How Radio Personality Live Reads Increase Results by 40%

June 12, 2015 By Pierre Bouvard

We’ve received this question from a client or prospect many times: how can we get measurable direct response on the radio?

The answer: radio personalities. According to Nielsen, personality endorsements increase listener interest in advertising by 44%. And a study by the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism found that 51% of respondents considered or purchased a product advertised during their favorite radio show.

I recently attended the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) conference, and at lunch I sat next to Sam Meers, who has an ad agency in Kansas City called Meers Advertising. Blue Cross Blue Shield is a big client of his. Blue Cross is targeting Millennials to get more information on purchasing insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

The challenge they faced: Millennials aren’t interested in health insurance, and also won’t call a 1-800 number when prompted.

Meers created a measurable solution by combining live endorsements with a texting application. A radio personality would do a live call to action, driving listeners to text for more information. After texting, listeners would receive a prompt on their phones to answer four questions, leading to an instant quote.

The live reads are what truly made the difference to drive the response — out-performing all of the other ads on the radio.

Live Reads Out-performed Pre-recorded Spots by 40%

Source: Meers Advertising

Why Personality Endorsements Work

Sam Meers summarized why the campaign worked so well on the radio, as opposed to TV:

  • Fresh messaging: Radio live reads offer a way to continuously deliver fresh messaging, while TV spots have a wear-out factor.
  • Real-time results: Personalities were able to monitor their results (how many people texted) and work on how to improve delivery throughout the campaign.
  • Listener connection: Personalities have a close connection to their listeners. “The affinity the DJs have with the listener is what really drives response,” Meers says.

The Blue Cross story further emphasizes how endorsement radio produces direct ROI.

Pierre Bouvard is Chief Marketing Officer of Cumulus Media | Westwood One.