Audio out-of-home (AOOH) advertising is a medium that allows CPG brands to impact a customer’s shopping experience while physically in the store, but it can be difficult to have a clear understanding of ROI.
To address this, Vibenomics, a tech-driven AOOH advertising company partnered with IRI® to measure the direct sales impact of exposure to AOOH advertising. IRI is a data analytics and marketing company that works with CPG and retail clients to provide business intelligence on purchasing trends.
IRI’s exclusive SKU-level access to point-of-sale data enabled Vibenomics to perform four blind studies that showed promising results in several categories: hair shampoo/conditioner, skin care, dry packaged dinner mixes, and adult beverage.
We spoke with Paul Brenner, CSO at Vibenomics, to learn more about how AOOH works for advertisers and unpack the results of the four blind studies that they conducted in partnership with IRI.
Headquartered in Indiana, Vibenomics is an AOOH provider that reaches 200 million unique shoppers nationwide via their network of convenience and grocery retail outlets.
Brenner joined the company in 2019 as the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), bringing 25 years of experience in the media entertainment and advertising industries.
“Vibenomics is an audio advertising company that also provides amazing premium content,” explains Brenner. “Our enterprise customers, like Kroger, want to provide a great in-store experience that engages their shoppers that gets positive feedback from customers, while leveraging shopper engagement to create advertising revenue and grow an even deeper relationship with the retailer.”
Vibenomics’ advertising clients include agencies, holding companies, and brand managers who want to reach consumers at the point of purchase. Their ad marketplace inserts dynamic, in-stream, programmatic digital audio ads into music that’s broadcast within their network of convenience and retail stores.
Says Brenner, “We’re an audio advertising company that, first and foremost, engages with the retailer to create audio that’s specific to their brand and shopper demographic. We spend a lot of time creating a great audio experience, so that we can offer the advertiser a range of services that show them how to take advantage of that engaged shopper.”
Vibenomics’ tech-driven approach helps the advertiser understand why their investment is better served in a place where there’s limited waste and that reaches shoppers at the point of purchase. Their partnership with IRI helped clarify the positive impact the AOOH model has on incremental sales lift and return on ad spend.
After looking at the level of spend across several stores in a short period of time, the results showed an average 18.8% sales lift from the four categories noted above, with the most significant lift in sales seen in the adult beverage category at 34.1%.
A 5-week test comprised of 200 locations (100 test locations vs. 100 control locations) garnered 3.3 million ad impressions at a cost of just under $37,000 and contributed to a 34% lift on the sales of a new adult beverage offering.
IRI’s case studies showed a sales lift even for established categories over a short period of time (e.g., skincare products). A 6-week study across 63 testing locations vs. 63 control locations revealed a 9.35% sales lift for a skincare cleansing product which had considerable market maturity.
“A 9.4% sales lift is impressive because, although the brand had market maturity, we were able to push it a little bit further,” explains Brenner.
Vibenomics works with brands to create targeted campaigns using SKU level data obtained through their partnership with IRI. The advertiser provides UPC and distribution requirements to Vibenomics’ team which then analyzes the data and helps the brand create a targeted campaign.
Says Brenner, “Our creative studio works with the advertiser to write the script, produce audio around the context of the product they’re promoting, its seasonality, and its brand persona. We build the copy and get approval, then run the campaign in stores where the product can be acquired.”
Vibenomics works with IRI to run controlled studies of their AOOH campaigns using a multi-staged process that ensures advertisers get the best ROI from their targeted campaigns. Ideally, the test phase runs for five-to-eight weeks and is approached cyclically across the buy cycles of certain brands. Most advertisers end up committing to longer-term campaigns once they obtain the results of the test.
The Vibenomics/IRI tests were all performed at Kroger properties, with Kroger being the number one pure grocer at about 2600 locations. Looking ahead, Vibenomics plans an aggressive expansion to more grocery chains across the top 25 DMAs in 2021.
Grocery and convenience stores were essential businesses in 2020 and will remain essential throughout 2021. Brenner notes that while unique monthly visits to stores dropped slightly, dwell time (e.g. time spent in the store) increased by as much as ten times.
“There are studies that show basket sizes actually increased,” says Brenner. “People may have taken fewer shopping trips, but they spent more time in the store and bought more products.”
Brenner notes that the “COVID effect” has put an end to the annual media spend and this is relatively consistent across all media. “Quarter by quarter planning is much more common and sometimes month by month as well, even by organizations with the biggest budgets.”
Since Vibenomics is completely digital, they can be agile regarding timing and location of campaigns, a much-needed capability in the post-COVID era.
“We’re extremely flexible with location and timing,” says Brenner. “We can turn content around in hours and place ads programmatically in real time.”
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