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Does Radio Drive Store Traffic?

Paul Brenner emphatically says, yes, it does

Do radio spots drive store traffic? That’s something that radio sales people have always felt to be true, but never really been able to prove. Until now. Paul Brenner, president of Tag Station/Next Radio presented the results of a survey commissioned by the RAB that suggests that radio really does send people into the stores. The top-level takeaway from Brenner’s research is that radio causes an average 22% increase in store traffic.

The three-month study utilized data from the top 100 markets in the country, spanning seven formats, and further broken down into daypart. 1.5 million radio commercials were used. Four categories were chosen for the survey automotive, quick service restaurants, home improvement stores and beauty retailers. Brenner ads that 10 brands were included in the four categories, and there was considerable variation among retailers within a category, particularly in home improvement stores. Brenner adds that no consideration was given to the buy process itself, once consumers were in the stores.

[Read: How Radio Remains the Medium of Choice for Veteran Journalists]

The data was gathered through Tag Station, which has access to thousands of station logs. That data was matched up with Ad Idea, to determine which campaign and which listeners were involved. At the same time, as metadata was delivered to stations, the backhaul gathered information about device IDs and their location. All of this data was pushed into Freckle IoT, a company that specializes in multitouch, offline attribution. Once this information was matched to Freckle’s location data, the output is essentially the report.

The first surprise to many attending was the variability by day that the survey suggested. Brenner’s data indicated that audiences exposed to ads on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday were most likely to visit retail stores.

The data presented by Brenner suggested that ads have the greatest impact on weekends between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., overnights and PMD. Brenner pointed out that, ironically, weekends and overnights are when ad rates are the lowest. When broken down by format, adult hits and top 40 show the greatest lift.

By category, automotive and beauty retailers were tied with a 32% lift, followed by QSR showing a 23% increase. Home improvement went up by just 7%. Store traffic also varied significantly by brand within a category. Home improvement had a 6% gap between brands, while automotive had a 27% gap. Brenner speculates that some of the variability between brands within a category may be due to the particulars of their ad campaign.

Brenner already has some ideas about where to go next with this type of survey. While this year’s research did not take the buy process into consideration, he said it would be a simple matter to link up store visits with credit card purchase data. This, he says, might lead to some insights into the percentage of traffic driven into stores by radio that results in purchases.

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