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Research Pegs AM/FM Radio As 'Ideal Media Platform' For Tax Prep Brands.

Following up on its performance analysis of radio spots from several tax preparation services during this past year's filing season, Cumulus Media's report on additional studies measuring campaign impact brings more good news for AM/FM radio.

“Radio is the ideal medium for tax preparation advertisers, [and] the ideal media platform vs. television to reach consumers that are in the category,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “Not only are heavy radio listeners more likely to be in the category, but they're willing to pay more, so it's a high value marketplace.”

Bouvard cites a MARU/Matchbox survey of more than 1,000 respondents fielded by Cumulus last April, showing AM/FM radio listeners are more likely to be users of tax preparation services. Heavy AM/FM radio listeners showed greater likelihood than heavy TV viewers to use these services, whether online (116 for heavy AM/FM radio listeners, versus 92 for heavy TV viewers) or onsite (144, vs. 63). That study also found that heavy AM/FM listeners are 39% more likely to pay more than $300 to have their taxes prepared, compared to the sample as a whole.

Tapping LeadsRx to measure the impact of one such campaign, Cumulus found that AM/FM radio ads generated between a 43% and a 47% increase in website traffic, which was more likely to be driven by the service's mention of its brand name in the first five seconds of a 30-second spot, and by a greater number of brand mentions throughout ads. “If you want your ads to drive more sales, search and site traffic, brand early and often, don't be shy to repeat [your name] five or six times,” Bouvard says. “We're in the memory business, because if you don't create a strong recall, there's no location visitation and no clicks.”

LeadsRx's study also found that AM/FM spots lifted web interactions the most on Mondays (up 49%), followed by Saturdays and Sundays (47% each), and that only news/talk and sports stations drove a higher share of web sessions than of ad impressions. “Sports [and news/talk] really punched above their weight, delivering search and site traffic for the marketer, so spoken word is doing a really good job here,” Bouvard says. “So this allows you to optimize your media plan, emphasizing those programming formats that drive the greatest search and site traffic.”

Based on the results of a third Cumulus-commissioned study, location-based attribution researcher Motionworks found that aided awareness for a tax prep service was stronger among heavy AM/FM listeners, with 39% saying the brand was very or extremely familiar, vs. 25% for the total sample. That research also found that markets with heavy AM/FM radio campaign investment saw significantly greater unique location visitation activity for the brand than in markets with light media weight.

“Weight matters,” Bouvard says. “There is a direct relationship between your budget and the GRPs that you are spending and the impact – literally, retail visits – created by your campaign.”

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