The importance of Gathering Data to Make Media Decisions

The spring radio Arbitron is out! Arbitron is the official rating service of the radio industry. Has any radio station offered to show you the numbers? After all, wouldn’t you like to know what you are paying for? I understand it may not matter if you are sure you’re getting the results you need, but if you want to improve the effectiveness of your advertising, how can you do it without this data?
There was a time when the stations used to run to the advertisers with the new ratings, but they don’t do this anymore. This may be because many stations would have a hard time justifying their rates based on the ratings they are getting today. Demand to see the audience rating before you make that buying decision.

Have you ever seen a report on how many people are watching cable TV in your market? Probably not, especially if you live in the central or upper Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. The reason is the numbers are so small most advertisers would not pay the rates cable TV is charging. How can you compare the value of cable to any other media without this important information?

Advertisers tell me their cable is working based on the fact that people mention seeing their ad. In most cases the people who see their ads are friends, neighbors and family. These people are more likely to see the ad because they know the advertiser. Even if they are not interested in the advertised message, the ad is relevant to them.

Traditional mass media such as radio and TV have always relied on the ability to reach relatively large audiences for relatively low cost. In the days when you could reach a lot of people cheap, targeting and recall did not matter as much as they now. In this economy smaller audience leaves less tolerance for the X factors.

The Internet solves a lot of these problems. The ability of Internet to track advertising results quickly and decisively makes it possible to target large numbers of very specific prospective customers, which will in turn increase your conversion rates. And, by the way, the Internet does it cheaper.

In conclusion if you’re planning your advertising today… get the facts. If the media is not showing you their ratings, you can be sure they are hiding them for a reason. Finally, plan on using more Internet related solutions where the audiences are growing and you have access to the most important tracking data.