As BLEND’s Enterprise Marketing Lead, Matt brings 13 years in the audio and video production industries to help businesses execute successful voice and video localization campaigns.
The voice-over industry has been around for more than a century. Since the first radio broadcast back in 1906, the industry has evolved considerably and voice-over opportunities have never been in short supply. With the advent of television, the advertising and marketing industries became some of the largest employers of voice-over artists.
Since then, technology has continued to broaden horizons for voice talent. In 2022 alone, there were more than 2.4 million active podcasts. Not to mention that the audiobook industry is worth an estimated $4.1 billion globally. It’s safe to say that the internet has made voice-overs more prominent than ever.
The voice-over industry has become increasingly relevant in recent years. Social media video marketing, video blogs, and interactive videos have all played a part in surging demand for voice talent.
It’s never been easier to produce high-quality videos in-house. However, investing in professional voice work is essential to ensure that an explainer, social media video, or vlog really shines. Finding these voices on demand is relatively straightforward, but a brand needs to know what to look for when selecting the best talent for the job.
If you’re an avid social media user, it’s impossible to avoid video marketing and voice-overs. Every platform from Twitter to TikTok utilizes video, making it more important than ever for brands to leverage voice-over talent when using these channels.
A typical social media platform allows brands to use various video models to target audiences. Educational and explainer videos are amongst the most popular types of content, providing tips and guides for users that can help bolster brand awareness.
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Many businesses use social video to provide a peek behind the curtain, with behind-the-scenes content and brand origin stories proving particularly popular. Around 60% of companies feel that video content plays a key role in online marketing plans. Meanwhile, 93% of brands report that social media videos have played a part in new customer acquisition.
When it comes to social media videos, the statistics speak for themselves. Audiences are far more likely to retain marketing messages when they’re exposed to video. With a text-based message, the retention rate is around 10%. With video content, it’s closer to 95%. Social media videos are also far more likely to generate shares than text and image-based posts. Furthermore, brands that make use of social media videos enjoy revenue growth that’s almost 50% greater than those that don’t.
Today’s game developers utilize voice-overs to create immersive and cinematic gameplay experiences. For the most popular titles, great VO brings voice actors awards and niche celebrity, and is high profile enough to capture the attention of mainstream media.
It’s for good reason. With the gaming industry expected to top $200 billion in 2023, today’s gamers demand exceptional production value, because there’s no shortage of new games and DLC updates vying for their time and money.
While voice-overs are most commonly used in high-budget, AAA titles–particularly cutscenes–professional voice is often integrated in the gameplay itself, making heroes more memorable, villains more menacing, and NPCs more dimensional. Some games use scripts that read like a screenplay; others make great use of limited voice requirements. Add in the option to localize voice-over performances for international gaming markets, and it’s a use case that only figures to grow as video games become more interactive and globalized.
Most brands utilize linear videos. However, it’s a fairly passive approach to content and often struggles to captivate audiences and trigger conversions. As the name suggests, interactive videos are designed to engage viewers, encouraging them to make on-screen selections or participate with the video itself.
Interactive content is far more compelling than linear video. It can be used for advanced marketing purposes but is particularly effective in the training and e-learning sector. In marketing, interactive videos enjoy click-through rates around 10 times higher than passive content employing linear timelines. Furthermore, viewer completion rates are far higher, with more than a third of viewers watching a video from the first to the final frame.
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AI-generated voice-overs have become increasingly popular on TikTok
Blogs have been an internet staple since the turn of the century. The first blog appeared online back in 1994. Since then, hundreds of millions of bloggers have entered the fray. While blogging still presents a lucrative opportunity for online content creators, captivating audiences isn’t as easy as it used to be.
This is one of the main reasons why vlogs have become so ubiquitous. Videos are much easier for audiences to digest. Furthermore, it’s far simpler to introduce brand identity with a vlog. For brands looking to create an instant human connection, a high-impact vlog script delivered by a capable voice actor can be a powerful tool.
Need more convincing that vlogs are the way forward for your business? Around 44% of internet users report watching a vlog at least once every month. What’s more, around 80% of consumers admit that video blogs have encouraged them to make a purchase. Engagement levels are particularly high in certain industries like the travel sector.
We’ve outlined why voice-over is needed, but it’s worth taking a look at the added value it brings to a business. For starters, voice-over has added meaning. Rather than just being a tool to translate a message to an audience, it serves as a bridge between a brand and its audience.
Ideally, a voice-over artist should reflect the target audience. It is preferable for a voice-over to use the same language and accent as the audience listening to it. For brands that are working at a local level, this means being very selective when choosing voice talent. For messages aimed at a broader demographic, it’s best to go with the lowest common denominator.
In the United States, this usually means seeking out a quintessentially West Coast or East Coast accent. If your marketing message doesn’t carry a specific requirement, both can be used interchangeably.
The age of a voice actor is something else that factors into the success of your message. Targeting younger demographic? You don’t want to alienate your audiences with a voice that’s well outside their wheelhouse.
In the advertising industry, voice-over artists tend to be selected directly by a director. Demo reels are reviewed and compared against the requirements of the project. When it comes to recording, directors, and voice-overs will work through the script together, revising lines as they go if needed.
However, the most experienced voice artists don’t require much in the way of direction.
With more brands than ever before relying on video to boost sales and drive marketing strategies, the voice-over industry has never been more relevant. For budget-conscious businesses, it’s tempting to turn to inexperienced in-house talent to provide voice-overs. However, for maximum impact, employing a professional is the only way to go.
An experienced voice-over artist does more than simply read from a script. They’ll add dramatic pauses and incorporate the right tones at just the perfect time. The end result is videos that instantly captivate audiences and keep them engaged until the final second.
Choosing the right voice actor can help a brand connect with its audience. If an audience watches a video narrated by someone who sounds like them, they’re more likely to feel that a brand is actively identifying with them.
Why is voice-over needed? Without professional voice acting, brands will struggle to get a vote of confidence from their followers. Choosing a performer with a great voice is a good start, but that voice needs to reflect how an audience speaks. AI-generated or generic voices are usually cheaper options, but it may come across as disingenuous or unprofessional to audiences.
One of the main aims of video content is to encourage a viewer to commit to a purchase or take the next steps in the sales funnel. A video script should include a call to action, but the line of dialogue alone won’t hit the right note without a professional voice-over artist reading it. The best performers will know what vocal tone to use to ensure these lines are delivered with just the right amount of emotional weight to stir your audience into action.
It’s easy to focus too much on visuals when creating video content. While important for promoting a brand, the audio aspect shouldn’t be overlooked. Investing in professional voice-over talent will demonstrate to audiences that a brand is taking itself and its messaging seriously.
In an ideal world, a video should remain cemented in the minds of the viewer, long after they’ve finished watching. A high-quality video with an engaging narration can do just that. An effective voice-over doesn’t just drum home a message, it adds depth and dimension to a brand. When choosing a voice-over artist, businesses should look to the future and seek out talent that can be locked into long-term arrangements to bolster brand identity.
If you’re searching for professional voice talent for your next project, BLEND is here to help. We work with thousands of professional voice-over artists recruited from theater, television, and broadcast media. Whether you’re looking for a narrator for your next series of explainer videos or require a studio-based recording for a video game project, our extensive network of voice-over artists are trained to deliver quality work quickly.
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can browse our voice catalog to hear our speakers for yourself. Alternatively, get in touch with our expert voice team today and we’ll help you through the process.