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New Measurement Capabilities For Radio Illuminate The Medium’s ROI.

One reason radio’s share of ad spend historically hasn’t matched its share of media usage has to do with advertising attribution. Radio's broadcast nature makes attaching a digital pixel for tracking individual listeners from exposure to purchase an impossibility. But as RAB Senior VP of Business Development Tammy Greenberg notes, that doesn’t mean that radio in all its forms —podcasts, streaming audio, and over-the-air broadcasts — can’t be measured with every key performance indicator attributed back to the medium. Au contraire, an expanding array of attribution services makes it possible for an audio ad's influence on a consumer's purchase journey to be measured.

However, when it comes to direct attribution measurement, “all media channels are not created equal,” Greenberg writes in an op-ed for the ANA (Association of National Advertisers). “Each requires methodology suited to the form in which advertising content is delivered.” What’s more, the often pervasive last-click attribution – in which all credit for a conversion is given to the final touchpoint in the buyer’s journey – doesn’t tell the whole story.

“Radio can be a full-funnel solution for brands, both on its own and by amplifying the performance of other media,” Greenberg writes in “If You Dream It, Radio Can Measure It.” Depending on the advertiser’s goal, there are a litany of methodologies to measure and improve radio’s return on ad spend: attribution, multitouch attribution, upper-funnel lift studies, engagement neuroscience, creative evaluations, and media mix models.

“Gauging the impact of campaigns in real time falls within the expertise of the many attribution providers who can implement cross-channel methods, allowing advertisers the ability to understand the effect and amplification that occurs between radio advertising and other digital marketing channels,” Greenberg adds.

Blinded By Science

Well before an attribution provider like LeadsRx is used to track how radio ads impact consumer behavior across different touchpoints, it’s important for marketers to understand what will move the consumer to act. That’s where brand effect, neuroscience, and emotional resonance studies come in. These measure the strength and engagement of a campaign, which will correlate back to conversions.

For example, System 1's "Listen Up" study shows that audio ads that make listeners feel more positive can dramatically change consumer behavior, generating over 8% more brand action and delivering longer-lasting brand effects. Greenberg also cites a Westwood One analysis of MediaProbe's neuroscientific emotional engagement testing which found the emotional impact score of AM/FM radio advertising was 12% higher than TV's.

Then there’s media mix modelling, the complex systems used by media planners at large national brands, which have historically underestimated the value of radio and overestimated the value of other media channels. That’s due in large part to the data input provided to modelers often being based on planned media weight instead of as-run data. Here the RAB aims to make a difference. The trade group has committed to providing as-run data to marketers, agencies, and their modelers to help improve the accuracy of measurement for brands.

Horizon-Claritas Entry

Now there’s a new significant player in the audio attribution space, which Greenberg hinted at but didn’t launch until after her piece was published. Horizon Next, the performance shop of agency giant Horizon Media, has partnered with ArtsAI, a Claritas-owned consumer tracking and attribution platform, to launch an enhanced audio analytics service that promises increased transparency for radio/audio. A marriage of audience measurement with technology and analytics, the partnership is being positioned as a way to demonstrate the true impact audio investment has on an advertiser’s bottom line, offering a more accurate way to measure the relative ROI of radio.

“As technological innovations continue to enhance capability, there are many companies that are and will be emerging as additional attribution solutions,” Greenberg concludes. “Marketers can rest assured that, as advertising technology advances, radio's ability to provide campaign data will become even smarter, faster, and stronger.”

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