How To Know When Your Radio Station Should Spend Money On Online Ads
February 9, 2016
From time to time, broadcasters will ask me if they should spend money on online ads on Google, Facebook, or Twitter. The answer is, "It depends."
Under the right circumstances, a targeted ad spend can be very effective. But what are the right circumstances?
Here are three ways to know that it is worth spending money on online ads.
1. When there is a specific digital call to action.
Don't spend digital dollars on nebulous goals like "branding" or "imaging" or "raising awareness." Only spend money running online ads when there is something specific that you want people to do. For example:
- You want listeners to purchase tickets to the station concert festival
- You want potential clients to fill out a form requesting information about advertising
- You want listeners to enter a contest
Make sure that these goals have a digital call to action. In other words, if you are trying to get people to enter a contest, drive them to an online form where people can enter; avoid offline calls to action like "Listen for a double-shot of Taylor Swift."
Because you can measure the online actions; you can't measure the offline actions with any degree of accuracy. Remember, the advantage of online ad spends is that you can measure the results. Don't give up that advantage by using them for a vague goal.
2. When it directly impacts the bottom line.
Only spend money to advertise things online if they will directly impact your radio station's bottom line. You want to set yourself up to measure the ROI of your advertising spend.
Using the examples above, running ads to drive ticket sales or sales leads obviously has an impact on the bottom line. But you should only be advertising your contests if you are able to monetize them. If you secured a $20,000 buy to give away a prize and promised the client at least 500 entries, it makes sense to advertise. If, on the other hand, you're just giving away concert tickets that the record label gave you, and your station is not able to make money off the contest, don't spend the money.
3. When you are set up to measure the results.
As I noted above, you want to measure the ROI of your advertising spend. But it's not enough to make sure that you get a bang for your buck; you want to know how much bang you got for your buck. How many concert tickets did you sell for every dollar you spent on Facebook ads? How many leads did your sales team generate for every dollar spent on Google Adwords? How many contest entries resulted from each dollar spent on Twitter ads? If you don't have tools like Google Analytics set up to measure the performance of your advertising campaigns, don't pay for them; you'll just be guessing.
The problem with guessing, of course, is that you run the risk of spending more money on advertising than you generate with the thing that you're advertising. So make sure you are properly equipped to accurately measure the results of your advertising campaign before you launch it.
Follow these guidelines, and you'll dramatically improve the performance of your radio station's online advertising campaigns.