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During the past few years, radio has increasingly relied on marketing attribution software to show advertisers the impact of their radio buys and how to optimize those campaigns for the best outcome. Many of these efforts have focused on measuring web lift – how a campaign drove listeners to the client’s website. Now one of the leading purveyors of attribution software says it’s time to take the next step forward in the evolution of radio attribution.

To be sure, attribution products from a host of vendors, including Analytic Owl, LeadsRx, C3 Metrics and others, have been shown to both retain existing clients and even entice them to spend more. They’ve also helped open the door to marketers that shunned the medium because they weren’t able to quantify ROI. “This simple approach to basic measurement has created a groundswell over the last half decade with thousands of advertisers having been part of the process,” says LeadsRx CEO AJ Brown. “New advertisers expect attribution reports as a normal course of their ad buys. And, they’re getting them from nearly every major radio broadcaster in the country.”

Coming out of a brutal year, Brown says it’s time to move beyond looking at radio advertising in a bubble and begin to compare it to all other marketing channels in what’s known as multi-touch attribution. “It’s great to compare radio ad X to radio ad Y, but for radio broadcasters to be successful and to show their advertisers they are working even harder than before on their behalf, they need to have data that shows how radio advertising compares to – and works with – all other channels, including digital mediums,” he contends. The goal is to have the ability to show the impact that all channels have in the customer journey so that radio can better compete in an increasingly complex advertising ecosystem.

LeadsRx, whose radio clients include Cumulus Media/Westwood One, Cox Media Group and iHeartMedia, is currently providing multi-touch attribution to some of its clients to analyze all paid media and organic traffic focused on sales, to map customer journeys and provide cross-channel insights and recommendations.

To do that, the company uses a tracking pixel that the advertiser installs on its website to collect data on marketing touchpoints from sources such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, along with URL tags, referrals and radio advertising. “The pixel automatically learns about these touchpoints and gives each the right amount of credit while also storing individual customer journeys,” Brown explains.

In tandem with the company’s Open Attribution API computing interface, the system works to capture consumer touchpoints for both online and offline events, such as when prospects visit web pages, participate in marketing campaigns, view impressions of ads, and move through the sales funnel.

“Only by looking across all channels and through the entire sales funnel can advertisers truly optimize budgets,” Brown insists. “With a more complete picture of all marketing channels and all conversions, radio can take the next step in its attribution evolution: multi-touch attribution.”