How AM/FM Radio Can Drive TV Tune-In

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Here’s something from Westwood One that will likely cause some buzz in the C-Suites of both radio and television broadcasting companies.


In a new blog post, Westwood One Director of Content Marketing Lauren Vetrano shares the results from “a major cable network’s” advertising campaign that used AM/FM radio to help launch the returning season of a scripted drama series. The media plan included paid TV and promos running on their network and co-owned networks.

Westwood One retained Nielsen to study how the combination of AM/FM radio and TV helped drive tune-in for the premiere. This was one of the first TV tune-in ROI studies to examine both TV and AM/FM radio.

“We wanted to understand how radio impacted the marketing mix,” Vetrano writes.

Using the 80,000 person Portable People Meter panel for AM/FM radio and TV audiences, Nielsen looked at four different groups: those unexposed to the radio campaign, those who were exposed to the radio campaign, those exposed to the TV campaign, and those who saw/heard both the TV and radio ads. Nielsen then measured the tune-in conversion impact of the groups. Ad occurrence data was sourced from Media Monitors for AM/FM radio and Nielsen Ad Intel for paid TV and TV promos.

What were the key findings?

AM/FM radio accounted for a small percentage of the media budget but generated significant impressions and incremental reach.

Although AM/FM radio only represented 5% of paid media, it delivered 20% of total campaign impressions.

  • With amplified frequency, AM/FM radio drove tune-in conversion: The more frequently consumers were exposed to tune-in ads, the greater the conversion to viewing the premiere. Tune-in conversion is especially high among consumers who are exposed to ads six or more times.

  • Compared to TV, AM/FM radio delivered a much younger audience: TV’s audience skews older than AM/FM radio’s audience. 70% of AM/FM radio impressions came from 18-54 year olds. Conversely, nearly half of all the TV impressions were from 55+.

  • AM/FM radio is the exceptionally efficient media choice: From a cost standpoint, AM/FM radio’s reach and impressions were achieved much more efficiently. AM/FM radio is only 20% of TV’s. CPM and cost per thousand net reach.
  • TV tune-in best practice: Utilize 125-150 GRPs of network radio to efficiently optimize a tune-in campaign with incremental reach and amplified frequency.

“If only 5% of the budget grows paid TV reach by 15% and amplifies frequency 80%, allocating more budget to AM/FM radio will increase campaign impact,” Vetrano notes.

“TV tune-in campaigns should move away from the “spray and pray” methods of only 10 to 25 campaign GRPs!,” she warns. “Ten to 25 GRPs only generate a 8%-17% reach. Allocating 125-150 GRPs to AM/FM radio is the recommendation. A $625,000 investment in network radio reaches 42% of adults 25-54 weekly in the U.S.”

She concludes, “Driving TV tune-in effectively requires AM/FM radio and TV working in unison. Advertisers can increase tune-in campaign impact by shifting some of the media budget from paid TV to AM/FM radio to boost reach, frequency, and attract TV program viewers among a desirable younger audience.”

RBR+TVBR