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Study Suggests AM/FM Builds Awareness, Purchase Intent For D2C Brands Heavy On Podcasts.

Adding AM/FM radio to the media plan of a direct-to-consumer brand having made its bones on podcasts can potentially grow its total awareness and purchase consideration by reaching an audience more than half of which are not podcast listeners. That's according to the results of a study conducted by Cumulus Media in conjunction with The Harris Poll, as reported in Westwood One's weekly blog.

“Direct-to-consumer brands have successfully used podcast advertising to launch their businesses,” Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “The question is, have they saturated the podcast audience? Should they expand into AM/FM radio to grow reach and sales?”

Based on Harris' performance tracking of a month-long national AM/FM radio test campaign by a meal kit delivery service having advertised only on podcasts to that point, the answer to both questions appears to be yes. AM/FM boosted total brand equity – a composite of momentum, consideration, quality, and familiarity – by 3.5 points, while it grew more than twice that among heavy AM/FM listeners. “The meal kit delivery service’s brand is fully developed among podcast listeners [while] underdeveloped among AM/FM radio listeners,” Bouvard says. “Prior to the AM/FM radio campaign, the meal kit delivery service’s brand equity among AM/FM radio listeners was actually lower than in the general market.”

Additionally, brand familiarity for the service gained 9.6 points among heavy AM/FM listeners, from 44.5% to 54.1%, nearly doubling the general market growth. Among podcast listeners, the gain was only 2.6 points, as familiarity moved from an already-whopping 68.4% to 71.0%, far ahead of the general market's 53.7%. “The AM/FM radio advertising test was a smashing success,” Bouvard says.

Purchase intent was also positively impacted by AM/FM radio ads, with brand consideration up 7.9 points, more than twice the 3.5-point uptick for podcast listeners, with a 4.0-point gain overall. “Again, there are signs of podcast audience saturation,” Bouvard says. “Brand consideration is much stronger among podcast listeners versus the general market and heavy AM/FM radio listeners.”

The results of the meal kit delivery service's four-week AM/FM campaign, which translated to a 5% lift in brand trial and 10% in brand usage among heavy AM/FM listeners, is still a far cry from the +21% trial and +51% usage gains among podcast listeners over the years, suggesting a larger commitment to AM/FM advertising can yield greater results. “While the one-month AM/FM radio campaign caused awareness to surge, it is not enough of a sustained effort to cause similar levels of growth in brand trial and usage,” Bouvard says.

Helping drive this growth for the delivery service is MRI Simmons data cited by the blog showing that among meal kit users, more than half listen to only AM/FM radio and not podcasts, 4% to only podcasts and not AM/FM, and 30% to both, suggesting a key growth opportunity for the service in this study. “No wonder the AM/FM radio test generated such significant growth in brand equity, familiarity, and brand consideration,” Bouvard says. “The meal kit delivery service brand can double its addressable market with an expansion into AM/FM radio.”

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