Industry News

WWO: Podcast Reach Now Matches That of TV

This week’s blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group analyzes data from Edison Research’s just-released Infinite Dial study. Some of the takeaways from the study that are further explored in the post include: 1) No longer is podcasting a niche platform lacking scale:im Podcasting deserves a larger role in media plans as opposed to “test and learn” experimental buys. 135 million Americans, 47% of persons 12+, are reached monthly. Among demographics such as persons 18-34, 18-49, and 25-54, monthly reach is in the low 60% range; 2) It is feasible to consider shifting TV budgets to podcasting given that podcast 18-34 reach performance is as big as TV; 3) The ratio of monthly audiences who also listen weekly is an excellent measure of podcast habituation. At present, 71% of the monthly female podcast audience also listen weekly. This is the strongest female podcast habituation in the last decade; and 4) Currently, podcasts only represent 1% of total national ad spend, per Guideline’s Standard Media Index reporting. At the dawn of cable TV, legendary BBDO media chief Arnie Semsky created the “5% solution,” which stipulated that brands devote 5% of media budgets to cable. 5% is enough of allocation to generate meaningful impact. Semsky was prescient. His brands hugely benefited from taking an early, bold, and strong position in a growing new medium, a lesson for the marketers of today when it comes to podcasts. See the full blog post here.

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WWO: Study Shows Radio Ads More Engaging Than TV Ads

This week’s blog from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group looks at data from a Mediaprobe study using electrodermal activity (via a special monitor attached to the respondent’s hand) to determine their reactions to ads in actual AM/FM radio segments. Mediaprobe says the electrodermal sensor “allows out-of-lab and real-time measurement of unconscious reactions to ads and mediaim content, providing an accurate assessment of the audience’s attentiveness and engagement.” Some of the key findings include: 1) Despite lacking “sight, sound, and motion,” AM/FM radio programming was +13% more engaging than Mediaprobe’s norm for television in the U.S. For advertisers, this means the AM/FM radio context for their ads has greater engagement than the TV context; 2) Overall, AM/FM radio advertising’s Emotional Impact Score (EIS) outperformed TV advertising by +12%. These new findings validate the recently released Dentsu/Lumen study, which revealed audio ads outperform video for attention and brand recall; 3) AM/FM radio news was the most impactful genre, consistently measuring as a high-quality contextual environment for advertising (+14% greater than Mediaprobe TV News norms and +8% than total AM/FM radio); 4) Mediaprobe audio benchmarks reveal the sound contrast between AM/FM radio programming and the ads drives higher attention and brand recall. For example, ads with music and jingles perform very well in spoken word programming due to the contrast; and 5) Creative best practices: Use female voiceovers, jingles, and include five brand mentions. See the blog post here.

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WWO Blog: Edison’s Ad Supported Audio Data

This week’s blog post from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Audio Active Group looks at data from the Edison Research Q4 2023 Share of Ear study focusing on data regarding ad-supported audio, as the post says, “what advertisers care about.” Seven key takeaways analyzed include: 1) Advertisers need to “take the me out of media” as they wildly overestimate Spotify and Pandora audiences andim dramatically understate AM/FM radio’s shares; 2) AM/FM radio represents the dominant ad-supported audio platform with a 68% overall share and a massive 86% in-car share; 3) In a typical day in America, 95% of Americans never listen to ad-supported Spotify. 94% never listen to ad-supported Pandora; 4) Podcasts’ audience soars. At a 20% share of ad-supported audio, podcasts now represent one out of every five minutes of U.S. ad-supported audio; 5) Among registered voters, AM/FM radio leads in ad-supported audience share (68%) followed by podcasts (21%); 6) After a pandemic lull, the proportion of AM/FM radio listening occurring in-car roars back; and 7) Powered by podcasts, spoken word is on a tear: 40% of all time with ad-supported audio goes to spoken word, up from 27% pre-pandemic. See the blog post here.

