Interactive voice ads may seem like a far-flung concept, but the future is now. With new technological revolutions come creative ways for marketers to engage customers more directly. Like it or not, we’re online creatures now, living connected lives 24/7; it’s an understatement to say that music and audio apps take up plenty of our attention economy. Writing voice ad scripts is going to be your way to capitalize on this trend and create a dialogue with consumers. The fact that you’ll probably sell more and get better metrics should just be the icing on the cake.
How? Well, you’re probably aware of how marketing is usually a one-way street. You float ideas, sell your products, or try to reach your clients using traditional advertising. That is, you scream really loud and try to make yourself interesting, and hope someone takes the bait. But the problem with this approach is threefold. One, it’s really hard to get reliable metrics other than sales. Two, ads are usually very intrusive and tear people away from their viewing/listening experience. Three, it’s not that easy to target the actual interests of your clientele without reliable metrics.
Interactive voice ads sidestep this problem by introducing user consent. Basically, prospective clients have to verbally agree to let the ad play. Presto! You’ve got yourself a solution, and you’ve established a — hopefully — mutually-beneficial dialogue. That means a happy clientele and money in your pocket.
So, let’s delve a bit deeper into writing voice ad scripts.
What’s the main issue with interactivity these days? Well, for one, the fact that we’re still using our grubby little hands to interface with our devices. The future isn’t still looking that futuristic when you think about how easy it is to fumble a text message, right?
Well, if that seems like an outrage, imagine the fact that we’re still marketing in essentially the same way as 100 years ago. Sure, we have plenty of user information at our fingertips now. We’ve got metrics, analytics, statistics, the works! What’s there not to love? Well, for one, the fact that some of these metrics are less than ideal. While it’s great knowing whether a user clicked on an ad or not, the devil’s in the details.
It’s true, you can know about clicks, impressions, cost-per-click, page values, and we could go on for days. But the reality is that:
- You’re targeting a captive audience.
- You don’t always know the reason someone clicks on an ad (and you’re paying per click).
- Impressions just capture whether an ad was displayed, not viewed, or relevant at all.
- You can just get a barebones idea of how engaged an audience is.
- You don’t even know whether your ad is wanted or not.
So, what does traditional advertising lack that interactive voice ads have in spades? The ability to talk back, of course! Imagine going into a store or walking by a street vendor peddling their wares. Usually, they ask you whether you’re interested in the product, and you reply yes or no. This type of straightforward interaction is sorely missing in the world of traditional online advertising. You’re basically flooding users with content and hoping for the best, which can sometimes backfire.
Enter Smart Devices
Smart speakers and interactive devices are slowly changing the consumer landscape. 44% of the US population uses voice assistants, and smart devices have penetrated about a third of households. Not too shabby, and it also means something else: everybody is growing increasingly accustomed to voice commands. As we move into the brave future, we’ll also find more natural ways to engage with our devices. Great news for those of us who don’t want to take our hands off our burgers while listening to music.
This trend is also very likely to increase in the coming years, with voice commerce becoming an $80 billion elephant in the room. If you had any doubts that writing voice ad scripts was going to be a great idea, that should serve as food for thought. We’re 100% sure that you’re going to want to get a piece of this pie.
In “Voice Advertising: it’s What’s Happening“, we wrote:
“Siri, find me Vans size 10s in purple” is not something out of a sci-fi show anymore. It boggles the mind how many possibilities for voice advertising can be found in this emerging scene. Here are some more facts so you can realize the scope and growth of this market:
- Tech giants lead the virtual assistant race in the United States. Predictably, it’s Amazon (Echo, 10% penetration); Google Home with 4% and Microsoft’s Cortana with 2%. These numbers, though, are growing.
- Apple is lagging; Siri just does not hold a candle to Google, whose Homepod has recently landed in the marketplace.
- Consumers are buying into personalized features, but there is room for improvement. Only 39% trust the “personalized” section of smart speakers.
- Smart speaker users tend to be those in the 30-45 range. They’re more likely to be affluent and have kids.
- In this incipient market, voice purchases tend to be standalone, less-expensive items.
- The three most common categories are groceries, with 20%; entertainment with 19% percent; electronics sits at 17%. Clothing is far behind at 8%.
And that’s not even getting into how the growing market of voice ads is set to revolutionize engagement!
How Writing Voice Ad Scripts Creates Engagement
A great thing about interactive ads is that they allow talkback, whereas those pesky regular ads can’t. You see, voice ads may play while you’re out driving, doing the dishes, taking a walk, out for a beer, or virtually anywhere you listen to audio. Everyone everywhere is listening to their favorite podcast on Pandora or their Discover Weekly on Spotify. We’ve all gotten interrupted by YouTube ads maybe a million times as well. Not cool, right?
