Measuring Audience Response is What Matters


Nielsen sure stirred up a hornet’s nest by entering the radio ratings game. Imagine the activity now that radio has another diary system of measuring its audience to present to media buyers.

I sit amazed at all the discussion about this topic when the real item that is going to eat radio’s lunch is exact measurements on the internet. The "action" that is going to be most valued by advertisers has nothing to do with how many people sit in the audience, and everything to do with how many people respond to the message that was just sent to them on their radio.

Measurement is everything. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about sports, business, or topics like your career or child.  Comparing what was against what is ultimately occurs, and that requires measurement.

While radio industry executives argue over providing statistically extrapolated numbers from a diary, or the new PPM (which only provides more accuracy from an individual listener), what nobody in radio seems to be paying attention to is the growing demand from advertisers to measure response.

Audience numbers still mean something if you’re selling CPM, which it looks like radio is committed to do forever. (Read: Radio refuses to step into the future.) But, if you are going to stick to selling a group of 1,000 persons to an advertiser, you have to come to terms with a simple fact that the value of radio CPM is dropping.

Painted as a dinosaur industry, radio is fighting a fierce battle over which of these devalued systems it is going to use – the one from Arbitron or from Nielsen. There’s something ironic about that.

I’m not seeing any energy placed into how radio can verify a count of people who respond to its on-air commercials.

Everyone is saying how radio needs to change. How’s this for a starter: Is there any type of pricing available where I, as a media buyer, may come to a radio station and offer to pay "X" dollars for each person who fills out a survey on that station’s web site? I’ll use my station-provided airtime to push people to that survey. Instead of paying for reaching all those dead ears, I’m going to pay the station for each usable survey that’s delivered.
I don’t often revisit really old issues here, but let’s take a quick check on something that was created in 1998.

Data Edge Surveys was a system that delivered response to advertisers. Although it was designed for internet radio, it can also be used in the broadcast arena. All it takes is a little imagination. This page you are about to see has not changed for over a decade. I offer it to you for consideration that there are alternative ways to sell radio besides a :10, :30, or :60 commercial.

Here’s what makes Data Edge Surveys so valuable; it delivers impressions and data to an advertiser and station. It does not depend on how many people are in the audience but how many people respond to the message.
Data Edge Surveys delivers what advertisers are looking for, and its cost is determined by the value of response not the exposure achieved.

The radio industry can publicly bicker all it wants about how it is going to determine the number of people in the audience. All it is doing is costing itself credibility with those who matter most, the clients who pay the bills. And, all those folks are looking for is to verify that someone responded to their advertising.

Radio continues to sell exposure. Advertisers, though, need to measure response – especially in these tough economic times.

— Ken Dardis, President, Audio Graphics, Inc. (