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Hey… Pay Attention to This!

Advertisers want to know if consumers are engaged

There’s a buzzword gaining traction in the advertising world, and your hip clients are probably already asking your salespeople for perspective. 

Spoiler Alert: Radio does well in providing results for… Attentiveness. Simply put, agencies are asking: Are consumers paying attention to ads? And how much does this vary by platform?

Familiar concept

There’s an interesting research analysis piece recently released by Cumulus Media / Westwood One Audio Active Group, headlined: “New advertiser and consumer studies on media attentiveness and ad skipping.” I advise catching the highlight video expertly narrated by radio research guru Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer for Cumulus. At YouTube, search “media attentiveness.”

As background: I admit being cynical about the developing cottage industry that tends to present “attentiveness” as something new to be measured and solved. Google launched their attention research in 2015 with a study in Australia to explore attention and ad effectiveness. Many others have since appeared. 

In fact, questions concerning attentiveness probably go back to at least 1704, when ads started appearing in newspapers. The person spending money has always wanted to know if anyone is paying attention. I once proved this point during a live remote at a car dealer by giving away $5 bills to the first 20 people who stopped by. You should’ve have seen the crowd and the owner’s expression! 

How important is attentiveness to advertisers and agencies? Bouvard cites a study conducted by Advertiser Perceptions of 300 agencies. It indicates that two-thirds of those respondents feel attentiveness is important to measure when deciding media investments. They also rank platforms in terms of what they feel consumers concentrate on: Social media posting 62%, Podcasts 60%; Checking news 61% , Watching shows 58%, Checking weather 54%, Watching short video 52%, Checking social media 52%, Listening to music 37%, Listening to AM-FM radio 30%, Ad-supported Spotify 30%, AM-FM streaming 28% and Ad supported Pandora 25%. (The study doesn’t mention audio on Apple, YouTube or Amazon.)

From the PDF “rwm-promo Media-Attentiveness-and-Ad-Skipping-Report_WWO.”

From the IAB consumer study: Similar results as above, with one extremely glaring difference: Social media has some of the lowest scores regarding attentiveness. 

To reiterate: Advertisers believe consumers concentrate most on social media, podcasts, news, TV shows, and weather, but in reality news, weather and podcasts have the strongest consumer concentration, while social media ranks last.

A Maru/Matchbox study concentrating more on consumer audio indicates that attentiveness to podcasting and AM-FM radio is the audio winner over Spotify and Pandora. Regarding ad skipping, this study shows that skipping happens the most with digital ads — pop-ups, banner ads, social media and online video. 

The ads consumers skip the least? Traditional media: AM-FM, podcasts and print. Maybe because they can’t for the most part? 

So… let’s imagine that consumers are paying attention to your client’s specific ad on your radio station. The elephant in the room is that attentiveness doesn’t mean much if a consumer doesn’t act on purchasing the product or service. Regardless of platform, to drive consumer action, creative and engaging messaging is required. When we’ve got the attention on broadcast radio, we must be vigilant in keeping creative standards high, so there is no doubt that local radio must be part of any smart advertising mix. 

[Read More Columns by Mark Lapidus]