Borrell Associates released a comprehensive digital revenue study Wednesday called, “Benchmarking Local Media’s Digital Revenues.” In the stories that follow you’ll see how the digital monsters like Facebook and Google are snatching up all the money. You’ll also see how radio is fairing in the fight for the almighty digital dollar. To be frank, it’s not that pretty a picture, despite how some in the industry keep saying digital dollars are growing by double and triple percentages. Borrell says you get 1%….a measly 1%. So we turned to the head honcho at Borrell and Associates to ask the big question. Why? Here’s what Borrell & Associates CEO Gordon Borrell had to say.
Radio Ink: Why do you believe radio has not been able to take advantage of all that digital revenue? One percent is pretty bad.
Gordon Borrell: It’s pretty simple — they’re just not asking for the order as much as everyone else. There’s some data in our current survey of local advertisers, taken in April and May of this year, that proves it. It shows that, of all types of media reps, radio it pitching digital products the least. See below.
Radio Ink: What do they need to do better to get more of that ad pie?
Gordon Borrell: I could say something wholly expected like, “have the right digital products,” or “train the sales staff better.” But the real problem is that many radio chief executives do nothing but obsess about quarterly profits and act like they’re in some sort of competition to be the most-quoted Crusader of Radio. If more CEOs would read some of the data I’m seeing — the pulse of their most important customers, the advertisers — they’d wet their shorts and, hopefully, initiate a deeper drive to meet customers’ digital needs better. Most (but not all) executives in this industry are so far out of sync with what’s happening on the front lines that I worry that the industry will never get the same amount of insulation that TV, cable, and newspapers are getting from strong, built-in digital product offerings.
Radio Ink: If you could name three specific types of digital products local clients are using, what are they seeing the most success with?
Gordon Borrell: Social media (particularly Facebook) is at the top of the list for all types of advertisers. It’s inexpensive, targeted, and delivers immediate results. Search engine marketing has suddenly risen (again), so that’s No. 2. At No. 3, I’d say it’s delivering some type of creativity around digital — cool things to do in the digital space with a contest, event, or just a cool video that goes up on YouTube and on their Facebook page.
Radio Ink: There have been reports recently about how some advertisers are spending on digital without knowing if it’s even working and they were going to cut back. That really doesn’t seem to be the case, according to your study.
Gordon Borrell: It’s more of a hope of radio people than it is a reality among local advertisers. National advertisers are certainly rattling sabers, but local advertisers are not at all inclined to cut back their digital spending. In fact, 64% are telling us they plan to increase digital spending in 2017. When we look at the comments, we see the problem: They’re no more concerned about digital fraud than they are about the fluff in radio audience data, or TV metrics, or those ridiculous “readership” numbers that newspapers keep trying to push. Don’t shoot me — I’m just telling you what the advertisers are telling us. Check out the chart below. If you don’t believe the chart, then maybe you’re part of the problem.