Can context really change your brain? – The Potential of Interactive Audio [VIDEO]

Can hearing an ad via a smart speaker change way our brain behaves? Octave Audio, Say it Now and Xaxis UK have just completed research exploring just that. In this session, speakers will explore the world of interactive ads, arguing that it is only just getting started.

Speakers: Charlie Brookes, Director, Octave Audio; Shazia Ginai, CEO, Neuro-Insight; Charlie Cadbury, CEO, Say It Now; Tilly Sheppard, Product Manager, Xaxis UK; chaired by Demi Abiola, Investment Business Partner, mSix&Partners

Read the transcript of the video here:

Demi Abiola 0:01
Well, so today we are talking about how can context really change your brain and the potential of interactive audio. So with me today, we have Charlie Cadbury, who’s from set now. We have Tony Brooks has long, Charlie and Charlie. We have she has yoga now. And it’s worth until you wait. So we’ve only got 20 minutes. So let’s let’s crack on. What are actionable ads?

Charlie Cadbury 0:32
It’s not helping pop it open. I said, I’m Charlie Cadbury. I’m the CEO of say it now. Now we are an ad tech business, we work exclusively in the world of audio. And we enable partners such as these and many of you find focus room to deliver actionable ad campaigns. So imagine, you’re sat at home listening to the radio, the ads, come on one of the ads, says tonight’s pizza nights, I would like to give you 50% off your pizza, it’s nice to get your discount, just say open Pizza Hut deals to your pizza, you say Alexa, open Pizza Hut deals, she says, Can I send that coupon to your phone? You say yes, it arrives on your phone, and you carry on listening to your radio. At the same time, our dashboard fills up with data about this campaign shows the advertiser exactly what’s going on how many people have listened to the ad, how many people have engaged and the coupons have been delivered. So we can deliver to any audio campaign that’s running today can be an actual audio campaign tomorrow, very easily with the software that we built.

Demi Abiola 1:31
Now, I had a chance to actually read the white paper that you did. And she was obviously a lot of that research was there. It always fascinates me the brain like how like, what’s the effects that you know, it can have on advertising?

Shazia Ginai 1:44
Great question. So we’ve only got 20 minutes, this is one of those hour long conversations. But in short, basically, our brains don’t take this the wrong way. But they don’t really care that much about brands, what they care about is stories. And so advertising is effectively telling your brain a story. And we build our life around us and our context within which we exist from the stories that we take in, right from when we’re toddlers. And that’s how we understand race, gender and cultural context around us. And advertising is effectively doing the same thing. And at neuro insight, what we do is we measure the subconscious brain response, while people are basically hanging out and interacting with whatever you chuck in front of them. And one of the things that we measure is what goes into your long term memory. And long term memory has been proven to correlate directly with future action decision making and behavior change. And so advertising plays a role in influencing human action, decision making behavior, and you know, how we, you know, walk around and work in the world. And particularly on the subconscious side, you know, I think a lot of advertising, we measure, you know, conscious recall, but about 80 to 90% of our decisions happen in our brains. And so we’ve all probably sat in research where consumers said, I’m not affected by advertising, but they don’t really realize just how much of an impact it has an emotional sort of level at the memory level. And also in terms of just capturing attention, which is obviously a hot topic, and probably something again, we could talk about for hours.

Demi Abiola 3:17
Charlie, see the other children. How do they, how do they interact them with advertisers? What’s

Charlie Brookes 3:24
so yeah, I mean, it’s interesting to say about telling stories, I guess, Octave is a business that’s brought news and Bowers IP imagery together and then put data over it. So it’s all about targeting people, if you’re trying to tell a story. Being able to know who you’re talking to, and have creative ways in telling that story really helps, helps bring it along. So I guess, for an advertisers perspective, you’ve suddenly got new ways of talking, and Alex was talking about the funnel earlier and where you operate in that funnel, it’s quite an interesting opportunity, isn’t it to have these actionable ads where you can start thinking about what you want people to do and get them to take actions and move up or down the funnel. So I think I think it just opens up new opportunities to use audio in clever and exciting ways.

Demi Abiola 4:10
Silly, let’s let’s get you let’s get rid of what some of these interactive audio outs like how, you know, how can we really utilize it? What are we doing what we do a group?

Tilly Sheppard 4:18
Well, we’re working with say it now. And we’ve worked with Octave as well. But I think the approach to this question really is kind of to remember that consumers are already fully embracing smart speakers and using them we know that basically across all age groups, 50% of the UK own smart speakers, even when you go up to 55 plus 45% of them have smart speakers. So we’re really talking about how the brands actually talk to this huge kind of consumer changing consumer habits. And we also know that two out of five of those smart speaker owners are already using their smart speakers. To make a range of purchase decisions, so it’s about brands being really intentional about how they get into a place that is already existing, and how they can actually add value to what, you know, consumers, the consumer kind of journey and what consumers are doing. If I kind of give the example of a campaign, we’ve run its access to kind of show the range of, of kind of opportunities to brands out there, you might think, oh, it’s connected to their Alexa, maybe it’s a small, quick purchase, people don’t have to think about too much through Amazon. But we run a campaign for a cruise cruise company. And you might think, Oh, well, that, that doesn’t fit maybe with a perception that it’s a big kind of consideration, period. But actually, with working with that now creating a skill where people were able to get more information, but also, they were able to request a callback, we got 196 callbacks from that campaign, which if you consider without this technology, working on a radio campaign, you wouldn’t have been able to get that kind of incremental, trackable traceable result.

Shazia Ginai 6:13
Yes, so I mean, I think one of the things, we’ll there’s a few things, actually that you’ve said that are really interesting. So just the share of smart speaker usage. We did a study quite a while ago with mindshare, actually, where we looked at how the brain responded to smart speaker interaction, and doing specifically voice based searches versus text based searches. And what we found is that voice based searches, they require a hell of a lot less brainpower, so they had low cognitive load is what we would call it. Now what that tells us is effectively, we’re moving into a space now where people want to use their brain lists. I know that sounds weird, but they are using a lot less of that cognitive power to get stuff done. The reason for that is, from an evolutionary point of view, were wired to look for the easy way to be able to achieve something. And so it’s actually working in our favor. Now, what we’ve also found then is with the study that we’ve done with say it now is that when you see the brain response to interactive ads, versus just standard radio ads, we saw a 10% uplift in brain response. So what we’re able to do then is make the whole process easy for them in terms of being able to kind of converse with brands, but also we’re making the process a lot more actionable. Right. So you’re getting a double whammy from using kind of interactivity with with these sorts of ads, I think that the other thing we found, which has been super interesting is kind of some of the nuances around just how that activates. So for example, we saw that if you have this interactive nature with with these ads, that the if you have a vo on top in the ad that does one thing, but if you have Alexa saying the brand’s name itself to a person, you get an 18% uplift in brain response. But if the person themselves is interacting with Alexa you and says the brand name, you get a 30% uplift. And this is really heavily supported by some work we did on influencer marketing as well, we’re seeing that nowadays, the consumer is heavily participating in conversations with brands anyway, we all know that through all of the digital platforms that we’re on. But this is giving them an opportunity to really be part of a conversation. And that is ultimately kind of really heavily affecting the success of any brand that uses this medium. Charlie,

Demi Abiola 8:39
have you come conversation and just pick it up at

Charlie Brookes 8:42
this point? Yeah, I think it was really interesting the earlier presentation talking about the role that these audio brands play in people’s lives. If you suddenly think now that you can interact with it. It opens all sorts of creativity. And we’ve only scratched the surface with I think we did you look at six different campaigns. But there are almost infinite ways in which you could think about how you interact from long form stuff, callbacks right through to putting things into a basket, suddenly, it opens up that chance for the human being to have that one on one interaction on a brand they were already leaning into. For me if I was a creative in the audience, I’ll be quite excited about what what that opens up the opportunity to do. And we’ve really only been doing this for the last 18 months, two years. So I think it will start to gather momentum companies and our Charlie’s are starting to build the speed at which they can turn the skills around and the things that they can do. I think it’s really limitless and exciting time.

Demi Abiola 9:40
Contextual everyone wants to talk about contextual. How do you think contextual advertising can really target people in target the right audience?

