Over five years, from 2019 to 2023, the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group® teamed up with LeadsRx, a renowned authority in measuring advertising impact on website traffic, to conduct 17 attribution studies across various brand categories.

These categories spanned a broad spectrum, including tax preparation services, B2B supplies/services, apparel and jewellery retailers, financial institutions, job websites, subscription managers, identity theft protection, online therapy apps, vitamin supplement subscription services, and haircare supplements.

These studies delved deep into attribution analysis, examining factors such as day of the week, daypart, and specific AM/FM radio programming formats. Moreover, they provided invaluable insights into creative assessment, empowering brands to optimise their advertising impact effectively.

Key Findings from the Study

  • Across the 17 campaigns covering diverse categories, AM/FM radio recorded an average attributed lift of +13.6%. Tax preparation service brands experienced the highest attribution lift, likely influenced by the tax document preparation deadline. Haircare supplements also achieved noteworthy performance in the “very good” range. Additionally, retailers, job websites, and supplement subscription services demonstrated “good” attribution performance.
  • AM/FM radio proved effective for retail and impulse purchases, with campaigns witnessing substantial increases in web traffic post-radio ads, often resulting in over a fivefold lift.
  • AM/FM radio exposure led to more spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment conversion events.



Further Insights from the Study

Sundays and Mondays saw attributed web sessions outperform Nielsen impressions.

Markets with heavier media weight experienced more significant lifts in web traffic.

Spoken word formats like Sports and News/Talk surpassed Nielsen impressions in attributed site traffic. A diverse range of AM/FM radio formats drives search and site traffic.

Ads that “brand early and often” exhibited superior performance, a finding supported by 1,000 Nielsen brand effect studies and numerous audio creative tests conducted by System1.

Upon analysing the top three performing campaigns for tax preparation service brands, a haircare supplement and a job website achieved commendable results, demonstrating a “very good” performance with a lift ranging from +12% to +15%. Furthermore, brands falling within the “good” attributed lift percentage range (+8% to +12%) included retailers (two campaigns), job websites (two campaigns), and a vitamin supplement subscription service.

The analysis also revealed that, on average, the 17 AM/FM radio campaigns experienced their highest percentage of impressions early in the week, peaking on Mondays and Tuesdays. Unlike Nielsen impressions, these campaigns notably surpassed expectations on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Advertisers can derive significant benefits by increasing their utilisation of AM/FM radio during weekends, as evidenced by the substantial impact and effectiveness of AM/FM radio campaigns during these periods.

According to Nielsen, weekends account for 21% of all U.S. AM/FM radio listening, slightly surpassing morning drive (20%) Monday to Friday, 6 AM-10 AM. Insights from LeadsRx studies further confirm that weekend AM/FM radio campaigns deliver impressive results, generating a larger share of attribution web sessions compared to their share of campaign impressions.

Best Practices in Attribution

Drawing insights from its analysis of web traffic attributed to advertising campaigns across more than 19,000 advertisers, LeadsRx has identified the following creative strategies that drive outstanding online behaviour lift:

  • Ensure that ad copy compellingly directs listeners to the brand’s website.
  • Incorporate the brand name within the first 3 seconds of the ad.
  • Repeat the brand name or website at least five times in a 30-second ad.
  • Avoid complex URLs containing page names or parameters.
  • Research and include highly-used keywords for the brand in the ad copy.
  • Allocate spend optimisation to the top two dimensions with the most significant impact (e.g., creative, daypart, day of the week, etc.).
  • Utilise branded paid search ads, particularly for websites with lower rankings on Google.


Recommendations for advertisers

  • Increase media presence during periods of high seasonal demand and relevance to the category.
  • Diversify programming formats to reach a broader audience, as shoppers are spread across various AM/FM radio genres. Campaigns across diverse programming formats elicit responses from different consumer segments.
  • Tailor ad copy to align with the consumer’s purchase mindset and emphasise attractive offers. Strong offers consistently outperform weaker ones.
  • Implement a strategy of early and frequent branding. Incorporate the brand name within the first 3 seconds of the ad and mention it at least five times in a thirty-second spot.

Click here to view a 21-minute video of the key findings.

Click here to download a PDF of the slides.