A new framework, developed by Awake Online founder, Emma Jane Robson, offers an alternative to traditional radio audience profiling and ad selling.
In development for just under a year, through much trial and error, the framework called Search Engine Profiles (SEP) is based on a Cost Per Listen methodology (from Cost Per Click).
It also focuses on people’s lifestyles and activities, rather than their demographics.
“We are profiling people, rather than taking them on their living standards and class, which is what online radio is all about targeting a niche audience.
This precludes the waste factor enabling you dump to your budget into exactly the right profile you are looking at,” says Robson.
She cites Howard West of PHD as the person who was immensely valuable to her on this journey, and also names Charles Alexander Foley for his contribution to the early stages of her SEP.
The different groups
There are three super groups that fall into social life, work life, and generation habits.
The profiling clusters have been formed from these groups.
Awake Online recognised that there are distinct markets for each profile, each of which is unique, and thereby informing the retailer and the selling of brands.
Here are a few examples of the profiles:
Based on work life
- The Ballers – These are the big money makers in society. They have the most disposable income, with more than 68% of them being established home owners. They lean towards spending their money on experiences, with over 22% of their online purchases being on leisure and accommodation. Over 43% of them only buy something if they need it. Ballers tend to buy more premium products that last, promote a healthier lifestyle, and add value to their lives and their homes.
- Sitting Pretty – This group has a fair amount of disposable income. That being said they do seek value for money. Most of their money is spent on lifestyle, home improvement and fashion. They save and spend their money on products that help improve their home and enhance their status and quality of life. Although Sitting Pretty are brand conscious they do look for functionality.
Based on generation habits
- The Crushers – Omni-channel accessibility during their shopping experience is expected by 68% of the Crushers. They need an integrated experience that can effortlessly transition their consumer experience from their smartphone to their laptop, to local store, and back again. They are trend setters and are very brand conscious, (looking for brands that lead the pack, engage them and offer them instant gratification). For 82% of Crushers, word-of-mouth is a key influencer of their purchase decisions, they view shopping as a social event in stark contrast with the Driving Force. Crushers enjoy shopping, and see it as fun and relaxing retail therapy, an activity to be shared with their friends and family. A substantial 60% of Crushers consider advice from their friends when deciding what to buy.
Whether a ‘crusher’ or a ‘baller’, all the profiles have perspectives on their marketing tactics.
Cost Per Listen, over mass reach
Through these demographics and psychographics, Awake Online has developed a CPL model, based off of a Cost Per Click (CPC) model. It sits at 21 cents per listener and is measured daily. “It cannot be sold on mass, or monthly, it can only be sold on daily listeners/listenership, which makes the stations accountable for the numbers they produce,” Robson explains.
For her, two things are vital: measurability and traceability.
‘’It is numbers that sells radio, nothing else… accountability is everything,” she says.
“You group brands into these profiles, so the advertiser gets more bang for their buck, there is no waste factor,” she adds.
Online stations failing to sell a traditional model
Robson believes that online radio stations have been failing because they are selling traditional methods in a digital space ie. drive time, and she stresses you cannot do that, it’s absolutely impossible.
“Until we have a BRC, a Council that sweeps listenership, we cannot sell on critical mass. It would be dishonest, there’s no transparency in that, but there is in daily listenership.
“If you had to do the maths backwards, traditional radio is coming out on a metric of about 35 cents.
We should be selling at that and that’s where the industry will go, it will probably go 40 cents. But if we had to sell at 40 cents now, online radio advertising would plummet in less than three years,” she explains.
Robson’s new rate card will be used across her 16 stations, and is growing.
A BRC for digital radio
Robson is making moves with a major streaming service provider to start setting up an industry body for online radio that measures and tracks online radio audience measurement.
She is eager to sit down with online radio industry players and chart the way forward for audience measurement, stressing that it is their duty to contribute to.
“The digital space is a naked space, and it is going to show very clearly who is ready to be transparent and naked, because you can’t enter this space with lies and numbers that are manipulated.”
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8.