Best Practices For the Use of Voice-overs In Advertising

By: Mish Sukharev

A common feature in the advertising industry, voiceovers have been used together with a wide range of other marketing tools to convey crucial information to audiences. However, use of voiceovers as a marketing tool does come with its downsides such as ads been assumed to be generic, and overuse of voiceovers resulting in audiences losing overall interest in the products or services being marketed. However, there are certain measures you can take when planning the voiceovers for your next ad in order to significantly increase engagement and arouse the interest of the audience.

What Does It Do Well?

The main aim of a voiceover should be to aid communication. Voiceovers are best used as reinforcements for already existing or occurring communication, for instance describing or explaining something being shown on a screen or simply mentioning a company’s tagline aloud. While the latter use may not be the best way to make use of a voiceover artist’s exceptional talent, the important thing is that technique works and it has helped many brands succeed.

Harmony Is Key

“Voiceovers are best used when mixed with complementary visuals that enhance or back up the information being conveyed,” says a voiceover specialist at Voice Fairy. The voiceover should at no point be competing with the visuals in an ad to catch the attention of the viewers. When this happens, viewers can easily lose focus and the message in the ad may be poorly grasped.

It is very common to find ads where visuals are used to convey a certain narrative while the voiceovers are left to give full explanations of what the narrative is all about. This has been found to split the concentration of the audience thus reducing how easily and quickly they can recall the core information in the ad and sometimes even the ad itself. Ads that sync both the visuals and narration (voiceover) aspects of the storytelling have been found to be the most effective at getting the message across to the audience.

The Choice of Voice Is Important

Finding the ‘perfect’ voice is not always easy and may take up a lot of time. There are two things that can help you in picking the perfect voice or voiceover artist for your content:

Longevity – Consider longevity when choosing a voice because many people prefer hearing the same sweet voice over and over again. You should be able to use the same voice on multiple adverts which in turn makes the voice you choose your ‘brand’s voice. The voice should be good enough to hold the attention of users repeatedly so that no one gets tired of hearing it.

Less Can Sometimes Be More

When not used correctly, voiceovers can reduce an ad’s effectiveness. It has been observed that ads that do not use voiceovers are commonly rated as being unique or different but they are also rated as likely to be poorly understood. It is therefore important to be careful when deciding when and how to use voiceovers in your content.

While there may be many opportunities and benefits you can use to tell the consumer directly what you want them to hear or know than hoping and praying they do understand what you are saying, you must ensure that your voiceover does not jump the gun and conflict or cause unnecessary confusion in the core message of the ad. All in all, keep it short and simple. Remember, a little something goes a long way.