Music selection can make or break an ad. Music supervisors and creative teams have tremendous taste and experience that is critical for making these decisions. But with millions of dollars in ad spend on the line, it’s becoming too risky to rely on the opinions of a few individuals. What to do? Use data! Here are seven reasons you should support your musical taste with data.
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1) Minimize subjectivity
There will always be some degree of subjectivity in the music selection process. And there should always be real humans helping select music; after all, the whole purpose of music in ads is to have an emotional impact on people. But smart marketers know that “you are not your target audience.” (Usually, anyway.) Having real data from your target audience that quantifies this emotional impact can help make the decision making process better, and easier.
2) Quantify your music
Matching music to advertising demands data. Simple attributes like beats per minute or instrumentation can help creative professionals narrow down the list of possibilities. More advanced data can quantify the emotions, feelings and other associations that music evokes in people. Simple insights like these can make a good spot into a great spot.
3) Create objective metadata
Metadata can be very subjective: typically, it’s manually entered by a single individual. But if you test your music, augment your traditional metadata with marketing response data. Think about how much more comfortable you’ll be when you know that your audience perceives a particular track as “Exciting” or “Authentic,” before you recommend it for an ad!
4) Benchmark your music
Data also lets you compare the performance of new music to tracks you’ve used in the past. Evaluate how well your music evokes a consistent set of emotions, and ensure your audience receives a consistent message. Even better, collect data on your competitors’ music and compare it to your music!
5) Track emotions over time
Unlike the visual or copy in advertising, music happens over time. The data you use to evaluate music should reflect this temporal component! Record emotions from your audience over time to determine the changes occurring throughout a song and ensure you use the right portion of the song. And analyze this data in chart form to see if the music matches the story arc.
6) Compare competing tracks
Music is rarely “one and done.” Typically, the people responsible for music must choose between multiple tracks. Compare how each track scores against your goals. Which one best evokes Sincerity? Which one best evokes Optimism? Which one makes the audience Happy for the last :15? Allow the data to educate you about the benefits and drawbacks of all your tracks, not just one.
7) Use Data As the Key, Not the Lock
Data is not a straightjacket. Instead, it’s the key to unlocking even more creativity. Can’t convince the client to use a really funky track that you know would be perfect? Let the data show why it’s right. Sitting around the conference room all day, arguing endlessly about which version to use? Instead of fighting with your co-workers about what song you think is a better, sit back, relax, and let the data do the talking!
How do you use data in your music selection process today? Please share it with us in the comments below!