The power of personality is a key driver in attracting audiences for radio. Primedia Broadcasting’s chief strategy officer, Deborah Schepers, tells us more.
Q: Consumers are said to have an exceptional connection with radio and on-air personalities. It often engenders comfort, trust and admiration. As someone deeply involved in audience insights and research, does this ring true in South Africa? What is your experience?
A: South African listeners are highly connected with radio, and follow on-air personalities closely. Our social listening tool gives evidence of this engagement. There were an average of 3 690 social mentions for our 947 radio station and it’s presenters per day over the last seven days. This was spiked by a client promotion which is currently on air, showing how brands are quickly wrapped up and carried along by this powerful connection effect. (Meltwater study, first week of March 2020)
Q: A US study found that this trust rolls over to advertising, with listeners believing personality endorsements and remembering information they might have heard from the presenter/DJ. Does this hold true in South Africa?
A: Our recent ‘702 Listens’ survey of 4 000 listeners showed that radio is second only to family in terms of trusted sources of information. (‘702 Listens, 2020’) Our online consumer panel tells us that 89% of our listeners believe that radio is a trustworthy medium when receiving information about products. This is significantly higher when compared with TV at 75%. Digital mediums have much lower levels of trust, with social media being trusted by 46% of respondents and websites being trusted by 44% of respondents respectively. (PrimeConnect, 2019)
Globally, IPA Touchpoints research reveals that trust in radio advertising is higher than for other media. Analysis of the IPA Databank highlights how campaigns that feature radio generate four times the level of brand trust as those that don’t. (Radiocentre, Radio for building brand trust)
Q: How important do you think powerful personalities are in radio?
A: Our view is that it’s
as important that a personality is relatable as it is that they are powerful on radio – listeners need to feel that the presenter is someone like them, who lives in their world and is part of their day. That said, the power of radio personalities, particularly on talk radio, is that they can influence what’s going on in the world.
Q: How does the Primedia sales team use your research and information on your audiences, and has it changed the way it operates?
A: Our Insights team is an extension of the sales team and works very closely with them. Our objective over the past year has been to build sources of data beyond just audience numbers. We run a proprietary 10 000-strong online panel (PrimeConnect) to understand how our audience perceives and experiences categories and brands, as well as how they respond to campaigns. This tool provides huge value to clients and advertisers, and is strengthening our relationship with them as we’re able to create tailor-made campaigns based on bespoke research.
“Radio is second only to family in terms of trusted sources of information.”
Primedia has been in a partnership with Meltwater for three years already. The newest tool in the product suite, Audience, gives us live, actionable insights into listener interaction with the stations – with IBM Watson intelligence providing demographics, socioeconomics, interests, media affinity, personality traits and buying mindsets.
Q: How do you measure and monitor interactions between on-air personalities and listeners?
A: We’ve always tracked volume of interactions across different platforms as well as streaming volumes, but with Meltwater Audience we’re able to understand content and profiles of those people interacting on social media. These can inform strategies in terms of content, partnerships, and events.
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