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Nielsen Department Store Study: AM/FM Ad Campaign Drives Double-Digit Sales, Customer Base Lifts.

A 2021 Nielsen study commissioned by Cumulus Media, matching Portable People Meter panel exposures to a national department store chain's AM/FM radio ad campaign with their credit and debit purchase data, shows the three-month campaign grew store sales by 10%, upped the retailer's customer base by 17% and expanded its share of category spend 15%, according to Westwood One's analysis of the data in its “Everyone's Listening” blog.

The study, conducted from April through July 2021 among more than 32,000 PPM panelists in Nielsen’s 48 PPM markets who were customers of the national department store chain – where 54% were exposed and 44% unexposed to the AM/FM ads – also shows that even those exposed to the ads one or two times over the three-month flight, which overall reached 58% of Americans, generated a 22.4% increase in the chain's customer base, while three to six exposures grew the base 7.6% and seven or more drove it up 17.8%.

“Over the years, Nielsen has conducted dozens of sales effect studies quantifying AM/FM radio’s ability to generate strong sales growth and return on advertising spend,” Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “But one year into the pandemic, would AM/FM radio still generate impressive sales effect for retailers? Did the pandemic dent AM/FM radio’s ability to generate sales effect? Not in the least.”

According to its analysis, Westwood One also found that ad exposure drove key growth in buyer behavior, with total transactions per household up 11% among existing customers and 31% among heavy shoppers. Additionally, as the three-month flight included five seasonal campaigns, Nielsen was able to break out each one's impact on buyer penetration and total spend, showing all but one of the five resulted in double-digit percent increases in both, with one increasing spend by more then 30%.

Against other retailers' return on ad investment, the chain's $13 of incremental sales for each dollar spent on the campaign compares favorably. “Reach is the foundation of marketing effectiveness,” Bouvard says. “As America’s number one mass reach media, AM/FM radio generates significant sales effect for advertisers.”

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