The Connected Car Is Helping Show The Effectiveness Of Radio Advertising.


Radio works. Scores of advertisers already know it’s a great way to market their products, especially to people who are in their cars. But the dashboard is changing, and so are in-car media habits. New research conducted by General Motors is helping demonstrate that radio occupies an important place in the media plan, demonstrating that with fast food chain Taco Bell. Here’s how they proved it.


General Motors rolled into the Columbus, OH market with a flight of radio commercials that aired between July 14 and Sept. 14, 2019. Using GPS data from 185,000 connected GM vehicles, during the two-month study the automaker was able to track which consumers heard the audio ad and then visited a Taco Bell location within the next seven days. Forbes reports GM and Taco Bell examined three different radio creatives, including a 30-second ad, an air personality’s live read, and a sponsor billboard for news, traffic and weather reports.


The analysis determined it wasn’t morning or afternoon drive during this pre-pandemic time that had the top level of driving activity, but rather middays. The study also showed that the :30-second ad was the most effective at converting listeners into Taco Bell customers although the combination of air personality live reads and sponsor billboard mentions also were effective when the two ad formats were combined.


The study was presented to an Advertising Research Foundation conference last month, and media consultant Brad Adgate, a former longtime senior VP of Research at ad agency Horizon Media, shared the results in Forbes. He said although the study involved only one market and only one advertiser, GM was encouraged by the findings and will look at conducting similar studies in other cities.


ARF President Scott McDonald told Adgate the study was one of the most talked about reports presented at their AudienceXScience conference this year. “It opens up a promising path for the study of all audio advertising,” said McDonald.

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