Audio Jargon 101

Audio engineer jargon tends to sound more like terms you’d use to describe food rather than audio. So here are the meanings behind some of the more common words used here at Hardy Audio.

Warm

Warm is a positive term. A ‘warm’ sound or tone, has a tilt towards the bass frequencies but remains pleasantly spacious in the upper ranges.

Muddy

Muddy is a negative term that suggests the audio has too much bass/low mid frequency, instruments/vocals aren’t clear, or there is poor sound reproduction.

Clean

Clean audio suggests the audio is free from distracting/unwanted sounds, and or frequencies. It can also mean the audio is easily distinguishable without anything being too loud, or too quiet.

Hollow

Sound that is ‘hollow’ is where the mid range is too quiet. This can make the bass and treble sound louder, resulting in a sound that is empty in the middle.

Dull

Dull, or flat may be used to describe a lack of high frequencies, or treble notes.

Peaky

Peaky audio implies there are peaks or distortions. This results in unexpectedly loud audio that can distort and sound unclear.

Tinny

Tinny audio can have weak lows and peaky mids which result in a flat hollow sound, like it is coming through a telephone, or ‘tin can’.

Cooked 

The term cooked is used when the digital audio signal is higher than the allowable limit i.e. a clipped signal. Cooked audio can also refer to the compression applied e.g. if the audio is over compressed, it will lose dynamic range and sound quieter.

Audio Ads for Gamers

Brands are keen to get in front of the highly-engaged ‘gamer’, an increasingly lucrative audience which remains reluctant to interact with conventional advertising.

To engage gamers, brands must be creative. The challenge is making sure the ads are not disruptive to the users gaming experience.

A recent survey from IAB UK found that 75% of gamers prefer audio ads within games instead of video, or banner ads that pause the gameplay. 

So instead of a banner ad, or a pop-up video, the gamer can hear about a new product, or service in the background.

Gamers are more likely than web users to buy products and influence the purchasing decisions of others, because engagement, acceptance and awareness are high. 

This means gaming will certainly be the next frontier for audio advertising.

Do Vinyl LPs Really Sound Better?

We’ve all seen the resurgence of vinyl records in recent years. 

According to the British Phonographic Industry, 5.3 million LPs were sold in 2021, and even though streaming accounts for 83% of UK music consumption, vinyl LPs represented over a quarter of all physical format purchases.

While you might think it’s nostalgic Boomers, or Gen Xers behind the renaissance, surveys actually show it’s millennial consumers driving the trend.

Despite the resurgence, Redshark News writer David Shapton, remains steadfast, arguing that the audio quality of digital is far superior to vinyl.

To test this, David took a live sound source and recorded it in two ways. First, via analogue tape and then to vinyl. Second, direct to a digital recorder, capturing at 24 bits and at 192KHz sampling frequency.

So which sounded better? The digital one, suggests David. 

“They will sound different, and the sound from the vinyl record certainly won’t be unpleasant if it’s recorded well. But by any objective and subjective measure, it will sound worse than the digital one.”

In his experiment David concluded that there’s nothing wrong with liking the “vinyl” sound. It’s only when proponents of a certain analogue “sound” feel so strongly that they start denying the feasibility of a really good digital recording that it becomes a problem.

He suggests it’s not their ears. It’s their brains, or, more specifically, their cognitive systems that prefer the audio from a vinyl record. It’s a trigger to our brains that makes us say that “this sounds great”.

You can read the full story from Redshark News here.

Brands Scared of Humour: Oracle Happiness Report

The last few years certainly have shifted people’s values and priorities.

A recent Happiness Report from Oracle suggests people are searching for new experiences to make them smile and laugh and will reward brands that embrace humour with loyalty, advocacy, and repeat purchases. 

Overall, 76% of people believe brands can do more to deliver happiness to their customers and 91% said they preferred brands to be funny.

However, globally businesses are shunning humour for fear of being cancelled. 

The Report suggests 89% are more likely to remember ads that are funny, yet business leaders report that only 17% of their brands’ offline ads and 14% of their online ads actively use humour.

74% of people would follow a funny brand on social media however, only 12% of business leaders said their brand uses humour on social media.

68% of people would open an email from a brand if the subject line was funnier, yet only 21% of business leaders said they actively use humour in email marketing campaigns.

If you are looking to use humour in advertising fear not. Christian Ludlow Hyland, Senior Director Customer Engagement Oracle APAC said, “For brands looking to contribute to the happiness of their target audience, it starts with data and knowing your customers. People are ready to embrace the funny side of life and find joy and laughter in the world around them, which includes brand experiences.”

Spotify: New clickable CTA cards for audio advertisers

Spotify has announced the release of call-to-action cards for advertisers in Australia, Canada and the U.K.

Spotify suggests the new clickable call-to-action cards will provide a visual component to audio ads, making it easier for users to view brands, products and services while listening to content, without having to remember promo codes, or URLs.

Spotify suggests recent tests show a 2x increase in site visits with the new CTA cards compared with non-clickable podcast ads.

The CTA cards will appear as a podcast begins, and reappear again later, with another opportunity for listeners to engage.

