System1 and Radiocentre unveil Listen Up! research on audio advertising effectiveness

Radiocentre and the System1 platform have launched Listen Up!, a publication looking into the role of emotion in audio advertising effectiveness.

Listen Up!, which is the first research of its kind to define left and right brain creative features for audio, offers actionable learnings into creating ads that will emotionally resonate with audiences and achieve better long and short-term results for brands.

Announced at Radiocentre’s Tuning In conference, the research features consumer reactions to audio ads measured by System1’s new Test Your Ad Audio tool and radio advertising effectiveness data collected by Radiocentre over the past 10 years. In total, the analysis is based on 131 radio ads featuring effectiveness and emotional data collected from over 50,000 radio listeners and non-listeners.

Key findings include:

Audio ads that make listeners feel more positive drive consumer behaviour change and deliver longer-lasting brand effects.

Audio campaigns that created more positive emotion and less negative emotion caused significantly more consumer action change, including brand purchase and use.

When comparing above-average Star Rating campaigns (lots of positive feeling, less negative ones) to below-average Star Rating campaigns (low levels of positive feeling, possibly high levels of negative ones), there was a +8.2% uplift in listeners taking any action.

Radio is as likely to cause long-lasting effects through an emotional response as TV advertising.

The average long-term effectiveness metric in System1’s database is the same for radio and TV ads – 2.4-Stars out of 5.9.

Well-branded (fluent) radio advertising creates bigger trust effects.

Radio is a trusted medium; it excels as a media platform at building brand trust. However, well-branded ads see a significant increase in this trust-building effect.

Audio ads with more right-brain features are more likely to cause longer-lasting brand effects.

Audio advertising that uses features like character, story unfolding, sense of place and dramatic intimacy creates more positive emotion, less negative emotion, and attracts the attention of broader audiences (something that’s key for lasting brand effects) and forms stronger memories (boosting advertising awareness).

“For the first time, we’ve adapted the creative principles outlined in Orlando Wood’s IPA publications Lemon and Look out to account for audio’s uniqueness as a medium,” said Andrew Tindall, author of Listen Up! and Global Partnerships Director at System1.

“In Listen Up!, we demonstrate how to harness the trust and intimacy of radio to create long-lasting business effects not by demanding attention, but by attracting it with voice, dialogue, music and drama.”

“In demonstrating how well-executed audio-only advertising can be as powerful as audio-visual advertising and the importance of using more emotional right-brain creative features in optimising its effect, System1’s data-driven interrogation of audio creativity has the potential to transform attitudes towards audio advertising in general,” said Mark Barber, Planning Director, Radiocentre. “The best practice recommendations it presents, if acted upon, will benefit writing and production processes and deliver better-sounding and even more effective audio ads – a welcome outcome for both listeners and advertisers.”

In addition to sharing comprehensive emotional and in-market effectiveness data and insights into audio creative effectiveness, Listen Up! includes case studies that provide a closer look at the brands that are getting audio advertising right. From Tesco to Weetabix to Specsavers to Moonpig, there are numerous features to inspire marketers.

“Radio has superpowers. It entertains. And it sells. It’s a natural medium for Moonpig to create ads that use our most fluent brand devices to attract and hold attention. We uplift radio audiences with stories that are immediately recognisable as Moonpig,” said Kristof Fahy, Group CMO, Moonpig.

System1’s Test Your Ad Audio platform measures listeners’ emotional responses to ads for radio, podcast and other audio platforms to predict their long-term impact (defined by Star Rating) and short-term impact (Spike Rating). System1 also offers Creative Guidance to help advertisers improve the brand-building potential of their campaigns.

To download the Listen Up! research, visit

For more information about the Test Your Ad Audio platform, visit