If you haven’t heard of Jelli, or only know a tad about them, you’re in for a innovative treat. In a nutshell they are the pioneers and creators of a unique cloud-based ad platform specifically designed for the global radio market. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They’ve created an easy and fast way to buy and run radio ads - and here’s the coolest part...they offer real-time delivery of the web to the offline medium of terrestrial radio. Wait, what?!!! I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one with a giant question mark above my head. So I reached out and was fortunate enough to score an interview with co-founder and CEO, Mike Dougherty, to gain some insight on Jelli and how it can benefit online marketing strategies in the world of broadcast radio - a powerful advertising medium where trackable and measurable results were previously (almost) unheard of...until now!
1) For those of us who are not familiar with Jelli, tell us a little more about the company and how it got started?
JELLI: Jelli is the first programmatic advertising platform for the $40 billion global radio market. We started the company because we were fascinated about radio, a medium with massive scale yet in an industry that has seen little innovation over the last few decades. Our vision was that if we could combine a real-time, web-based platform with the powerful reach of broadcast radio, we could develop something new and exciting. Initially we focused on making radio more real-time and interactive, creating a crowdsourcing platform for radio programming. Two years ago, based on industry feedback, we began to develop ways to reinvent radio advertising as well, creating a real-time audio platform for radio spots.
2) It’s obvious that traditional forms of broadcast marketing have become less and less effective. It sounds like Jelli has developed a technology that is modernizing radio ads. Can you explain how Jelli works?
JELLI: Radio is still the number one medium to reach a consumer before they make a buying decision at a retail location, and the best at reaching consumers in the car. Overall the radio market is similar in scale to the size of the display market (i.e. visual ads for print and online), but the display market has made a significant investment in technology to manage, buy and serve ads, whereas radio has not followed a similar path with its investment in ad tech for its market size. This lack of ad tech in radio creates issues, including old school, paper-based systems with significant errors and no programmatic ability for planning, buying, selling.
We solve this problem, building the first programmatic ad platform for radio spots. Jelli’s real-time ad server is called RadioSpot™ and automates radio commercials on broadcast radio stations. The platform makes buying and running radio campaigns easy and fast, and enables broadcast radio to be purchased and managed like digital campaigns.
Jelli installs a RadioSpot server at every radio station, integrating with any major traffic and automation system that a station currently uses. When it comes time for Jelli to run a commercial on the air, the local automation system will trigger Jelli’s ad server, which will broadcast the ad directly on the airwaves. When the ad runs, a log is created that is immediately recorded in a web-based dashboard called RadioDash™ that the advertisers or agency use to track their campaign in real-time.
3) One of my favorite things about online advertising is the ability to micro-target and analyze the data. To what extend does Jelli's platform allow its users to analyze and target?
JELLI: Broadcast media’s “one-to-many” model fundamentally means that targeting at the individual level is not possible. However, there are other ways to target audiences with broadcast radio that can be powerful, including targeting at the local station level. In major cities there are dozens of local stations to target, with certain “formats” of stations skewing to certain types of audience demographics (e.g., classic rock is strong with men aged 35-54; sports stations are #1 to reach listeners with greater than $75,000 annual earnings). With a platform like Jelli, a marketer can create custom “networks” of stations on each campaign that helps achieve audience goals. In addition, our platform enables real-time access to the data that allows for A:B testing of these strategies and puts the ROI analysis into the hands of the marketer.
4) Is Jelli just for people looking to advertise on traditional radio stations or does the technology work with internet radio and other mediums as well?
JELLI: Streaming is a growth area for radio overall, but currently is only $1 billion of the $16 billion radio market. Our platform is designed to help traditional radio broadcast advertising to act more like “digital” campaigns, with real-time ad serving and reporting, and we are very focused on this mission. Given we manage all of our campaigns in the cloud, we see future applications in streaming audio, but currently do not operate in that segment.
5) For those of us that have not dabbled in radio advertising can you give us an idea of what a business might expect to pay for radio exposure on the high end and the low end?
JELLI: Radio advertising rates can vary based upon the goals and specs of a particular campaign. Basic rates can run up to $6.00+ cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) for network campaigns, where reach is the primary goal. Rates at the network level will vary based on targeting parameters such as daypart, age or gender. If the goal of the campaign is to be more localized in approach, rates will be charged by individual stations generally at higher $12 to $17.00+ CPMs. Rates at local level will range widely depending upon the market and the specific station.
In short, if radio advertising didn’t make the cut in your last marketing campaign perhaps you should consider carving out a portion of your budget to add it back into the mix. Let’s face it, entertainment media is still an extraordinarily powerful advertising avenue. It’s gives your brand a real live voice. It literally speaks directly to an audience. And with the technology Jelli provides by offering control for targeted reach and truly measurable results, broadcast radio advertising could equate to some serious accolades in brand awareness and ROI.