New Research: Could Female Voiceovers Be More Trustworthy?

Wow! Here’s one that very near and dear to the hearts of every female voice talent! Thank you for the article, author and copywriter  Samantha Ferguson from Wyzowl for your guest blog spot here today. I’ve volunteered a portion of your piece to appear here.  Wyzowl’s website says they create “Exceptional Hand Crafter Animated Explainer Videos.”

Below is the “digest version” of the original post.

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Here at Wyzowl, we are often asked for advice from our clients when it comes to voiceover artists:

  • Should I use a male or a female?
  • Which accent is more trustworthy?
  • Which voice will be more persuasive? 

Unfortunately, we are often reluctant to give such advice because opinions on voiceover artists tend to be subjective. We’ve written a few general articles here and there, but getting down to the nitty-gritty requires in-depth research.

Enter ConversionXL Institute.

Their team has published some interesting findings that may finally answer the question:

“What type of voice actor should you use for your explainer video?”

Here, we’re going to dissect their research to see what it really means for our clients and anyone looking to create an explainer video for their company.

The Study

ConversionXL Institute recruited 202 participants from the United States. Each participant watched the same promotional video. The only difference was that they were randomly assigned to one of four voices:

1. A Professional Female Voiceover (50 participants)
2. An Amateur Female Voiceover (51 participants)
3. An Amateur Male Voiceover (50 participants)
4. A Professional Male Voiceover (51 participants)

The Results

The findings published by ConversionXL are as follows:

1. People trusted the female voices more. Professionalism didn’t seem to matter.

2. The professional male voiceover was rated as the least attractive.

3. People generally preferred the voice that they originally heard when it came to picking a voice they liked most from the 10-second sound clips.

ConversionXL-table

 Limitations

This is a relatively small study, with only four voices being tested. In reality, there are hundreds of thousands of voiceover artists out there! If the study had been larger, the findings may have offered different, and arguably more accurate, results.
Another limitation from the study, that ConversionXL discovered in hindsight, is that they did not ask respondents their gender. This is important because a previous voiceover study by Zanbaka et. al. (2006) found that there is a cross-preference for voices between genders: males prefer female voices, and females prefer male voices. So perhaps most of the respondents of this survey were male and this is why results favoured female voiceover artists.

The Harris Poll

It’s worth noting another voiceover study here. The Harris Poll conducted research in 2010 that focused specifically on whether consumers are more responsive to male or female voices in advertisements.

Although the data is now quite dated, the results may still be of interest to brands looking to create an explainer video. Rather than focusing on general data, such as “which voice do you prefer?” like ConversionXL, The Harris Poll honed in on more specific traits of male and female voices. Through their research they discovered that 48% of respondents found a male voice more forceful, and when it comes to persuasiveness, 46% believe the gender of the voiceover artist makes no difference. Read the full report, here.

Final Thoughts

Studies like the ones detailed above can offer insight into the minds of consumers, but they must be taken with a pinch of salt.