What Are Radio Auction Sites?

posted by Bob Leighton

Pretty much every radio station in the country today utilizes some sort of radio auction site. They’re called different things by each radio station. Here in St. Cloud, ours is the St. Cloud Radio Marketplace. Grand Forks uses Forks Deals, and our other markets use a similar setup for their respective auction sites. I'm sure you’ve seen the websites and know they offer nice discounts on products and services you use every day - sorry, that just sounded like a commercial, didn’t it?

What are Radio Auction Sites? | Trailer with Auction Sign and Arrow

Where does the Inventory Come From?

The products and services come from station advertisers. When you boil it right down to how it works, the radio station auction is a way for clients to pay for their advertising with goods or services. The station sells the client’s products and/or services which brings cash to the radio station in exchange for advertising credit that goes to the client. Therein lies the beauty of the whole thing. It’s a trade where the currency to buy advertising is a company’s product or services.

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Our auction sites credit the advertiser at full retail cost of their products or services. For example: a construction company gives us a $1,000 certificate for services which we sell for $800. The listener saves $200 on his remodeling job and the client gets $1,000 in advertising to be used on our radio stations.

Benefit to You as an Advertiser

These arrangements are great for advertisers for several reasons:

  • Low Budget – If your business is young and just getting its feet wet, radio auction sites can be a great way to advertise with the effectiveness you need without having to spend cash to achieve similar results.
  • It’s Not Really a Discount – Yes, even though your products/services are being sold at a discount, the customer is given a certificate for full retail value, and as the client, are given advertising credit at full retail value. Plus, who just buys one thing when they shop? When a customer comes in with a certificate for an item they purchased, chances are pretty good they’ll spend cold hard cash on other items in your business.

At the end of the day, you are in control of what gets sold. You can set limits and place parameters on certificate usage and the total number available for sale. Also, you’re not limited to just one product or service.

Why Not Groupon or Other Discount Coupon Sites?

The reason those sites are able to operate is because they rely on a specified number of users to claim the coupon before they’ll unlock it for use. There are countless reasons why this is a bad idea for your brand. Your business will often lose money honoring the coupons and get nothing in return beyond your portion of the of coupon’s selling price. With a radio auction, your business gets 100% of the value in advertising.

Those sites bring in users looking for steep discounts – 50 percent or more, sometimes up to 90 percent. People after those kinds of discounts are not who you want as your customers. Sites like Groupon or Living Social require your business to actually discount products or services, whereas a radio auction site does not.

Since you are given advertising credit in exchange for your offerings, the radio station collects the cash from the sale. This means you don’t have to discount anything, saving your brand’s image from being drug through the mud by ravenous bargain hunters.

Benefit to Listeners

Who doesn’t like discounts? Auction sites that most radio stations provide offer tremendous value to listeners of the station by giving discounts on pretty much anything they would need to purchase. From appliances and furniture, to bowling, movie theaters, lawn care, jewelry, restaurants, and even hotel stays. The sky is the limit on what a listener could purchase.

Benefit to the Radio Station

Radio stations are in a unique position amidst media companies because they have an intangible commodity for sale: air time. Auction sites are a creative way to offer value to both their listeners and their advertisers simultaneously while bringing in some non-traditional revenue for themselves.

If you’re interested in learning more about our radio auction sites, reach out to your radio rep and let them know. They have loads of information on best practices to get the most bang for your virtual buck.

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