What You Need to Know to Stay Relevant - Top 5 Takeaways from LOAC 2017

Posted by Symon Edmonds

Mar 16, 2017 4:00:00 PM

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As always, we strive to give you the latest in tech and advertising trends surrounding the radio industry. We get out to the conferences and deliver you the insights. Earlier this month, we attended the 2017 Local Online Advertising Conference (LOAC 2017) hosted by Borrell Associates Inc in New York City. This is their annual conference focusing on best practices in local digital advertising. The conference’s lineup included an impressive roster of speakers such as Phillip Rather - Head of Local Partnerships at Facebook, Ryan O’Hara - CEO of Move Inc. and Greg Stuart - CEO of Mobile Marketing Association. The two day event was an intense learning workshop for SoCast and we are happy to present our top 5 takeaways from the conference that will help you stay relevant as more radio ad spending moves to digital.


1. Take a holistic approach to adding digital to your brands

 

By taking a holistic approach towards digital, you buy into the concept that one medium can amplify another or direct audience towards another. You also buy into the concept that increased audience engagement and resulting activity will have an overall halo effect on all outcomes; better ratings, more cume, more tune ins, more pageviews, etc.  

 

It has been proven that traditional media has been successful at pushing audiences to digital channels and properties. Once your audience is digitally interacting with your brands, you have the added opportunity to drive them to an action other than tuning in. Think of your advertisers.

 

When thinking about the digital space, use your channels to drive visitors through your websites, apps, social media, and players until they reach the desired conversion, advertiser or otherwise. In a space where there is so much competition for users’ attention it is important to lean on your strengths.

 

"Digital and traditional paired together is better and drives frequency, reach and relevance." - Jared Rowe, CEO at YP

 

"We're a media and tech firm." - Ryan O'Hara. CEO at Move Inc./Realtor.com

 

2. Use video to engage your audience

 

If there was one universal significant tactic that echoed from speaker to speaker it was the emphasis and success of video. To compete in today’s crowded marketplace, it is absolutely crucial to leverage original video. Doing so gives you differentiated content to separate your brand from the rest of the clutter on the web. Additionally, video sees increased engagement from audiences as visitors are more likely to watch a video than read text. YouTube is now the most important video tool for reaching younger audiences and should be core to all music radio strategies.

 

With digital, radio has both the curse and opportunity to be freed from the linear inventory constraints AND the audio-only medium format of on-air.  Local publishers have discovered that video is not only most engaging type of media, but once combined with mobile and social media, is also a powerful content offering for audiences.  Unsurprisingly, it also has some of the highest CPMs for ad revenue.  The opportunity for radio is to have a green field to develop original content to further their brands, drive more engagement, and create new properties to grow, whether on-air supported or not.

 

3. The speed of content and your sites is of utmost importance

 

You need to be producing content on a regular basis in order to maximize engagement from your digital audience. Additionally, your site needs to be optimized for speed and user experience to increase pageviews and reduce abandonment rates. Get a website SEO audit and remove any competing code or unnecessary Javascript that is hurting your load speeds.

 

In an effort to cite competitive advantage, Hearst relies on site speeds to justify its paywalls. Nobody will pay for slow speeds, and your site has to be fast enough in order to warrant any possible upsell to paywalled content. "We found that paywalls are okay, and that it doesn't take a lot of subscribers to make that model work." - Robertson Barrett, President at Hearst Newspapers Digital

 

4. Build a digital agency within your company

 

Agency work is a huge opportunity to appeal to local advertisers. Being able to offer this will give you an additional value proposition to offer advertisers. Since 37% of spending is now going to the digital budget, being a full-service digital marketing partner will allow you to position yourself as the best advertising option. In order to succeed in this space, we recommend having these four things:

 

  • Station leadership buy-in
  • Your local sales team fully engaged in digital
  • A strong digital sales manager
  • An aim to exceed digital goals by 60%

 

You need to provide someone for clients to call for their digital advertising needs. This means having dedicated digital sales strategists who are able to uncover client needs, develop solutions and close deals. Check out the Scripps Sales Process for more advice on how your station can excel in digital sales.

 

5. Prioritize data and mobile first

 

By improving your data infrastructure, you can gain the insights to create targeted leads which in turn creates new programmatic sales opportunities.

 

“Transparency and relevant data provides the ROI of an ad spend to the client.” - Robert Weisbord, COO of Sinclair Digital Group

 

Advertisers need to be able to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns. You have to know your clients’ businesses and have a sales team that can manage the multiple channels of digital. Publishers focused on local audiences are leveraging data for a variety of tactics for their advertisers around using targeted data to drive better conversions.

 

When thinking about radio’s core strengths, adding data-targeting to campaigns simplify amplifies these strengths relative to other local advertising options. When you add in mobile, you have additional geo-targeting and on-site related opportunities to drive leads for advertisers.  And as Heather Monahan from Beasley Broadcasting purported, “And then we take them live into the mix, then you’ve got a winning idea.”


Ostensibly, digital is a growing part of local advertising and staying abreast of the related trends will help you stay relevant. SoCast provides you with the platform to maximize your digital engagement and increase monetization opportunities with local advertisers. Speak with a SoCast Specialist today and learn how you can grow your engagement in the digital space and uncover new revenue opportunities.

 

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