Nielsen ‘Promo Effect” Study Shows Radio Drives 33% Lift In TV Viewership.


When TV networks use radio advertising to drive tune-in for a new series, just buying a handful of gross rating points (GRPs) on premiere day won’t cut it. To be effective, TV tune-in campaigns on AM/FM require a 45% weekly reach and at least 150 GRPs, according to a new Nielsen study commissioned by Westwood One.


Nielsen measures both radio and TV in the top 48 markets with its 80,000-person Portable People Meter panel, giving it a closed-loop system to measure the impact of radio campaigns on actual TV tune-in. For its “Promo Effect” study, the measurement giant examined those exposed to TV tune-in AM/FM radio ads and those who didn’t hear the radio ads. The difference in TV audiences between the two groups is the “lift” generated by the AM/FM ads.


A “spray and pray” approach isn’t effective, the study found. Instead, 150-175 GRPs is the suggested AM/FM campaign weight for TV tune-in campaigns. For example, a $750,000 investment in network radio, assuming a $5,000 cost per point, reaches 45% of U.S. adults 25-54 over the course of a week and an $875,000 buy reaches 47%.


Radio’s role in the marketing mix for TV networks turns on its ability to reach light/medium TV viewers that miss promos and paid TV ads running on other networks and cable.


Nielsen conducted three case studies for the “Promo Effect” study. In the first, an un-named network ran a four-week campaign for an eight-episode documentary mini-series. The radio spots ran for two weeks leading up to the launch and during the ten-day period of the mini-series. The AM/FM radio campaign generated a 52% lift in live viewing and up to seven days of time-shifted exposure. The younger the demographic, the greater the lift of TV tune-in. For example, among 55+ viewers exposed to the campaign there was a 28% lift in TV audience. But that jumped to an 86% increase among persons 25-54 and 119% among Millennials 18-34.


Among those who watched multiple episodes of the mini-series, the AM/FM radio campaign generated the greatest tune-in lift, Westwood One says in a blog post summarizing the findings.


The study also shows the importance of frequency in converting those exposed to the radio campaign into viewers. “The frequency sweet spot occurred among those exposed two or three times to the AM/FM radio tune-in campaign,” said Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media/Westwood One. Viewership among persons 18-54 was double among those exposed two or three times to the AM/FM radio campaign (15%) versus those who were not exposed to the AM/FM radio campaign (7.4%).


The second case study looked at a major cable network that used broadcast radio to help launch the returning season of a scripted drama series. AM/FM accounted for only 5% of the paid media campaign, which also included paid TV and promos running on their network and co-owned networks. The paid TV campaign reached 37.3 million Americans. AM/FM radio added an incremental audience of 15%, bringing 5.4 million new sets of eyes to watch the series, according to Westwood One. AM/FM radio delivered a much younger audience than TV with seven in 10 AM/FM radio impressions coming from 18-54-year-olds. On the flipside, nearly half of all the TV impressions were from 55+.


And from a cost standpoint, AM/FM radio’s reach and impressions are priced much more efficiently. AM/FM radio is only 20% of TV’s CPM and cost per thousand net reach.


The final case study scrutinized a major national television network’s campaign on the Westwood One network for a two-week run of a historical mini-series. Among persons 25-54, there was a 27% viewing lift among those exposed and a 44% lift among persons 18+. “AM/FM radio was particularly successful in driving tuning behavior beyond the network’s core viewers,” said Bouvard. Nearly nine of ten viewers (88%) delivered by AM/FM radio were new or light network viewers.


Along with the three new case studies Nielsen found a powerful pattern that emerged over the course of fifteen case studies conducted across four years. Among viewers who tuned into a program, persons who were exposed to an AM/FM radio ad were 33% more likely to tune in compared to viewers who were not exposed to AM/FM radio ads. “For TV campaigns needing to drive viewership, AM/FM radio makes tune-in campaigns better,” Bouvard concluded.


The study matched Media Monitors ad occurrences to PPM panelist viewing activity.Conversion was defined as the percentage exposed to a radio spot who also tuned into the TV show.

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