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New Study Underscores Local Radio’s Impact for Political Candidates

·5 min read
Cumulus Media Inc.
Cumulus Media Inc.

Political Ads Tied to Local Radio Stations Perform Better

AM/FM Radio Turns Out Swing Voters

NEW YORK, Sept. 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) | Westwood One Audio Active Group® (AAG) today released a brand-new analysis of two non-traditional creative approaches to political ads. The results showed that utilizing candidate-voiced ads in political campaigns and customizing political copy with station-specific verbiage that seeks input from listeners drove greater voter intent and were seen as more uplifting.

The creative analysis reveals valuable insights and best practices for political audio campaigns. Some highlights include:

  • Station-specific ads that call out the station call letters, fit the energy of the station, and seek to improve the campaign through soliciting feedback performed better than standard political ads. They delivered higher lift in voter intent (+9) versus generic ads (+7).

  • The key segment of swing voters was more receptive to station-specific political ads versus generic ads (+3). According to Nielsen Scarborough data, AM/FM radio delivers an 82% massive reach of all swing voters.

  • According to Nielsen Media Local Impact, Nielsen’s media optimization platform, a 10% allocation of the media plan to AM/FM radio boosts voter reach by +8% with no increase in budget. Given that political races are being decided by such slim margins, adding AM/FM radio to the plan can help candidates optimize their media for the largest possible reach.

  • Ads voiced by a political candidate outperformed both Veritonic political campaign benchmarks and political ads with a professional voiceover. Candidate-voiced ads also drove higher voter intention lift (+6) compared to Veritonic political benchmarks (+5) and professional voiceover ads (+5).

  • According to Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study, AM/FM radio accounts for 76% of the daily audio time spent with any ad-supported platform among registered voters. “Share of Ear” also finds that AM/FM radio has substantial ad-supported daily shares among Democrats (73%), Independents (75%), and Republicans (78%).

“Political candidates need radio,” said Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer, Cumulus Media. “The TV landscape is always going to be cluttered leading up to elections. AM/FM radio offers candidates a way to cut through the noise. We know that one of the big reasons listeners turn to radio is to feel connected. They trust the medium. Political candidates who have ads on the radio can benefit from the halo effect of being in such a trusted environment. With the new best practices uncovered in this analysis, not only will political candidates reach listeners who are primed to receive their message, but they will be set up for success by connecting with their most important target audience – swing voters.”

“We’re excited to partner with the Audio Active Group® in the release of this new data pointing to ways candidates can easily optimize their audio creative for maximum impact,” said Veritonic Founder and CEO Scott Simonelli. “Creative audio has the power to reach the right audiences at the right moment and time. Understanding your audience and what they respond best to is essential to building out a political campaign with the confidence to ensure that no ad dollar is wasted. We have seen the success of audio in its ability to create desired outcomes during critical political election periods and its influence on voters' intentions to elect office officials.”

The complete political creative analysis is available at WestwoodOne.com/blog. This information is available on the blog as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the marketing community.

Analysis Methodology
Two non-traditional creative approaches were tested by Veritonic. Ads were tested among adults 18+. Emotional response attributes tested included: Excited, happy, likeable, empowering, relaxed, relevant to me, trustworthy, bored, nervous, and sad. Intent to vote for the candidate before and after being exposed to the ads was also collected. Panelists were re-contacted 48 hours after ad exposure to measure ad recall. For the AM/FM radio ad voiced completely by candidate, the sample size was 321 respondents per ad (2889 respondents total). For the AM/FM radio ad customized to the station seeking voter input, the sample size was 281 respondents per ad (562 respondents total). Panelists were asked about their voter registration status as well as political affiliation.

About Cumulus Media
Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) is an audio-first media company delivering premium content to over a quarter billion people every month — wherever and whenever they want it. Cumulus Media engages listeners with high-quality local programming through 405 owned-and-operated radio stations across 86 markets; delivers nationally-syndicated sports, news, talk, and entertainment programming from iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, CNN, the AP, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and many other world-class partners across more than 9,500 affiliated stations through Westwood One, the largest audio network in America; and inspires listeners through the Cumulus Podcast Network, its rapidly growing network of original podcasts that are smart, entertaining and thought-provoking. Cumulus Media provides advertisers with personal connections, local impact and national reach through broadcast and on-demand digital, mobile, social, and voice-activated platforms, as well as integrated digital marketing services, powerful influencers, full-service audio solutions, industry-leading research and insights, and live event experiences. Cumulus Media is the only audio media company to provide marketers with local and national advertising performance guarantees. For more information visit www.cumulusmedia.com.

About Veritonic
World-renowned brands, agencies, publishers, and platforms rely on Veritonic's comprehensive audio analytics and research platform to research, test, and measure the ROI of their audio assets and campaigns pre-market, in-market, and post-campaign. The resulting insight enables clients to gain confidence in their audio investment, mitigate risk through optimization, and increase their return as they engage consumers with compelling audio experiences. For more information, visit https://www.veritonic.com.

Contact: Karen Glover | Cumulus Media | kglover@westwoodone.com