When you hear the word “commercials,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If it’s wishing you could magically skip them all, you’re not alone. That’s because of something called “commercial clutter.”
Clutter is an advertising term that describes the sheer number of ads the average person sees on a typical day. And, given how many ads you’ve probably already seen today, it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a formal term for it.
Whether you’re watching a free streaming service, going down a YouTube rabbit hole, or just flipping channels on broadcast TV, ads are everywhere. In fact, the average person is bombarded with more than 5,000 ads per day.
For advertisers and marketers, this presents a major problem. To put it bluntly, if your ad isn’t striking gold or weaving some kind of magic, it’s probably getting lost in the noise. Luckily, there are a few ways to get your message out there that stand out from the rest of the clutter.
One way that advertisers try to cut through the clutter and deliver a more targeted, personal message is by leveraging sponsorships and endorsements. Oftentimes, this comes in the form of a celebrity (maybe an athlete or an actor) using their image to promote a brand (maybe a sports drink or makeup).
For true die-hard fans, this likely does the trick. It helps people connect to the brand on a different level, and this can have measurable impacts on consumer behavior. The problem is that these types of ads are still disconnected from their audience in some way. After all, few of us have the same lifestyle as that celebrity, so it’s only natural that we question how similar our experience will be to that of the person endorsing the product.
But, what if the individual performing the endorsement lived in the same community as us? What if their day-to-day life looked very similar to our own? What if we felt more connected to them?
While the word “influencer” might immediately take our minds to Instagram or TikTok stars with millions of followers, the idea of influencing in media began long before social media.
There’s a strong argument to be made that the first people to truly influence their audiences to purchase products (that they themselves endorsed) were local on-air radio personalities, the disk jockeys, or “DJs” as they became known. By attracting daily listeners, these hyper-local influencers created genuine connections with their audiences that allowed them to have a substantial impact on their purchasing habits.
In a way, a DJ’s listeners became their “followers,” just like social media stars have today. But, since these local celebrities only broadcast to a specific MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) or community, their voice brings something to the table that other types of sponsorships and endorsements can’t match — genuine trust.
It is no secret: Many marketers today feel that radio has lost the impact that it once had. After all, most people can get the exact song, album, or podcast they want with just a few clicks. With that being the case, radio should be dead, right?
Wrong. According to industry research, radio is still alive and well — even during the pandemic, when most people are working from home. Nielsen describes radio as being “comfort food” during this unprecedented year. But why is that?
Local personalities offer something unique to their listeners: a real connection. The trust that DJ influencers develop with their audiences is unlike the connections we have to our favorite podcasts or albums. It’s personal.
Especially now, when many of us feel like we’re lacking in the “personal connection” department, DJ influencers help to fill that gap. Plus, now that people can stream local radio stations to their smart speakers, getting a daily fix of connection is easier than ever.
The efficacy of DJ influencers isn’t all thanks to the pandemic, though. Before 2020, radio was still a huge medium for reach. Radio achieved around a 90% reach for U.S. adults in 2019. And, if you’re thinking, “Well sure, but radio struggles to connect with younger demographics” — not so fast. Research also shows that adults 18-49 were found to tune in more than the 50+ demo.
The connection to local radio personalities isn’t confined to those brief moments when we’re commuting to work or driving to get lunch, either. After all, DJ influencers — like most public figures these days — are super active on social media. They leverage social for cross-platform communication and audience interaction, which only helps solidify their influence over their listeners.
If you’re considering leveraging DJ influencers for your next marketing campaign, there are a few things to keep in mind. While this platform offers a collection of unique benefits, it also has a few challenges that your team should be prepared to face.
Here are our top five things to know about DJ Influencer programs:
In the world of influencing, DJ’s can offer something called “true endorsements.” This means that, rather than simply reading a script to promote a product they’ve never actually used, DJs can perform spots that speak to their first-hand experience with the product or service. This leverages the personality’s credibility, opening the spot up to include personal stories and genuine reviews. Typically, these types of endorsements also benefit from increased enthusiasm, since people are far more likely to get excited about their personal experience than they are when reading from a list of provided talking points.
Traditional commercials suffer from something called “ad fatigue.” In a nutshell, this means that the more times a viewer sees the ad, the less they enjoy or connect to it. Eventually, they’ll either tune it out or, even worse, develop a negative reaction to it. Either way, as time goes on, commercials become less and less effective.
Unlike commercials, true endorsements from DJ influencers are all unique, and that means that ad fatigue is far less significant. Sure, the talking points may be similar across every read, but the delivery is always unique. Since no spot gets played twice, and each delivery can cover more details about the product, the message remains top of mind for the listener.
Since each live read is different, there’s no precise script that can be used each time the influencer speaks about the product or service. Instead, marketers provide talking points or messaging guides for the influencer to reference during their spot. These instructions provide appropriate brand guidelines, thought starters, example topics, and key questions.
In some ways, developing these talking points can be easier than writing a traditional script. However, it can also be a challenge to create guidelines that don’t force the influencer to repeat themselves. Creating copy that is engaging, insightful, and flexible enough to accommodate unique approaches takes practice. To thread that needle, you need to strike a balance between providing clear direction and offering room for improvisation or personalization.
This is, potentially, the greatest benefit of DJ live reads. Commercials typically appear at specific intervals throughout a scheduled program. The problem is that this invites listeners to tune out, whether mentally or by physically changing the channel. With a DJ Influencer program (such as Infinity’s), endorsements and live reads are delivered as part of the personality’s show. This lets the DJ weave the promotion into their regular content, making it more impactful for the brand and more enjoyable for the listener. It’s a win-win.
Managing a DJ Influencer program isn’t the same as other traditional media tactics. While there are tons of benefits to these programs, they do demand more time committed to program maintenance. By nature, traditional media doesn’t offer the same level of automated analytics that digital campaigns provide. Instead of click-through rates, CPM, and CPC, an influencer campaign requires interaction with each social post or on-air spot to ensure expected program performance.
Optimizing these campaigns for things like brand guideline adherence, FTC regulation compliance, and appropriate focus on product features requires direct communication with the personalities. Where recorded radio and digital campaigns are created by the managing team, influencer program content is created by the influencers and then monitored by those managing the account on behalf of the client. In general, time allocation shifts away from creation and toward maintenance and management.
“This is as close as it gets to a perfect product/client endorser relationship. I’ve been doing endorsement spots in this market for a long time and appreciate the availability to reach out to agency staff regarding questions.” – Mike Haile; WHMS-FM and WKIO-FM in Champaign, IL
So, yes, we’re all inundated with ads, but that doesn’t mean that your ad has to get lost in the mix. DJ influencers offer a hyper-targeted, highly effective way to cut through the other advertisements and grab your audience by the ears. Though these programs may require more attention after the program launches than some other digital tactics, the results speak for themselves. DJ Influencer programs leverage the connection between local personalities and their audiences to ensure your message is delivered by a reliable, trusted voice.
Want to learn more about DJ influencers? Check out these other blogs and case studies.