Nielsen and Arbitron: Radio’s Power Couple

Written By

SMI Staff

Published On

Thursday, May 29

Radio advertising just got an infusion of “awesome.”

When Nielsen acquired Arbitron in the fall of last year, it made sense. Nielsen’s global capabilities and scale would combine with Arbitron’s unique radio measurement and listening information to form a marketing research juggernaut. But few knew just how positive the impact would be for marketers.

Demonstrating what clients get for their marketing investment dollars has always been a top priority for radio advertising agencies, but thanks to Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS), advertisers can begin to move beyond traditional ROI metrics, such as age, sex, and demographics, to encompass the effects of complimentary TV, digital, mobile and even print advertising.

NCS has created an extensive dataset that captures the exposure of cross-media campaigns to multiple audiences. This information is then compared to purchasing behavior prior to, during, and after exposure, in order to get a fuller picture of an advertiser’s return on investment (ROI). As Nielsen Executive Vice President, Steve Hasker, puts it, “It really has enabled us to crack the code and develop an ROI index for radio.”

But that’s not where the good news ends.

Nielsen’s recent report on cross-platform advertising reiterates radio’s value as a reach medium. The study measured numerous campaigns for foodstuffs, over-the-counter medications, health and beauty products, alcoholic beverages, and household goods. When compared to other media, radio’s ROI won by a landslide. In fact, the brands surveyed averaged a sales lift of more than $6 for every $1 spent on radio ads. This ROI is double that of even the best results from recent digital or TV studies. In one case, a retail brand delivered $23.21 in sales lift for every $1 invested. This leads to their conclusion that many marketers who are currently not utilizing radio can improve their overall marketing ROI by adding radio to their media mix.

NCS and its partners (which include CBS Radio and Clear Channel) are also in the process of identifying which platforms listeners use for audio at different times of the day. The goal is to show advertisers the impact of a combination of strategic media placements, such as a radio ad during the morning drive and another via streaming audio just before consumers run their lunchtime errands. This multi-audio media strategy keeps products and services top of mind throughout the listener’s day and creates an effect that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Radio has always been trackable as far as ROI is concerned; that’s part of its advertising appeal. But by finding ways in which marketers can understand their radio ROI better and grow their overall ROI exponentially, Nielsen has just introduced a serious game-changer.

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