Charlie Brookes 9:48
Either of us can answer that is that me again? Not that not the little mantras that dominate the conversation or anything like that. I think context really important. Obviously, I would do an octave We’ve, we’ve taken all that data and spent a lot of time trying to make sure we understand who’s listening, and maybe what they’re doing. So if if 85% of the population owns a car, that’s great, but we know that they’re probably researching a car, because they’ve been on Parker’s website, that context turns a car owner into a potential car buyer, a massive, massive moment, if you can then take an actionable ad that maybe wants them to send them a brochure or potentially get a test drive, you’re linking all that up. So having having that knowledge of what the person is who they are maybe some of the things about them, and that data and then linking it to a moment, an action is really exciting opportunities

Charlie Cadbury 10:41
to just just to build a mouse just earlier, like he was saying that your ears are the only organ in your body, you can’t turn off. So contextually, if you can find the right audience and inspire them in the right moments, there’s this idea that audio is pervasive, you’re going to capture that person at the right moment. If you catch them the right person at the right moment, they can then engage this is very different to swiping and clicking. If you fire up your vocal cords, you’re actually kind of participating in the real world, you’re moving around. And then you having this conversation which you know, fires up these different parts of your brain, you remember that message better. And so this whole idea of you know, the idea of, you know, this, this wonderful context, but then this whole actionable elements that you can then participate as is incredibly, I’ve got

Demi Abiola 11:27
access colleague, Philippe, what work? I mean, tell us about contextual, contextual?

Tilly Sheppard 11:33
Yeah, so I think probably two things to say, from kind of my perspective on the contextual element, the changes that we’ve seen around privacy, and that specifically how that affects digital audio, things like GDPR, Apple’s App Tracking transparency policies, the kind of demise of the third party cookie, I mean, that contextual really is the most important way we have to kind of target audio campaigns at scale. Xaxis, you know, we work with our partners like octava, and we kind of bring together to develop kind of consistent contextual targeting. So it’s an important thing to bear in mind terms of the future of audio, and how we’re making sure that campaigns are relevant and targeted. And I think as well, we know that it performs well. It’s access, we’ve tested all sorts of contextual elements. And against the backdrop of the fact that on our audio campaigns, we see probably 95% Plus listen through rate, you know, we saw like a 1.2% increase, which, if you look, think about that pretty sizable incremental gain in performance,

Shazia Ginai 12:39
I can add something to that, actually, from the brains perspective. So we measure part of the brain, which I mean, the metrics called engagement, which is a really overused word in marketing, but what we mean is personal relevance. And we know from our data that if your brain takes see something or hear something of relevance, it’s more likely to put it into memory, that’s a driver of what your brain wants to put into long term memory. And we’ve done a ton of work around contextual. So we did the work with radiocentre on here in our report, and it was a similar sort of thing, it’s like, understanding the importance of that kind of contextual piece is, is really critical for this sort of work. But going back to what you’re saying around the the is in general. So just as a bit of background that came from a conversation around the subject of attention, which is a hot topic right now. And at the moment, a lot of emphasis is being put on gays as a measure of attention. And that completely misses audio. Right. So we’re talking about what the IC and we’re forgetting that humans have this other way of capturing attention. And the interesting thing with areas being open is your eyes are on the front of your face. And so they are able to look forward and you get periphery. And that’s it, but your ears are on the side, and they can hear everything around you up, down all around. And when you’re asleep, your ears are open. And from an evolutionary point of view, our ears are a vehicle for capturing attention. And so from a marketing point of view, we probably need to utilize that more.

Demi Abiola 14:11
We’ve got time for some questions. So if you want to know about memory encoding and the right side of the brain. Do we have any questions from the audience? Very large audience.

Shazia Ginai 14:24
We got one.

Demi Abiola 14:27
Gentleman, is there a roving mic roving reporter? Mike?

Jason 14:37
Thank you, Jason from color text up just going back to Ann’s charts before that showed that a lot of listening happens in car. And that reminds me that radio is usually a secondary experience to a primary activity like driving. Do you think that puts physical limits on the amount of kind of response Short Term ad response you can expect in an addressable kind of context, relative to other media. And is that a strategic issue for this industry?

Shazia Ginai 15:10
I can, I can talk a little bit to that. So when we published the work with radio center in the here and now report, we were looking at exactly that if people are doing a task like peeling vegetables or on an exercise bike in the radius kind of playing in the background, what impact does that have? And I guess the question is, you know, whether you choose to have radio as traditional radio ads as a means of long term brand building or short term action, and I think, you know, we live in a media ecosystem where we have the opportunity to select which media platforms are used for which marketing objective. And in that instance, where somebody is driving, actually, what you get is a lot of that stuff going into long term memory, which will drive future actions and future purchase decisions. So it becomes a long term brand building mechanism. And so I think there’s less harm around that I think you’re utilizing that alongside something like interactive ads that are perhaps using the smart speakers skills is a great way of targeting them in a different environment using a different channel. So I think it’s about what that what your media is for, what the objective is, and then how you can utilize the suite of stuff that sits in front of us, and not just thinking of audio as being traditional radio on its own. Because as you say, it does come with the limitations of when it’s used and how it’s used.

