Advertising Week Panelist Spotlight: Carter Brokaw, iHeartMedia

Carter Brokaw of iHeartMedia - XAPPmedia Advertising Week PanelistCarter Brokaw is President of Digital Revenue & Strategy for iHeartMedia. He is one of four panelists on next week’s Advertising Week session, Internet Radio is Bigger than Facebook!? What it Means for Marketers. Below, Carter discusses his attraction to sound, the profound audience reach of radio/Internet radio, and how audio provides an ideal mobile marketing platform.

How did you wind up working in the Internet radio/streaming audio industry?

This is my second stint in Internet radio and third in music/entertainment. I continue to be attracted to the potency of sound for delivering inspiration and value for both consumers and marketers. The evolution of streaming services has been nothing short of remarkable and the opportunity to participate in that transformation is just too tempting.

What surprised you most when you first started working in the industry?

The reach and impact of Radio is mind blowing. According to Nielsen’s recent Q1 2015 Total Audience Report, today, Radio is the #1 mass reach medium, reaching over 93% of consumers over the age of 18 each week. Radio reaches more millennials than TV and people actually spend way more time with Radio than with their smart phones. Also, what was really eye opening, was seeing the ROI of Radio – $6 for every $1 spent – double that of even the best results from digital or TV media.

What surprised you most when you first started working with advertisers?

It surprised me that advertisers didn’t have a sound strategy when it came to marketing their brands. People were in disbelief by the reach/mindshare that audio has with consumers. Advertisers were (and continue to be) thirsting for unique ways to reach and engage consumers and audio platforms – both broadcast and streaming radio – have shown to significantly influence purchase decisions with consumers.

How have radio/audio advertisers changed in recent years? If so, how?

Advertisers are looking for more accountability and more innovative placements than ever. In the age of visual distraction, sound is breaking through and in most cases performing better than video and display advertising for marketers. We are seeing increased engagement in audio programming both on air and via podcast. I believe most marketers are massively under invested in the power of sound.

In addition, the continued expansion and evolution of the “live read” spot into native advertising, and the greater accountability of digital delivery is creating the perfect storm for marketers.

Measurement of streaming media and new technologies including programmatic broadcast are bringing together the magic and efficiency that we’ve always known has existed in radio with the accountability of digital media. That accountability is leading smart marketers to lean-in to audio in ways that they never have before.

How is mobile changing advertiser objectives and approaches to campaigns and media buying?

Mobile has radically changed the game. Advertisers are looking for unique formats (many refer to them as native or in feed) that complement the flow of content and user navigational experience. Audio advertising has become a clear, best use case for advertising on mobile devices. Audio media delivery coupled with real-world post-exposure attribution is creating the ultimate in ROI measurement and accountability.

Radio is the original mobile medium. With two-thirds of all radio consumption happening outside the home, radio delivers mobile audience at scale. This platform, combined with the enhanced targeting capabilities of Internet radio, creates an incredible opportunity to reach today’s mobile consumer. With the digital delivery of the audio signal, it allows marketers to leverage targeting technology in ways they haven’t previously been able to. Internet radio and music streaming empowers mobile marketers to deliver more compelling and more-likely-to-be-consumed messages to their most valuable consumers. As Internet radio and music streaming continue to grow and we continue to improve our targeting and attribution capabilities, it will be a fundamental building block of any mobile campaign.

Mobile devices and the Internet make radio even more relevant because listeners always have their devices with them and can access radio anywhere they want. Your mobile device is just another radio and a way to access our brands and content.

What do you think are the most important trends in broadcast and Internet radio today?

The most important trends in broadcast and Internet radio today all align with the concept of personalization. In many cases, such as algorithmic playlists and 1:1 commercials, that personalization is truly individual, while in other cases it’s a more “true” alignment with psychographics.

Data management and research to support programming and advertising decisions based on all types of personalization are an emerging field and a crucial development in the monetization of broadcast and 1:1 delivered audio ads.

Also it’s important to understand the difference between playlist generators (i.e. music collections) versus “Radio.”   Radio and music collections are complementary. They are completely different experiences and have coexisted for more than 50 years. Digital streaming services like Beats, Rhapsody, Spotify, YouTube, etc are the newest version of a record or CD collection. Sometimes you want to tune out the world and listen to your music collection, but that does not replace the powerful connection radio has to the world, to others, to listeners favorite personalities and to what’s happening in real time.

With iHeartRadio, we do both. iHeartRadio provides a platform for our listeners to access their favorite live radio stations and personalities as well as custom stations based on a favorite artist or song.

What do you think will be different about advertiser perspectives on Internet radio / streaming services five years from now?

I think we will move to more of an impression-based model as people look for a consistent form of measurement across all things audio. Further, I could see more of a consolidation of audio buying into a group who looks across devices/delivery mechanisms.

Also the role programmatic will play is extremely important to the future growth of radio and digital. In today’s technology-powered world, our content platforms and relationships with our consumers give us massive insights and these consumer insights can be of great value to our marketing partners. Our programmatic platform will use these insights to improve the efficiency and impact of any buy, and to take advantage of data from the buyer to enable them to make insight-driven decisions on what to buy and where and when.

We believe it is important to leverage technology to add value and transparency to the purchase of radio and digital inventory, and optimize the solutions we provide to our advertising partners on an ongoing basis. Providing new tools to our advertisers to buy more effectively is a win for all participants – iHeartMedia, advertisers and audiences.

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