How to update your audio ad creative during COVID-19

by The Ad Studio Team

Music and podcasts soundtrack and enrich people’s lives. Whether they’re listening while cooking, focusing, working out, or simply chilling — streaming is personal and reflects the moment. And while all of these moments are still happening, they might look different than they used to. Working might take place at the kitchen table while also juggling childcare. Cooking might be happening a lot more often. And chilling? Very necessary right now.

Ensuring that you’re reaching your target audience in the right moment — and that your messaging matches — is always important. But now that routines and priorities have changed, it’s essential to update your advertising to stay relevant and sensitive to your audience. In fact, 92% of Association of National Advertisers’ members say they’ve adjusted creative messaging for marketing since mid-March. Here are our creative recommendations to help you come up with new ads that hit the right note as the world reacts to changes in our everyday lives.

Context is everything

For businesses on Spotify, context has always been key to resonating with listeners. Now that listening is mostly taking place at home, context means more than just message and placement. It means making sure your message’s tone matches the overall moment.

As a business, ask: How can we show up in useful, non-disruptive ways right now? It starts with being hyper-sensitive to the context in which your message will be received and how that moment is different now. The message you sent to your listeners when they were working out in a gym might not strike the right tone when those listeners are getting in reps from the living room.

What you can do: Let the moment drive the message

  • If your brand of product aligns with specific moments, like cooking or working out, check out our real-time context targeting. Just make sure your message and tone works for your targeting and what’s happening with COVID-19. This means avoiding references to group gatherings, traveling, or anything else that goes against the advice of the World Health Organization.
  • That’s not to say you shouldn’t be upbeat and positive if it makes sense for your targeting and message. For example, an upbeat message that’s targeted to follow songs in the pop genre would make sense — just be aware of how your message could be perceived in the larger context of what’s going on in the world.

Consider the cultural moment

The streaming generation is savvy, and they might be especially critical right now on how businesses and brands rush to weigh in on the current event.

Being culturally relevant doesn’t necessarily mean addressing events head-on. It's about tailoring messaging to a personal listening moment within the context of a larger cultural moment. What sounds clever under normal circumstances might sound insensitive right now, especially in an ad.

What you can do: Check and double-check phrasing

  • Carefully consider direct references to COVID-19, and whether your brand is in a position to make them. Rethink other now-overused related phrases, like “in these uncertain times” — audiences have heard that a lot by now.
  • Steer clear of words or phrases that could have double meanings, like “heating up,” “sick beats,” and “going viral.”
  • Broad themes like escapism and adventure are best reserved for different times.

Humility, then utility

People lean on audio to fill very specific needs: to stay informed, grounded, and entertained. Businesses can play a role in filling those needs by easing up on the hard sell, and focusing on providing something useful. What information can you give that they’re looking for? What’s your business doing differently right now to help people? What kind of practical wellness advice, home hacks, or parenting tips could your brand provide?

What you can do: Be useful and open

  • It’s a good time for brand-building messages that capture emotion and nuance, and streaming audio’s intimacy and highly engaged audiences provide vast storytelling opportunities. If your business has taken steps to pitch in and help during this crisis, it might make sense to bring that story to life in your ad.
  • Focus on your audience and how you can help them right now, while being empathic and aware of context.
  • Be transparent with your communications and your business's actions, but be mindful not to add to the overwhelming news cycle with yet another piece of brand commentary on COVID-19.

Audio is a uniquely flexible format that can be produced remotely and executed quickly and Ad Studio is the fastest way to get your message heard on Spotify. As always, we can help you build an audio ad from scratch with our free voiceover tool — just tell us what you want it to say and we’ll record your voiceover and produce your ad. Questions? Give us a shout — we’re here to help you navigate these changes.