It’s all about the data. Last week at The Radio Show in Orlando, a lot of time was dedicated to data and what radio stations can do with it to generate more revenue. General Motors has gotten into the data collection business and the automotive giant is using radio as a way to collect it.
GM conducted a three-month test using in-car Wi-Fi, tracking the habits of drivers. The goal was to explore whether there’s a relationship between what drivers listen to and what they buy. A GM spokesman also tells The Detroit Free Press that the data from this study could also help GM develop a better way to measure radio listenership, something advertisers would love to get their hands on, so they could target their ads..
The study was done in two cities, Los Angeles and Chicago and the 90,000 drivers in the study agreed to participate. One driver, according to the paper, listened to a country station and ate at Tim Horton’s restaurant. GM uses that information to speculate if an ad placed in the channel, aimed at that listener, by another restaurant, might change that person from stopping at Tim Horton’s and pulling into another nearby restaurant.
In the story, GM Spokesperson Jim Cain said the data collected in these types of studies is much more useful than radio’s ratings system. “Current ratings systems rely on diaries or Personal People Meters, which have many limitations, including small sample sizes. Connected radios generate data that could allow for more radio markets to be measured and provide other valuable insights.”
There will always be a question of whether this is digging too deep into the privacy of the consumer, or, whether it leads to a better listening experience for that consumer. It all depends on what happens with the data, if anything. Cain told the newspaper, it’s all a work in progress. “We now know that we can glean important insights on radio listening habits. It has generated interest in the advertising and broadcast communities. But we don’t have any new projects to announce at this time.”