Measuring Mobile Engagement To Create Performance Metrics For Terrestrial Radio

When it comes to marketing campaigns, success or failure can be measured in a variety of ways. Performance metrics are vital to advertisers who need solid figures to prove the efficacy of their campaign — to demonstrate how their marketing spend is clearly translated into sales leads.

New technologies can now pair the large and diverse reach of terrestrial broadcast radio with mobile engagement to create interactive radio campaigns. Now when a consumer is listening to the radio over-the-air and hears a call to action (CTA) for an advertiser’s offer, they can use their mobile device to engage with the digital content related to that CTA in real-time.  This not only quantifies the reach of a particular local radio campaign, but also generates results that traditional radio-only campaigns have never been able to produce.

Unprecedented engagement rates

Integrating mobile strategies into radio advertising campaigns delivers engagement rates that far exceed those from digital-only channels.

For example, a local auto dealership specializing in used cars created a series of interactive radio advertisements. Some of the ads were straightforward promotions, while others gave consumers an incentive to interact with the content. By offering listeners the opportunity to win a small amount of money, the campaign generated a unique open rate of 28%. One would be hard pressed to compare that to any digital-only campaign.

Similarly, a popular radio station organized a campaign to benefit local area charities. Listeners were able to vote for their favorite charities through the mobile component of the ad. For each vote received, $1 was donated to the corresponding charity. The campaign reached the 2,500-vote limit in a matter of only four days (three days before projected), with a unique open rate of 44% compared to the 17% industry average for non-profits.

The impact of these types of campaigns is considerable. The value of tying a compelling 30-second audio spot delivered by a credible spokesperson to a captivated audience that allows them to engage via their mobile device results in extremely high open rates.

Flexible messaging

Depending on an advertiser's industry, keeping the campaign up to date with industry trends and developments can be challenging. Altering a traditional, stand-alone radio spot to reflect a new promotion or event can be costly and time-consuming. However, when an interactive mobile component is involved, companies can quickly optimize their campaigns as needed.

For instance, the mortgage industry is one that is constantly in flux. A local mortgage company used traditional radio advertisements for years and was interested in seeing how mobile could impact their campaign. By adding a mobile component to their radio ads, the organization was able to update their messaging to reflect changes in the market, and as a result, saw dramatic increase in the effectiveness of their ads.

Their interactive radio campaign not only generated the results the company was looking for, but also validated their belief that broadcast radio is an increasingly viable advertising medium.

The bottom line

While engagement and messaging are very important, once again, it all comes down to the bottom line. Can radio stations demonstrate a clear return on investment to advertisers? The answer is yes.

In such a competitive climate, where a myriad of digital media are fighting over marketing budgets, not only do radio stations need to keep up with the competition, they also need to differentiate themselves from digital or mobile-only campaigns through interactive radio. While it is mobile technology that can show the data, it's the combination with a high-reach vehicle like radio that really generates tangible results.

4 comments about "Measuring Mobile Engagement To Create Performance Metrics For Terrestrial Radio".
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  1. Shane Bogardus from OnRoute Digital Media, August 6, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.

    Good piece Sara - adding to the "bottom line" would be: stop selling silo solutions and use the power from broadcast and mobile technologies of Hyper-local and beacon message delivery that compounds relevance and engagement to drive real results for advertisers. These results being brand association or SALES for clients.

  2. Sara Sisenwein from Clip Interactive, August 7, 2014 at 10:48 a.m.

    Hi Shane,

    We completely agree. The advertisers who are pulling their dollars out of local broadcast and putting them towards purely mobile or digital platforms are missing out on a huge opportunity. It is key to look for integrated advertising solutions that not only reach your audience, but encourage them to engage, learn more and grow more loyal to your brand. That is why pairing terrestrial radio and mobile is a perfect match. It combines the reach and local trust of radio with the engagement and metrics opportunities of mobile.

    Thanks for your comment!


  3. Duane Christensen from Results Radio Townsquare Media, August 8, 2014 at 8:20 a.m.

    I see why this is necessary for those in radio who can't relay the real strengths of radio to whomever they're selling to. The problem with this...or with any direct response / sale type of that it won't work every time. And when, the success of a radio buy is dependent on "the numbers" for one particular're not going to hit it out of the park every time. Heck, you'll be lucky to get a broken bat single every time. So, guess what? The advertiser won't be back.

    I'm successful today because my long-term 48 or 52-week radio clients measure their results in their growth year to year. Is it easy to convince a business to be a consistent advertiser and that I can create a campaign that will actually WORK for them? No. It's not. Is it easy to convince them to be patient for the first 3 or 4 months of a campaign? No, it's not. But I'm willing to put in the work. I'm willing to search for those good, local, hungry businesses who want to once and for it right.

    I'm just afraid if more radio sales reps start tying radio to'll see a lot more disappointed advertisers than happy ones...the sales rep turnover will become even higher. Not to be a poopy pants, but I say it like I see it.

    Radio will continue to struggle if we continue to let go of live, local talent. AND if sales reps / ad execs/ managers don't learn how to make the ads they sell, actually work for their clients. Is it easy? Is it turnkey? Nope.

  4. Sara Sisenwein from Clip Interactive, August 8, 2014 at 1:18 p.m.

    Hi Duane,

    We certainly don’t want to downplay the importance of quality radio personalities and the broad and diverse reach of the medium. In fact, it is those qualities that make broadcast radio such a great platform for a digital component, especially when it comes to local advertising.

    Additionally, we understand that not every ad campaign will necessarily be a smash hit, and solid metrics will make that very clear to the advertiser. However, businesses can use this data to test the market. With a digital component added to a traditional radio spot, advertisers can quickly and easily pivot their campaigns to see which strategies are most effective for their business.

    Of course there will be businesses who are solely interested in traditional long term campaigns, but we feel that radio should have an option for advertisers who are looking for an alternative in an increasingly digital world.

    Please email me at if you have any other questions for us.

    Thank you for your comment.

    - Sara

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