Absolute Radio is to launch responsive design-based, personally targeted branded content opportunities for advertisers as it looks to further adapt its services to cater for the continued surge in mobile listeners.
The move marks the latest step in the commercial radio network’s overarching strategy to increase its registered listener base. In return for their registrations it provides additional content, 50 per cent fewer and more personally relevant ads via its ad targeting service InStream.
Brands including Orange, Mastercard, Microsoft, Volkswagon and Sky are among those using the InStream service, which gives advertisers the opportunity to run integrated ad formats including branded content.
From next month Absolute Radio will offer responsive-design based inventory, letting advertisers run campaigns across multiple platforms via a single creative that will adapt to all screen sizes.
The radio network has seen a 50 per cent year-on-year hike in traffic via smartphone and tablet devices, taking the total to 20 per cent of overall site visits.
Meanwhile over half (57 per cent) of new account holders have registered via their mobile devices.
Absolute Radio commercial director Simon Kilby told The Drum the move is aimed at further understanding how mobile is affecting its business so it can adapt its offering accordingly and ensure listeners have a seamless, consistent multiplatform experience, which in turn benefits advertisers.
“One of main reasons people go to our site is to enter competitions and go to microsites which are all linked to deals we do with commercial partners so that experience must be as positive for user as possible as that returns value to advertisers,” he said.
In the last year it ran over 50 InStream campaigns for brands including Sky, Honda, Microsoft, Volkswagen, Universal Music, Orange, Budweiser, British Airways and Expedia.
Kilby said it is regularly selling out of InStream inventory, and is seeing an increasing number of branded content advertisers opt for the service.
For example it ran a Rolling Stones campaign to promote the band’s latest album which consisted of an interview with Mick Jagger by Absolute Radio DJ Andy Bush. The interview was broken down into mini clips which were played out sequentially to logged-in listeners.
“This promoted content listeners valued but it also had a great commercial message and is a good example of how we can work in harmony with the advertisers.
“It’s a balancing act of increasing our available inventory with InStream and driving more people to log in against selling campaigns. It’s a testing, learning and refining process,” he said.
The current number of account holders is over one million and it continues to test different methods to encourage users to register and stay logged-in for longer. Last year it launched a registration page to encourage people to create accounts - a development Kilby believes has proved a more sustainable option to promotion-led activities.
“We see a spike in logged-in users when we run a giveaway or promotion but people often log out again once it has finished. The registration page leads to a more sustained way of ensuring people stay logged in, but we are still in the learning and testing stages,” he said.
Kilby added that he also believes the InStream format brings the accountability of the web to radio for the first time. “It’s much easier to measure, we can tell exactly how many people have listened to an ad and engaged in content, and how many have followed up with an action.
“It’s not just about replacing listening on a radio in your kitchen with listening on your mobile it’s about understanding in real time who is listening and targeting the experience to them – that’s what exciting – not just that they are listening on mobile,” he said.
Absolute Radio launched InStream across its web and mobile listen apps last year and on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet earlier this year, letting advertisers run demographic and location-based ad targeting via the radio broadcaster’s app on the Kindle Fire HD platform for the first time.
The network, which claims 3.3 million weekly listeners, will also roll out mobile-optimised newsletters in the coming months – a first for the radio broadcaster.