Contest Pig or Ratings Participant?


We finished up our spring webinars last week with Fifteen Things (in Fifteen Minutes) You Can Do to Boost Ratings. Last month we presented our other spring webinars, How to Win the Workplace War with PPM Panelists & Diarykeepers and The NuVoodoo Complete Guide to Digital Marketing for Radio Ratings Success. Recordings of all three live at

While we’re passionate about the future of the radio business, we also recognize the continuing need to play the Nielsen game day-in, day-out, trying to build better ratings to arm station sales teams with stronger stories to maintain and grow revenue. Our spring webinars and those we’re planning to launch leading into the fall ratings period are designed to give help to managers and programmers in playing the game here and now.

Item Nine in our Fifteen Things You Can Do to Boost Ratings is “Get winners on the air to make contests more effective.” If you’re a client or regular reader you know how passionate we at NuVoodoo are about using contests to help induce consumers to set listening appointments. We routinely test interest in contest concepts in our Ratings Prospects Studies and in work we conduct for clients. We want to ensure those prizes represent the best value propositions for stations.

Past Ratings Prospects Studies peg interest in a $500 cash contest prize at 80% among likely PPM and likely Diary participants – only a few points beneath the interest level in a $1000 cash contest prize. Yet some of this interest is attenuated by the suspicion that radio station contests aren’t legitimate. Our research on behalf of client stations has shown that this number can vary widely among specific stations and audiences. But our Ratings Prospect Studies have pegged the average number at 48% among likely PPM participants and slightly higher among likely Diary participants who believe that most radio station contests are rigged.

While some of those who suspect contests aren’t legit will play anyway, they’ll be searching throughout the experience for clues to reinforce or contradict that suspicion. At a minimum it ought to be easy for listeners to hear who wins the prizes. We’d say names and voices should be on the air whenever possible, even in group contesting. When you get local winners in a group contest you should pull out all the stops to get the word out; use paid digital to amplify and extend the message, posting pictures and/or videos of winners.

If would-be contest players know your contests are legitimate, they’ll be more likely to play your games (and have their behavior influenced by your tactics – which is your goal). Many of those very same media-active, Social-Media-friendly, ratings-likely people are also frequent contest players. So, some of those folks who get the “Contest Pig” label may also have another label: PPM participant (or Diarykeeper).