70% of Instagram Stories are watched with sound on. I have personally scrolled through countless bits of social content where, if there is no sound in a video and it feels as if there should be, I just keep on scrolling. As people wake up to this realisation, we are seeing more and more bits of content with stock audio added to it as an afterthought, or maybe even audio synced up to the flow of the video – but when does voice acting come in, and how can we ensure it’s of a good enough quality to be useful?
When to use voice
Nowadays, high quality audio has almost became an expectation on certain platforms. Music is a great way to evoke a feeling, or add emphasis during an animation, and voice serves much of the same purpose – except that you can be far more specific. In a sea of generic music, spoken words can jump out of ads and grab a viewer’s attention.
Still, it isn’t always applicable. Does a video announcing a new webinar really need someone reading out the words that are already in the clip, or saying something to the equivalent of, ‘Hey, Listen!’? There it just becomes obnoxious, and punchy music to help drive home the feel of the webinar can be effective enough. Certain platforms aren’t as suited to audio as well, and it can be more work than it’s worth; 85% of users on Facebook watch content with sound off. If your campaign is going to be solely based on Facebook, you might want to consider how much effort and budget you are willing to add to your ad sets.
So, when do you want to use voice? When it makes sense. We recently ran a campaign for a client that was promoting a new line of foods. In the video, a taco was being slowly eaten and the animation was great, but we thought a bit of audio could help spice up the content (no pun intended). We hired a voice actor to do crunching and enjoyment sounds and quickly saw how it added a new layer to the ad – which went on to receive 66,510 views on Instagram.
There are so many other scenarios where voice comes into play, but we like to use it as a way to emphasise point or make your creative more dynamic. All it takes is a bit of creativity beyond simply adding a bit of generic music over a clip; you can do so much more.
How to setup your own recording booth
There is an idea that voice acting is incredibly expensive, but at the end of the day, if you are looking to add that new layer to your content, a good quality mic is all you really need. There are free versions of recording software out there, and you can run everything through your laptop. Stepping it up a notch, a pop filter is crucial to make the sound better quality, and you should take the time to noise dampen a room – but this can be done with a few duvets and some acoustic panels.
And that’s it, really. Go get started with voice – experiment, have fun, add that layer of audio to your content! If you want to go more in-depth on the role of voice in social media and how voice actors work with their clients, check out our podcast with voice actor Anna Rust, going into how to give a brief, the need for audio in social media and why you should hire a professional, if you can, here.