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ANA Presentation: Audio Ad Measurability Works In Radio's Favor.

AM/FM radio advertising's impact on brand lift, sales effect, search and site traffic, and on the media plan as a whole was the focus of a presentation at the Association of National Advertisers' recent Audio Summit. Case studies proving radio's power as an ad medium were presented by Dean Lamb, Head of Media at IT services and equipment company CDW, along with Westwood One.

“One of the common reasons why advertisers hesitate to use audio is they don't think that audio is measurable,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard, says. “[But] we are truly in the golden age of audio measurement. All of the measurement that you've come to expect from digital and TV can be conducted in audio.”

One of the cases presented, and analyzed in Westwood One's weekly blog, focuses on CDW's marketing campaign targeting IT decision makers, which ran on the NFL on the Westwood One radio network. According to a Nielsen campaign effect study, the ads generated a 38% increase in likelihood to recommend CDW, a 23% lift in aided awareness, and a 7% bump in brand favorability. “The most significant finding was that radio elevated the media plan,” Bouvard says. “Nielsen found that IT decision makers who were exposed to and could recall the radio campaign were actually more likely to remember every other aspect of the media campaign – the digital, the TV, and the print.”

Multi-touch attribution measurement firm LeadsRx's measurement of conversions of CDW's AM/FM and TV campaigns to its website's vendor pages showed that AM/FM ads generated 25% of site and search traffic with 16% of the total media spend, a 58% increase over its share of budget, while TV with 84% of the spend generated just 75%. “Audio punches above its weight,” Bouvard says. “Its ability to drive search and site traffic is compelling.”

Another Nielsen study presented at ANA showed how, by matching PPM commercial exposure data to shopper credit and debit card data, a major retailer with spots on AM/FM and TV saw triple the sales lift (13.4%) from consumers reached by only the AM/FM radio ads, vs. 4.6% only reached by TV, while those seeing both generated just a 4.8% increase. “AM/FM radio is the media plan reach accelerator,” Bouvard says. “[There are] lots of case studies [focused on] radio's ability to generate incremental reach, especially helping linear TV.”

Along those lines, other Nielsen research matching PPM ad exposure to purchase data or retail spend shows that for every dollar invested in AM/FM ads, the incremental sales generated far exceeds the investment, with a dollar of ads for grocery retailers generating a sales return of $23, and the same for auto aftermarket retailers generating $21. Overall, retail's ROI averages at around $16, and that of consumer-packaged goods brands is close to $4.

The ANA panel not only reiterated the recent findings from ad researchers ABX that AM/FM radio creative effectiveness is 92% of television at one-fourth of the CPM – debunking the idea that TV ads with sight, sound and motion have it all over radio – it also stressed the importance of creative testing for audio ads. Creative effectiveness measurement firm System1's tests of ads show that long-term share growth is driven by the level of emotional connection to consumers, with potential market share gains increasing as the emotional resonance gets stronger. “The more you feel, the more you buy,” Bouvard says. “One of the critical aspects of your advertising is to ask yourself, does this ad make people feel something? If it's just a laundry list of facts and figures and salesmanship, it's not going to move the needle as much on sales.”

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