How Americans Are Listening

There’s the perception that radio is being overcome by streaming audio platforms like Pandora and Spotify, especially among younger audiences ages 18-34.  New research from Nielsen debunks that perception and shows that radio isn’t just viable but is the only audio medium capable of reaching large numbers of all ages.  That’s true of ad-supported and non-ad supported platforms.

As marketers we are only interested in ad-supported channels.  Radio’s impact is even more pronounced when comparing reach among ad-supported options for audio marketing campaigns.

Like the reach comparisons, radio’s impact is also more pronounced when comparing time spent with ad-supported audio.

Radio use spans the bulk of the day, reaching consumers on the path to purchase; it is the dominant audio source in the car.  A daily habit for millions, radio is a particularly effective medium for advertisers due to its legacy of reaching listeners during the prime hours of the day while they are out of home and closest to the point of purchase (commuting, working, shopping). Furthermore, radio is also the top audio source in the car. More than 60% of all time spent with audio in vehicles goes to AM/FM radio as of the Q1 2023 Edison Share of Ear study.

Americans are still listening to radio in large numbers and it’s one of the few mediums capable of high target audience reach for marketers.

Meta’s Threads

There’s been a lot of buzz around Meta’s latest new social platform Threads, Meta’s version of Twitter.  While paid ads are not yet an option, it’s very likely to be one in the future through paid Facebook/Instagram accounts. In the meantime, here are some great points to be aware of from an organic perspective and initial set-up:

  • The app has more than 90 million downloads as of midway through 2023.
  • An Instagram account is required to set up a Threads account – read on for more implications before doing so.
  • If a Threads account is created but then the decision is made to delete the account, the associated Instagram account will be deleted as well.
  • Instagram username, contacts and other related information will be pulled from your Instagram account.
  • You will be able to automatically follow all the same contacts you follow on Instagram, which means your Instagram followers will also easily find you on Threads.
  • Threads’ posts allow:
    • Up to 500 characters (Twitter limit is 280)
    • Links, photos, and video can be included – video can be up to 5 minutes (Twitter limit is 2 minutes 20 seconds)
  • Currently there is limited functionality:
    • No direct messages.
    • No edit button.
    • No open API – currently not able to connect to third-party tools to schedule content.
    • No advertising as yet – but we have it on good authority it will be available in the future.

Should your organization have an Instagram account you may want to consider setting up your Threads account to secure your username and be discoverable.  I also recommend an initial post.  It could simply be a greeting and statement that you are exploring the best ways to use this new platform and encourage folks to follow you on other platforms.  Be sure to include links to those platforms.  Be sure to only include links to those platforms that you update regularly.


Influencer Marketing

An industry-wide anticipated report each year, Influencer Marketing Hub has released the annual 2023 State of Influencer Marketing results showing growing importance for the tactic according to U.S. marketers.  80%+ have dedicated influencer marketing budgets for 2023; more than 2/3 have increased budgets for 2023.

Notable Highlights

  • Influencer Marketing Industry is set to grow to approximately $21.1 Billion in 2023
  • 63% plan to use AI in executing their influencer campaigns, 2/3rd of these brands will use AI for influencer identification.
  • Nearly 60% of influencers felt they faced discrimination in 2022.
  • Over 83% of our survey respondents still believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing.
  • 71% admit to having increased the amount of content they produce and share.
  • 67% of those respondents who budget for influencer marketing intend to increase their influencer marketing budget over 2023.
  • 23% of respondents intend to spend more than 40% of their entire marketing budget on influencer campaigns.
  • There is a strong preference for working with small (nano – 39% and micro – 30%) influencers ahead of expensive macro-influencers (19%) and celebrities (12%)
  • It is now the norm to pay influencers (42%), rather than just give them a free product (30%).
  • TikTok (utilized by 56% of brands using influencer marketing) is now the most popular influencer marketing channel, jumping ahead of Instagram (51%) for the first time, and well ahead of Facebook (42%) and YouTube (38%).

Fast Channels

Traditional TV continues to drive audience reach but streaming platforms like free ad-supported streaming (FAST) are growing in popularity with viewers. In the second half of 2022, FAST channels made up 30% of total ad views in the US, proving that FAST and other over-the-top (OTT) services offer advertisers other vehicles to access audiences.  There’s been a substantial increase in programmatic deals in the US driven by greater CTV adoption and the rise of FAST channels.

FAST channels have redefined distribution in a way that no other platform has before. It has opened the floodgates for publishers to monetize content while giving viewers the experience they crave – a live linear experience like having a cable subscription. Currently representing 50% of all OTT ad views, FAST channels will only grow.

CTV is highly fragmented, but when seen in the collective it represents over 70% of ad views in the US.  With premium video consumption continuing its steady climb, advertiser interest in the medium is expected to continue to increase, with more brands diverting to premium video as
one of the most effective strategies for connecting with highly engaged and targetable audiences.  Programmatic views continue to grow in the US, with guaranteed deals
promising to deliver a specified number of impressions as the preferred purchase practice.

TV Seasonality Viewership

It’s true that TV viewership reflects the availability of what people want to watch.  Minus the Super Bowl, February 2023 had fewer high-demand, mass-appealing programs than January, which led to declines in viewership across broadcast, cable and streaming.  January is always a banner month for TV viewing, highlighted by the culmination of the NFL season, which sets the bar very high.

Streaming platforms remained the favored destination for TV audiences, but overall viewing to streaming content was down 0.9% from January—the smallest decline across categories. Despite the drop in total streaming viewing, the category gained 1.5 share points to account for 34.3% of TV usage.