Charlie Brookes 16:32
Could I add just quickly, obviously, the interesting thing about IP is it’s three different devices to do three different things. So we’ve talked there, but actual audio on a smart speaker. But when you’re on mobile, I think that listening experience is slightly different to the one you’re describing. So we spend quite a lot of time working on does the device make a difference in targeting that device as well. So there’s really good question and really valid, but there are three different devices involved.

Charlie Cadbury 16:54
And then listening, looking at looking at the future, you know, it’s anticipated, there’ll be more voice enabled devices and humans by 2024. Because the next car you buy, and that’s great if you buy will be voice enabled. And so this whole idea that you should expect to be able to reach your voice assistant, wherever you are, is only much of the rise as much as be seen in the database or beforehand.

Charlie Brookes 17:19
Any other questions? Now we’re in trouble.

Unknown Speaker 17:32
I’ve always got questions, I’ll try not to dominate. But if I was gonna say aimed probably primarily at Tilly, and goes to what Gemma was saying earlier. So what radio has always suffered from creativity problems and readiness and has done great work over the years trying to address that. Digital makes radio look like a creative hotspot, because it’s it’s disastrous. The frequency and the bad targeting is has caused internet advertising to have a terrible, terrible reputation. So how can xaxis help the creative community and includes people like Octavia, global and all the reader owners in avoiding these problems?

Tilly Sheppard 18:20
Yeah, well, thanks for the question. I think there’s lots of different ways that we can try and address the fact that there are limitations to digital radio. And so digital advertising for audio. But we know it’s an important question to answer, because of the volumes of people more and more who are tuning in, we’ve seen those stats today. I think things like this where we’re working with set now to make make that value add to digital campaigns, there are still things that you know, we need to work on. But there are things that we can do to mitigate it, it’s access, we work really closely with a million ads. And for any campaign, above 30k, you can have dynamic creative added for free. So we’re working on kind of audio, kind of native ways that work with the data that we can get for audio based around previously mentioned GDPR concerns, all of those things to make that that digital audio campaign as rich as possible and as targeted as possible. And yeah, ideally as as kind of least annoying as possible, if that’s the kind of thrust of your question, but it’s an ongoing space where it’s evolving and all the time new solutions are coming up. But we don’t have all the perfect answers but we can do is work to try and make the best most contextually relevant ads make them kind of actually relevant to you dynamically and try and make kind of things like you said certainly working with that now adds an additional value to the consumer if they’re able to book their cruise on on their with their voice.

Unknown Speaker 19:56
I think you’ve given a good plug for the panel this afternoon as well which is on a I’m Rick creative with Charlie and you got stuff to add on.

Charlie Brookes 20:03
Yeah. All I all I thought I heard from you is that you were talking about digital broadcasts of digital display advertising versus, and the fact that obviously audio can get rid of that and fraud, etc. But I think you’ve answered all the all the all the points.

Demi Abiola 20:18
I think we’re out of time, but let’s

Maria Cadbury 20:24
keep Thank you, I’m Maria Cadbury. And so all I’m xx. So I’m digital, and I’m a data junkie. And so we’re talking about all this amazing data that you can get when you look at the octave doing and worse axes. But really, what does attribution or data look like, if you think is smart speakers?

Charlie Brookes 20:42
Do you want to go first?

Charlie Cadbury 20:44
Sure. Yeah, so you know, so obviously, in audio, it’s really hard to get a live view of exactly how your campaigns performing. So you know, looking at these in exactly when the ads find exactly when people are engaged and then exactly what they’re doing which conversational paths they’re taking. And so you can not only optimize their ad creatives with working people like Emily now to another great partner of ours, but you can also optimize the conversations to making sure you get the right conversions at the end. So it’s proper kind of end to end in the moment optimization that you get, which is useful.

Charlie Brookes 21:15
And I guess our and we do we do as much work quality of work afterwards whether it’s been brand engagement and and there’s the pixel work you can do on websites to try and show that the ad is actually having the effect the marketer or the agency wants so we do that, because I can see that’s gonna run