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WWO: AM/FM Radio Ads Provide 14% Average Lift in Site Traffic

This week’s Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog looks at the results of 17 attribution studies the company commissioned from LeadsRX for AM/FM radio campaigns for various goods and services. Some of the conclusions drawn from these studies include: 1) On average, AM/FM radio campaigns generated a +14% lift in site traffic across the 17 campaigns. Campaigns are measured against LeadsRx benchmarks to determine the performance of attributed lift. The scale ranges from aim small attributed lift (0% to +3% lift) to excellent (+15% or more). Across the 17 campaigns analyzed, the average attributed lift was +14%. Three tax preparation service campaigns achieved “excellent” status ranging from a +30% to +48% attributed lift; 2) On average, the 17 AM/FM radio campaigns saw the highest percentage of impressions at the start of the week, peaking on Mondays and Tuesdays. Compared to the Nielsen impressions, the AM/FM radio campaigns outperformed on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Advertisers should increase their use of AM/FM radio on the weekends. AM/FM radio campaigns on weekends drive impact and results; and 3) On average, evenings have a greater share of attributed web sessions due to available devices and free time of consumers. Mornings historically underdeliver their share of impressions since consumers are busy getting ready for work and school. This expected pattern should not be a reason to move campaign weight out of morning drive. Morning drive exposure results in web sessions during later dayparts when consumers have the time and available devices to respond. Read the full blog post here.

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WWO: New Apple iOS 17 to Benefit Podcast Creators

The Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Blog says the changes to auto download policy in Apple’s iOS 17 will benefit content creators as well as advertisers. It used to be that if a consumer subscribed to a podcast and signed up for auto downloads, their iPhone would often download all, of theim back episodes published before they subscribed. Since many if not most of those were never listened to, the data about listening habits was inaccurate. As the blog notes, podcasts that publish frequently will be most affected. “This is a crucial reset for the podcast industry, a much-needed rightsizing of audience data. This is a defining moment advertisers and podcast creators should both welcome. As hosts look at their downloads and reach for the Advil, they should know Apple is putting the podcast industry on the road to more accurate data. Better audience data inspires more confidence among advertisers and agencies.” Another new feature in iOS 17 is that users who haven’t listened to five downloaded episodes over the past two weeks will stop getting automatically downloaded podcasts. See the blog post here.

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WWO: Study Reveals What Ads Resonate with Podcast Listeners

Westwood One’s Audio Active Group blog presents data from the Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download report. The companies retained MARU/Matchbox to conduct an in-depth study of 608 weekly podcast consumers in October 2023 and this blog post focuses on podcast ads. The study finds that podcast consumers prefer funny and entertaining ads but 78% say they currently hearim more ads that communicate dry features/benefits. Additionally, research indicates that converting existing demand and creating future demand require different creative/copy approaches and different media strategies. Converting existing demand is most efficiently achieved by tightly targeting those “in the market” with rational messaging of product and price information that persuades them to choose the advertiser’s product over others. Creating future demand is most efficiently achieved by targeting very broad audiences of “all category buyers” with emotional messaging that is designed to stand out and be enjoyed by consumers, creating positive memories of the brand that will influence future purchase decisions. Finally, podcast consumers are invested in the success of their favorite shows. Half of weekly podcasts consumers said they wouldn’t mind a couple of extra ads per show so their favorite podcasts could continue. See the full blog post here.

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WWO’s Audio Active Group Analyzes Edison’s Q3 Share of Ear

Today’s blog post from Westwood One’s Audio Active Group looks at the results of Edison Research’s Q3 2023 Share of Ear study of the reach and time spent with all forms of audio. Some of the takeawaysim from the study include: 1) the proportion of AM/FM radio in-car listening rose 9% year-over-year and is on par with pre-pandemic levels of listening; 2) spoken-word content listening is at an eight-year high with 39% of ad-supported listening (including AM/FM, streaming and podcasts) devoted to news/talk, talk, and sports; and 3) looking at Persons 25-54, the share of ad-supported audio time spent with personalities/talk shows has increased the most – from 11% of ad-supported listening in Q4 2016 to 19.4% in Q3 of 2023. See the blog post here.

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WWO: Audio Personalities Drive Advertising Effectiveness

This week’s Westwood One Audio Active Group blog reports on a study by System1 investigating the effectiveness of talent-read ads on podcasts or AM/FM radio. The study is based on the assumption thatim a host-read ad on a podcast or AM/FM radio show drives powerful brand impact and sales effect and positive emotional impact is what measures a successful campaign. System1 studied host-read ads and devised a rating system that correlates creative quality with long-term share growth – in layman’s terms, “the more you feel, the more you buy.” But the study found that only 17% of the ads tested rated high enough to have the sufficient emotional impact necessary to lift long-term brand share by between 1% and 3%. See the complete blog post here.

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WWO Audio Active Group: Less Is More

This week’s Westwood One Audio Active Group blog shares information about the effectiveness of audio ads from a collaborative UK study by audio distribution service Audiotrack and analytics firm Colourtext that compared ad effectiveness with word density in audio ads. Some of the takeaways from this study lend credence to the notion that when it comes to ad copy, less is indeed more. For example,im the study found that eliminating 10 words of audio copy increases the Creative Standout score by 1%. Creative Standout is achieved when consumers say, “this ad stands out” and rate an ad with an 8, 9, or 10 on a one-to-ten-standout scale. Further it found that eliminating 10 words of audio copy increases web traffic by 0.25%. Creative Standout in audio advertising is strongly linked to ad response via website visits. For each 1% rise in Creative Standout achieved by an audio ad, website response rate increases by 0.25%. Also, the more messages that are included in the ad, the poorer the recall. An ad with four messages will have message recall of only 24%, compared to 43% for ads with just one message. The more messages an ad attempts to communicate, the lower the likelihood of a single message being communicated. See the blog post here.

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WWO: Brand Advertisers Now Tops in Podcasting Ad Spend

According to this week’s Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog post, when it comes to podcast revenue, brand spending now represents 61% of ad dollars, surpassing direct response (39%). This data comes from the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s eighth annual podcast revenue report. The blog post notes, “Podcast advertising revenue was born thanks to direct responseim advertising. In 2016 and 2017, direct response represented the vast majority of podcast advertising. From 2018 to 2021, the proportion of podcast ad spend was equally split between brand and direct response.” The post says there are four major implications of the shift to podcast brand advertising: 1) Targeting will become much broader: Wide campaign reach will become the priority with a goal of “being known before you’re needed”; 2) Creative will shift to become more entertaining and emotion based: The objective will be to stir passions and create positive feelings and associations with ads that people find interesting and enjoyable; 3) Brand safety and suitability measurement will become more crucial: Firms like Barometer will become powerful resources to help marketers find the right context for their campaigns with nuanced data; and 4) Measurement will focus on how well campaigns build memories to ensure brands are “easy to mind and easy to find”: Key performance indicators are brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand preference. See the complete blog here.

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Brand Effect Study Reveals Value of AM/FM and Podcasting

The latest blog post from the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group examines the results of a brand effect study by Upwave of the six-month campaign of an e-commerce retailer that used AM/FM radio streaming and sponsorship of a Katy Perry-narrated podcast about Elizabeth Taylor titled, “Elizabeth the First.” Some of the findings include: 1) those exposed to the digital audio campaignim were 33% more likely to say the brand “partners with all my favorite stores,” 81% more likely to indicate the e-commerce retailer “is a brand I trust,” 140% more likely to associate the brand for offering “the best sales and coupons”; 2) among those exposed versus those not exposed, brand equity measures surged, showing 54% growth in familiarity, 31% lift in average brand images, 37% greater consideration, 102% increase in purchase intent, and 55% growth in customer forecast; and 3) concluded that best practices to power direct-to-consumer marketing effectiveness calls for allocating 74% of marketing budgets to creating future demand (brand building) and 26% to converting existing demand (sales activation), targeting broadly to expand the customer base, employing emotional advertising to build direct-to-consumer brands and drive sales and profit, being known before you are needed, and buying lots of ads in all days and dayparts. See the full blog here.

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WWO: Why AM/FM Radio is a Great Place to Promote Podcasts

This week’s Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog investigates the connection between AM/FM radio listening and podcast listening and concludes that “a majority of the podcast audience also listens to AM/FM radio and vice versa.” It reports that Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study reveals that of the weekly AM/FM radio audience 45% listen to podcasts weekly, 55% listen to podcastsim monthly, and 77% have ever listened to podcasts. “All of this podcast and AM/FM radio audience duplication means there are great cross-promotion opportunities.” Among the podcast audience, over half the ad-supported time spent goes to podcasts themselves at a 53% share. AM/FM radio follows with a 37% share. Distantly following are ad-supported SiriusXM (4%), ad-supported Spotify (3%), and ad-supported Pandora (3%). Additionally, MARU/Matchbox was commissioned to study Cumulus Media radio listeners who listened for at least an hour to stations in Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Atlanta and were exposed to promos for eight Cumulus Podcast Network podcast titles. Overall, 54% of the Cumulus radio audience were aware of the eight Cumulus Podcast Network podcasts. A much larger promotion of heavy AM/FM radio listeners (67%) were aware of the podcast titles, and a whopping 75% of the heavy AM/FM radio streaming audience were aware of the podcast titles. Read the blog here.

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New Research Reveals AM/FM Powerful Platform for Movie Releases

The latest blog post from the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group presents data from content testing research firm Screen Engine/ASI that indicates AM/FM radio is a powerful platform to launch theatrical releases. In the case of the coming film The Expendables 4, Screen Engine /ASI’s Audience Engine surveyed 2,389 people exposed to the trailer for the film and questioned them about their desire to see the movie. The result was that “heavy AM/FM radio listeners are +17% more likely to want to see The Expendables 4 in the theater than heavy TV viewers and +15% more likely that the general population.” See the blog post here.

