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Audio Attribution: When Big Data Meets Listener Surveys.

As audio consumption continues to evolve and expand, advertisers are looking for more and deeper research into how the medium moves the needle for their brands. Specifically, there is a need for more info on the “what” (how many are listening and when) and the “why” (how audio ads are impacting metrics like consideration and brand favorability).

Broadcast radio represents the largest slice of audio consumption, according to Edison Research’s second quarter 2021 “Share Of Ear.” But because the vast majority of that listening occurs via a traditional over-the air-receiver, it’s outside the realm of usage captured digitally. “That often puts it out-of-sight of agencies and advertisers,” Jeff Vidler, founder of Signal Hill Insights, says in a recent blog entry.

“When people get in their cars, they reach for the radio—it’s muscle memory, even among younger demos,” Vidler says. “Radio in the car steers listeners to bricks and mortar retail where most consumer purchases still take place. Yet radio doesn’t get full credit because most of that listening is done out of the purview of any kind of digital measurement.”

While PPM measurement of radio marked a major step forward, it isn’t able to break out listening that takes place in the car—it’s either designated as at home or away from home.

This is where big data can be used to help fill in some of the consumption gaps. As more listening of AM/FM programming shifts online, measuring it provides “a digital proxy for offline listening,” Vidler says.

In another development, Drive Time Metrics has received a patent for technology which collects, measures and analyzes in-vehicle media usage via software installed in the car’s head unit. “Broadcast radio no longer has to rely on ridiculously small sample sizes or custom one-off reports to estimate audience size or ad attribution,” says Chief Product Officer Rob Favre, the former GM and chief compliance officer for measurement at Triton Digital. “Agencies can A/B test copy to determine the efficacy of their ads,” Favre told Inside Radio in a 2019 interview. This technology allows radio to directly compete in the digital world with metrics and analysis that have simply been impossible to reliably and accurately produce.”

In the exploding podcasting world, Podsights, Chartable and other attribution companies along with measurement innovations from firms like Triton Digital are helping close the gaps around measurement and targeting, Vidler maintains. “While these digital capabilities are providing increasingly granular and accurate data on what’s happening, they alone often fall short in helping us understand why,” he says.

That’s where survey research continues to play an important role in figuring out what’s going on in people’s minds. But while brand lift studies help track the effectiveness of a campaign to drive traffic to a website or spur sales conversions, they can’t show how a campaign did in changing a listener’s perception of a brand. “Is it making the brand top of mind in its category? Is it building consideration or changing brand perceptions? Is it setting up the brand for long-term success? The big brands now coming into audio are asking these questions,” Vidler explains.

One solution Vidler expects to rise in prominence is pixel-based surveys that digitally capture exposure to an audio ad campaign and deliver those listeners a survey to gauge the campaign’s impact on things like brand awareness, favorability and consideration. “This real-time capture of exposure brings survey research into the digital realm to deliver top-of-funnel brand metrics,” he explains.

He also expects to see more opportunities where “big data” and surveys work together. “By addressing both the what and the why, the audio industry and those working within it will be best positioned to profit from the changing audio landscape,” he concludes. Read the full post HERE.

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