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Is it a Bird? A Plane? No! It’s Super Listeners!

2 minute read | December 2013

Across media formats, marketers often follow the “bigger is better” mantra when measuring their reach and effectiveness. But on the radio, good things come in small packages. In addition to attracting more listeners, stations should focus on cultivating more loyal listeners. Those who tune in the most can drive the greatest share of ratings.

One effective gauge of a radio station’s success is the number of “P1” listeners—people who listen to that station more than any other. P1 listening is a natural example of the Pareto principle, more commonly known as the “80/20 rule,” which illustrates how a small part of a businesses’ customer base will often generate the majority of sales.

Of course most stations’ numbers don’t totally line up to 80/20, but in listener-generated diary markets, 36 percent of the cumulative audience on average generates 72 percent of the average quarter hour (AQH) ratings at top performing stations. For Nielsen’s portable people meter (PPM) measured markets, the numbers are a little less dramatic. In the top 10 PPM markets, 38 percent of the cumulative audience on average generates 57 percent of a station’s AQH.

But just because P1 listeners aren’t as dominant in PPM markets doesn’t mean they aren’t critical to the success of a station because not all P1 listeners are created equal. When you dig deeper, it turns out that the heaviest P1 listeners—who we refer to as “Super Listeners”—really drive ratings.

Like P1s, Super Listeners represent a small segment of your audience. However, they are also heavy consumers of radio in general. These Super Listeners make up just 10 percent of the overall radio listening audience but account for over 35 percent of total market listening.

In today’s fragmented world, great marketers are looking to segment their consumer base and focus on the people who represent the biggest potential return. The “customers” who spend the most time with your station are the ones you should be branding and marketing towards. To do so, you’ll need to know to what times of the day they listen, who they are and how they differ from other listeners. Your ability to define this audience could help you connect with them in a meaningful way and really affect your ratings performance.

You can learn more at next week’s Nielsen Audio Client Conference that will take a deeper dive into Super Listeners and explore the value they bring to radio stations. These listeners are fans of both your radio station and the medium as a whole. At the conference, we’ll offer some suggestions for how you can cater to them and maximize the potential ratings they represent.

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