Within the streaming category, Tubi TV became the latest service to achieve a 1% share of TV usage, joining Pluto TV as the second free, ad-supported platform to be broken out from the “other streaming” category. Other streaming highlights in February included:

  • New Amsterdam was the most-viewed streaming program, with 4.6 billion viewing minutes across Netflix and Peacock.
  • The Last of Us was the second most-viewed program, with 4.4 billion viewing
    minutes on HBO Max.
  • Viewing on YouTube (main) was up 2.5%.
  • The arrival of a new season of You on Netflix generated 4.2 billion viewing minutes, but overall usage on the platform was down 6.7%.

Growing Significance of Digital Audio

Digital audio is becoming more and more imbedded in our lives, from downloading the new Pink album as soon as it hits Spotify, to following MLB news on your home’s smart speaker as you prepare dinner, streaming your favorite music play list while working out at the gym to downloading a podcast before taking a road trip.  Digital audio is becoming more significant to consumers, and it should be to advertisers.

It’s a channel that goes above and beyond traditional radio and offers advertisers a unique opportunity to harness the power of some of the most proven tools in AdTech—from
programmatic advertising, to advertising automation, to ad personalization and targeting—to connect with audiences when, where, and how they’re listening.


Media planners and buyers need to get to know what makes up digital audio.

  • Digital Audio: Audio that is stored and/or transmitted through digital devices such as mobile phones, desktops/laptops, and tablets.
  • Audio Streaming: Technology that allows platforms to deliver audio in real-time on internet-connected devices. (In other words, it’s what allows you to have 10,000 songs in your Spotify library without maxing out your phone’s storage!)
  • Digital Audio Advertising: The process of placing ads in digital audio content—from podcasts, to streaming music, to digital radio—to connect with consumers in the moments they’re listening.
  • Programmatic Audio Advertising: Technology that allows advertisers to place audio ads in an automated and data-driven manner, typically by using a demand side platform (DSP).

Audio advertising has so many advantages.  Providing a break from video overload, non-skippable (unlike video), provides the opportunity to connect with consumers across different content types and interests, costs less to produce than video creative and more.  Until now, digital audio’s power has been largely underutilized, but the tides are turning, and audio spend is growing.

Building Customer Profiles

Building customer profiles is key to any marketing campaign.  They describe everything you need to know about a specified group of customers. You can leverage that information to create a marketing strategy that aligns with the wants and needs of your audience. A customer profile will help you make informed decisions about campaign messaging, creative and channels, and targeting tactics to use.

Here are three steps to build customer profiles for your marketing campaigns:

  1. Identify your broad audience. Focus on the problem your product, service, or business aims to solve and who needs that problem solved.
  2. Consider your customer’s journey. Understanding how a customer goes from awareness and consideration to evaluation and conversion enables you to narrow your audience further. Knowing the touch points that a customer passes through before making a purchase will help inform what channels and ad formats you should leverage for the best results.
  3. Create a profile description. You now have a more narrowed idea of your audience and their customer journey, so it’s time to consider their demographics and psychographics in detail, such as age, income level, occupation, education level, and marital status along with influences such as hobbies and interests. Some of this information can come from your customer database, especially geographic information that can also be important to a successful marketing campaign.

Customer profiles are especially important when there are different types of customers shopping for your product or service. For example, minivan shoppers include families with young children as well as empty nesters, both who like a minivan’s practicality and ease of getting in and out.

With all of the consumer data available today, building customer profiles is not that difficult and can make or break marketing campaign.

Streaming Services Still Tops With TV Viewers

The streaming and TV Household landscape has changed dramatically:

  • Broadband Only (BBO) penetration has grown from 2% of TV HHs in 2014 to 33% in 2022.
  • In the past four years, Over-The-Air (OTA) has been stable at 15%, while Cable+ composition has gone from 73% to 52%.
  • 82% of TV HHs have Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) or Virtual MVPD (vMVPD) services.

Streaming usage is increasing rapidly:

  • Streaming usage has grown by 24% in the past year, and 60% of usage is among adults 35+.
  • Available video content has grown 51% since 2019, there are now nearly one million unique program titles across linear and streaming.
  • Streaming is occurring in all TV households, not just BBO.

Streamers and BBO homes view local content:

  • Nearly half of adults are likely to stream live sports or local news and events.
  • While BBO penetrations continue to grow across the country, local news and live sports are the top program genres across markets.

Facebook Changes…Again

Yes, Facebook announced recently that their algorithm for what appears in your feed has been updated.   Your Facebook Home algorithm is now prioritizing recommended video content from creators. By “video content” they mean those funny, sometimes annoying TikTok-esque videos. All the content from your friends will now be in a totally separate Feeds tab. Video content has been the talk of the town in marketing land for a few years, now. Updates like this continue the evolution of just what kind of video content is trending, and “worthy” of the Facebook algorithm.

What’s more, Instagram announced EVERY video posted will now be classified as a Reel. So, if you have any video content, you can jump on in! Your video content will now be published in the Reels section – you know, where you can sit and scroll and suddenly realize it’s been HOW MANY hours?! Plus, they show up on Explore now, too. Marketers need to get savvy on how to create video reels that up their brand’s engagement organically…pronto!

Happy New Year

To all our Fusion Media clients, team members and business associates, as we enter another year of working together, we want to wish you all the best for the coming year. May this New Year bring you new opportunities and endless success! May your new year be filled with good luck, good fortune, and good health! May your year be filled with everything you wish for and more!  We are grateful for you all!