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Radio Attribution

December 3, 2019

You have likely seen the Cumulus Media/Westwood One study on the effectiveness of radio campaigns for a jewelry store. If not, check it out here.

This is an excellent piece of research. It does a great job marrying the reach and frequency of radio with web analytics. This is exactly the type of research radio needs to publicize more frequently.

The appeal of digital advertising for so many companies is the instant gratification that comes with seeing exactly how the campaign is performing. With “real time” dashboards, a client can actually watch their campaign unfold.

This sugar rush can often hide the nether world of digital advertising. The useless impressions, bot clicks, etc. However, perception is reality so this is something radio needs to understand and embrace.

We loved the data, the charts, and the granular information presented in the study.

As The Ratings Experts, we do need to point out one part that requires further explanation.

According to the study, 21% of the campaign ran Mon-Fri 7P-Midnight. Yet, that generated 47% of the attributed web sessions. That is a stunningly high rate of action to those radio commercials. It could even suggest that more advertising dollars should be spent at night.

This is where we need to pump the brakes.

The 7P-Midnight daypart almost always has the lowest market AQH of any of the standard dayparts. We have seen this data in market after market. To put it another way, there are less fish to find at night. We also find that – generally – the highest AQH daypart is 3P-7P.

This is still a positive that just requires a bit of finesse. OK, a bit of spin.

First, it makes logical sense that most civilians are doing the bulk of their retail surfing in the evening. They (hopefully) are not doing so during drive times. There is likely an impression carry-over from drive time to couch time. One could also make the case that a Morning Drive spot reinforces the previous evening’s behavior.

Second, this implies that potential customers were effectively reached by the advertising message enough times to recall it during surfing time. Voila! Reach and frequency! Radio’s strength.

We need more of these fact-based studies to remind the advertising community of the power of radio.

Kudos to Cumulus Media and Westwood One.

If you have any questions about this blog or the services we offer, please contact us!

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant