In a move that could significantly impact the way marketers and agencies value radio in their mixes, Arbitron this morning said it will provide extremely granular data on radio listening and commercial exposure to marketing mix modelers. The move is important, because many big marketers and agencies utilize those models to determine the ROI, or return-on-investment that advertising in various media have in terms of generating incremental sales of their products and services.
Those models, which first became popular among major consumer packaged goods marketers in the mid-1990s, have sometimes been criticized for being too biased toward television, and other media that had the kind of real-time audience data that could be correlated to sales, so the radio industry is hoping the availability of the new Arbitron data will put their medium on more of an even footing with television.
“There is no such thing as perfect, but there is better,” Carol Hanley, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer of Arbitron, said of the new data -- which Arbitron is making available free of charge via a deal with GfK MRI and Media Monitors. The data, which is derived from Arbitron’s portable people meter service, has already been tested for a couple of years in modeling initiatives by five major marketers, she said, which generated significantly higher recommendations for radio’s share in the media mix.
One of those marketers, theme park operator Six Flags, led to a doubling of its radio ad spending last year, and another increase on top of that this year, Hanley said.
While the full effects of marketing mix analysis can take a year or more to impact overall marketing plans, Hanley said the release of the new data could begin to impact radio ad spending over the next several months.