Targeting the PPM People: How Are They Different? (Part 7: More Influenced by Big-Prize Contesting!)
May 28, 2012
By Joel Lind
To succeed today, stations must maximize their appeal to those who control that success:Â those who wear a PPM.Â And the PPM-friendly population, pure and simple, is nowhere close to a representative sample of the population in general.Â NuVoodoo’s national study of 1000 adults 18-49 shows that there are several key differences between radio users who will agree to take the PPM and those who will not.Â This is the seventh article in our series discussing those differences and how they can help stations win and change the future.
First, please bear in mind that 100% of our sample are already research-receptive people: people who at least agreed to answer a few questions.Â Experience tells us that only about 30% of the population will participate in any research.Â Therefore, any information we share about “Arbitron-friendlies” should be considered in this context.Â We also know respondents are always quicker to agree to a theoretical question than to commit to the actual behavior.Â So the percentages who say they will do something are always greater than the percentages who will in fact do so.Â
This week, we look at the effectiveness of big-prize contesting.Â In the pre-PPM era, there was plenty evidence that a big-prize contest could boost a station’s numbers.Â But is that really still true? And if so, why?
Back in the diary day, conventional thinking was that effective contesting targeted and stimulated the “actives,” the same kind of listeners who would be likely to meticulously enter all their listening occasions in those funny little pamphlets.Â Thus, we tailored contest methodologies toward use of pen-and-paper, toward emphasizing specific time benchmarks and toward burning in our call letters.Â Then we reinforced these tactics with promotional copy designed to maximize record-keeping behavior while just maybe crossing Arbitron’s ratings-distortion line.Â (“Early Morning, Midday, Late Afternoon, and Evening! Killer 108! Write it down!”)Â Active contest-players made for great diarykeepers.Â
Today, scoring with the “write it down” active listener has become an obsolete goal.Â Now we live in PPM World.Â A totally-passive listener’s hour hearing our station will be recorded just as faithfully as that of her twisted sister, the extreme, psychotically-active listener, who has never abandoned diary technology, because she still obsesses about radio stations in her own private daily journal.Â So is big-prize contesting an example of those diary-entry-driven tactics that should be retired?
PPM Prospects Are Much More Influenced by Contesting than Non-Prospects
We tested 8 different big prizes and asked listeners to predict the likelihood that they would increase their listening in pursuit of each prize.Â Remember that predictions are invariably overestimates, and that these numbers also look high because our sample represents only the research-cooperative minority (the only consumers who matter in a business where success is determined by research).Â That said, these findings are striking, and across the board, regardless of the prize offered: PPM prospects are about 50% more likely than the non-prospects, even among research-cooperative people (and many times more likely than the no-research-no-contests majority of the population) to change listening habits in pursuit of a prize.Â
Why?Â If the active-listener/contest-player correlation no longer matters, what’s going on here?Â Well, let’s think about this.Â These are the same people who are so money-motivated that they would carry around on their persons every day an electronic device that spies on their behavior, in return for a just a few hundred bucks.Â We’ve already established that their behavior can be purchased, and for a relatively nominal price.Â So of course they are also the folks most willing to listen for a shot at a big prize.Â Compared to carrying a PPM, the inconvenience “cost” to them of increasing their listening is much less, and the potential benefit of the big prize is much greater.Â
What this means to you
Together with the findings we reported last week, that PPM prospects are much more easily reached via Facebook, email and snail-mail than other folks, this is great news for radio stations.Â Three cheers for Arbitron!Â Long live the PPM!Â Best invention ever! Â It has narrowed the ratings-panel pool to a group top-heavy with the two otherwise rare traits you lust after: readers of your targeted mass advertising campaigns, who are also in need of money, and are therefore most willing to change their listening habits in response to a good big-prize contest.Â Arbitron’s own methodology, and the people it works on, provide you the simple keys to prospering from that methodology.Â The ratings gods have endowed stations with the tools to be fruitful and multiply.Â If you use those tools well, you will win with PPM wearers and change your future.