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Audio Ad Index May 2021

The Podcast Advertising Index

From the growing prevalence of audio in our daily lives, to sound's inherent ability to move people, it's clear that is the year that marketers activate their audio strategies more fully.

The Audio Ad Index is a monthly look at which advertisers are capitalizing on the moment and producing the most effective spots on traditional and digital radio, podcasts, and more. A Veritonic Competitive Intelligence report, each edition focuses on a key insight across the range of data points measured by the Veritonic Audio Intelligence platform.


Brands with Top Podcast Ads by Veritonic Audio Score

Relative to Sector Benchmark
Warby Parker
Dell Technologies
Ashley HomeStore

Veritonic Competitive Intelligence detects and scores ads across major verticals by analyzing an ongoing flow of podcast, radio, and other streams. Powered by Machine Listening and Learning (M-LALTM), the Veritonic Platform gauges the effectiveness of assets by correlating them with Veritonic's set of second-by-second human response data. May 2021

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Melody and message deliver for podcast advertisers

Period ending May 31.

This edition marks the first ranking of podcast advertising in the Audio Ad Index. With podcast ad spending on course to hit $1 billion this year, regularly assessing which brands’ ads resonate with consumers the most -- and why -- is clearly necessary to understand who’s allocating those dollars wisely. 

As promised, we’ve also changed up the metric of focus to give you more perspective on the myriad ways the Veritonic Platform analyzes audio marketing. The below ranking is based on Veritonic Audio Score (a composite of recall, emotional attributes, engagement, and purchase intent).

Winning podcast advertisers in May had spots across a handful of some of the most popular shows out there. NPR’s Planet Money saw Teladoc and Fundrise claiming the number one and two spots, while Barstool Sports favorite Pardon My Take featured powerful messages from Norton Lifelock and BetterHelp.

When it comes to recall, Anatomy of Murder, with ad reads from host Scott Weinberger, really delivered for online consignment store thredUP and eyeware giant Warby Parker. Both had the most memorable ads of the month (recall scores of 81 and 82, respectively). Their consistent use of a signature piece of music across the show’s ads is a driving factor, a strategy that’s also consistent with highest-performing sonic brands. Melody works.

threadUP’s “bigger” ad style, which includes a dramatic-sounding voiceover in addition to music, matches its bigger message -- one of sustainability. Another “big-mission” brand, BetterHelp, leverages female voice (one of the hosts of Pardon My Take, Kasey Smith) to complement its very urgent message around mental health. It’s clearly a potent combination for the brand, which scores extremely high for purchase intent (75).

NPR’s Chioke I’Anson, surely one of the most ubiquitous voices in podcast advertising, shows up for a few of this month’s top ten ads, narrating spots for Teladoc, Fundrise, Dell, and Klaviyo. Interestingly, only one -- Klaviyo -- leverages more than just his voice alone: the ad uses a subtle groove soundtrack. Consistent with the above, this spot scores the highest for purchase intent (90), proving yet again that the incorporation of music (and melody in general) drives results. 

To hear ads from the other brands in the top 10, search them using our audio ad search engine.


Veritonic Competitive Intelligence empowers brands to understand how their audio marketing stacks up against competitors. It detects and scores audio advertisements across major verticals by analyzing an ongoing flow of thousands of podcast, radio, and other streams. Powered by Machine Listening and Learning (M-LAL™), the platform gauges the effectiveness of assets by correlating each with thousands like it that have been analyzed across the Veritonic database.

Curious about where your own audio marketing efforts stand? Contact us to get a look.

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