This creates something we can charitably call friction. For lack of a better term, it means that it produces a grating, invasive feeling. Ads are often not a welcome part of any viewing or listening experience. Even when we’re shown something we like, we’re often being torn from what we want to be watching or listening to. In essence, ads don’t ask you whether you want to watch them, they just play.
Voice ads are a game-changer because they allow users to dictate the flow of the conversation. When an ad pops up, it will play a very short segment before asking the user whether they want to learn more. “Yes” is the magic word from the user that allows the ad to proceed. Through some clever trickery and sleight of hand, these ads feel more like a conversation, and less like an interruption. Writing voice ad scripts is all about engaging the customer in a friction-free dialogue.
They’re Also Less Disruptive
Why? Because you don’t have to stop to interact with the ad, even if you want to watch it. You can keep doing what you’re doing while you say “Yes,” or “No.” If you don’t say anything, the ad won’t play and you’ll keep doing what you were doing. This is a complete 180-degree turn from how regular ads work.
It also seems that users are warming up to the idea of voice ads. In 2019, Adobe conducted their famous State of Voice survey among smart speaker users.
(…) One-fourth of consumers have heard an ad on a smart speaker before. Of these surveyed, 38% agreed that voices ads are less intrusive than ads on TV, print, online, and social media.
In addition, 39% of respondents founded that voice ads are more engaging than those on other channels.
If we’re on the right track, those numbers are going to be trending upwards in the coming months and years.
What About Better Metrics?
Interactive voice ads are a better window into consumer habits than regular ads. While companies can just know whether an ad played or appeared in your feed, interactive ads are different — by prioritizing engagement, you can actually have a reliable metric of user consent. An affirmative is much more committed than a simple click, which can happen by mistake. Companies have a more reliable way to see if a user’s response is undividedly positive.
Marketing today is all about tailoring the experience to a consumer’s habits, not the other way around. Tracking consent or lack thereof lets marketers create bespoke, personalized experiences. Writing voice ad scripts is going to be all about targeting ads for niches we didn’t even know were there. We’re going to be switching over click-through rate for say-through rate pretty soon.
- So, summing up, you’re going to get:
- More engaged, interested audiences.
- A better knowledge of the key engagement metrics.
- A way to create custom experiences.
- Conversations instead of one-way pitches.
Hopefully, we’ve established the amazing value of interactive voice ads. Now, it’s time to help you understand how to make them, and make ’em good!
Writing Voice Ad Scripts: Structure
This is still an emerging technology, so the book hasn’t quite been written yet. But, interactive voice ads tend to follow a simple formula because they aim to get a “Yes” from you, but offer branching pathways. A traditional radio ad, by contrast, usually has the textbook structure of:
- Problem: “Why, don’t I wish I had the perfect headache cure right now!”
- Solution: “Hey, have you tried this new all-natural aspirin substitute?”
- Call to Action (CTA): “Try Jane’s all-new organic aspirin substitute, buy now!”
Seen it a million times, right? Writing voice ad scripts, though, has to account for more possibilities that depend on the listener’s answer. It’s a bit like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story told in 30 seconds. Only, you know, you don’t die horribly at the end.
Getting Started: The First Response
So, we’ve established that voice ads are pretty mild-mannered when compared to regular ole’ ads. That means that they don’t just show up, do their thing, and get out. Writing voice ad scripts needs to consider this, first and foremost. An interactive voice ad is not going to kick down the door and get in your face. Keep this in mind.
There’s also the matter of interactive voice ads being a nascent technology. That means that it’s very likely that the average consumer won’t know how to use them. In a way, the first couple of years of voice-activated ads are going to be about educating consumers and getting them used to the new tech. Pandora has gone as far as to call them “Invitation audio spots.” That’s going to be the keyword for you.
You want your ad to key the listener in to the fact that they need to talk back without being intrusive. This may require some finessing. The important thing is to clue people in to the fact that they can talk back.
The Call to Action
You’ve heard about CTAs (Calls to Action) a million times already. When you’re writing voice ad scripts, your CTA should come after the first response. Basically, after you’ve greeted the client, you should invite them to talk back to you.
Remember: the ad hasn’t really played at this point, the consumers have just heard the intro. The ad will only play in its entirety after the consumer responds positively to the first CTA. Your call to action can be asking for a simple “Yes,” or something more complex, like “I’ll take a sample!” It’ll take some trial and error before we find out what consumers like saying the most. As a rule of thumb, easier is better.
It’s a Yes! Now, the Ad.
This where we come to the meat of the issue. The consumer’s answered affirmatively, and they’re now listening to the whole ad. This is where they’ll be getting that tasty benefit you’ve offered them, the time to make good on promises.
