Looking at how we look at numbers


Nearly every time we talk, RBR Publisher Jim Carnegie and I discuss analytics and metrics. There are so many aspects to this topic that we easily spend an hour going from one point to the next. The call usually ends with the same observation from Jim: “…radio industry executives and managers need to be taught how new media fits into their world of broadcasting.”

Reasons why radio lags in almost every aspect of moving online and why I fall short on discussing code for mobile delivery (with software developers) are the same; radio executives and I lack understanding on what drives our topics of discussion.

Writing software code is complicated. It’s based on volumes of logic. A variety of outcomes for each consumer interaction must be planned. Variations on each outcome also need to be covered.

For a radio executive, the act of selling radio advertising while integrating a wide variety of web-based offerings is just as complicated.

A radio sales director does not design the web site or online ad platform, but does need to understand how a user interacts with both. Web site navigation and how to traffic and track online banner and audio ads are other “new” areas that today’s radio exec must understand. Add email lists, loyalty club data bases, and streaming issues to the mix to see why adaption of new media in the radio industry easily stagnates. Getting your station to profit from new media is not as easy as those radio seminar sessions claim.

All that said, here’s why radio hasn’t yet made the leap with both feet:

By nature, a software developer must stay abreast of the latest coding technique; fall behind as little as six months and your marketability rapidly decreases.

Within the radio industry, unfortunately, operating in a similar fashion for fifty-plus years has been acceptable. There’s little innovation, and not much there today that wasn’t present yesterday.

Until recently, radio had a false impression about being online – “build it and they will come.” Now the radio industry is waking up from a decade-long nap, and it’s apparent that the internet’s threat to the dashboard is all too real. The radio industry needs to act now, or stay stagnant and risk losing the last area in which it is the predominant option.

Here’s the caveat: Radio cannot make new media operate on radio’s terms. With a rush to apps, an array of delivery devices (each using proprietary software), agencies calling more strongly for interactive campaigns, and clients calling more loudly for response metrics, radio teams must learn how to operate within the new media environment.

There’s no way to write an article on all that you need to know to integrate new media. You can’t even write a single book about this topic. But we can start slow, perhaps, with a little “Ad Tracking 101.” Consider this a primer on what an account rep should deliver to a client who is buying some of those web site banners on your station’s web site.

Start with these thoughts:

1) Whenever possible, an over-the-air campaign should be styled to take advantage of the internet. A call-to-action by pointing to a specific URL can serve as your response metric. (“Get information at ‘station_call_letters.com/(client’s_name.'”)

2) Visits, clicks, purchases, a variety of responses can be tied to a radio campaign – which means you can sell on impressions (CPM) or action (CPA). The sheet my clients get lists both, as in how much they paid for CPM and for CPA.

Clicking the chart will cause it to open with notations.

This spreadsheet can act as your report to a client on the activity of their ad at your web site and, in certain cases, from over-the-air campaigns. The above is based on a 6-month campaign, costing $1,250 a month. The ad vehicle is a 300×250 “Interactive Advertising Bureau” standard banner size. It could just as easily be an audio ad directing audience to a page on your station’s web site – or the client’s.

The only figures that need to be written in on these sheets are what the client paid each month ($1,250). All other data cells automatically calculate based on metrics provided by an analtyics program.

Over the years I’ve pointed out that implementing this approach is not simple. Now it’s become mandatory if the radio industry wants to compete with local, new media.

I’ve put together a service that does the heavy lifting for you, or which simply teaches your staff how to take the numbers available and turn them into the above. Either way, your client sees a station logo on a fact-based breakout of their advertising’s response. Request this here.

Radio has the power of accountability through analytics now – if it chooses to push its use. The result of delay will be to further hurt the industry in the long term, and have it become farther behind in giving customers actionable data on campaigns.

–Ken Dardis, President, Audio Graphics, Inc. [email protected] 440-564-7437. Among other things, Audio Graphics does analytics, metrics, radio industry ROI strategy, as well as online radio audience poll surveys with support of Borrell Associates.