Spotify’s Head of sales (AUNZ) Pieter Manten said, “Consumers can select the moment they want to be discovering and shopping on their own terms, which enhances their experience.”

The CTA cards are now available in Australia on all Spotify Original & Exclusive podcasts.

The trends driving traditional advertising growth

As digital marketing technologies and ecosystems have grown, traditional advertising has lost some of its favour. However, the recent CMO Survey suggests that a shift back to traditional media is underway.

The CMO Survey suggests that online consumers have become increasingly numb to conventional digital ads and engagement.

They suggest, traditional ads are seeing greater engagement, while the costs associated with them have fallen.

Another trend driving an increase in traditional ad spending is the continued consumer trust in traditional formats like print and TV.

The survey found that some companies have recently reinvested in traditional advertising as a result of Google and Apple’s forthcoming cookie tracking changes.

Marketers have also started tapping into podcasts because their on-demand approach is akin to traditional radio and listeners trust their podcast presenters.

Like traditional advertising, digital marketing effectiveness is being revisited, however, the CMO Survey concludes that traditional advertising is “alive and well” and when used with digital marketing, can reach more audiences, build and maintain trust and motivate buying from consumers who might otherwise ignore marketing messages.

Acast release 2022 Sounds Smart Report

Acast is Australia’s biggest creator-first platform, for hosting, monetising and distributing podcasts. This month, Acast released the 2022 edition of its annual Sounds Smart Report. 

Acast commissioned Nielsen to survey over 2,000 Australians aged 18+ to better understand why people are listening to podcasts, how and when they’re listening, and the impact podcast advertising is having for brands.

The research revealed:

  • 39% of podcast listeners have increased their podcast listening in the last six months and 30% plan to increase their consumption in the next six months.
  • 60% of respondents suggest they are immersed/focused when listening to podcasts.
  • 30% considered buying, or had made a purchase after hearing an ad on a podcast, compared to commercial radio and music streaming (23%).
  • 80% said podcasting content aligns with their passions, and 78% said podcasting provides content they want to dedicate time to.
  • Only 17% believe podcast advertising is not relevant to them. 
  • 49% said that they pay more attention to advertising when it’s read by the podcast host.
  • Peak daily listen periods shifted from early morning and evening to steadier, more consistent listening throughout the day. 
  • 54% listen while walking, and 43% listen while doing housework or gardening.

You can read more about the 2022 Acast Sounds Smart Report here.

 

 

 

Cadbury’s Easter egg hide

This year, Cadbury welcomed back the ‘Worldwide Hide’, a unique Easter egg ‘hiding’ experience. 

The experience is designed to bring people across the world together by shifting the focus from hunting easter eggs to hiding them.

Chris Birch & Jonny Parker, ECDs at VCCP London, said, ‘‘As lovely as getting a chocolate egg is, the real generosity and fun of Easter lies in the hiding.”

The Cadbury campaign lets you hide a 3 foot virtual egg anywhere in the world and then create a personalised clue to help someone find it. You can then choose to have eggs delivered in real life, thanks to a collaboration with Amazon.

Cadbury worked with VCCP London, VCCP CX and Girl&Bear to design the campaign. 

Last year’s campaign saw 800,000 virtual eggs hidden. The 2022 campaign will roll out across the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa.

Luxury brand audio storytelling

In a bid to move away from simply promoting the look and feel of a new product, luxury brands like Chanel and Estée Lauder have begun to focus on values-based marketing and creative audio storytelling. 

In Estée Lauder’s new ad campaign for the fragrance ‘Beautiful Magnolia’, the focus is on four love stories.

Chanel is also among the handful of luxury brands experimenting with the new style of audio advertising, as audio-based content gains popularity through podcasts and audio apps like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces.

Today, audio ad formats have evolved from the typical spots read by hosts on ad breaks, to include digital ad insertion, programmatic offerings and branded podcasts. 

Audio ads allow brands to tap into a programme’s loyal listenership and reach them via creative storytelling that feels more natural for the format.

The medium is also more cost effective than TV, or print advertising campaigns, but does require willingness to take creative risks. To get it right, brands must be willing to get personal and tie their branded audio content in with their values.

International Women’s Day 2022

Today on International Women’s Day, the team at Hardy Audio want to thank the women who helped pave the way in Australia’s media industry by challenging bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘break the bias’. In the 1990s, Hardy Audio’s Lauren Goodrham was one of the first women in Australian television to break the bias in a field dominated by men, by working as an ENG (News) Camera Operator.

The Good Morning Australia Crew 1997

At the time in Australian TV, women were in front of the camera, not behind it. However, passion and persistence saw Lauren not only succeed in the tough news environment, but go on to work as the Production Editor on Bert Newton’s Good Morning Australia.

Lauren’s media career now sees her as the owner of Hardy Audio, an audio production studio in Ballarat, and an entrepreneur in the tourism industry with QRush Media.

Lauren’s right hand woman at Hardy Audio is Ellen, the Studio Manager. After being exposed to the fast-paced audio industry, Ellen hasn’t looked back.

Having a female boss in what was previously a male dominated field has only encouraged Ellen to be more ambitious and courageous as the next generation to challenge the industry’s stereotypes.

(Feature Image: Lauren & Ellen)