It’s a Nay!
Now, our beautiful Choose Your Own Adventure game comes to a close. You should bow out gracefully and allow the listener to go back to their content ASAP. Don’t overstay your welcome; a quick line of dialogue should suffice. The idea is to offer a seamless transition between the ad and the listener’s original audio content.
And hey, not all is lost even if you receive a negative response! How come? Well, algorithms can pick up on the emotional content of a response. It’s not the same when someone declines politely as when they curse you to high heaven. The same goes for voice ads — you get a chance to make a final good impression and increase brand recall. Yes, this happens even if you don’t get to play the whole ad for your clients; sometimes, a “Not today” can be turned into a new opportunity. Later on, we’ll even get to make specialized ads for people who declined but responded positively. Just let that thought marinate.
As we go along, we’ll get better metrics to understand what ads consumers respond best to. For now, writing voice ads scripts is going to be all about trying to make an impact. Keep it short and sweet, and you can turn even a short-term loss into a long-term win by increasing recall and brand awareness!
Writing Voice Ad Scripts: Sample Scripts
Now, let’s take a look at some sample scripts to help you try to find your way. You’ll see that it’s easier than it looks! Remember, these scripts follow the formula of:
- Introduction/First response
- CTA, or Call to Action
- Affirmative response — Play the whole ad
- Negative response — graceful goodbye and resume normal programming
Sample Script #1: Frank’s Brewery
[Sound of glasses clinking together. Laughter, joy, friendly chatter]
Hey there! This is a new type of ad that lets you talk back. At Frank’s Brewery, we believe that communication is the foundation of any friendship. We also believe in gifts, so if you say “Yes,” you’ll get a free pint out of it. How ’bout it?
There’s nothing like having a nice chat with friends over a few pints of quality craft beer. Here at Frank’s, we’ve made it our mission to brew the best IPAs, APAs, Honeys, and mouth-watering Stouts you’ve ever tasted, and that’s just 4 out of our 100 varieties of award-winning beer. Our locally-sourced hops and brewing process are second to none, and that’s a fact. Come over to Frank’s on 2nd and Main, get your second pint for free with code 5050, and get ready for your night out with friends to get a whole lot tastier.
Sober October, hub? Don’t worry, we’ll catch you on the flip side, at Frank’s Brewery we’ll always have a little something for you. Back to our regular programming!
Sample Script #2: Bliss Specialty Coffee
[Sound of sheets rustling. A mellowed, tired sound between a yawn and a sigh.]
Sure could use a little wake-me-up juice right about now, huh? Don’t, worry, this is a new type of ad that listens to your answers, it’s not the sleep messing with you. Say “Yes” if you want the best Colombian Coffee delivered straight to your door with no shipping cost, courtesy of Bliss.
You’ve made the right choice. At Bliss, we believe coffee should be no less than a heavenly experience. Our finely-roasted grain is grown at over 2000m in the region of Nariño, Colombia. If you want the best coffee-drinking experience of your life, head over to Blisscoffee.com and enjoy free shipping with your first order. You just leave the nitty-gritty to us and while you get ready to sit back and sip your way to Bliss.
Heavy sleeper, huh? Don’t worry, at Bliss Coffee, we’ll always have time for a moment of pleasure. Back to the music!
Sample Script #3: Paranormal Podcast
[Spooky music playing.]
Life’s a mystery, and sometimes you should expect the unexpected. Like your device expecting you to reply back. Interested in getting to the bottom of this mystery? Say “Yes” to learn all about the all-new “Paranormal Mysteries” podcast.
The unknown is like a murky, bottomless ocean. Here at “Paranormal Mysteries,” we’re all about hands-on investigation of unexplained events. We don’t let others tell the story — our hosts Shane and Lily travel the world to bring you a new hair-raising mystery or ghost story every week. We also bring in renowned guests from all across the spectrum: paranormal scientists, skeptics, philosophers, and contrarians. Tune in every Sunday on Spotify!
We get it. Some “Paranormal Mysteries” may be best left unsolved. Materializing your music in 3, 2, 1…
Writing audio ad scripts can be a one-way ticket to success. These ads can also let marketers know a wealth of information that remained stubbornly hidden with traditional advertising. Reliable metrics that let them know how consumers reacted emotionally to ads, for instance, should let them create tailor-made experiences. The age of the one-size-fits-all ad is now on the brink of ending.
If you’re thinking of bringing your A-game to audio ads, we’ve got great news. At Bunny Studio, we’ve curated a who’s who of experienced voice actors and actresses ready to make your ad pop. Why leave your ads to chance when you can have the best in the business take care of it for you?
Are you ready to take your ads into the interactive future?