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Research Shows Pet Retailers' 4% Radio Spend Amounts To 'Massive Mismatch.'

The pet supplies retail category, which according to Kantar and Magellan spent more than half a billion on advertising in the past 12 months, allocated just 4% of that budget to audio media vs. 34% to TV. “There is a massive mismatch and misallocation where audio is heavily under-invested and television is heavily over-invested,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says.

In Westwood One's weekly blog, Bouvard reviews research showing that heavy audio listeners are more likely than TV viewers to be pet owners, along with recent studies commissioned by Cumulus that show how ads on AM/FM radio and podcasts deliver results for pet retailers.

Citing figures from Scarborough, the blog points out that pet ownership is highest among adults 25-54, where nearly six in ten own one. Moreover, heavy AM/FM radio and podcast listeners, and heavy internet users are more likely to be pet owners than heavy TV viewers, where 55-57% of users of the first three, vs. 47% of the latter, own a pet. “Generally the top 20% of the users of a media platform represent 50% of the time spent and 50% of the impressions,” Bouvard says. “So by looking at the heavy users, you're seeing the kind of people that you would be reaching with an advertising investment that represents half of the impressions.”

Along those lines, Bouvard also points to a Nielsen Media Impact analysis showing how moving 20% of pet brands' ad budgets from TV to AM/FM radio generates significant reach increases. Those range from 34% to 52% – with the highest lifts for Petco and The Farmer's Dog, both up more than 50% – while reach for Pet Smart and are boosted to 65% and 79%, respectively. “Putting radio into the plan creates a tremendous increase in monthly pet owner reach,” Bouvard says, “all of this accomplished with no increase in budget, just a 20% reallocation of the TV investment over to radio.”

Cumulus put these findings to the test in a pair of Signal Hill Insights studies, tracking one national pet retailer's network radio and podcast campaigns. The first study, measuring pre- and post-campaign effect, conducted among more than 1,000 Americans aged 18+ who either had a pet in their household or planned to get one in the next six months, showed 46% of heavy AM/FM listeners were customers of the retailer vs. 39% of heavy TV viewers. Additionally, when Signal Hill played the actual radio ad for consumers before and after the campaign, aided recall increased 24%, and six in 10 said they would take an action which would involve visiting the retailer website or going to a store, making a purchase, or doing some research.

Signal Hill's other study, of the same retailer's host-read ads across Cumulus' podcast network, was conducted among those unexposed vs. exposed to the campaign, sampling more than 400 monthly podcast listeners aged 18+ with an interest in at least one of the podcast genres offered and having a pet in their household or planning to get one in the next six months. “The podcast campaign knocked it out of the park,” Bouvard says, as exposure generated a +15% growth in average brand perceptions, and increased top-of-mind awareness 55%, brand consideration 24%, brand recommendation 23% and online purchase intent 24%.

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