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Radio’s Role in the Digital Ecosystem


With 3.1m people tuning into a radio station every day, radio is a powerful platform for brands to target consumers. But new research from Radio Factory also shows that radio advertising can also drive online sales, writes Peter Smyth.

“This new, ground-breaking research demonstrates how radio can drive sales in a digital world, illustrating the scope and versatility of the medium and confounding any thinking to the contrary. In an area where there’s previously been scant data, we’ve commissioned the Radio Factory Digital Reports as an on-going series of research into how a traditional and robust platform such as radio can work digitally for a diverse range of brands and product categories.”

That’s according to Peter Smyth, CEO of IRS+ the media sales house that specializes in the targeting of local, grass roots audiences via on the ground local radio and through it’s representation of 15 radio stations across Ireland.

The report uses a methodology whereby test national and local radio digital campaigns were created across the IRS+ network. These built on the traditional blocks of radio advertising while always channelling consumers to the relevant website for two distinct types of business.

The first of these is a leading Irish online clothing brand that operates solely as an ecommerce entity with no retail branches. The second is an online focused high-end skincare brand (with some bricks and mortar concessions). The overall results showed that radio positively impacts web performance, while product nature also influences web engagement.

RADIO POSITIVELY IMPACTS WEB PERFORMANCE…… with significant increases across all metrics including sessions, new users, transactions and revenue.

Impact on Number of Sessions

Clothing: There was an 11% increase in site traffic which equates to 11,147 additional sessions.

Skincare: Generated 156% more sessions than expected.

Impact on Number of Users

Clothing: The campaign generated a 10% increase in users or 8,487 more users during the campaign period – a major positive impact on the number of users.

Skincare: The analysis concludes that the campaign generated 169% more users than expected during the period following the campaign launch date.

Impact on Number of New Users  

Clothing: An analysis proved that there was an 8% increase in the number of new users during the campaign period. This is a significant increase of 3,074 users.

Skincare: There was a spike in new users of 233%, equating to 62 additional new users during this period. This increase is especially impressive considering the campaign was only active on one radio station (KCLR).

Impact on Number of Page Views

Clothing: There were 50,743 more page views during the period, which is 9% higher than what would typically have been expected.

Skincare: There were 122% more page views during the campaign – equivalent to 261 additional pages – illustrates a high level of engagement by users.

Impact on Number of Transactions and Revenue

Clothing: While radio has driven a lot of traffic and new user to the site, were they valuable users? There was a 12% increase in transactions on the site which indicates that the new and more frequent users were indeed purchasing.  With any retail business revenue is one of the most important metrics to measure. Showcasing the power of radio to drive online sales, the clothing brand saw an increase of 19% on revenue – a very positive impact on revenue during the campaign period.

Skincare: These results are interesting because while there was only an increase of 1 transaction, there was a 549% surge in revenue suggesting that while the number of transactions did not rise to any notable degree, the value of each transaction was dramatically higher.

Product Nature Has An Impact On Web Performance

Less considered or more impulse purchases such as the clothing and cosmetics brand saw the greatest increases across all measures, particularly in revenue (19% and 549% respectively).

Local Radio Works On A National Level

As a national brand that utilised the IRS+ network to its absolute potential, the clothing brand gained local affinity without sacrificing national reach. By using each local station, the clothing brand brought its message to an untapped audience who can benefit greatly from online shopping.

“Radio Factory was created as an original brand platform to revolutionize how media planners engage with Radio, demonstrating the reach and diversity of this medium. The ethos of Radio Factory is to increase the value of radio while refreshing planning methods and most importantly making radio work. The objective is to provide updates, insights and increased radio resources for media agencies that can add real return on investments for clients,” says Peter Smyth.

“The recent and successful launch of the Radio Factory Optimiser App, where we filled a gap in the industry with an effective radio planning tool, is indicative of that approach and our new research is part of the process of demonstrating the commercial, digital and influencer effect of radio on key audiences,” he concludes.

Peter Smyth is CEO of IRS+

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ November 2017)© to order back issues please call 016611660