In many ways, streaming radio is still seen as a new frontier for advertisers and publishers. Only recently have larger advertisers tested the waters of programmatic channels. Internet radio is certainly promising, but it’s still a somewhat new area, leading to hesitation and uncertainty in how ad sales can pitch its value appropriately.
As ad exchanges for streaming media evolve and develop, so do the opportunities available as an advertising and monetization channel.
For ad sales reps, the process of securing funding through advertising for streaming radio needs more introduction. That way, late adopters in advertising can move beyond legacy radio, print, and digital publications and consider podcasting in their marketing mix.
For teams who want to see success, this five-point checklist can provide a foundation for a solid sales management strategy.
1. Create Comprehensive Media Packages
For clients unfamiliar with streaming radio, arguing the advantages can be a tough sell. Streaming radio has incorporated the participation of big names, like Google and the introduction of ad servers such as AdsWizz and FreeWheel. However, without longevity and a proven track record of success — and a proven track record of ease in buying — those who have yet to take the plunge in a new medium may be likely to balk before hearing the benefits available.
In order to entice clients, it’s important to offer the same efficiencies publishers and advertisers are familiar with such as display and video advertising as well as traditional radio. This means effective management of streaming inventory beyond the realm of an exchange server, to sell a clear strategy with easily comprehensible media packages. When advertisers see a product they recognize and a clear business case for their particular needs, they’ll be more likely to listen.
2. Pitch Unique Niches and Segmentations
Streaming radio offers plenty of advertising opportunities with a unique selling point that is quite different from legacy media, but this reality isn’t always clear for agencies or advertisers.
We know: for large or more conventional advertisers who see success in legacy radio, print or digital, there’s no easy way to get them to branch out into a new avenue. However, going after the big players isn’t always the right approach in online radio.
Streaming radio offers many advantages for listeners and advertisers alike, and the ability to serve segmented, niche audiences is among the largest.
Many streaming radio stations have a far more targeted distribution than standard broadcasters. Targeting can give agencies and advertisers the ability to focus in on key demographics that the world’s major radio exchange servers can help target through second and third-party data. The challenge here is to connect all these dots for your sales reps!
To sweeten the deal, many of these stations are now beginning to offer integrated advertising packages. Today, they can provide more than just a 30-second ad spot to interested advertisers. This offers an upside for those willing to take a leap, combining an untested market with something known and effective.
3. Provide Easy to Understand Deals
To be truly attractive to advertisers and agencies, radio stations and podcasters need to find a way to make complex ad server and exchange bidding dynamics a little more user-friendly.
In a newer market with less of a tried and tested model, a media package that’s easy to understand is paramount to prove an ROI. For leery advertisers who are already hesitant to enter a new space, a confusing package is only going to make them more likely to look elsewhere.
How this can be accomplished varies based on what is offered. However, without a good management strategy the different segments in the market and ad servers available, ad insertion only becomes a steeper uphill climb.
4. Promote Effective Monetization Tactics
To advertisers, how to invest and where to invest in ad space are big decisions, and this is never a choice made lightly.
Before advertisers attempt to enter the streaming radio space, there needs to be assurance that an adequate ROI is available both for the agency and the radio show or the placement you’re selling.
As such, podcasters need a reliable bridge to their accounting records to keep track of the monetization of programs and shows.
- Is this talk show well funded through advertising?
- Have my ad sales reps targeted the right advertisers?
- Is my CRM precise enough to help me figure that out?
For some online productions, this will mean a step up in software to properly integrate all of the tasks in ad sales, from invoicing publishers to providing clients with stats and figures.
As much as possible, this process needs to mimic the experience advertisers have already come to expect from traditional media. That requires a streamlined approach that functions like clockwork.
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5. Provide Increased Transparency for Ad Sales
Online radio providers and podcasters are often unknown entities. At the same time, major podcasters such as SoundCloud have become a great way to promote previously unknown shows. However, outside of stations that have been on the air a long time or have solid metrics that support a proposed value-add for publishers and advertisers, building trust isn’t going to be easy — and, in turn, that means sales won’t be easy, either.
The IAB Europe Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising Report indicates that transparency and quality matter to advertisers. The study also looks to promote ways to offer advertisers additional control and protection from ad fraud.
In an effort to combat this, organizations like the Interactive Advertising Bureau are working to promote standards designed to transition streaming radio and other audio media into a mainstream digital tool with the help of players in the industry such as Rubicon Project.
Using the right mix of advertising software, radio stations can hedge their own bets by:
- Increasing the information available to advertisers.
- Providing in-house resources to guarantee quality.
- Using the right tools to have third parties accountable to minimize ad fraud. That way, internet radio can demonstrate that they are absolutely worth an investment.
While the ad sales field has evolved greatly over the last decade, streaming radio is still working to find a foothold. With these five tips, it’s possible to create a management strategy that packs a punch.