Source:, April 2020

With scores of local businesses experiencing the tumult of a free-falling U.S. economy, broaching the subject of advertising can be a difficult and downright awkward exercise. Yet there are many local merchants in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and the list goes well beyond just grocery stores and pharmacies. In fact, new data from AnalyticOwl shows big opportunities in less obvious categories and how radio can help businesses grow in these challenging times.

Speaking on a RAB-hosted webinar Tuesday, Analytic Owl Senior VP of Strategy & Operations David Schapira shared data the company has aggregated from broadcast advertiser websites connected to its attribution platform. The tool tracks and quantifies the impact of on-air campaigns on web conversions and online lift. The company looked at the website activity of these connected advertisers, comparing the pandemic period (the weeks of March 9, March 16 and March 23) to the pre-pandemic period (the weeks of March 2, Feb. 24 and Feb.17). While it turned up the huge boosts in website traffic you would expect for grocers and drugstores, it also showed large increases for some not so obvious suspects, such as landscaping and lawn and garden services, pest control providers and other home services, along with auto body/paint companies and religious organizations.

During the four-week period ending March 22, top categories that experienced significant increases in new user website visits were media (48.35%), grocery, convenience and liquor stores (32.55%), charitable, religious and non-profits (20.20%), communications (11.17%) and insurance (8.51%), AnalyticOwl said late Tuesday in a press release.

The data shows “there is an engaged and engagable audience out there” for these and other categories that can benefit from being on the air right now, Schapira told webinar attendees. “The audience is looking for certain products and services. It’s a better time than ever for certain businesses who are open to be out there interacting with that audience, with a topical, respectful message about how they can help right now.”

Not surprisingly, the laggards were politics (-32.63%) and entertainment (-22.24%) followed by travel and transportation (-19.62%), casino and lottery (-7.31%) and automotive (-7.28%).

Data As Door Opener

Beyond showing the product categories than are currently in high demand, the webinar illustrated how the use of data can be a conduit to productive discussions with clients and prospects during today’s shaky economy. Approaching a business with a hopeful message about how they can survive the downturn is likely to be far more welcome that a traditional advertising pitch. “That hopefulness is a welcome change in the current climate and really can have a palpable affect in your conversations with advertisers,” Schapira said. “You’re reaching out with a real opportunity, not to sell them but to help them. There are countless insights that can help protect and drive revenue right away.”

Data can provide a “door opener,” Schapira suggested, a valid business reason to call on an advertiser or prospect. For example, a seller can offer solutions shown to work for other businesses in the same category. Data can also be comforting, Schapira said, with accepted metrics providing a universal language for success. It can be used to show how a business is performing against benchmarks for their particular category. “You can pre-optimize campaigns to show them what dayparts and days of week and times of month and creative durations tend to work best for other advertisers in the category,” Schapira said.

In addition, data can shift the conversation from being about the radio station and its ratings to focusing on a business opportunity for the prospect. And it pivots the sales rep from being a spot seller to being a trusted adviser.

“Audiences are still out there looking for businesses, especially in certain categories,” noted Schapira. “Data is a door opener and a valid business reason to reach out, that is true all the time. But it’s more true than ever right now.”

Watch a video of the RAB webinar “Data Drives Revenue” HERE.