How to Test Your Next Audio Advert

Consumers hear a lot of things; listening to conference calls, listening for train announcements, listening for the ping of the microwave, even listening in their sleep. Silence can be quite a novelty in today’s busy world. So how can your audio advert ensure it is heard above the noise?

Consumers hear a lot of things. They spend their days listening to conference calls, listening for train announcements, listening for the ping of the microwave, even listening in their sleep. In fact, silence can be quite a novelty in today’s busy world.

So how can your audio advert ensure it is heard above the noise? This, of course, is just the first challenge. It also needs to be heard correctly, interpreted in the desired way, remembered and acted upon.

Each step adds a layer of complexity to the challenge of creating an audio advert that resonates. Add to this the evidence that humans are much better at remembering what we see, rather than what we hear, and it becomes clear that there are many steps in the process at which a wrong turn could be made.

And yet, audio media channels present a significant opportunity for brands all around the world. Our 2018 report revealed that only 14.4% of the population listen to no commercial radio stations, only 24.1% don’t subscribe to a paid-for music streaming service, and around half of the population listen to podcasts.

It’s vital, then, that you test your audio adverts with consumers, to optimise prior to launch. Whether you’re a seasoned audio advertising expert, or whether your brand is moving into audio channels for the first time, extra pairs of ears can identify flaws with the audio, steer the messaging towards being more effective, and improve the quality of the asset. Why guess how an advert will perform, when you can find out for sure by asking the right people the right questions, before it goes live?

Sound great? Read on to learn how audio tests can be conducted with target consumers in just 4 steps, allowing you unique insight that can drive up the ROI of all things auditory.

Step 1: Choosing the right questions

By the time you begin testing your audio adverts, you’ve likely already conducted research to validate the ideas underlying the content of the advert. In which case, you might be proceeding to optimise one stand-out advert ready for deployment, or still at the stage of analysing two or more adverts to decide the best to proceed with. In either case, the example questions below should offer guidance as to the data you should be gathering while you’re testing your audio adverts.

Remember: your audio clips can be embedded into any question type using the Attest platform.

Example Questions:

Single Choice:

Single choice questions can be used in an endless number of ways to gauge consumers’ responses to your audio adverts, here are just a few ideas.


A number of questions suit both a single choice or free text answer style. With 8 answer options, the variety of answers you can offer within a single choice question is wide, however free text answers can be good for gathering entirely unbiased responses, in the respondent’s own words.

Due to the time required to analyse free text responses, it can be preferable to run the question to a small sample size to begin with, and then take the most popular responses to inform the scripted answers to the same question in a single choice format, and send to a larger sample size.

Single choice questions can also be used to gather additional demographic, behavioural or attitudinal data that will be useful in cross-tabbing through the survey results.

For instance, whether the respondent is currently a customer, aware of your brand, or fiercely brand loyal. This will then allow you to uncover key differences in response to the advert between current and potential customers.

Multiple Choice:

Opt for multiple choice questions when you want to gather all the ways a respondent might react to an advert, rather than asking them for just their strongest sentiment.

Respondents might be asked to select the emotions they feel before and/or after the advert, the elements they liked and disliked or any number of other factors which aren’t mutually exclusive.



Ranking questions can be beneficial for encouraging respondents to consider each of the answer options (up to 8 options in total), before arranging into their preferred order. Once again the answer options mustn’t be mutually exclusive, so might include emotions and reactions, preference for parts of the advert or characters within it.


Free Text:

Free text questions can be used to gather respondent’s unbiased opinions on the advert, written in their own words and unaffected by the way you expectthem to respond.

This removes the bias you apply to a survey by scripting the answer options, and allows room for answers that you would be unable to pre-empt – which might just have saved Marks & Spencer from the embarrassing audio that caused confusion around their 2017 Christmas advert.



The grid question type is useful if you have a number of sentiments, reactions or factors you wish to measure on the same scale.


There are also further question types available on the Attest platform, offering a wealth of opportunities to gather insightful data to optimise your audio adverts.

Step 2: Selecting the audience

Once you’ve drafted questions that will shed light on how to improve your audio advert, you’ll need to decide who you want to answer those questions. Not everyone’s opinion will be as important to you, and your decisions shouldn’t be made to reflect data from an audience who wouldn’t be interested in purchasing your product anyway.

Your survey sample should reflect the audience of the media channel you’re publishing your advert to, which should in turn reflect the consumers of your product. Setting up a bespoke audience with Attest is incredibly quick and easy.  

If you know the nature of the consumers you want to reach, you can use Attest to survey those consumers and discover which media channels they most often experience.

You can choose from 16 demographic filters, or draft qualifying questions to only speak to the consumers who self-report to behave in a certain way. You can then ask this unique market segment which audio media they interact with, at what time of day and on which days of the week, to optimise the schedule of your adverts.

Alternatively, if you have established the most appropriate media channel, you can use qualifying questions to screen-in consumers who listen to that radio station, podcast, music streaming service and so on.


It’s also possible with the Attest platform to test unique adverts for equally bespoke consumer groups. A Million Ads are a digital audio advertising agency who use Attest to test their dynamic creative and personalised elements. Their creative assets are personalised to individual consumer groups, and so they test these by embedding the audio into the survey, and send to only the relevant consumers. This allows A Million Ads to gather real, actionable data to optimise their dynamic audio adverts.

Step 3: Confirm

Once you’ve selected your audience, and the survey questions are written, it takes just one more step for your survey to be live to respondents; to select the sample size that will ensure statistical significance for your results.

Once your survey is live, results are visible in real-time, so you can see as responses come in and begin to examine the reaction to your adverts.

Step 4: Track the campaign

Once you’ve taken results from the initial survey, an iterative process will occur until the advert is fully optimised. But the project doesn’t end here. Optimisation continues after the advert is live, and tracking the campaign is vital to understanding the impact it has on the growth of your brand. It’s also important to understand the lifespan of your adverts and aim to refresh your creatives when the advert becomes fatigued and stops performing for you.

Questions can be added to your regular brand health tracker survey to establish the uplift in purchase intent, message recall and other advert-pertinent metrics. To set up a regular brand tracker, with the added value of keeping an eye on live advertising campaigns, find out how, here.

The next step…

Sending an untested advert out into the world is a risky strategy, and likely to result in lower-than-expected Return on Investment at best, or a full-on backlash in the worse case scenario.

Testing your next audio advert couldn’t be easier with Attest, where multiple question types and rich audiences mean you can gather the actionable data you require, from the people that matter most, to optimise your advert before it reaches the ears of your consumers.

To put the success of your next audio advert firmly in your own hands, get in touch with Attest today to begin testing.


Content Team 

Our in-house marketing team is always scouring the market for the next big thing. This piece has been lovingly crafted by one of our team members. Attest's platform makes gathering consumer data as simple and actionable as possible.

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