Discussing Digital Strategy for Radio: Three Minutes With Todd Stapleton

Posted by Symon Edmonds

Oct 25, 2017 10:31:51 AM

At SoCast, we believe that the best way to learn how to grow digital for radio is to talk to people who are actually, you know, doing it.


In this edition of Three Minutes With, we speak with one of our superstar clients, Todd Stapleton, GM of Vandalia Radio. Why do we consider Todd one of our superstar clients? Vandalia Radio consistently has over 100,000 website visitors per month on the SoCast platform despite a local population of only 7,000. (You can learn more about how he does that here.)

In case you missed our first edition of Three Minutes With, check out our interview with Halley Phillips of Big River Broadcasting here.

See the video of our conversation with Todd here and our analysis below:


Which key metrics does your company focus on?

Vandalia Radio focuses mainly on unique visitors and pageviews. Since they report on a lot of local news, they want to keep their audiences engaged, and these metrics help them to determine the success of their digital initiatives.

This makes sense as these two metrics are very clear indicators of audience engagement. They also help Vandalia to drive higher digital revenue. More visitors and pageviews leads to more impressions for ad partners. In addition to these metrics, we recommend monitoring social media referrals, online tune-ins and database/membership club size. These are important metrics that will allow you to more clearly communicate the value of your digital inventory to advertising partners.

What’s been your biggest digital revenue driver this year?

Todd calls out mobile as his biggest digital revenue driver in the past year. The increased digital inventory opportunities provided by mobile allow them to sign on new advertising partners as well as increase revenue with existing partners.

At SoCast, we believe that mobile is one of the biggest opportunities for radio today and this sentiment is backed up by a plethora of industry research. In our 2017 Digital Trends in Radio Survey results, 78% of broadcasters stated that mobile was a “very significant opportunity” for radio. Additionally, consumers now spend more time on their mobile devices than on desktop computers and mobile advertising is projected to grow 18.7% annually through the end of 2021.

What’s the biggest challenge you face today in digital?

Todd’s biggest challenge in digital is selling digital inventory properly. Ensuring that his salespeople are properly monetizing their digital presence is very important at his stations. A key component of this is determining the value of their digital inventory. To help with this, Todd equips his salespeople with a digital rate card that establishes standardized rates for each type of digital inventory that Vandalia sells.

Pricing inventory is one of the biggest challenges that radio broadcasters face in digital. At SoCast, we suggest establishing a digital rate card using cost per impression or time on site pricing. We also suggest complementing your rate card with associated key metrics that show ad partners how many impressions they will get with each type of inventory (i.e. monthly home page views to determine how many people will see a home page banner).

If you could only invest in one digital strategy, what would it be?

The one thing that Todd wants to improve in is his stations’ use of video. For him, this is not something his team has been able to focus on yet and is something that he would like to do more of in the future. He plans to use video for news coverage and to monetize these videos with pre-roll ads.

We agree with Todd that video is indeed a huge opportunity for radio. Participants of our 2017 Digital Trends in Radio Survey also agree, with 92% stating that it is a “somewhat significant” or “very significant” opportunity for radio.  Video is a rich and highly engaging content format that sees more audience interaction and allows you to express your brand in distinct ways. Additionally, as Todd alluded to, it provides an additional revenue opportunity for your stations with video pre-roll ads.

If you’re not doing so already, we encourage you to start using video at your stations. To learn more about how you can create engaging videos, check out this blog post.

So that wraps up this edition of Three Minutes With and our thoughts from our conversation with Todd. Since he has done such a great job growing digital revenue at his stations with SoCast, we definitely encourage you to take his words to heart.


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Want to learn more about how to build and monetize your station’s digital presence? The SoCast platform allows you to increase audience engagement in digital and turn this into greater digital revenues. To get started with SoCast, speak with one of our Digital Specialists today.

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