NuVoodoo Media Services

Listener perception of contests can be a challenge to radio stations but understanding your audience’s skepticism could help you win over listeners and improve ratings. That was the overall message from NuVoodoo latest webinar “Fall 2019 Contesting & Marketing Guide.”

The mention of your station contest should not end after a solicitation for caller number 25 or sending a contest entry link to listeners via email or social platforms. “We’ve been preaching for the better part of two years that you need to celebrate your winners,” NuVoodoo VP Product & Business Development PJ Kling told attendees.

In today’s company-wide contesting approach, local markets should coordinate with cluster mates to congratulate local winners regardless of what stations they won the prize on. A simple name and town mention accomplish this, “even if they were listening to your sister station when they won,” Kling impresses. “The bottom-line is don’t just tell people you’re giving the money away, prove it to them.” The reason being, “your audience thinks the contest is rigged,” he said. PPM and diary participants are more likely to feel this way about contesting, NuVoodoo research shows.

Skepticism for contesting is up over the past two years, and “is a negative perception that is not going away,” Executive VP of Research Analysis Leigh Jacobs added. “Let’s face it, people who think your contest is rigged are less likely to participate, which means you’re less likely to impact your listener behavior which was the reason for conducting the contest in the first place.”

The main reason participants in the NuVoodoo study feel contests are rigged is because they think radio stations are tricking people into listening to them. Although, it’s not a trick, it’s a concerted effort to draw listeners to a radio station. To change this perception, Jacobs called for contest transparency, which reinforced Kling’s point of celebrating your winners.

With so much digital competition, radio needs to play to its strengths. One of the main advantages radio has is that it is free. Another advantage, Jacobs says is that “those who are likely to participate in the ratings appreciate [radio’s] connection to personalities and the local community” and “the companionship that radio offers, which is more than just a playlist of songs.”

Turning to marketing your radio station, Kling says, “There is no one size fits all marketing solution that works every time for every station.” However, among those who are likely to be PPM and diary participants, “half will watch the ads all the way through with the sound on,” Jacobs explains, while a smaller percentage will watch the ads with the sound down. Those likely to be PPM or diary participants consume the most video ads on YouTube, followed by smartphone apps and Facebook. –Jay Gleason