The Future of Radio Research

Replacing “asking” with “listening”

I saw an article in Advertising Age a few months ago that suggested web tracking could become the dominant form of brand research in the coming years.

The idea is that you ‘listen’ to online comments and discussions about your brand, then use that tracking to help focus traditional survey studies, rather than the other way around.

We all know how time-stressed everyone is these days, and its putting increasing pressure on perceptual research questionaires. Do any of us really think we’d enjoy spending 20-25 minutes on the phone with a research company, in the evening, after a long day at work, and a long commute, and kids and TV and all the other distractions at home?

Concentration and focus has always caused considerable doubt about results in some minds.

But is radio foreground enough, significant enough, to generate much on-air conversation in most markets?

I’m not talking about the discussion boards at Radio-Info or sites like it. Those are conversations among radio employees and former employees, for the most part.

I’m talking about Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites and ‘normal’ listeners – not groupies and wannabees.

Is there any hard evidence that radio is a part of regular discussions among these kinds of normal people?

And if not, what does that say about their engagement with our product?

And isn’t the typical reaction to PPM — firing talent and becoming a music box —  going to make this kind of listener involvement even more rare?

What do you think?