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Radio Broadcasters are Measuring the Wrong Things

Yes, I get it.  We’re addicted to ratings.

But treating our digital assets as proverbial red-headed step-children does them – and us – no favors.

Take a page from our friends in television.  Look at what can happen when you actually commit (from Broadcasting & Cable):

NBC Local Media said Tuesday that its city Web sites are delivering double-digit audience growth versus one year ago. Comparing August 2010 to August 2009, monthly page views have increased 32% to 112 million, monthly unique visits are up 20% to 12 million and total visits per month grew 15% to 15 million. Users also now average eight page views per visit, a 33% jump. NBC Local Media re-launched the 10 local sites less than two years ago to broaden their content coverage and integrate social media platforms. In the past year, the percentage of online traffic generated from Facebook and Twitter referrals grew from under 2% to over 8%, according to NBC. “It’s encouraging to see such strong site performance, and especially as it relates to our social media gains,” said Greg Scholl, president of local platforms, NBC Local Media. “Our momentum not only reflects new product investments, but also the fact that our local news organizations have embraced expanding well beyond our core local broadcast business to provide our audiences with the information they seek 24/7 on whatever platform they choose.”

There are several key points wrapped up in this:

  1. The metrics are precise.  They are not estimates. They are known with certainty, meaning not only that the results of your experiments are unambiguous, but also that the offerings to your clients are guaranteed and not guesses.

  2. This growth was the result of a specific plan to grow the digital assets. It was not an afterthought.  It was not thrown in the lap of a webmaster with the instruction to “just do it.”

  3. NBC O & O’s have re-conceptualized their affiliate sites as “local media hubs.” They are not, strictly speaking, “station websites.”  This goes to my oft-discussed point that how we think about what we are in digital media will directly relate to what we can become and how successful we will be at it.

  4. Not only has NBC committed to integrated social media into their digital destinations, but they are measuring the degree to which that integration is actually expanding the universe for their content. This is a critical point lost on the average broadcaster who thinks his job is done when he creates a “like” page for his brand.

  5. NBC clearly sees themselves as being in the local information business, regardless of platform.  Not in the “local TV business.” Too many broadcasters – even those in the news business – still don’t understand this.  If you’re a local News/Talk radio station you are NOT in the local radio business, you’re in the local information business, regardless of platform.

Wake up and smell the shift in control from broadcasters to consumers.

Are your websites up double-digits from a year ago?

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