Westwood One Is Delivering the Audio Industry’s First Guaranteed ROI for Its Advertisers

The medium’s strong return on ad spend is behind the promise By Sami Main Westwood One, as the largest radio network in the United States, is announcing a new program to help advertisers feel more secure in their radio ad purchases. In a first for the industry, Westwood One is giving their ad partners an ROI guarantee. Its partnership with  Nielsen proves there’s strong evidence for radio’s positive ROI across multiple brand categories. That partnership connected radio listening with purchasing data, and when combined with Westwood One’s new audience delivery guarantee, the radio network can give its advertisers an ROI guarantee. With the Westwood One ROI Guarantee program, creative for these commercials will be pre-tested against industry audio creative test norms and Nielsen will measure return on advertising spend on behalf of the radio campaign. Those tests will run across the entire broadcast radio landscape, giving clients a wider scope of the industry. Suzanne Grimes, evp of corporate marketing of Cumulus Media and president of Westwood One, hopes this will be a step toward brand safety and a more secure metric of performance across radio. “We’ve been working for the past couple of years to help break some of the myths and misunderstandings of radio,” Grimes told Adweek. “Historically, radio hasn’t been able to step up and participate in discussions of data, insights and confidence. With this new program, we’re able to marry reach of radio and results from our listeners.” This new program from Westwood One “elevates radio as the measurable mass reach medium that, simply put, delivers,” according to the company. Westwood One currently reaches 245 million listeners each week across 8,000 affiliated broadcast stations and media partners. If the ROI is not positive, clients who qualify for the ROI Guarantee program will receive no-cost supplemental media weight from Westwood One to deliver the guaranteed ROI. According to Pierre Bouvard, Cumulus Media and Westwood One’s chief insights officer, some CPG brands like Procter & Gamble and Unilever, have been contacting the network recently in order to return to radio after a few years of not using the medium. “Now is the time to prove and guarantee impact,” said Bouvard. “With challenges in digital and erosion of TV audiences, radio listeners have always been there, and brands are wondering where else they can find incremental reach.” This program will help chief financial officers, according to Bouvard, see their marketing dollars working to achieve incremental sales. With creative testing and third-party partners like Nielsen completing the data equation, Westwood One feels confident in what they’re providing clients. “This is a risk-free decision in a high-risk world, and people can expect a positive return on an ad investment,” said Grimes. Sami Main @samimain Sami Main is a staff writer for Adweek, where she specializes in covering the digital publishing industry, emerging influencers, video networks and brand partnerships.