NuVoodoo’s Top Five Contest Takeaways to Help Your Planning Process

Number five made from candies

At NuVoodoo we’ve compiled a countdown of the five most important contest takeaways for the new PPM wearables era.

#5. The people most likely to participate in the ratings are the ones most likely to play radio contests.

In the results below from NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study 19, fielded in Q1 2022, the number one reason why likely panelists say they’d participate in the ratings is to get paid. However, more than half said “yes” simply for the chance to win cash – and nearly as many would participate just to qualify for a drawing for a big prize.Data from our study from earlier this year shows that only about a third of the respondents are radio station contest players – but those numbers inflate to over half the respondents who model through as likely ratings participants (labeled “RPS Yes” below) and three in five among the small subset of ratings likely respondents who say they listen to radio at least an hour a day (labeled “RPS 60”).And those numbers track when we asked respondents when they’d last participated in a radio station contest: about a third of respondents overall, half the “RPS Yes” ratings likelies, and three in five among the heavy-listening subset of ratings likelies, RPS 60, say they’d participated in a radio station contest in the past month – many of them in the past week.More insights and data are available in a video about ratings respondents and contests.

#4. Advertising contests is part of the success formula for influencing ratings likelies.

The potential for lift from contesting is potentially even broader than those likely to participate in your contest. Over half of our sample agreed that when they see an ad about a radio station contest, they usually tune in – even if they don’t participate. The interest level climbs to 75% and above among likely ratings respondents (labeled “RPS Yes” and “RPS 60” below).We pay careful attention to which media are most likely to help you “move the meter” (if you’ll forgive the turn of phrase). You’ll find the data, along with insights from NuVoodoo marketing guru PJ Kling in a video about getting maximum effectiveness from every promotional dollar.

#3. Skepticism about radio contests is high, but the audience will tell you what to do about it.

NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Studies have been showing skepticism concerning station contests – especially among likely PPM panelists. In our first study for 2022 we saw that MOST likely panelists (labeled “RPS Yes” in the chart below) agreed with the statement that “most radio station contests are rigged.” The numbers are slightly worse among the small subset of likely panelists who listen to broadcast radio at least an hour per day (labeled “RPS 60” in the chart).While contest skeptics are a little less common among Gen Xers (42-54’s in our sample of 14-54’s), half or more of the Gen Z’s and Millennials in our sample are suspicious about station contests. If they think your contest is not on the up and up, they’re far less likely to participate – and thus far less likely to give you the additional listening occasions you’re hoping to drive by giving away precious cash.

We gave those who said station contests are rigged the opportunity to tell stations how they could be convinced that contests are legitimate – and the answers are all about transparency, as shown in the chart below.PJ Kling and Meghan Volk from the NuVoodoo marketing team show you the details in a video about the troubles with contests – as well as recommendations about how to combat the problem.

#2: Contest inflation: $1000 is the new $500.

We learned in last summer’s NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study 18 that around 7 in 10 of those likely to show up in Nielsen samples (labeled “RPS Yes” in the chart below) shop around for the most generous contest – even more among the heavy-listening subset of those ratings likelies (labeled “RPS 60” below, referring to radio listening of at least 60 minutes per day).

So, how much do you have to say you’re giving away? For starters it needs to be competitive among stations with whom you share audience. Just a few years ago there was a relatively small delta between interest in $500 and $1000 prizes. Back then our marketing team often recommended $500 prizes because of the upside of being able to double the number of occasions a station could offer prizes.

However, the delta between interest in $500 prizes and $1000 prizes is now about 20 points in the chart below from our first Ratings Prospects Study earlier this year. As NuVoodoo marketing guru PJ Kling notes, “We simply can’t in good conscience recommend $500 prizes – especially in competitive markets where many stations will be running cash contests.”How you package your precious contest cash can make a difference in the appeal of your game. PJ Kling and NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert share data about prize packaging and additional insights in a video all about contest prizes.

#1: Contests should focus where the opportunity is greatest: those working outside the home.

With more workers returning to the workplace in 2022, the ratings game is played and won OUTSIDE THE HOME. Even when we conducted our 19th NuVoodoo Ratings Prospect Study in the first quarter of 2022, about 2/3 of those with a job in our sample reported working outside the home most or all the time (as shown in the chart below).  We’ll be in the field in the coming weeks to update our findings.Overall, just over a fifth were working from home most to all days of the week. And likely ratings respondents were even more likely to work outside the home.

Our data shows that not only do more listeners who are likely to participate in the ratings work outside their homes, those who work outside their homes spend more time listening to radio (compared with those who work from their homes). In the chart below, the panel on the left shows the at-work listening choices of those working mostly or only outside their homes. On the right, the smaller group who work mostly or only FROM home.Both sets of numbers are shown as percentages of the complete workforce in our sample. But, as a starting point, remembering that the RPS 60’s are the most important listeners of all, compare the two groups. If you’re working FROM HOME, you’re as likely to be listening to some source OTHER THAN AM/FM while you work – 12% either way. If you’re an RPS 60 working OUTSIDE THE HOME, you’re more likely to be listening to radio. NuVoodoo marketing guru PJ Kling notes, “You won’t get an ‘A’ on your ratings report card if your contest doesn’t motivate change in the behavior of RPS 60’s.”

When designing and subsequently marketing your contest or promotion, you’re better off focusing on out of home listeners. By marketing your cash giveaway to folks working outside the home, not only are you fishing where the fish are from a TSL standpoint – you are, in effect, enticing the same critical listeners with reminders about your cash promotion that Nielsen is upselling with cash bonuses throughout the day via their companion app.

You’ll find additional insights in a video about promotional tactics – as well as recommendations about how get the biggest bang with your promotion budget.