Talpa Network reaches over 90% of the Dutch population weekly thanks to its large portfolio of media brands from radio, TV, print, events, gaming, e-commerce platforms and influencer network. Their radio portfolio represents the majority market share on the Dutch radio market. The company focuses on continuing innovation so that their media yield better results. One of their main goals was to measure radio’s ability to drive web conversions to help optimise media buying.

Talpa took inspiration for this project from TV, which has several key benefits for e-commerce and pure players, such as the ability to reach large groups of potential customers, boost credibility, improve cost efficiency and generate direct responses. This has resulted in a large share of TV spend by e-commerce clients in recent years in the Netherlands. The question Talpa sought to answer was whether these benefits also apply to radio. Their goal was ultimately to shift more of the e-commerce budgets to radio.

Tracking the spot, not the ad-break

As with TV, radio also reaches large groups of potential customers, boosts credibility, is cost efficient and requires much lower investment. Talpa’s objective was to prove that radio generates direct response.

By default, spots are listed by the radio channels according to the scheduled start time of the ad break, and not the start time of the spot itself. This inaccuracy diluted the analysis and made it harder to distinguish the effect of a given spot. Talpa solved this with a Shazam-like solution that tracks the exact time a radio spot airs. When they compared the data to Talpa’s own e-commerce platforms, they were able to map a strong uplift when looking at the precise spot timing, whereas the ad-break data only showed a lower and more gradual uplift.

The proof

To prove this methodology, Talpa did a test study with 10 clients. All of their campaigns consisted of two weeks of radio advertising, one week off in which an analysis was conducted, followed by 2-4 weeks of optimised radio airing. The results confirmed in all 10 cases that radio generated a substantial direct response - up to 92% of additional direct response uplift.

Based on the data, Talpa was able to analyse the optimal channel mix – determining which spot length and creative elements converted customers most effectively, incorporating optimal weekday and daypart distribution (optimising primetime vs non-primetime). They implemented these learnings in the campaign’s second run.

Although the study initially focused on e-commerce players, this attribution model is not applicable to e-commerce clients only. As long as an online touchpoint can be tracked (web visits, orders, registrations etc.), this methodology can be applied by any advertiser.

Results and future steps

The attribution model successfully brought in new clients, over 60% of additional radio turnover was attributed to new radio advertisers (that were often TV-only clients before). The model can also be adapted retroactively to previous campaigns. Talpa is now focusing on further unifying radio and TV in one model that measures impact and optimises cross-media campaigns. They are already testing this with clients and providing them with a media buying grid that helps them and the media agency to determine to what extent radio and TV boost each other in various scenarios. The grid also includes detailed suggestions on optimal media planning for all available spot variables.

The attribution model is not exclusive to Talpa - all radio broadcasters in the Netherlands that can provide the time stamps of their spots can use the model.

Jan-Paul de Groot, Lead Media Strategy & Analytics at Talpa Network commented: "The study results have exceeded our expectations. Besides reach and branding, Radio proves to be complimentary to TV on a performance level. Already these findings have impacted cross media planning for dozens of clients, but have also forced us to rethink our commercial policy. Moreover, the ongoing research allows us to really partner up with agencies and advertisers to get the most out of their media spend. These discussions about tangible 'effect', rather than 'CPM', are welcomed by all parties!"