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Thursday, February 19, 2015

(DIGITAL) How Radio Should Be Selling Digital


Donny Digital just moved to town, and Roxy Radio heard that he likes her, but that creeps her out. She thinks Donny's a nerd. But more of the popular Radio girls are hanging out with Digital boys, so maybe Donny's not so bad. She just doesn't know where a relationship between Digital and Radio will go ? it's all so sudden. Roxy decides she may be willing to try just one date with Donny, but no commitments ? not yet. He might be creepy, or even dangerous, and who knows if he has a future?

Part of the radio industry embraces digital as the future, while to the other it's a creepy new guy with zits. Given the confusion, how should you be selling digital? Let's start with what it is, and how to price it and sell it.

Audio In-Stream Ads
Much of digital revenue is in the in-stream audio ads, and much of that inventory goes unsold. But why? First, you need to find a streaming provider with ad insertion, and an app to run a visual targeted banner ad in conjunction with that audio ad. A little bit of research can find the right solution. Then find the right broker. Gow Media VP of New Media Brandon Strange pooled in-stream inventory from his network station, Yahoo! Sports Radio, and listed with a digital audio-inventory specialist. And he's has monetized a stream that had paid little for years.

Display Ads
The most underrated feature of digital radio is visual inventory. This is an entirely new source of revenue for the radio industry, and we foresee a dramatic evolution, combining radio and video. For now, sell targeted banner ads. "Run-of-site" ads show weak rates, but targeted ads are experiencing triple digit year-over-year revenue growth.

Re-Targeting Ads
One of the best-kept secrets in digital is the re-targeting of ads. Re-targeting allows a visitor who has been to your site or app to continue receiving your ads across the Web/mobile. Ever had the feeling that a company was following you around the Internet? This is the art of re-targeting, and it is one of the most effective tools in getting return traffic. A comScore study showed that re targeting generated a 726 percent increase in site traffic over a four-week period.

Who's Going To Sell Your Digital Inventory?
Digital ads can be sold through national brokers (for national advertisers) or by you, direct to local advertisers. Local digital brokers can also be used. There's a vast difference between the price of national ads sold on a CPM basis and local ads sold on CPC (cost-per-count or -click). As a radio station with digital inventory to sell, the easiest way to start "dating" digital is by offering a combination of both. Place your inventory with a national broker who can always fill an unsold space. This is not high-rate revenue, but it is "free" revenue that you're not currently making anyway.

Local Advertisers
The real value will be selling to your local advertising market; that?s where your highest payback will be. You already know these advertisers, and they know you. And advertisers may know the digital ad story better than radio.

Example: Sell a targeted ad campaign for a farm-equipment dealer. This would be ideal to sell on a CPC basis. You may not have a huge audience of these buyers, but your demographic may have a very strong core in this target. For an advertiser, it would take very few leads to achieve a respectable ROI. This cost-per-click rate ? or even a rate based on an estimated sales conversion ? may be several times higher than the CPM equivalent.

A Happy Ending
So Roxy gives Donny his shot at romance, despite not knowing what the future holds. And it appears to have been a match made in heaven. There is one thing for certain, however. If Roxy had turned down Donny, he would have found another gal, and left Roxy wondering, "What if?"

Mike Duncan and Gabriel Barnes are members of the executive team at Mersoft Media, which specializes in providing stations with resources to generate new revenue through digital advertising. Mike can be reached at, and you can reach Gabe at

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