Westwood One 2018

Westwood One has released the results of a pair of ad recall studies that looked at the effectiveness of pre-roll advertising on smart speaker devices.

In what Westwood One calls a first, a job recruitment website received branded audio entitlement and was featured prominently in smart speaker tune-in promos and at the launch of radio station content. When listeners asked their smart speaker to play one of Cumulus Media’s 424 radio stations, a 15-second pre-roll message for the job recruitment site would play before the radio station programming would commence.

Two studies were conducted: one in April 2020 by Dynata, a global online research firm, and another in September 2019 by Survata, a brand intelligence research company. When consumers heard the job recruitment ad delivered by the smart speaker, Dynata and Survata were sent the consumer’s IP address. Those who were exposed were administered the study and compared to a control group of respondents who did not hear the creative but matched in age, gender, technology and region.

The findings proved how effective the smart speaker pre-roll ads were at increasing awareness for the job recruitment website.

“Consumers are most attentive just after they ask a question or make a request,” Suzanne Grimes, EVP Corporate Marketing Cumulus Media and President Westwood One, said in a release. “It's no surprise the ad recall of the smart speaker pre-roll ad unit is so strong; there is significant engagement with the message that occurs right after a listener asks for a radio station to play on a smart speaker.”

The analysis found that smart speaker ads stand out. Dynata reported the April 2020 smart speaker pre-roll campaign generated a +46.9 point increase in ad awareness. Survata’s September 2019 study revealed the smart speaker pre-roll campaign achieved a +38% lift in aided ad recall lift compared to those unexposed.

Ad recall among those exposed to the smart speaker campaign was greater than Westwood One’s ad recall benchmark from 28 ad effectiveness studies, Chief Insights Office Pierre Bouvard notes in a blog post. The +38% ad recall lift from this smart speaker campaign was much higher than a +24% average ad recall lift from AM/FM radio campaigns.

Dynata also found the smart speaker pre-roll campaign grew unaided brand awareness (+19.5) and aided brand awareness (+6.6).

The studies also revealed that increased exposure lifts recall. Eight percent of those exposed 1-2 times to the campaign could name the job recruitment website on an aided basis. Among those exposed to the campaign 5+ times, 13% could name the job recruitment website on an aided basis, a +63% greater ad recall than those exposed 1-2 times.

Additionally, those who recalled the job recruitment website were more likely to be Millennial and men. Seventeen percent of 18-34 Millennial smart speaker users who were exposed on smart speakers recalled the campaign, compared to 11% of all exposed smart speaker users. And 14% of 35-54 Gen X smart speaker users recalled the campaign. From a gender perspective, male smart speaker owners exhibited higher rates of recall (15%) than female smart speaker owners (8%).

Among Google Home users, 15% recalled the job recruitment website advertising on a smart speaker, higher than the 10% who were Amazon Echo (Alexa) users and the 11% of total smart speaker users.