Group vs. Local Contesting

Last week’s NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas had many signs that radio is thinking differently about its future – which is, of course, a good thing. Around the atria at the Anatole we heard lots of talk about podcasts, Smart Speakers, new personalities and a renewed focus on compelling programming. Inevitably, however, talk returned to immediate needs: increasing ratings in the very near term.

In our recent webinar, The NuVoodoo Fall 2019 Contesting and Marketing Guide, PJ Kling and I dived deep into our latest information about contests. If you couldn’t make it, a recording lives on at The data from our Ratings Prospects Study 14 showed some surprising results in terms of best contest prizes. While we reviewed that cash is king and $1000 isn’t twice as appealing as $500, when every station in town is talking about cash, the best play may be to talk about something else.

You’ll note that the last place finisher in this roundup was a group contest – the most extravagant group contest we could imagine: $5000 every hour from 9 to 5. As a result of showing that data, more than a few folks in Dallas asked me if group contests are a negative. And the answer is that some potential contest players are turned off by the idea that they’re playing against people all over the country. But, you’d never lead your contest promotion with the fact that the contest will be running in multiple markets around the country.

In NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study XII, fielded in June 2018, we found that a little over a third of our respondents (ages 14-54, across all PPM markets) said they’re aware of stations running group contests. And that percentage jumps to over half when we filter down to the media-attuned psychographics likely to participate in the ratings, either PPM or Diary (labeled in these charts as “PPM: Yes” and “Diary: Yes”).

When you drill down among the subset aware of group contesting, the majority don’t care one way or another. Some even think it’s good, maybe due to the larger prizes offered or more frequent chances to win. It’s only 13% of those aware of group contesting who think it’s bad.

Remember, that’s 13% among those who are aware of group contesting that think group contesting is bad. What’s that look like among the larger population? When you include those who aren’t aware of group contesting, the portion who think group contesting is bad dilutes to 5% overall – one listener in twenty.

Even when we filter down to the ratings-likely participants, the anti-group-contesting contingent amounts to no more than 8%. While that is a headwind, there are steps you can take to reap the biggest benefits if you’re running a group contest:

  • Don’t trumpet that it’s a group contest any more than necessary.
  • Trumpet loudly the size of the prizes and the frequency of chances to win; those things are music to the ears of contest actives.
  • Run lots of winner promos to convey the idea that lots of people are winning.
  • Ensure that any local winner gets star treatment on your air and in social media.

If yours is a local contest, you should be using every possible tactic to reinforce that benefit.

Scrolling up a few paragraphs, yes, free gas for a year topped our list of prizes in June this year – and that’s before things started becoming complicated in the Middle East. We can’t imagine interest in that prize would have decreased since then.