Advertisers just want their advertising to work. They judge those results by how much sales increase. Advertisers sort of believe radio works, but without the kind of instant ratings they get with TV, and instant data they get with digital, radio can be kind of a crap shoot for them. Is Westwood One about to start a trend to change all that? Will this lead to more revenue for radio? We asked the person who introduced the new program, EVP of Corporate Marketing for Cumulus Media and President of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes.
Radio Ink: Guaranteeing advertising is a major step, a big deal. Why do this?
Grimes: We have seen stunning radio ROI data across the board and are convinced of radio’s ability to generate a positive return, so much so that we are offering the ROI guarantee to our advertisers. Given secular trends across the media landscape, brands are deeply concerned over ad fraud, viewability, and questionable metrics.
This is not our first foray into data. We have partnered with best-in-class data and insights companies such as Nielsen Marketing Cloud, NextRadio, and MARU/Vision Critical. The launch of Westwood One’s One Way has focused our holistic approach to smart targeting, testing and proving attribution, sales results, and effectiveness. We know we have the tools and the strength of the medium to prove radio’s sales growth.
It’s clear marketers demand solutions to target customers and generate results. The reason we are doing this is to elevate radio as the targetable, measurable mass-reach medium that, simply put, delivers.
Radio Ink: Specifically how will you know the ads worked? How can you guarantee results?
Grimes: Ads work when there is positive ROI. For this program, positive ROI is at least a noted return improvement on an advertiser’s media investment. For every dollar invested in radio, there will be positive incremental sales per a Nielsen Return on Advertising Spend Study.
We can guarantee results because there is strong and proven evidence of radio’s powerful ROI. Nielsen has conducted 23 return-on-investment studies over the past two years for radio. So we know AM/FM radio works. We know the results are significant.
Radio Ink: Is this all based on sales increase with the clients?
Grimes: Yes, ROI will be based on the return of advertising spend across the entire radio industry. Nielsen will measure the ROI sales lift of the entire radio media schedule (spot radio and network radio) to show the industry-wide impact of the medium. The return on advertising spend will be based on the entire radio campaign across all vendors in network and national spot.
Radio Ink: How will you test the commercials?
Grimes: We will be pre-testing all creative before the campaign. Half of ROI and sales lift impact is due to creative, so ensuring the existing creative works is crucial. Westwood One will require creative to be pre-tested to ensure that ads at least meet average audio creative benchmarks. All commercials will be tested for likability, relatability, memorability, and relevance.
Radio Ink: What is a qualifying advertiser? How many do you expect there to be?
Grimes: Both new and existing advertisers are welcome. In order to qualify for the Westwood One ROI guarantee, a new advertiser would have to spend at least $2M gross for a Westwood One campaign over a 20-week period. New advertisers are defined as those who have not been using the Westwood One Network in the last two years. For existing advertisers, we will take a more customized approach and discuss possible inclusion in this program. Any advertisers must have existing customer purchase databases that can be utilized by Nielsen.
This is the first time we are guaranteeing ROI so we’re excited to see how many advertisers will take us up on our offer.
Radio Ink: What happens if the ROI is not met?
Grimes: If the Nielsen return on advertising spend study shows an ROI shortfall, the proportion of the ROI shortfall will be used to determine the make-good media schedule.