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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
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Radio Industry Quandry, Knowing Its RPWSV

We're seeing more interest from the radio industry on how to draw visitors to web sites. This is not surprising considering that traditional media spending is predicted to grow 3% while digital media spend should be up 14% in 2011. But let's understand that the key thought here is getting a person to visit not just once.

As we've pointed to since Mark Cuban's days at, online it's getting visitors to return to a station web site multiple times that matters. (Think of this as having your station web site positioned as a button on the dashboard.)

If you are still viewing the challenge as getting a visitor to your web site once, let's take this conversation to the next level. Here's the question: Do you know your Revenue per Web Site Visitor (RPWSV)? How much cash is geing generated from each person who's coming to view those pictures of your air talent, that short list of community events, or the last ten songs you've played on air?

"I recently heard one syndicated program play a 14-commercial spot set. Ask yourself how this is doing justice to radio's audience or advertisers." I've been speaking about the wonder of the internet being its ability to track actions since first writing an Audio Graphics article. It (tracking) is the primary item that separates a digital presence from someone hearing words over-the-air, or watching a picture on a tube.

When we start a discussion on this topic, the response from someone in radio usually falls to one of two statements: 1) Radio reaches over 90% of Americans at least once a week; 2) You can't make money at the CPM pricing levels of online advertising.

Sure, we still have radio sales people bringing in dollars. It's a little more difficult to get the same amount from each client than it was pre-internet, though. Many advertisers are putting at least part of their marketing budget into the web - doesn't matter whether it's enhancing their own web site or buying online advertising. The fact that this money is not going to traditional media (and how to draw more of it back) is what should be of concern to anyone involved in radio today.

To help understand the importance of this, let's start by looking at how much revenue you are generating with that radio station web site. Go past the analytics. Go beyond the revenue generated by selling banner ads or pre-roll video. This time, focus on how much revenue you receive from each visitor to your web site - that's the real measurement which seems to be lost in all this talk about how to get people to visit.

It's not difficult to calculate RPWSV. To come up with the figure, all you need to know is how to properly read your web site's analytics program, how much it costs to run your station web site each month, and what is the total revenue generated through your site. If any money is spent promoting your station's web site beyond having your jocks talk about it (it's ok to laugh at this), you'll also need to put those numbers into the equation.

The radio industry is at a crossroads which will end up defining its future relevancy.

Do you place some of your focus on internet revenue, or are you satisfied with whatever trickles into your station web site while repeating "over 90% of Americans listen to broadcast radio each week"? If it's the latter, good luck - because you'll need to sell far more commercials to make up the difference between yesterday's radio revenue and tomorrow's.

I recently heard one syndicated program play a 14-commercial spot set. Ask yourself how this is doing justice to radio's audience or advertisers. Defend the practice and you truly don't understand how the public has shifted preferences in audio programming.

The radio industry only needs to unlock the "Revenue per Web Site Visitor" number. This will show how it can play both sides of the fence, and where it makes money from over-the-air announcements pushing listeners to an online item.

Whatever your choice, the ultimate goal is to know how much each web site visitor is making your radio station - or how much they are costing you.

If radio is to get anything out of being online, it will eventually need to calculate how much "being online" is worth. Do the math, and you'll know that figure down to the penny, per person.

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