

Remember: no two people are the same and both may not benefit from a singular style.

What about recall?

While the point about remembering 75% of listened content may not be entirely accurate, there is plenty of evidence that shows audio excels at emotionally connecting with audiences and capturing their attention.

Audacy’s study showed audio is the most immersive media that triggers memorability, trust, and connection. Defined as “a highly scientific measure of emotional connection and attention,” immersion is based on variations in heart rate and it is predictive of action, such as sales. By measuring heart rate changes, the study learned how content triggered audiences’ brain activity and drew them into experiences.

On a 1 to 100 scale, where the higher the number, the more immersive the experience is, audio came out on top. It delivered an immersion index of 57, beating ad-based video on demand that scored 54, digital video with 54, linear TV with 52, and social media with 52.

So, audio has a proven ability to hook audiences and hold their full attention. With earbuds, for example, the experience is so intimate that brands are literally inside a listener's head so when they are talking about something in the audio environment, they really have the awareness of their audience.

It works for advertising purposes, too. According to a study by Spotify and Neuro-Insight, digital audio and ads seem to generate more engagement and emotional activation than other forms of media.

Researchers took real-time readings of the brains of people listening to different kinds of music accompanied by ads. They found out that digital audio was more likely to engage long-term memory for both details and past memories, as well as increase the emotional intensity, more than radio, TV, social media or digital video.

In fact, 93% of the brain’s measured engagement with the musical or podcast content transferred directly into engagements with the ads that followed.

According to Adobe’s survey, 51% of consumers said they found it easier to recall the brand behind a smart speaker ad versus other major ad formats. What’s more, 53% reported a smart speaker ad drove them to make a purchase at a later time.

And as a bonus, audio platforms are more trusted than other media sources.

Audio, which encompassed broadcast radio delivered over the air and via streaming, along with podcasting, scored a 69% trust score, the highest of any media in the study. It is followed by TV with 64%, Google with 60%, print with 57%, social media with 56%, and so on.

Once again, all of this points to audio’s inherent qualities such as personalization and interactivity. With digital audio, people can tailor what they’re hearing so it directly connects to their specific interests and the moment they’re in.

Final thoughts

The pandemic was a catalyst for increased listening, which expanded in various directions. Many became heavily reliant on their audio products to aid in connectivity, as well as provide entertainment, information, and help with remote working.

There’s too much visual stimulation in today’s media landscape, and audio provides a nice escape from it. It’s a powerful way to reach customers as it can move with them throughout their day, anywhere and anytime. It also expands the marketing’s reach, attracting listeners who simply prefer audio content but also those who can't use other forms of content such as the visually impaired and illiterate.

As arguably the hottest media now, audio offers a unique way to cut through the visual clutter and increase personalization, convenience, and loyalty with targeted, meaningful content. And as is evident by data, people not only prefer to listen but are very willing to.

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