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Westwood One: Nielsen Reveals Top DMAs for AM Listening

A recent blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group addresses the most recent data released by Nielsen that reports the 141 local markets where AM radio is listened to by at least 20% of the radio audience. This latest data from Nielsen takes a deeper look into “the vitality of AM radio in local markets with new data at the state and local DMA level.”im These DMA analyses are based on all radio stations in the U.S., not just Nielsen subscribers. The top DMA is Glendive, Montana with 72.1% of the population using AM radio. While the most AM radio listening tends to be done in Midwestern DMAs, there is still substantial AM listening done in Eastern markets. For example, Chicago is the #8 DMA for AM listening with 51.2%, but Seattle-Tacoma is not far behind at #14 with 42.8%, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose is #20 with 41.3%, and the top two DMAs by population – New York and Los Angeles – show AM listenership is done by 31.8% of the population. See the whole report here.

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Westwood One: Audio Personalities Highly Effective Connection to Listeners

This week’s blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group reveals data from studies indicating that audio personalities – both AM/FM and podcast hosts – are highly effective in connecting listeners to advertisers. According to Jacobs Media Techsurvey 2023, DJs/hosts/shows are the main reasonim for listening for 60% of consumers. According to a study by MARU/Matchbox, there are a number of reasons listeners gravitate to AM/FM. First is comedic relief: 90% strongly or somewhat agree that their favorite DJs make them laugh. Second is local feel: 73% say personalities understand what makes my city/town unique. And third is thought-provoking: 64% agree that they make them think.  Additionally, Magna and Vox Media surveyed 2,028 weekly podcast listeners and asked, “Whose influence matters most?” A stunning 75% cited podcast hosts while only 15% named social media influencers or TV/movie celebrities (10%). See the complete blog post here.

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WWO Audio Active Group: The Power of AM/FM Radio in Cars

This week’s blog post by Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group shows a brand-new comprehensive analysis of listening data from the Nielsen Fall 2022 Survey, MRI Simmons, Edison Research‘s “Share of Ear,” and Advertiser Perceptions “that reveal 82 million reasons to keep AM radio in vehicles, illustrating why AM/FM radio is still the queen of the road.” Citing the Nielsen Fall 2022 survey, the study concludes: 1) 82,346,800 Americans listen to AM radio monthly; 2) 57% of the AM radio audience listens to news/talk stations, the very outlets that Americans turn to in times of crisis and breaking local news; and 3)ban One out of three American AM/FM radio listeners are reached monthly by AM radio. From the Edison study: 1) AM/FM radio dominates listening in the car with an 88% share of ad-supported audio; 2) AM/FM radio’s near-90 share of in-car ad-supported audio has been steady as a rock for the last six years; 3) AM/FM radio’s ad-supported shares in the car are dominant across all demographics, even among 18-34s; and 4) ‘Perception’ vs. ‘reality’: Agencies and advertisers underestimate AM/FM radio shares and overestimate Pandora and Spotify audiences (‘Perception’ from Advertiser Perceptions data). MRI Simmons shows Ford owners represent 20% of all U.S. AM radio listeners and are more likely to listen to AM radio. Cumulus chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard comments, “AM stations serve very unique, targeted constituencies and represent many languages and voices. As automobile manufacturers consider eliminating AM radio, it’s important to underscore that the AM dial is one of the most diverse media platforms in the world. Why would we eliminate this variety from the car?” See the blog post here.

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Report: Smart Speaker Ownership Stabilizes

This week’s blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group focuses on podcast consumer and smart speaker trends and is based on data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” Report from Q4 2022. Among the report’s eight key findings are: 1) Smart speaker ownership has stalled with the last growth spurt occurring Christmas 2020. From 2017 to 2019, smart speaker ownership soared from 7% to 33%. The pandemic froze purchases until Christmas 2020 when ownership jumped to 40% in Q1 2021. Since then, ownership has stalled with no post-Christmas “pop” in 2021 or 2022; 2) Smart speaker ownership rates are in the mid-40s for 13-54s but only 26% for those over the age of 55; 3) As smart speaker ownership flattens, the share of AM/FM radio streaming on smart speakers also stabilizes.The proportion of total U.S. AM/FM radio streaming occurring via the smart speaker has stabilized as device ownership growth has stalled. According to Triton Digital, since 2021, AM/FM radio streaming via smart speaker has stabilized, growing slightly from 23% to 26%; 4) Smart speakers are vital to U.S. AM/FM radio as they are now more likely to be the only “radio device” in the home. Edison’s 2022 Infinite Dial study revealed that 40% of smart speaker owners do not have a radio in their home, up from 28% in 2018; and 5) Aggressive promotion pays off as AM/FM radio is number one for smart speaker ad-supported audio shares. AM/FM radio stations are consistently number one in ad-supported audio shares on smart speaker devices. No wonder, as streaming now represents 20% of all time spent to AM/FM radio. See the complete blog post here.

