After releasing numerous studies on radio’s ad effectiveness the past few years, Nielsen has compiled several of them into a new compendium that provides a crash course in the medium’s strength, a sort of radio’s greatest ROI hits. “Radio (Re) Discovered, A Brand Manager’s Guide To Radio” was recently sent to 1,800 Nielsen radio station clients.
In a hand-written cover note, Brad Kelly, managing director, Nielsen Audio, explains the genesis of the project. “Have you ever wondered why some big billion-dollar brands just don’t use radio? Me too,” Kelly writes. “I started asking them that very question and the answer shocked me—they simply don’t know enough about our medium. That’s something Nielsen Audio can help with.”
The 20-page guide, intended to help advertisers better understand how and why radio works, gives sellers credible research to help reintroduce the medium to tough-to-convince prospects.
A Kelly-penned introduction sets the stage. “When Nielsen added Audio to the media it measures, radio’s reach surpassed all other media, surprising a few people in the process,” it says. “Marketers and brand managers are rediscovering radio. It’s a mass medium that can deliver targetability and message frequency.”
It goes on to remind how radio’s in-car listening strength gives advertisers the opportunity to deliver their message just before the point of purchase. And that radio advertising can complement TV campaigns by boosting memorability for ads that run in both media.
“Accountability is more than a buzzword. Advertisers increasingly insist on it and radio delivers,” the guide declares. To that end, Nielsen has moved beyond just traditional audience metrics and now feeds its audio data into tools that track return on ad spend and cross-media incremental reach to provide a better understanding of how radio advertising works.
But the real proof is in the pudding. That comes in the form of six “return on ad spend” studies for major ad categories. These match credit and debit card purchases to exposure to radio ads to quantify the additional revenue gained from listeners who heard the radio ads.
For instance, a study for a national cable network promoting a primetime sporting event shows radio’s “recency effect.” On average, 27% of the people who were exposed to the radio ads tuned in to watch the game that evening. But the ads that ran 90 minutes or less before the game had the highest conversion rate—53% of the people who were exposed to radio ads during the 7pm-8:30pm daypart watched the game.
As the critical holiday shopping season approaches, and retailers are challenged by fierce competition from online stores such as Amazon, the guide recaps a campaign effect study from a major retailer. It found that store visits were 20% higher, visits to the retailer’s website were 75% higher, click-through rates soared 160% for the retailer’s online ads and product searches jumped 40% among those exposed to the radio ads. Significantly, radio advertising increased sales in-store and online for that retailer.
There are also studies for a telco provider, fast food chain, department store, home improvement chain, mass merchandiser and a consumer packaged goods company.
When examined individually the studies shine a positive light on radio’s effectiveness. But presented collectively, “they start to represent a body of work that builds a case,” Kelly tells Inside Radio. “It’s not radio instead of, it’s radio in addition to [other media].”
There’s also data from the Nielsen Q4 2016 Comparable Metrics reports showing radio’s top-ranked reach compared to other platforms, and a four-year trend that tracks how the radio audience continues to grow every year.