Report Claims AM/FM Radio Delivers Big on Advertising

Westwood One points to Nielsen Catalina Solutions study
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Westwood One points to Nielsen Catalina Solutions study

As radio moved into the digital age with streaming media, it became possible to accurately track statistics such as the number of listeners and time spent listening, to try to build some fairly accurate links between ad dollars spent and results. That left terrestrial AM/FM radio at a disadvantage. Conventional diaries and surveys, by comparison, give only an oblique glimpse at what might be happening.

Westwood One, and its parent company, Cumulus Media, have set out to change that, and provide some hard data to show that dollars spent on AM/FM radio are a wise investment. Their most recent project implies a healthy ROI for brand marketers.

The results of the first Nielsen Catalina Solutions sales effect study conducted for an AM/FM radio campaign in the personal care brand category seem to suggest a $12 return on advertising spend for every dollar of AM/FM radio advertising.


Here’s how the research methodology works. NCS calibrates the shopper dataset of over 90 million unique households, from Catalina, with Nielsen’s retail sales and consumer panel data, to represent nearly 100% of total US all-outlet CPG spend. Using an advanced methodology, NCS can connect Nielsen’s Radio Ratings data with shopper data to understand what advertising households were exposed to and how it impacted their purchasing.

Other findings from the study suggest that:

● Market share growth: Increased purchasing came at the expense of key competitors in the category;

● Sales growth: The campaign drove a positive sales lift of 8% for the men’s personal care brand;

● Sales drivers: Sales growth was impacted by more spending per trip;

● Heavy category buyers were activated: Those who buy often in the category were the most responsive to the radio campaign and generated most of the incremental sales.

As reported by Radio World last October, Westwood One announced its ROI Guarantee program, intended to give marketers the confidence to invest advertising dollars in radio without risk. In January of 2017, Westwood One released a Nielsen ROI study that suggested radio delivered a $21 to $1 return on advertising spent for a major auto aftermarket retailer.