We’re getting closer to the World Series, and we’re already seeing some hotly contested, competitive games of baseball.
Similarly, the teams that blame other variables – the weather, injuries, and tough calls – always seem to be the ones that are on the losing end of the final score.
Sadly, radio is often guilty of that type of media whining. Satellite radio always seems to have the promotional dollars. Pure-plays don’t have to run so many commercials. TV is getting all those political advertising. And the top-rated station in the market never charges enough for their spots.
Blah, blah, blah.
But now a new study from the Media Behavior Institute suggests that radio may have something to actually complain about - MBB.
You’ve never heard of MBB? That’s because I just made it up. It’s Media Buyer Bias, and it is very likely afflicting the radio business when it comes to “getting on the buy.”
OK, so the sample was small (and as the Media Behavior Institute acknowledges, “non-projectable”), but they armed a group of advertising industry executives with a mobile app diary to study their personal use of media and gadgets over a one day period. They compared the actual media consumption of Madison Avenue types to MBI’s USA TouchPoints study which measures these same usage dimensions among real consumers.
And the results were revealing. The media executives actually spent more than half of their lives on email, compared to only 20% for the actual population. The ad mavens also over-used the Internet by a margin of 28% to 15% for real consumers.
Ad pros also use mobile apps and social media far more than most Americans. In many ways, we shouldn’t be surprised by these findings because as the MBI points out, their over-consumption of digital media “is part of their job, but the the data indicates they clearly are not representative of the overall population they are hired to influence with media.”
And that’s the real point. Media buyers are, in fact, not like real people.
But the real controversy comes into play when the MBI looked at traditional media where average consumers use everything more than industry execs do – except for print. While only about one-fourth of the consumer sample read some form of print during the test day, more than four in ten (42%) of the media pros pick up a newspaper or print publication. (And you wonder why those newspaper advertising sections continue to be thick and robust.)
But the biggest departure between these advertising pros and consumers?
Radio. While 80% of the USA TouchPoints sample used radio in the test period, only 42% of these advertising professionals followed suit.
MBI’s Mike Bloxham concludes that while a larger sample is necessary in order to generate meaningful conclusions, it seems logical that the behaviors of advertising pros likely influence their decision-making. As he notes, “If we find as a community that we are markedly different from the communities that we are trying to communicate and engage with for our brand clients, that is a real challenge.”
Indeed. And it’s an even bigger challenge for a radio industry that is struggling to get its fair share in an increasingly crowded media environment.
Tomorrow: an idea to help change radio’s “optics” among media professionals.