He Thought Radio Didn’t Work. Boy Was He Wrong.

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David Ballinger is the founder of a 2-year-old company called AnalyticOwl, which helps advertisers evaluate just how much traffic is being delivered to an advertiser’s website when that advertiser runs an over-the-air radio campaign. Yesterday, we reported that CBS Radio was rolling out a new product called Airtime Analytics which is powered by AnalyticOwl. What you probably didn’t know was that Ballinger was a radio non-believer. He actually set out to prove radio didn’t work. That didn’t turn out too well. Here’s our exclusive interview…

Radio Ink: How was the company launched and funded?
Ballinger: Launched while working with a car dealership group in Orlando and being frustrated we couldn’t measure iHeart radio. Actually I was not a believer in radio. I wanted to prove radio didn’t work so the dealership could be a 100% digital dealership. I self-funded.

Radio Ink: Who are some of your other clients?
Ballinger: Townsquare, CBS, Entercom. Expecting tests in 2017 with every major radio group. Negotiations are happening with them all right now. Also working on tests with major cable TV and broadcast TV owners.

Radio Ink: Tell us about the CBS deal.
Ballinger: [CBS Radio’s] Bob Phillips reached out and said, “We want to bring radio into the 21st century.” He saw the value in what we were doing for car dealerships for all CBS advertisers. We started rolling out to markets in June 2016. We have rolled out to 20 CBS markets in record time.

Radio Ink: Exactly how are you able to measure the effectiveness of a radio campaign and how a client’s ad sends a listener to a specific website?
Ballinger: We ingest times commercials aired directly from the media companies and can see the resulting Web traffic to an advertiser’s website…it took years of playing with algorithms to get it right…We started with a spot an hour on iHeart stations in Orlando to determine if we could get usable data. The goal was to increase Web traffic, appointments, show rates, and cars sold. We saw immediately a direct correlation in aired commercials and spikes in website traffic we could use to determine the effectiveness of creative message and schedule e.g. daypart.

Radio Ink: Give us a specific example of a client where you were able to calculate the R.O.I.
Ballinger: Too many to list…We have thousands of advertisers plugged into the platform…They are gaining the same insights into their creative and schedule…For example is free shipping going to get more response than 20% off?…Now we know and can measure the effectiveness of different messages on a specific radio station with a specific audience. Sometimes the message finds the audience, sometimes the audience helps you define what the message should be to create more response from an aired commercial…So now we can chase and optimize audience response rather than reach and frequency.

Radio Ink: What do you want radio companies to know about your company?
Ballinger: We’re growing fast and uniquely have a support staff in Orlando that not only helps AEs and advertisers get plugged in to the platform, but we also help review data. It’s been a true win-win. The clients can get better ROI and more response, and the media companies can cut down churn rates and retain advertisers.

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