ARN release first Neuro Lab research, Sound You Can See

sound you can see

• The brain processes radio, podcasting, and music streaming differently

ARN’s Neuro Lab today released its first piece of research, Sound You Can See. The study was the first of its kind to show how the brain processes radio, podcasting, and music streaming as fundamentally different products, which offer advertisers unique opportunities to promote their brands across each medium.

The findings from the ground-breaking Sound You Can See study uses neuroscience to demonstrate the unique power of audio, as both a stand-alone medium and powerful inclusion within multimedia formats.

The research gives advertisers a closer look at how a consumer’s brain responds to different audio formats, as well as what happens when advertising is placed within them. These findings form part of an ongoing body of work that will be produced by ARN’s Neuro Lab with the aim of reshaping the way the industry understands and uses audio.

Led by research & neuroscience specialist, Dr Shannon Bosshard (pictured) and ARN’s director of research & insights, Justin Stone, this first go-to-market piece of research measured attention, engagement, attitude, and memory by mapping brain activity of people engaging with both audio content and advertising. The brain processes radio, podcasting, and music streaming differently and using neuroscience the researchers were able to get an extended view of how listeners connected with the different audio formats by analysing over 40,000 datapoints every second.

The Sound You Can See research found:

• Radio had an unrivalled ability to engage listeners, and do so for extended periods (60% more neural engagement than other audio formats), keeping the brain ‘on its toes’.
• Podcasting provided an environment primed for high levels of memory encoding.
• Music streaming’s relative strength was creating strong positive attitudes towards brands. 

What these findings mean for brands is that advertising within radio can be created with a higher degree of creative flexibility without the content being disrupting the listening experience. In fact, when content and advertising doesn’t match, attitudes can vary by up to 170%. With this in mind, to optimise effectiveness, more considered messaging should be planned across the different audio channels.

ARN’s director of research & insights, Justin Stone said, “The use of neuroscience to complement traditional marketing techniques will produce a much more comprehensive view of how our listeners interact with audio formats. The response from agencies has been one of enthusiasm, providing never-before-seen insight into how clients’ campaigns perform in an audio environment”.

ARN’s research & neuroscience specialist, Dr Shannon Bosshard said, “Radio, podcasting, and music streaming are fundamentally different products, each offering advertisers with unique opportunities to promote their brands. Until now, no commercial or academic entity has assessed the differences in these three audio products. This is the first time that anyone has demonstrated, from the perspective of the brain, that radio, podcasting, and music streaming are processed differently and should be treated differently, in the same manner that audio and audio-visual mediums have been.”

ARN Neuro Lab will work with clients to evaluate and optimise impact across radio, music streaming, and podcasts. Clients will be able to better plan audio that builds brands effectively, influence behaviour and maximise creative impact across the audiostack.

ARN first launched ARN Neuro Lab – the first in-house media research initiative of its kind in Australia –  in late 2020 to provide commercial clients, and the audio industry, with the most comprehensive understanding of audio to-date.

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