SoCast Radio Show 2015 Highlights: Programmatic Buying & Automation

Posted by Elliott Hurst

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Oct 26, 2015 3:31:00 PM

Programmatic buying for radioSince the launch of SoCast, the Digital Marketing Platform for Radio, we’ve been attending one of the best Radio focused conferences in the world, the Radio Show, sponsored by the NAB and the RAB in the United States. 

SoCast’s mission is to lead Radio to thrive in the digital era, just as Radio did during the broadcast era. The following is the first in a three part series detailing what we perceive to be the key themes of this year’s show, through the eyes of our vision for Radio; a vision where Radio emerges as local leaders of digital content and audience loyalty.

Automation / Programmatic Buying for Radio

Programmatic is a green field for Radio, yet there appeared to be more questions than answers.

I think this trend stems from the origins of programmatic advertising, the TV industry. TV has been working with this model and advertisers are pushing radio into it as well, it fits the way they buy media today, in a grouped buy. Gone are the days when you had ads bought by medium buyer – there is no Radio Ad Buyer anymore. Radio is just one channel within a group buy. Few understand programmatic advertising today, and it may take a couple years to become mainstream, but Radio is going to learn fast.

First-Party Data is the new buzz word. 

This was the first Radio Show that I heard first-party data for radio being mentioned by more than just one or two outliers. First-party data is that precious audience data that you own, because it was recorded while the listener was on your digital properties; your website, your mobile app, etc. First-party data is the lifeblood of automated programmatic ad buying and selling, it helps determine targeting, inventory, and dynamic pricing.

Third-party data, the anonymous aggregated kinds you can buy can also help, but first-party data is free, and far more granular. Now that Radio appears to be understanding the financial benefits of programmatic advertising, executives are open to investigating into the strategies and platforms that can produce results in that new revenue stream. The battle on the horizon appears to take place within data set matching. The ad buyers want to use their sets and charge to do so – that’s a big part of the margin getting eaten up right there, as much as an estimated 75%.

I predict that Radio will embark on a mission to declare their own standard data sets to force ad buyers to use it for free, as opposed to paying for them. Radio has a long history of effectively reducing costs and I don’t see this trend reversing even with new tech.

The Opportunities…

In the short term, you don’t have to understand or focus an hour of your station’s time on programmatic to get your feet wet. Basic programmatic display ads are a quick way to get into the game, without deviating operations focus, and you’ll get a check every month. It won’t be much to start, but it is a start.

Basic automated content prep is another short term opportunity: a quicker, easier, and optimized way to source and publish content online, as well as provide on-air content prep. The beauty of harmonizing both is the consistent brand messaging in both broadcast and digital arenas.

Long term opportunities include:

  • Advanced programmatic in-stream audio ads
  • Advanced automated content prep – backed by insights and influenced by data
  • Advanced automated efficiencies: templates for design & integrated ad buys

There’s a consensus today that blogs drive page views. A foreign concept at our first Radio Show in 2012, conference attendees have now started to come around to the idea. Since automation of any kind was on point at the Radio Show, the concept of “content automation” (for lack of a better phrase) which is basically “smart and easy content prep” filtered and formatted, rights cleared, and simple to publish digitally was also bandied about. 

Understanding the value of blogs is the beginning of understanding how to drive audience engagement in digital. If you’re set up for digital sales, then maximizing digital inventory, particularly high priced CPM inventory should be your goal, and putting out the best possible content for your audience is key to that goal’s success.

In summary, the age of automation in Radio is upon us, and early adopters giants like iHeartMedia, as well as small market diary stations are both already working in programmatic advertising. If you want to get on the programmatic train, more detailed information will be available on the SoCast blog.

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For more articles on programmatic buying for radio, first party data for radio, radio trends 2016, and radio show highlights, subscribe to the SoCast blog!

Topics: Programmatic Buying, Automation

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