As the biggest radio effectiveness research project ever undertaken in South Africa, RadioGAUGE South Africa is funded by the commercial radio industry. Of key importance is the fact that the study is designed to help radio advertisers understand the effects achieved by their radio advertising campaigns, and provide indisputable proof of the accountability of the medium.

RAB GM, Norman Gibson, explains that the study’s current format has been specifically adapted to the South African market, which makes it the only one of its kind in the world.

“The challenge for most in-depth South Africa-based research projects is the complexity of the local consumer market. The project was developed in the UK and given that the UK market is far more homogenous than our local one; its flagship RadioGAUGE study has been able to use a single, online methodology.

“We, however, had to engage in an intensive year and a half evaluation process, which determined that the South African project would work best with a combination of telephonic - landline and cell phone - as well as face-to-face interviews (20%), where necessary.”

Drawing from the massive 12 000 strong panel that was established following a radio-driven recruitment process earlier this year, the first wave of the research utilised a sample of 800 respondents. It consisted of a test panel (two thirds) who had listened to radio stations that flighted the particular campaign in the preceding four weeks; and a control group, who made up the last third of the panel, who had not listened to radio stations airing the campaign.

A key strength of the RadioGAUGE research is its ability to isolate the effect of radio from the rest of the media activity. It is also able to measure brand awareness, brand perceptions, brand consideration, ad awareness and RadioGAUGE’s unique 5is creative score, namely: involvement; identity; impression; information; and integration,” explains Gibson.

This particular wave of research focused on the campaign a large telecommunications company’s campaign which ran from April to June of this year. Of the overall campaign investment, 30% was invested in radio. The campaign’s primary target market was LSM 8-10, Age 25-45 groups, while the secondary target market was LSM 5-8, Age 20-50.

Gibson describes the results of this first wave as 'fantastic' with great awareness of the brand having been generated. “Radio is also demonstrated to have delivered incremental effect for a dominant telecoms brand (high base levels across all measures) over and above other media activity.

“This led to increased ad awareness, and enhanced take-out of key brand messages but only a small uplift in brand consideration, suggesting that many people are not yet ready to commit to the brand. A key question is therefore whether the proposition was compelling enough?” he explains.

Also encouraging was the fact that in response to the question; “Have you seen or heard any of the brand’s advertising in the last few weeks?” 72.5% of the test panel said yes in comparison to the 64% of the control panel who said yes. “It is the crucial 8.5% difference between the two that starts to isolate radio’s effect,” points out Gibson.

He adds, “The base levels of awareness were already very high, so to see an uplift is a great result and a good example of the effect of radio. Overall the project found that the radio ad had clearly cut-through well, with high recall scores as well as a number of learnings.”