June 25, 2020

Grove CMS expertise provided by Tutuwa Ahwoi, Director, Spot Sales Operations, National Public Media.

It’s more important than ever for stations to leverage increasing website and streaming impressions to capture as much digital sponsorship revenue as possible. Listening behaviors are changing and station sponsorship revenue depends on additional digital revenue. Jacobs Media recently reported that “With more Americans working remotely and the number of functioning AM/FM receivers in households slowly shrinking, digital delivery of broadcast content has never been more important.”

Data Behind the Growth of Digital

The IAB recently released the COVID Impact on Consumer Media Usage Report demonstrating the importance of digital. The report showed that consumers spent 14% more time online during the time period of March-April 2020 versus the same time period in 2019. In fact, by March 31 of this year a whopping 87% of consumers reported increased media consumption compared to pre-pandemic; 23% are listening to more radio and 13% are podcasting more. A majority of users in each medium – television, radio, and podcasting – report they’ll increase consuming more on different formats. Smart-speaker growth was up 10% in 2019; mobile phone use is also way up and will continue to be so with many working from home. It goes without saying that having a 320 x 50 and/or 300 x 250 mobile digital ad is more important now than ever.

A handful of stations have been beta-testing NPR’s new Grove Content Management System (CMS) over the last six months. Grove CMS will replace Core Publisher for station websites and is designed to make website content management easier to manage, more flexible, and dynamic. If you are – or are considering – migrating to Grove, here are the ways in which the new system supports the growing importance of digital sponsorship.

Grove and Digital Sponsorship Ads

Grove CMS was designed to have parity with Core Publisher to make migration easy. The digital ads that were available in Core Publisher are also available in Grove’s CMS. Here are the digital ads that are “baked in” to Grove CMS which were, for the record, also available in Core Publisher:

  • 728 x 90 Banner ad (at the top)
  • 300 x 250 ads (3 down the right rail)
  • 320 x 50 small smartphone banner (disappears when user scrolls)

Note: Many have asked for small/narrow text-style ads to intersperse in content down the middle of the page in Grove. These are similar to what you see from other news outlets like the Business Journal. The Grove CMS builders are working on some options.

Grove’s Rich Media Options

The 728 x 90 banner can be replaced with a 970 x 50 ad that expands to 970 x 300 the same as it could in Core Publisher. It’s a good idea to switch the 728 x 90 with a 970 x 50 expanding ad. Why? Because it allows you to offer rich media and give the user an engagement experience allowing them to learn more. Rich media can offer a better user experience and more digital revenue by selling it at a premium.

You can offer in-banner video (IBV) ads, which are rich media ads that allow a video to play inside the ad. Many healthcare and educational institutions are spending a lot of money to produce videos with a focus on new telemedicine services and online learning options, and these videos can play inside a 300 x 250 ad or a 970 x 50 expanding ad. They offer a strong engagement rate for the sponsor and more information to the user. It’s easy to set up IBV ad guidelines in Grove and stations can decide which ads are a cultural fit for their site.

The Increasing Complexity of Digital Ad Operations

Unless you have a website administrator with enough time to do their normal and increasing digital platform maintenance work and digital ad placement optimization with rich media, most stations should consider hiring an ad operations service.

One of the best choices for public radio is National Public Media ad operations, known as NPM Ad Ops, they are competitively priced and know how to optimize ads, make rich media and IBV ads, and use all your available impression inventory to make digital ad sponsorship life better.

Most ad op monthly fees range from $700 to $1500 depending on how much digital ad inventory you sell. Compare this to hiring a part-time or full-time digital ad operations person and you can see it’s very compelling.

Make Use of All Options, No Matter the CMS

It’s time to plan on using all of the digital ad resources that are available in your website content management system to increase digital ad sponsorship revenue. All the ads listed above were available in Core Publisher. If your station hasn’t been offering all the available digital ad placements, now is a great time to move forward and add more digital ad placements particularly if you’re migrating to Grove CMS. It’s a new world. Listener behaviors are changing, and with these changes comes the opportunity to increase corporate sponsorship revenue.