If you work at a radio station, you likely have a great idea of the on-air opportunities available to sell, including how many spots per stop set, feature sponsorships, news/traffic and weather sponsors, etc. But what about every opportunity you have online? As radio stations expand their presence online, they become multi-platform brands that offer a vast array of advertising opportunities. Selling these opportunities to advertisers can become complex without an organized approach. That’s why a Digital Inventory List is important.
Surely your sales manager maintains a list showing all available commercials in each daypart, sponsorships, and other on-air features that might be available for clients to purchase. A Digital Inventory List can help radio stations catalog their online advertising opportunities and provide structure for your online selling. This list will cover every possible online sales opportunity on the station website (banner ads, content sponsorships), live streaming (banner ads, pre-rolls), podcasts (live spots, segment sponsors), mobile apps (pre-roll, banner ads, streaming sponsors), social media platforms (live video, post shares), newsletters (title sponsor, banner ads), and so much more.
The Benefits by Department
A well-structured Digital Inventory List can significantly enhance the efficiency and performance of various departments within a radio station. The following are ways in which different departments can benefit from it:
Sales and Marketing Team
Salespeople will not know the online opportunities available to sell without this list. This tool offers them a clear and up-to-date view of all available advertising spaces, enabling them to match efficiently client needs with appropriate opportunities. It helps streamline the sales process and close deals faster, improving customer satisfaction and increasing revenue.
Moreover, the marketing and promotions team can use this list to build tailored marketing strategies, bundle similar opportunities, and create compelling sales pitches. It also assists in identifying under-utilized advertising spaces that might need more aggressive marketing.
Content Production and Programming Team
A Digital Inventory List provides the content production and programming team with an understanding of advertising commitments, timings, and formats, helping them plan their content schedules accordingly. By knowing when and where advertisements will be placed, they can ensure seamless integration of ads with content, enhancing the listener’s experience.
For the finance and revenue management team, a Digital Inventory List can be a robust tool for forecasting revenue, tracking sales, and adjusting pricing strategies. Depending on how involved you make your list, it can provide a real-time view of what’s sold, what’s in negotiation, and what’s still available. It also helps in identifying high-demand spaces that could command premium pricing.
Digital Content Director/Team
The digital team can leverage the Digital Inventory List to better understand the demand for various advertising spaces. This could help them to ensure optimal ad display or develop new features for enhancing the advertising potential of digital platforms. They can also analyze which platforms and spaces attract the most traffic and potentially use this data to understand what content or features draw in the audience.
What a Digital Inventory List Should Include
Creating a comprehensive Digital Inventory List requires careful consideration. Here are some potential items that can be included in such a list:
1. Digital Platform Details:
– Platform name (website, app, podcast platform, social media networks, etc.)
– Platform sub-sections (specific web pages, app sections, social media posts, etc.)
2. Advertising Space Details:
– Space name (banner ad, podcast sponsorship, email newsletter ad, etc.)
– Space location (header, sidebar, footer, mid-roll, pre-roll, etc.)
– Space size (if applicable)
3. Advertising Format:
– Format type (image, text, audio, video, etc.)
– Format specifications (resolution, duration, word limit, etc.)
4. Inventory Availability:
– Frequency (how often the space can be sold – once per podcast episode, daily for website ads, etc.)
– Current availability (spaces sold, spaces available)
5. Audience Reach:
– Expected or average reach (number of views, listens, clicks, etc.)
– Demographic information of the target audience
6. Pricing Information:
– Pricing model (cost per click, cost per thousand impressions, flat rate, etc.)
– Price for each advertising opportunity
7. Past Performance Metrics (if available):
– Past click-through rates, impressions, conversions, etc.
– Previous advertisers and feedback
8. Additional Opportunities:
– Cross-promotion on multiple platforms
– Package deals combining various advertising opportunities
– Exclusive or premium advertising opportunities
This list is not exhaustive and should be adapted to meet your specific needs. We have a simplified starting place spreadsheet available here. Your Digital Inventory List should be maintained as a live document, regularly updated to reflect changes in inventory availability, new advertising opportunities, and evolving rates.
With this tool, a radio station can effectively organize and maximize its digital advertising potential, making managing and selling these multiple opportunities easier. Your station website is a great place to start. Task your Digital Content Manager/point person to create a list of pages and all positions/possibilities that your website has available. Once that is in place, move to other online assets for client sponsorships like the station newsletter, podcasts, and social media platforms.
During this process, you may even discover untapped opportunities you are unaware of. Even though selling advertising on most social media platforms goes against their terms of service, there are ways around it, like streaming live video from a remote broadcast. If the client can benefit from that, it’s a sellable item.
If you don’t have a Digital Inventory List, now is the time to start one. By maintaining a comprehensive Digital Inventory List, radio stations can efficiently manage, sell, and optimize their digital advertising spaces, resulting in increased revenue, a streamlined sales process, and satisfied customers.