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WNYC mobile traffic jumps after launch of listener-engagement campaign

The campaign has caused mobile sessions to surge more than 60 percent, social activity to jump 25 percent and has doubled the number of unique monthly visitors to the New York-based station?s Web site,
The results underscore how mobile can help public radio stations remain important to listeners at a time of competition for their attention, funding constraints and tight advertising budgets. 

?The figures are attributable to the advertising platforms we concentrated on ? primarily mobile and secondarily Facebook ? and the extensive reach of the campaign,? said Thomas Hjelm, executive vice president and chief digital officer, New York Public Radio.

?The mobile advertising campaign drove more than 80 percent of the click-through rate to the page, so the majority of our CTR visitors experienced the page via mobile devices,? he said. ?Paid FB ads and promoted posts drove most of the rest of the traffic, which helped increase the social activity.?

Display ads 
In June, WNYC, one of the oldest United States public radio stations, turned to targeted mobile display advertising to attract the new listeners who are its lifeblood and who increasingly consume its programs in their own time. 

In co-creation with Cataldi Public Relations and Eyeball, both of New York, it launched a digital, mobile and social media-driven campaign that included buying ads through a mobile network that reaches 170 million monthly unique users on more than 60,000 applications. 

The engine of the campaign is an interactive #smartbinge landing page at The page features sample shows and direct links to subscribe to podcasts and to download the WNYC app and partner apps featuring WNYC content. 

The page also includes a live feed for the companion Twitter handle, #smartbinge, where listeners, WNYC personalities and fans can share messages about their favorite shows. 

By clicking on #smartbinge banner ads, users are taken to the #smartbinge landing page on the Web site. There, they can see descriptions of 12 different WNYC podcasts and be connected to the WNYC audio player, where a playlist of 10 to 12 programs of podcasts are featured. The playlists are curated by the show producer. 

Custom software inside the ads provides data on geography, devices and other variables used to build unique profiles for advertisers. 

The paid advertising for the campaign focuses on digital, mobile and social media buys, geo-targeted to major metro areas and behaviors of likely listeners. The approaches include Facebook advertising, social discovery, hyper-targeted mobile display advertising and paid search. 

Eugene Mirman's WNYC listenership pitch.

The campaign also includes social narrowcasting, or real-time responses suggesting smartbinges to individuals based on social media statements. It also uses influencer marketing through sponsored posts on blogs. 

In the newly launched second phase of #smartbinge, standup and comedic actor Eugene Mirman, known for his role in the Fox animated sitcom Bob?s Burgers, stars in a series of videos and radio spots urging the public to consume smart audio content from WNYC. The video and radio campaign will appear on all WNYC FM and AM radio platforms,, and via social media. 

Hearts and minds
Creating a connection with the audience is at the heart of public radio.

?Engagement with listeners is the coin of our realm,? Mr. Hjelm said. ?The programming that WNYC curates and presents ? shows like Radiolab and Freakonomics Radio and The Brian Lehrer Show, which we produce, and Morning Edition and All Things Considered, which NPR produces, and other programs from APM, PRI and producers across the public radio system ? are all about engaging listeners? hearts and minds.?

?Similarly, our digital products, like #SmartBinge and our WNYC mobile app, are designed to connect users with the content they love in unique, innovative ways that suit their tastes, preferences and habits,? he said. ?And we are able to support all of these initiatives through the financial support of our audience, as well as through underwriters, foundations and other sources who recognize the special role that public radio plays in engaging listeners.?

Final Take 
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.