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WNYC taps mobile to promote and deliver content

WNYC, one of the oldest U.S. public-radio stations, Wednesday said it will launch a digital, mobile and social media-driven campaign that includes buying ads through a mobile network that reaches 170 million monthly unique users on more than 60,000 applications. The move shows how mobile is being used to help public radio stations at a time of funding constraints and tight advertising budgets in an era when radio listeners control their media choices through podcasts.

?Our audiences are tech savvy and early adopters. In a proprietary study conducted last year by J. Walter Thompson for WNYC, we found that over 70 percent of our listeners owned smartphones, when the national average was 49 percent,? said Noreen O?Loughlin, WNYC?s vice president of integrated marketing. ?We are reaching people where we know that they are spending their media time, and offering something that?s convenient to use, unique and smart.? 

Message sharing
The engine of the campaign is an interactive #smartbinge landing page at featuring sample shows and direct links to subscribe to podcasts and to download the WNYC app and partner apps featuring WNYC content, the station said. The page also includes a live feed for the companion Twitter handle, #smartbinge, where listeners, WNYC personalities and fans can share messages about the shows they enjoy listening to.

Downloads of the station?s Radiolab and Freakonomics programs range from 3.5 million to 5 million monthly, based on Sawmill and Google Analytics, according to WNYC. Both shows are in the iTunes top 10 downloads every month, the station said.

By clicking on #smartbinge banner ads, users are taken to the #smartbinge landing page on the website. 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 will focus on digital, mobile and social media buys, geo-targeted to major metro areas and behaviors of likely listeners, WNYC said.

The approaches include Facebook advertising, social discovery, hyper-targeted mobile display advertising and paid search. The campaign also includes social narrowcasting, or real-time responses suggesting smartbinges to individuals based on social media statements, such as one?s intent to go to the gym. The campaign also will use influencer marketing through sponsored posts on blogs. 

Track record
The mobile campaign fits with WNYC?s track record as an early adopter of new technologies including podcasting, audio streaming and HD radio. Archived audio of programs also can be accessed through RSS feeds and email newsletters.
?We hope that #smartbinge piques curiosity and encourages the targeted folks to sample our content,? Ms. O?Loughlin said. ?We?ve selected a variety of content categories, including our most popular shows like ?Radiolab? and ?Freakonomics Radio?, some of our new shows like ?Death, Sex, and Money,? and a co-production like ?Tribeca Film Festival Talks? to demonstrate how diverse and fun the #smartbingeing experience can be.

?We hope that some people will try multiple shows and people who already listen to WNYC podcasts will try new shows,? she said.

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