A new Nielsen Audio study shows sharp increases in both tune-in occasions and time spent listening (TSL) on radio stations offering consumers Futuri’s “Instant Alerts” feature that sends text, tweet, or e-mail alerts to listeners when one of their favorite songs is about to play. The Instant Alert Efficacy Study, commissioned by Futuri Media, tracked listening activity for several months on 10 mainstream formats at 40 stations in 16 major markets measured by Nielsen’s Portable People Meter.

Nielsen reported that a solid majority of the stations using Futuri’s Instant Alerts – 62.5% – increased tune-in occasions within 90 days of deploying the feature. By comparison, they were 36% more likely to boost occasions by at least 10% within that time frame than a control group of similarly formatted stations in similar-sized markets which did not offer the feature.

Futuri client stations also increased the number of occasions by an average of 5.75 times more than a control group of similar stations. This dramatic increase in occasions for stations using Instant Alerts resulted in an acceleration of time spent listening, scoring as much as 30 times the growth as that of the control group. Comparatively, the Instant Alert stations were 45% more likely to extend TSL by 10% or more within 90 days.

Nielsen’s research also found that consumers who recently became Instant Alert users anticipated becoming “more engaged” with their favorite station in terms of time spent listening, a key driver of station ratings. More than 83% said they planned to listen more to that station in the coming week, with a majority who said they intended to listen “a lot more.” And more than 70% of these Instant Alert consumers said they were more likely to recommend the station to a friend.

The research also indicated that many consumers who use Instant Alerts show potential for becoming heavy listeners, known as “P1s”. Nearly 42% said they would listen to their favorite station for at least two additional hours in the coming week. Radio stations prize heavy listeners, regarded as those who tune in to their favorite station for at least four hours per week, because they can generate 50% or more of that station’s total listening.

“This study provides a meaningful link between engagement online and broadcast ratings,” says Daniel Anstandig, Futuri Media CEO. “This study is proof-positive that Futuri’s Instant Alerts can generate more tune-in occasions, translating into more TSL, a larger audience share and a stronger average quarter-hour market rating. Equally important is the evidence that Instant Alerts are effective at building affinity, which leads to brand loyalty and sharing. Ratings, retention, and referral – that’s a powerful combination.”

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