Here at the RAB the IPA’s ‘The Long and Short of It’ publication has been well-thumbed in recent weeks and for good reason too. It’s essential reading for anybody working in advertising to help understand how they can get the best out of their media budget. For this blog entry I’m going to focus on just one interesting element from the 82 page report – the importance of brand response campaigns.
Whilst many of you may have been enjoying a summer holiday in the last week or so I’ve had my own fun listening to the 552 radio ads that we’ve measured on radioGAUGE since 2008 and tagging each one by the presence (or otherwise), and type of, call to action included.
This analysis revealed that 59% of the campaigns we’ve measured have contained some sort of call to action. Of these there was a clear frontrunner in terms of the most common type of direction, with 52% featuring a call for listeners to go directly to a website.
It’s somewhat appropriate that this figure is 52% as it mirrors the main finding from our own Online Multiplier research – that radio provides an average uplift of 52% in brand browsing. It’s clear the advertisers have understood radio’s ability to drive listeners online and have also learnt from some of the lessons that the research highlighted.
In particular the sector that struggled in terms of achieving strong uplifts in the original research was High Street Retail. Ads measured in the research weren’t singularly explicit in driving to websites and therefore had a lesser impact. However, in recent years brands like Next have learnt that campaigns will work best when that direction is as clear as possible – highlighted by their use of radio to drive traffic specifically to their website.
Other frequent call-to-actions featured in radio ads include a direction to go in-store (12%) or mentions of both a website and going in-store in the same ad (12%).
However, amongst all of this the analysis again highlights that the majority of times radio is used from an activation perspective rather than for brand-building. It’s therefore interesting to note in the ‘Long and Short of It’ report that brand response campaigns offer the best opportunity for advertisers.
Whilst direct activation campaigns (which you’ll hear often on the radio) achieve strong short term volume results and brand-led campaigns can achieve strong long-term profit growth it’s actually brand response campaigns (a brand idea that drives both long-term preference as well as short-term behavioural activation) that can enable an advertiser to achieve both of these optimally.
So to advertisers using radio to deliver an activation message don’t lose sight of your brand in the campaign – as demonstrated by this Thomson Holidays ad which captures everything a family would want in a summer holiday perfectly in 30” and still gives you clear direction.
Not only do brand-response ads sound better, they are also more effective in achieving both short and longer term objectives than purely focusing on activation messages.
For further reading, see Turning Art Into Science for the most effective creative features which can help branding in your ads.
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