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WWO: Your Audio Campaign Can Be Measured

This week’s blog post from the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group reveals data that was presented during a panel at the recent Association of National Advertisers Audio Summit. The analysis of a campaign for IT services company CDW by attribution measurement firm LeadsRx, it was determined thatWestwood One - Westwood One “while AM/FM radio represented only 16% of the media budgets, AM/FM radio generated 25% of site and search traffic.” Further, it discovered that “AM/FM radio delivered +58% greater site traffic than its share of spend. In contrast, TV delivered -11% less conversion lift than its share of the budget.” A Nielsen sales effect study of a campaign for a major retailer matched Portable People Meter panel data with credit card data to reveal how TV and AM/FM radio impacted sales. The AM/FM radio-only segment, those consumers only reached by the AM/FM radio campaign, had 3 times the sales lift of the consumers reached by the TV ads. Consumers only exposed to the TV ads generated a +4.6% sales increase. Those who saw both the TV ads and the AM/FM radio ads had a +4.8% sales lift. The segment only exposed to the AM/FM radio ads had an outsized +13.4% increase in sales. You can see the whole blog post here.

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Westwood One Audio Active Group: AM/FM Sells Cars

This week’s report from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group reveals the results of a study from data analysis agency Colourtext and UK commercial AM/FM radio industry group Radiocentre. Calling it the “largest and most comprehensive AM/FM radio ad effectiveness report in the world,” WWO says the study measured 59 tier-one auto campaigns for brands like Toyota, Honda, Land Rover, BMW, VW, Nissan, Volvo, Lexus, and Jaguar. The conclusion is that “AM/FM radio advertising generates significantWestwood One - Westwood One increases in advertising awareness, brand relevance, brand trust, and brand consideration.” Other key findings include: 1) AM/FM radio increases the efficiency of automotive media plans: Colourtext and Radiocentre compared AM/FM radio’s average share of total media spend to the increase in advertising awareness, brand relevance, and brand trust generated by AM/FM radio campaigns. In each case, the auto brand lift is four to 11 times greater than AM/FM radio’s share of media spend; 2) the best performing auto campaigns place an emphasis on creative consistency; 3) AM/FM radio creates future demand for automotive brands; 4) Nielsen Scarborough: American auto intenders clock a lot of miles in their vehicles: A Nielsen Scarborough study of 199,118 Americans finds new car buying intentions in the next year increase as miles traveled grows; 5) among ad-supported audio, AM/FM radio has a dominating 89% share of in-car time spent; 6) Nielsen Scarborough: Heavy AM/FM radio and digital consumers are way above the norm for auto purchase intention; and 7) new vehicle purchasers are similar in profile to heavy AM/FM radio listeners, and heavy Internet users, and podcast listeners. See more about the study here.

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Westwood One Unveils NFL Postseason Audience Data

Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group releases its comprehensive analysis of the NFL postseason audience using 2022 data from Nielsen Scarborough USA+ and MRI Simmons USA. WWO says, “The data revealed that the AM/FM radio audience is far more passionate about football compared to the more casual sports fan found in the TV audience.” Westwood One is the official network radio partner of theWestwood One - Westwood One NFL, and this year’s Super Bowl coverage marks the 50th time that the network will broadcast the game. Some of the key takeaways from this study are: 1) NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners are a desirable group of consumers: They are more likely to work full time and have higher disposable incomes compared to NFL postseason TV viewers; 2) The NFL postseason AM/FM radio audience is more engaged with sports: MRI Simmons finds NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners attend more sporting events, seek out sports information on their phones more often, and play more fantasy sports than NFL postseason TV watchers. The higher levels of engagement translate into greater advertising effectiveness; and 3) NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners are more likely to make purchases across key consumer categories: Compared to the NFL postseason TV audience, AM/FM radio delivers more consumers who are likely to buy a new or used vehicle, start a new business, or hire a financial advisor.  You can see the complete report here.