Radio sales pitches are packed with ratings and cost per point information. But a new survey from the Association of National Advertisers suggests those metrics on which buyers and planners are making their decision are of less importance to the advertiser writing the check.
One in three advertisers said they are currently using ratings as a key performance indicator or KPI. And far fewer – 23% – described ratings as one of the most important metrics on which to judge media.
Cost per point (CPP) is a bigger factor, but it is probably not as big as what media buyers suggest. Fewer than half (46%) of the advertisers surveyed said CPP is a metric they currently use when assessing where to buy. And 24% described it as an important factor to them.
It is much the same for cost per thousand as 83% of marketers said their buys are currently measured by the metric, but just 29% labeled CPM as one of the most important factors to them.
The findings are part a larger takeaway from the survey conducted by the ANA showing there is often a disconnect between the KPI metrics that advertisers are using today and the ones they label as most important to them when they make their marketing mission.
The most used KPI metrics for media among those surveyed are primarily efficiency-focused – such as CPMs and exposure counting KPIs like unique reach. Only two of the top 12 are based on outcome like return on investment (ROI) and conversion.
“This suggests that media KPIs that are the most used are mainly focused on the top of the marketing funnel, favoring measurement of the ‘stimulus’ over the measurement of the response,” the report says.
Yet five of the 12 KPIs labeled as most important for media are based on outcome. Four are measurement quality. Efficiency and pricing are further back. “This suggests that media management today is being held directly accountable for driving business outcomes, and that the quality of the media exposure is more important than the quantity of the media exposure in driving results,” the report concludes.
The ANA fails to address, however, whether the disconnect exposed is a function of marketers spouting off what would be the biggest elements in an ideal world, rather than the world in which buyers are placing orders. Those buyers, after all, are hired and directed by the same CMOs who are offering a different take on what is most important to them.
Radio’ Reach Advantage
Working in radio’s favor is the fact that it is a big-reach medium, with broadcast radio reaching more than 90% of Americans each week according to Nielsen. In the ANA survey, unique reach ranks among both the most used (No. 3) and most important (No. 7) KPIs for media.
“Unique reach is perhaps the single most important metric impacting effectiveness,” said Greg Pharo, Global Director of Media Analytics and Advertising Research at the Coca- Cola Company, and one of the survey participants.
TD Bank Senior VP Ivy Brown thinks all marketers should ask their agencies and media vendors for the reach number. “It is very challenging to understand how effective we are in reaching desired audiences across media channel plans without this, especially if you are focused on upper-funnel activities,” she said. “Perhaps we start with the channels that receive audience data, match that across platforms, and look at ways to get at unique reach,” she said.
The report also includes a temperature check on what the ANA calls “head fake” KPI metrics – those that may be endorsed by a media partner but aren’t really useful and may even be deceptive. Those include social media likes, sentiments and comments, and the number of shares. Marketers ranked all of those very low in importance with likes and shares coming in dead last.
The survey about 39 different KPIs was fielded in January and February among members of the ANA Media Leadership Committee and Digital & Social Media Committee. The ANA says there were 93 respondents.
Download a copy of the ANA’s full Media KPIs That Matter study HERE.