Nielsen Launches An Audio DMP To Bring Audience Buying To Radio

Broadcast radio is getting a data-driven boost with the help of Nielsen Marketing Cloud.

Nielsen announced on Wednesday that broadcast radio network Westwood One will use Nielsen’s data-management platform (DMP) to segment audiences across its broadcast and digital inventory. That makes Nielsen Marketing Cloud the first exclusively audio DMP on the market, said Damian Garbaccio, EVP of Nielsen Marketing Cloud.

“[Broadcasters are] bringing in online and offline data, and we’re appending that with 50,000-plus pieces of information,” he said.

Westwood One will use Nielsen Marketing Cloud to connect listener data from its digital audio streams, owned podcasts and radio stations to offline purchase data from Nielsen Catalina Solutions and Nielsen Buyer Insights. Westwood One and future buyers can also factor in TV viewing habits, lifestyle interests and psychographic information, and marketers can add their first-party CRM data or third-party assets into the mix.

It’s the first time radio broadcasters can connect advertisers to stations where audiences over-index on affinities with their products, Garbaccio said.

“It’s a great indicator of the richness of their audience and lets them sell terrestrial and digital in a better way,” he said.

Westwood One reaches a quarter of a billion US listeners weekly via broadcast radio. It is excited about the opportunity to make the channel more addressable to compete with the targeting opportunities available on digital platforms, such as Pandora and Spotify, said Suzanne Grimes, EVP of marketing at Cumulus Media and president at Westwood One.

“We’re activating our listener data to offline purchase data, which is what all of our advertisers are looking for,” she said. “That puts the network at a more level playing field with pure plays in streaming.”

In early tests, targeting against purchase data on AM/FM radio increased ROI by up to 20% and tripled sales for buyers on Westwood One’s properties.

“In the past we were looking at digital insights and extrapolating them to over-the-air listening,” she said. “This takes us to a higher level on accuracy, insight and action.”

While buyers can view an audience across Westwood One’s broadcast radio and digital properties, they can’t execute buys in real time across both mediums because of limitations in programmatic buying on radio. Only a small portion of Westwood One’s broadcast radio inventory is available programmatically, Grimes said.

For now, Nielsen Marketing Cloud will only segment audiences for national buys since local radio buyers don’t have the scale to benefit from audience-based buying, Grimes said.

“National advertisers are the ones spending the most and they’re particular about reaching the right segment and getting the most performance,” she said. “That’s where the scale, addressability and targeting can really make a difference.”

Grimes sees its partnership with Nielsen Marketing Cloud attracting national buyers in more verticals, particularly CPG, because it allows it to them to measure closed-loop attribution. Using data from Nielsen Catalina Solutions and a partnership with J.D. Power & Associates, Nielsen Marketing Cloud can attribute broadcast radio buys to sales for auto and CPG buyers. It hopes to expand that capability to the retail vertical early next year.

“I can now talk to a CPG partner and understand they’re looking to segment against a user across our entire platform,” she said. “That’s something we’ve never been able to do for them before.”

Audience-based buying on radio is exciting, but it will also take education, Grimes said. Broadcast buyers aren’t used to thinking about radio in terms of audiences and targeting segments.

“The reality is agencies aren’t quite set up to operate this way yet,” she said. “But we’ll get there.”

Nielsen, which is already in talks with all of the major US broadcast radio networks, is betting that as media buying becomes more addressable, brands will spend money to reach their audiences regardless of where they are or how new or shiny that medium is.

“If you can connect a brand with people who have an affinity for their products or are buying competitors’ products, they’re interested in buying it,” Garbaccio said. “I don’t think they care as much about digital versus TV versus radio. I hope we get to a time that it’s just media.”

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