AM/FM Radio Powers Tax Preparation Brand Effectiveness, According To Five Different Studies

November 27, 2023 By Pierre Bouvard

Click here to view or download a PDF of the slides.

Click here to view a 12-minute video of the key findings.

The Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group® fielded a series of studies to measure the impact of multiple tax preparation services’ AM/FM radio campaigns in 2023:

  • LeadsRx site and search attribution measured the impact of the entire AM/FM radio campaign for several tax preparation services
  • MARU/Matchbox and Motionworks brand studies examined brand equity and AM/FM radio campaign effect
  • Motionworks location attribution quantified the impact of AM/FM radio campaigns on visitation to tax preparation offices

Here are the key findings:

AM/FM radio listeners are more likely to be users of online and onsite tax preparation services

According to an April 2023 MARU/Matchbox study of 1,033 respondents, heavy AM/FM radio listeners over-indexed in tax preparation services versus heavy TV viewers both for online tax preparation (116 for heavy AM/FM radio listeners versus 92 for heavy TV viewers) and in-person tax preparation (144 for AM/FM radio and 63 for TV).

AM/FM radio is an ideal medium for the tax preparation category

Heavy AM/FM radio listeners are +39% more likely to pay $301+ to have their taxes prepared and show greater familiarity, interest, consideration, and usage of tax category brands.

AM/FM radio ads drive site traffic for tax preparation brands

LeadsRx, a leading attribution firm, utilizes a multi-touch approach for a comprehensive examination of each advertising medium’s impact on a brand’s search and site traffic. Online behavior is matched to minute-level AM/FM radio ad occasions and to digital channels using the LeadsRx Universal Tracking Pixel.

In the LeadsRx attribution study of a tax preparation service’s multi-wave campaign, AM/FM radio generated between a +43% to +47% increase in website traffic. Web interactions peaked in January and February, declining into March until the tax deadline.

Branding early and often in tax preparation service ads drives more site traffic

LeadsRx found the top three creative executions that drove site traffic for a tax preparation service had the marketer’s brand name within the first five seconds of the ad.

Ads that performed best in driving site traffic had many mentions of the brand. According to Nielsen, the more times a brand is mentioned in creative, the higher the lift in familiarity, affinity, likelihood to seek information, and brand recall.

Web interactions peaked for the tax preparation service on Mondays and slowly decreased throughout the week

News/Talk and Sports programming attributed web sessions outperformed their share of AM/FM radio campaign impressions

While web sessions peaked early in the campaign, Motionworks found location visitation surged in March and April

Motionworks, a leader in location-based attribution, found the tax preparation service brand saw visitation activity spike in March.

Markets receiving heavy AM/FM radio campaign investment received significantly greater unique location visitation activity for the tax preparation service brand than markets with light media weight.

AM/FM radio worked: Easy to mind, easy to find; Aided awareness for a tax preparation service brand was stronger among heavy AM/FM radio listeners

In a brand study, Motionworks found 39% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners were extremely or very familiar with the tax preparation service brand versus the total sample (25%). The key to getting consumers to consider a firm as a viable option is to ensure they are “extremely/very familiar” with your brand.

Key findings:

  • AM/FM radio is an ideal media platform for the tax preparation category: Compared to TV viewers, AM/FM radio listeners are far more likely use online and onsite tax preparation services.
  • Tax preparation campaigns on AM/FM radio can measured: Search and site attribution, brand effect, and location visitation measurement all quantified the impact of the AM/FM radio advertising.
  • AM/FM radio drives significant website visitation early in the tax season (January/February): In March, website visits trail off while in-person tax preparation visits soar.
  • AM/FM radio ads that brand early and often were more successful at driving website visits: Hundreds of studies have proven that placing the brand within the first three seconds of an AM/FM radio ad and repeating the brand 5+ times throughout the ad drive strong ad recall, brand perceptions, and search and site traffic.
  • Media weight matters: DMAs with the heaviest radio GRPs generate 20% to 30% more tax preparation location visits compared to markets with the lightest media weight.
  • AM/FM radio worked: Brand awareness was much stronger among heavy AM/FM radio listeners who had the greatest opportunity to be exposed to the campaign.

Click here to view a 12-minute video of the key findings.

Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group®.

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