June 2008 - Channel Crossing: Radio

Radio Station Websites: A New Frontier in Advertising

By Bill Sullivan

About two years ago, after considerable urging by radio stations across the country, we finally started placing our clients’ radio and TV spots on the stations’ websites. It was a new addition to the traditional banner ad website marketing. We now refer to it as streaming audio and streaming video. This is a report on the huge opportunity that this method of advertising offers. In fact, we believe that streaming will soon prove to be a cutting-edge selling method-one that we presently refer to as “The New Frontier” in radio advertising.

Like most innovative ideas, streaming is relatively simple: the advertiser’s radio and TV spots play on the radio station’s website, along with a link to the advertiser’s website or landing page that includes additional selling messages and offers. Contrary to what some think, this form of streaming is not the same as traditional Internet advertising. Beyond reaching the usual Internet users, radio station website streaming is a new communications approach that reaches the loyal radio audience with attractive selling messages from both radio and TV ads.

Unlike most other Internet users, the audiences who visit a station’s website are interested in learning more about the station, its programming and its sponsors’ products and services. In other words, the audiences carry their loyalty from the station’s airtime to the station’s website, and further to the linked advertiser’s website with its additional sales messages. As a result, the leads produced by such streaming are of a higher quality-the key to increased sales. And, by the way, advertisers can take advantage of streaming’s increased selling benefits by placing their spots directly on the station’s website without buying airtime. Most importantly, the price of streaming is very negotiable. In some cases, it can be done on a pay-for-performance basis. You might compare it to where cable TV was 20 years ago.

Stations have been trying to promote the use of their websites with little success, but streaming is still in its early growth phase. As a result, stations’ websites are presently under-utilized and many advertisers are being offered streaming plans they can’t refuse. Most advertisers already have radio and TV spots and even websites underway, so the opportunity is here and now and just waiting to be seized by savvy advertisers.

While many industry experts have specialized in radio advertising for many years, with streaming some are now promoting more TV ads. In our case, we are also starting to develop ways to get our clients’ print ads, as well as their spots, onto stations’ websites.

Clearly, streaming is a new frontier in advertising and right now is the best time to get in on the ground floor. Like all new advertising methodologies, be sure to work with experienced professionals with a proven record that shows they know how to develop profitable streaming campaigns that meet your particular needs and budget.

Bill Sullivan is president of William Sullivan Advertising, a full-service direct response advertising agency based in Millburn, N.J. He can be reached at (973) 379-8555, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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