Upcoming Trends in Voice Over, Advertising and Marketing (infographic)

Written By: Chantelle Henriques - Web Content Specialist at Voices.com

Throughout 2018, ‘voice’ dominated the news. From articles on how searching online is rapidly becoming a voice activated and enabled experience, to how audio content - like podcasts and audiobooks - is dominating the space, it seems like voice is everywhere.

For those in marketing, advertising, education, entertainment, and everywhere in between, this audio-rich world is posing new challenges and opening new opportunities. However, whether this shift is an opportunity or a threat depends on how well equipped you are to participate. Also, with trends evolving so quickly, the farther ahead you can look, the better off you'll be.

Recently, Voices, an online marketplace for voice actors, released a future-looking report that compiled data from the company’s vast database, as well as a survey of about 2,000 creative professionals to uncover trends in voice-rich media production, the most sought-after vocal qualities, and even the future of work for creative content producers.

Here’s a summary of what was revealed:

The Gender Pay Gap Is Closing

Within the Voices database, there is evidence that women and men earn equal pay for equal work. In fact, the market demand for female voice over actors is growing.

What does this mean for creative professionals?

It signals to creative professionals that having a female voice represent your brand is equally as engaging as having a male voice represent your brand.

In fact, by 2020 women and men will have equal employment opportunities in the voice over industry.

The Growth of the Gig Economy

As the Gig Economy Grows, Production Houses Shrink
Since hiring freelancers has become a core component of many creatives and their production cycles, we can expect the landscape of the creative production process to shift. 60% of survey respondents indicated that they are using freelancers (contract workers, online workers) more than they ever have before.

What does this say for agencies and production houses?

It means that traditional agencies and production houses may be shrinking.

In 2018, only 48% of respondents classified themselves as working as part of an agency or production house. That number is down from 61% from the previous year. This drop is right on par with what is happening at large throughout 2018, in which brands are building their own in-house creative teams and moving away from their agencies.

However, just because the idea of traditional agencies and production houses are on the decline, the work still needs to be done. The result is that work may be getting completed in the freelance economy now, as more and more brands become comfortable with the concept of hiring freelancers and taking advantage of their flexible availabilities and variety of expertises.

With this, freelancing careers are on the rise. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 36% of U.S. workers are a part of the gig economy (the labor market characterized by short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs).

Also, a growing freelance economy is beneficial to content creators who will be able to work across time zones and language barriers to ensure their voice over project will be completed on time and in the desired language or dialect.

Accordingly, the Voices.com voice actor database grew by 24% this year propelling the 2018 projection for registered talent over 400,000 users. These voice actors reside in over 148 countries, proving that the increase in the gig economy is happening on an international scale.

This international growth will allow content creators to tap into their international markets by offering their content in the languages of their target markets.

Booming Industries to Watch Out For

Education and Internet Video Among Fastest Growing Categories of Voice Over Work
Voices.com data shows that all categories of media production (e.g. over a dozen categories spanning from audiobooks to video games) are seeing steady growth. However, two specific areas saw more noticeable growth than others: education and internet content - most notably, videos.

The educational sector, which includes content such as elearning videos and explainer videos, saw a 10.4% increase from 2017 to 2018. Not surprising, considering the elearning industry is expected to become a $200B industry by 2024, indicating that this growth appears to be part of a much larger trend.

As for content - like video - designed for internet usage, a strong growth at about 13% for the third year in a row was highlighted. This also seems right on track, with the large and continuing growth in the appetite for on-demand content.

As a content creator, you should watch out for a growth in the subscription-based platform models in both the educational sphere and the area of internet videos in the coming years.

Upcoming Trends in Voice Over, Advertising and Marketing (infographic)

Voices Creative Professionals Use to Connect with Target Audiences

Using Voices to Create A Connection and Increase Information Retention
For creative professionals, voice over is becoming increasingly regarded as a critical creative component. The number of survey respondents who agreed with these statements saw an increase from 2017:
  • 75% (+8% vs last year) A good voice over is critical to my project.
  • 71% (+5% vs last year) Using voice over helps me capture my target audience’s attention for longer than if I didn't use voice over in that project.
  • 80% Voice over is a tool that I use to help increase information retention in my target audience.
  • 76% Voice over helps a brand connect better with the target audience.
  • 66% Voice over is essential in creating an intended emotional reaction.
  • 64% Projects with voice over generally perform better than those without voice over.

Most In-Demand Vocal Characteristics
Upcoming Trends in Voice Over, Advertising and Marketing (infographic)
Here are the vocal characteristics respondents indicated they would be looking for more of throughout 2019:
  • 30% said they’re looking for more female voices.
  • 27% are looking for more authoritative or professional voices.
  • 27% indicated they’ll be looking for the ‘girl/guy-next-door.’
  • 27% are looking for more non-English languages.

On the other side of the equation? Celebrity voices. 70% indicated that they’re either looking for fewer celebrity voices, or not looking for them at all.

With the rapid growth of voice home assistants and the development of skills or apps for said devices, we can expect voice to play a more integral role in projects for both entertainment purposes and as a further expression of brand voice.

A Human Voice is Preferred in Voice Tech

Human Connection is Key
As new voice-enable technologies emerge, it is crucial to figure out what type of voice is most suited for technologies. For example, is it a natural human-sounding voice or a computer-generated voice?

Interestingly, 91% of survey respondents agreed that a human voice is more powerful in conveying a message to the audience as opposed to a synthetic voice.

So what does this mean for the future of voice technology and the types of voices that will be used? There tends to be a divide on opinions. When asked if synthetic voices will be a feasible replacement to human voices over the next decade:
  • 50% disagree or strongly disagree
  • 25% are neutral
  • 17% agree
  • 8% strongly agree
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