Creating Radio commercial: Words, Sounds, Music

05/07/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

A live commercial is spoken by the presenter, station announcer, or newscaster.

Here the presenter reads your script. Or they can discuss your service or product during the spoken segments of their shows.

On the other hand:

Prerecorded commercials have undergone prior production including recording, editing, mixing, adding sound effects, etc.

This can be done in-house by the station’s staff or outsourced to an agency.

Currently, most of the radio ads are 30 or 60 seconds long. But some radio spots are 15s, 10s or 5s long.

So how many words are in a 30-second ad? Easy, just refer to this table:

No of words Seconds
25 10
35 15
40-75 30
125-140 60

Sounds, Music for Radio commercial

Without visuals to rely on, the music, background sounds (e.g. Foley) or special effects you select all need to work together to convey the mood and setting of your commercial. This careful attention to detail can mean the difference between catching a listener’s attention, or fading into background noise.

For instance, if you’re a company that sells vacation packages, imagine how your target audience might be captured by the grating sound of an ice scraper on a car windshield especially when juxtaposed with the sound of ice cubes clinking together in a fresh cold drink, as waves crash in the background.

Your Audio Ad Voice Over Forms an Emotional Connection

Often, casting directors will say that as they’re listening through auditions, when they find the right voice, they “just know.”

While this might seem like an oversimplification of the casting process, when you consider how important emotional connection is to capturing attention, it makes sense. When it comes to our emotions, we’re often moved by what we hear simply by hearing it. We don’t need to think over ‘why’ we’ve reacted, all we know is that the performance connected on a visceral level.

Chances are, if the voice over has caused you to pause and take notice, it will do the same for your audience.

Tips to Creating Effective Audio Ads

Keep Your Audio Ad Simple

If your listener remembered just one key message from your ad, what would you want it to be?

Choose one important message, and focus your effort on driving it home.

When listeners are hearing your audio ad, it’s likely that they’re multi-tasking whether they’re driving, washing the dishes, or out for a run their attention is already divided. So make your ad memorable by cutting back on the information that the listener has to remember. You only have around 30 seconds or less for a typical Spotify or Pandora audio spot, so your message has to be crystal clear.

Cut to Your Audio Ad’s Value Proposition as Early as Possible

Always lead with the most important information.

This goes right back to the point above on honing in on your key message. Now that you know what you want listeners to remember, cut to the chase and spend the rest of the time you have reinforcing that message.

Even if you feel like you’re repeating yourself, your listener is more likely to retain your message if they hear it more than once!

Appreciate the Difference between Audio Ads and Radio

Even though some fundamentals, such as script writing and great voice over casting, are essential to both audio ads and radio commercials, some elements are different.

For instance, the listener isn’t likely in your geographic region, so you’ll have to consider a broader audience.

Further, the listener is much more mobile. Traditional radio tends to reach people in the car, at home, or at work. However, when it comes to online radio, listeners could be anywhere, as long as they have a connected device.

Conversational Tone in Your Audio Ad Voice over Can Be Powerful

As Dale Carnegie aptly pointed out in his classic book, ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People,’ people like listening to friendly people, who speak clearly and in a conversational manner. This has never been truer in modern times, when the relatable voice over reads are dominating the advertising space.

When you post your voice over job for your audio ad, you can provide artistic direction to auditioning voice over actors that includes a read that’s conversational and friendly.

Slower Voice over Delivery Forms a Connection with the Listener

When you’re writing a voice over script, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the voice over talent only have a limited amount of time to deliver the whole read. You don’t want your audio ad to sound like the rapid chatter associated with disclaimer statements, such as those that appear at the end of a prescription drug commercial!

When you want your ad to be conversational, it pays to be sparing with the copy. By nature, conversations are much slower than ads you hear on television or on the radio.

Give time for the listener to mentally absorb what they’ve just heard and take action.

Loud Background Music is Distracting

You don’t necessarily need to eliminate background music, but rather, consider the volume level of the background music in comparison to the voice over, which should be heard front and center.

On the topic of background music, license a track from a music provider.

There are literally thousands of tracks to choose from online and you’ll be sure to find one that represents your brand and matches the performance style of the voice talent.

Create a Smooth Transition for the Listener

An audio ad isn’t listened to in isolation. Ads are inserted between songs, interviews and other audio content, so you’ll need to have a clean start and finish to your ad.

Avoid long pauses at the beginning of your ad, as it will give the impression that there’s dead air. On the tail end of your ad, avoid long fade-outs for the same reason.

Get creative! This is a savvy audience.

Make Your Call to Action Specific

When you embed a call-to-action (CTA), it’s important that it be as specific as possible. Drive traffic to your website or social media site by instructing listeners how and where they can learn more about your offering. Reference the exact next steps that you want your audience to take. You can even take it one step further by assigning a special landing page, URL, or code to offers that you promote in podcasts (e.g. Use promo code “PodcastListener” in the checkout cart!). That way, you’ll be able to track just how effective your audio ad is.

Record Your Audio Ad

Once you have your script completed, you need to now record the audio ad. Read our article on how to record an audio ad before you go any further in the process!

Pandora and Spotify Ad Examples

So now you have a framework to build an awesome online audio ad. However, you might want some real examples to sink your teeth into. Here are some of the best ad examples on Pandora and Spotify: