No Matter What Format: Radio Can/Should Own Info-Texting
October 29, 2012
In previous articles, we have shown the value to Radio stations of muscling up on texting, particularly in reaching those Radio users who are most likely to say yes to the PPM [click here]. Of course, this is only an opportunity. It is anything but an invitation to a barrage of messages that smell a lot like promos. This is not what the opportunity is about. Our doorway to immediate constant connection with the listener depends on listener interest. Radio texting must drive content that is meaningful and valuable to our audience. If our texts become perceived as a steady stream of “hooray for us, chapter 237,” they easily get labeled as automatic-delete crap. A perception like that, once established, is hard to reverse. Scorched earth.
And this is not earth that we want to scorch. As is clear from all the data below, large parts of our audiences already allow business texting. And among those who do allow it, they want to get texts with important information from their favorite radio station. This is automatically high digital credibility, not to be squandered. An opportunity, very much still available this far into the digital age, for every radio station to own the position of instant-digital-info provider. Regardless of format.
Commercial Texting Reaches One In Three Radio Users, Across The Demos
Remember always that our sample consists entirely of folks who are already research-friendly. This may sometimes show results higher than they are “in nature.’ But the good news is that nature has nothing to do with it. Only the research-friendly get to play a role in the Arbitron game, so they are the only folks we care about. And among that population, about one in three cooperates in getting texted for the profitability of others. Commercial texting is only slightly more accepted 18-24 than 45-49, and only slightly more accepted among Women than among Men. It is very much a meaningfully penetrated medium among this audience.
More Receptivity to Commercial Texting Outside Northeast, Top 10 Markets
One third of the research-friendly Radio audience already has permitted some commercial texting. The Northeast and top 10 markets, with the most media saturation, appear to be more resistive, but elsewhere cooperation is about 35%.
Texting Is Even More Effective In Reaching Radio Station Fans
Great news for radio stations. Consumers who are strongly attached to a music station are much more likely to be text-receptive to begin with than those who have no favorite music station, or have only a very weak “I just like the tunes” tethering. And the same goes for morning show fans. The folks that like us a lot are a lot easier to reach than those what don’t. Hey, sounds like a pretty good deal for us.
Now, do they want to hear from us specifically, and particularly as information agents? Undeniably yes. An opportunity for Radio at very high levels of acceptance. Among radio users who have already broken the commercial seal at least once, for any reason, to any company, it’s a no-brainer. Heck yeah, I want my favorite radio station to text me the scoop, and fast. So, thanks once again to the sheer reach of our cumes, if Radio really poured it on, we could be in a position potentially to own outright the medium/service of reliable-instant-info-text, a service with strong appeal to about one in four radio consumers. A number that will grow as the digital universe shrinks further.
Regardless of Format, They Want Us to Text Them Breaking News/Weather
Remarkably strong majorities of the text-friendly population, regardless of format of choice, regardless of whether or not they cume AM Radio, want their favorite radio station to provide critical news and weather information. And what they mean is critical to them. Relevance, targeting, and relentless delivery on the promise of dependability, are all important. And immediacy. Timing. Timing.
But Your Other Valuable Text Content Depends on Your Audience. E.g.:
The most effective texters are those who most effectively provide value. But because individuals have very different definitions of valuable information, a mass unfiltered text campaign reads as BS (“…dunno who you’re talking to, but it’s not me.”). As a good case in point, look at couponing, above. While AC and Urban P-1’s will eat it up, and it will help position the station as a great info-provider, it will really backfire if offered as a frequent message to Rock or Classic Rock fans. Moral of the story: research your audience information needs, interests, and priorities well. And to as great an extent possible, target your texts by interest, passion, and sometimes other factors like ideology, gender, religiousness, hipness, communitarianism, music passion, etc, etc, etc. Let them know you know what their hot buttons are, profile them well, and deliver what matters to them.
What this means to you
Build up the profile of texting. Make it everybody’s medium. Learn about the audience member’s needs with specificity and serve them. Segment the audience. Adapt to the custom-news market.
Do not follow the models you see of other businesses sending text messages. Unlike other businesses, for whom texts are customer relations and promotion, WE are different. The dissemination of information for profit IS our business. This is not promoting what we do. This is what we do.
And, of course, if Radio can maximize this news-alert-world opportunity, that would give Radio another important digital leg up in our whole insta-digital world. A world where now “demand” for information means pretty much that. As in “I demand that, when there is info to be known, I have it immediately.” This is a position, via the immediate digital wonder of the text, that our audience wants us to take! Strengthening our position as value-added information-providers is, we all realize, essential to Radio in maintaining our advantage over other audio choices. Signs are strong that we can use a ready entrée in the text-friendly world to shore up that position, assuming we are willing to commit to staying at it relentlessly.