“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. This classic statement on advertising, attributed to both John Wanamaker (1838-1922) and Lord Leverhulme (1851-1925) has always had a hollow ring of truth to it.
One of the challenges in advertising on radio over the years is to ensure that you receive what you booked and that in the instance of not having received what you booked, you pay for what you got. Even with the most sophisticated booking and scheduling systems available today, there’s nothing to cater for the potential of human error at the sharp end of the delivery chain in radio advertising.
Nowadays, marketers are increasingly being measured on all aspects of their budget. Corporate governance dictates require increased levels of reporting and marketers are under increased pressure to report accurately on the use of their budget. This includes ensuring that media bookings made were actually delivered in accordance with the schedule and the contract.
With print advertising this has always been an easy task as a tearsheet is easily provided and this provides proof of performance. With broadcast media this has been a somewhat less simple task over the years and where clients had a query, the broadcaster had the onerous task of getting the ‘off-air’ recordings and painstakingly working through these in order to prove delivery.
With the advent of digital technology and the development of very sophisticated digital audio monitoring algorithms, third party tracking and monitoring of all aspects of broadcast performance is playing an increasingly important role in the lives of broadcasters. Marketers are increasingly calling for compliance certificates as a guarantee of performance. From a governance perspective these certificates need to be issued by an independent third-party.
“We are the exclusive licensee for the Aircheck monitoring software which uses highly sophisticated algorithms which identify and catalogue each specific piece of audio,” says Quentin Stewart, technology partner at AFSTEREO. “The Aircheck technology is based on systems that were used to detect and identify the audio signatures of submarines and our systems were verified at 99.9% accurate by one of the leading audit firms in South Africa.”
Stewart says the company monitors all mainstream radio and television stations and has “built up a database of material of over seven years of data regarding broadcast content across the spectrum of stations that we monitor. Not only that, but we provide real-time market information to broadcasters and marketers alike with a great degree of granularity in the reports that we provide. The Aircheck system does not require any form of manipulation of the original source content as the system very accurately identifies each audio item individually.”
With the data that they have at hand, AFSTEREO can provide a wealth of information (in real time) about songs played on individual stations as well as across a selection of stations. More importantly, they can provide data on spots played, where they were played, on which stations they appeared, and the scatter pattern of the spot. This is vital competitive intelligence that they make available to their clients.
One of the latest innovations that Stewart has been working on is integration with the Chase Media Systems that is used at leading media buying agencies.
“The integration with AFSTEREO will ensure that clients will be able to verify the accounts that they receive from broadcasters, and more rapidly address any discrepancies, says Jamie Peers, managing director of Chase Media Systems. “As this integrates into the financial and accounting systems of the agency, it makes checking the broadcaster’s invoice frictionless. This gives agencies and advertisers more accurate reporting on their campaigns affording them the ability to measure all aspects of their campaigns extremely accurately. They will also have the ability to more rapidly query any discrepancy and ring-fence these.”
The implications of this for broadcasters are that they are being monitored and audited on a constant basis. It is fair and reasonable that they broadcast spots as contracted and that they invoice for what they supplied. No longer will a producer or presenter’s signature be the proof of delivery and clients can be sure that they are getting what they have “ordered”.
IMAGE: Jessica Simpson at KissFM / Wikimedia Creative Commons