Radio industry readies Shazam style ad tagging

Digital radio body RadioDNS is developing plans that would allow customers to tag audio content they’re listening to in their cars, one of several measures mooted aimed at making it easier for advertisers to evaluate their digital radio spend. 

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The body’s global membership, which includes UK commercial  broadcasters Absolute, Bauer and Global Radio, as well as the BBC, is currently debating a proposed technical framework for a “time-shfting” service called RadioTAG, that will let audiences tag a programme, or ad, they’re interested in.  

‘RadioTAG’ can then notify the listener of the programming they’ve tagged, either email or an in-app notification, with further information – such as more product information, an album listing, or details of an artist’s upcoming gig.  

Broadcasters are particularly interested in encouraging automotive manufacturers to implement such standards as they prepare to mass produce vehicles with internet connections – or “connected cars” – so they can tag such content via specific buttons in the new breed of vehicles.  

Nick Piggott, chairman of RadioDNS, says: “We see this playing well to the ambient way that people listen to radio while in a vehicle. For instance, if you’re in a a car and you cannot stop, but you hear something that you’re interested in, then you press a button and then that moment of interest is captured and you can come back to it later. 

“This could potentially go beyond [music and TV recognition service] Shazam, as it can recognise content, be it speech content, an advert or absolutely anything.”  

Piggott told Marketing Week the trade organisation is in contact with a number of automotive and smartphone manufacturers to adopt the eventual proposed standards with an agreed framework to move ahead hopefully in place by the end of the year.  

“We’re in the process of refining that down at the moment but I’d like for RadioDNS to be displaying how to do it by the end of the year. As a standards body that sits at the intersection of radio and technology, all we can do is light the touchpaper and see how many come,” he adds.  

Broadcasters see RadioTAG as a potential means of increasing the value of  digital radio audiences – now accounting for over a third (34.3 per cent) of all UK listening hours according to RAJAR – by being able to draw a more direct link between ads aired on such channels and consumer behaviours.  

“We know that radio ads affect the behaviour of a listener, but the relationship of someone hearing a radio ad and then doing something about it is a little bit nebulous [with existing metrics],” he says.  

However, with such a service broadcasters can then help brands plot a purchase path between their on-air ads, or programming, and audience interaction – be it a further enquiry or an online purchase.   

Under the current plans it will be down to an individual broadcaster on how they trace audiences’ conversion rates, either using cookie-based tracking or by other means.  

“Once we’ve done the standardised part of telling every car manufacturer [and broadcaster] well this is how you make it work, then they are free to decide how they do it,” adds Piggott.   

RadioDNS is an international trade body, consisting mainly of broadcasters, that attempts to introduce technical frameworks to accommodate the roll out of hybrid radio services that deliver content via digital audio broadcast (DAB) technology. It then also helps serve ads using internet protocol (IP), similar to how they are online, to offer improved targeting to advertisers.

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