How Radio Builds Effectiveness for RMN Campaigns

The complementary effectiveness of radio’s always-on audience and retail media networks’ deep dataset

Author: Tammy Greenberg, SVP/Business Development, RAB

The marketing industry has long leaned into results-driven marketing efforts that square up against specific goals, audiences, and strategies. Today, due in part to the current financial climate, seemingly all marketing is performance marketing, with metrics defined by cost per audiences reached, served, and, ultimately, converted.

Retail media networks (RMNs) are a fast-growing performance marketing vehicle that affords brands the opportunity to access a retailer’s first-party customer purchase data to guide effective and targeted spend at the optimal time when considering a purchase.

According to the ANA’s 2023 report on retail media networks, advertisers primarily see RMNs as a lower-funnel tactic in the path to purchase and primarily as a way to drive sales.

Though consistent measurement standardization across the 70-plus RMNs is in its infancy, per AdAge, brands that are partnering with RMNs are realizing results and elevating the shopper experience with their brands.In the ANA’s report, one advertiser shared that “the core competence of RMNs is really about being able to track conversion and purchase. For [the] mid- and upper-funnel, RMNs don’t really have any differentiation and there’s a lot of proven competition there.”

Radio — known as a medium that can drive brand lift and increase traffic to websites and stores — is a proven performance marketing channel capable of reaching consumers as they move through their daily routines and the path to purchase. The synergies and amplification that radio can bring to RMN plans have the potential to multiply results and ROI by filling gaps at the middle and top of the marketing funnel while supporting lower-funnel activity.

Making Time for Audio

Broadcast radio is the highest reaching medium no matter how one looks at it and generates greater reach for the same (if not less) investment than television and digital, according to a Westwood One blog post from February that cites recent research from MoffettNathanson and Nielsen.

That superior reach offers an opportunity for brands to fill their upper funnel gaps. In fact, according to a recent Nielsen Canada study for a CPG brand released by Radio Connects, having radio in the media plan boosted the sales effect of retail trade promotion by 2.6 percent while also lifting all other tactics used by the brand, including television, out of home, social, search, and display.

Reaching and engaging consumers throughout their day reminds people of the messaging they may have received via their preferred retailer and kept tucked away in the back of their brains, which can inform their actions later on. To examine this, Audacy recently commissioned a study about daily rituals among adults. The research, which was conducted by Alter Agents and is based on a national survey of 1,003 respondents, an ethnography, and more than a dozen in-depth interviews, found that audio is not only integrated with activities like exercising, walking, and commuting. “Audio is its own daily ritual,” Idil Cakim, SVP of research and insights at Audacy, tells the RAB. People plan their day and activities around it, she says. “Seventy-four percent of Americans say they make sure to have time for audio in their day. For 40 percent of these people, audio is the ritual,” Cakim says. In Audacy’s report, that stat is even higher among the often-targeted gen Z audience, with 86 percent of gen Z respondents indicating they make sure to have time for audio in their day. Fifty-six percent say they organize their day around audio content.

When it comes to shopping, Audacy found that audiences create moments to stretch their shopping time to listen to audio, which can give brands more opportunities to connect and engage with customers. Twenty-three percent of respondents say they take longer to shop to make sure they have time for their favorite audio. Gen Z respondents are 48 percent more likely than average to stretch their time shopping to listen to audio content, Audacy found.

Building On the RMN First-party Data Goldmine

According to RAB estimates, nearly every one of the more than 15,000 radio stations in the U.S. owns proprietary, first-party data that captures audience preferences, passions, and demographics. The insights extracted from the data are used on behalf of advertising partners on a regular basis to generate participation in promotions, serve timely and localized messaging, enhance couponing efforts, and to seed various branding messages.

Nicole Perrin, VP of business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions, tells Inside Radio that there is tremendous opportunity for radio and digital audio platforms to partner with retail marketing networks (RMNs) in data clean rooms to help marketers identify and message a larger target audience and understand the effects of their ads.

“There’s all of this retailer data that helps advertisers target … ads,” Perrin tells the trade publication. “Radio or digital audio companies would have the same potential there to find retailers to partner with in some type of a data co-op situation. … Data clean rooms are a technological venue where this sort of thing could happen.”

Retailers and Brands Tap Radio to Fill the Gaps

Major retail and CPG companies including Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, and Amazon are among radio’s top spenders and, it’s safe to say, understand how to leverage the fact that radio stations from coast to coast are deeply ingrained in the communities they serve and can capitalize on the authenticity and trust that radio social influencers enjoy with their audiences.

As AdAge reported late last month in an article on P&G’s efforts to reach audiences on radio that it can no longer find through linear TV, the company has increased its investment in radio because it lines up with its business and marketing objectives and the results influence its bottom line.

“We continue to adjust where we invest as part of our overall strategy to reach our consumers where they are, when they are receptive, and in the media that resonates with them,” a P&G spokeswoman told AdAge.

Connecting with Frequency

As brands continue to identify the most effective ways to travel alongside their target consumers through their daily rituals, local insights and knowledge about how consumers respond and react to messaging will be critical to a brand’s bottom line.

Audio is unmatched in reaching consumers when they are on the go or looking for some “me-time.” With the power of radio’s social influencers and its integration with streaming platforms and podcasts, the complementary effectiveness of audio and RMNs is a win-win for marketers.


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