Add Value to Your Radio PSAs via Electronic Monitoring
Requires Strict Creative Parameters
While radio offers PSA planners many advantages, such as cheaper production cost and the ability to target specific audiences, it also has some weaknesses, and one of them is getting accurate evaluation data.
First, only about 20% of stations return them, and we know from sending reminder postcards that many stations use PSAs, but do not report that usage. We try to make it very easy to use the BRCs (business reply cards) by putting simple information stations can circle to indicate frequency and duration of usage. We also provide free return postage, but still many stations do not take the time to return them, meaning the client gets no credit for usage.A few years back a company called MediaGuide developed the first electronic tracking of radio PSAs, and we were among the first distributors to use that service to provide a more accurate way to measureradio PSA usage. Unfortunately, they went out of business, leaving us the bounce-back card method of radio evaluation once again.
Now the A.C. Nielsen Company – the same firm which provides accurate broadcast TV monitoring – has developed technology to monitor radio PSA exposure. The service, also called SIGMA, offers radio tracking in 140 markets, covering over 2000 radio stations across the U.S. and Canada, including satellite and national networks.
Nielsen SIGMA radio detections are collected using what is called “pattern recognition technology,” which works very similar to fingerprint detections. Generically, it called “passive monitoring,” because there is no need to place a code on the radio master. We simply send the audio files to Nielsen and they create the patterns to track each creative.
However, there are some creative requirements to consider that could greatly affect results, which include:
Audio File Requirements
The following are the minimum requirements for audio files to be tracked. If your file does not meet these requirements, the release will be rejected.
For a more definitive article on how to plan and implement your radio PSA campaign, go to: http://www.psaresearch.com/_radioprod.asp.