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How to Motivate, Maintain and Convert Internet Radio Listeners

Written on
Sep 4, 2014 
Author
Pat Higbie  |

With U.S. mobile advertising spending expected to reach $17.7 billion in 2014 (source: eMarketer), the ability to effectively engage mobile users is becoming crucial. It’s one thing to serve impressions on mobile. It’s another to create two-way engagement that provides measurable benefits to advertisers.

Thanks to digital audio services ranging from Pandora and Spotify to NPR, there are 140.3 million people that listen to Internet radio monthly (source: Edison Research) and more than 100 million listening via their mobile devices. While Internet radio on mobile is growing rapidly, it presents a particularly challenging advertising channel for consumer engagement, unless you can tap into the convenience and simplicity of voice.

Big Market, Challenges and Opportunities

Within the market of 100 million mobile audio listeners, we’re seeing a new segment emerge that we call ultramobile consumers. There are currently 50 million people each month (Source: Edison Research, ClearVoice Research) who access audio content while their mobile devices are out of sight because they are multitasking. Since these consumers are driving, walking or exercising while consuming audio content, they are simply unable to interact with traditional visual mobile ads.

Radio is Different

What many people don’t fully appreciate is that radio is different from other types of content consumption. Most media requires visual concentration to consume. From a consumer behavior standpoint, that means consumers are looking at a device and have an opportunity to interact with visual content to complete an action. Audio is typically consumed in the background with no immediate access to a screen.

We see an opportunity for marketers to bridge the gap between consumer attention and engagement as mobile devices become more ubiquitous in daily life and require less hands-on interaction. Marketers can tap into the power of interactive audio to motivate, engage and convert consumers while ultramobile.

Capture Attention and Motivate Action. Then What?

Marketers rely on advertising creative and targeting to breakthrough the clutter, capture consumers’ attention and motivate action. Beyond motivating consumers, advertisers must ensure that the friction (or obstacles) to conversion do not exceed the motivation level. All advertising that reaches consumers will fall on a spectrum of motivation. Some will be highly motivated by the offer, while others will be lightly motivated or somewhere in between. The lower the level of friction to convert, the more of those consumers will be captured. This is where the method to maintain attention and convert comes into play.

Maintain Attention by Reducing Engagement Friction

Conversion methods often involve other stakeholders to execute them effectively. But ignore conversion friction at your peril. High friction in the conversion process reduces customer acquisition and renders the creative process ineffective. The question for every marketer should be: “What methods are you employing to make it easier for consumers to act on your message?”

In audio advertising, conversion friction remains high. For traditional radio, the only way for a consumer to engage with an advertised offer is to remember an 800 number or website URL. Internet radio reduces this friction somewhat by having an on-screen tile to click. However, the 79% of listeners (source: comScore) who use smartphones still must take the device out of their pocket or purse, key in their PINs, open the app and then click. It is neither convenient nor spontaneous, resulting in higher friction and fewer conversions.

Convert Spontaneous Interest Through Voice

Consumers today are fickle and overloaded with offers so even great creative that captures their attention often doesn’t yield conversions. Advertisers have been missing a tool for audio that can easily turn consumer attention into conversion.

With interactive audio ads, ultramobile users can respond with phrases like “call now,” “download app” or “send coupon” to instantly connect them with offers through call centers or actionable pages. This new audio advertising format provides marketers with a way to engage the ultramobile consumer who would not be able to interact with traditional mobile advertisements. Interactive audio ads reduce conversion friction and make consumer interactions simple, spontaneous and convenient. The ad format also fosters two-way communication that enhances the relationship between consumers and brands. Marketers can also measure the results and determine the ROI of various campaigns to continuously improve future marketing endeavors.

The possibilities for interactive audio consumption grow as mobile devices become more ingrained in all aspects of our busy lives. The better marketers can connect with consumers on their terms and find ways to seamlessly integrate advertising messages into everyday lives, the more opportunity there is to engage. Interactive audio services will pave the way for a new wave of mobile advertising that motivates interaction, maintains attention and facilitates conversion.

 





Pat is an entrepreneur with a career of building technology firms from the ground up. He is building a culture at XAPPmedia that fosters ownership, commitment and innovation from every team member and partner. Prior to XAPPmedia, he was EVP at Xtone; and before that was Founder and CEO of DataFocus. DataFocus was a pioneer in data modeling and relational data base design and later developed NuTCRACKER. He sold the services business to CIBER, and the NuTCRACKER business to MKS (now PTC).

Pat received a BS in Civil Engineering with High Honors from U.S. Coast Guard Academy and an MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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