Absolute Radio boss claims 70%-80% lift in engagement with iAds

Absolute Radio: boss champions power of iAds
Absolute Radio: boss champions power of iAds

Absolute Radio has published figures for its use of iAds, which leader Clive Dickens calls "over and above" the level of digital engagement seen on other digital ad platforms.

Absolute was one of the first to sign-up to Apple's iAds European scheme when it launched in November, with the first European iAds served by Renalut in December.

Dickens, chief operating officer at Absolute Radio, said the Tap-Through Rate (TTR) for iAds was 70%-80% higher than other digital ad platforms, and was publising the group's figures with Apple's blessing.

He said: "Apple has only previously commented on the Campbell's Soup campaign that was run in the US last year.

"For our campaign, we have achieved a TTR for iAds peaking at 1.3%, with the average at 1.19%."

Dickens said this eclipsed other platforms that offer ads over digital platforms.

"If you look at Google, YouTube, Facebook, and what their click-through rate (CTR) is, it is lower than 1%, usually around 0.5%, so iAds are more than two times as likely to generate engagement than mainstream digital ads.

"For us, 0.3%-0.8% was typical on other platforms, and we had never seen more than 1% before."

Dickens also said the time spent within an ad was far higher than other platforms.

"In the ad, you are in-brand. We have achieved peak average in-ad times of 101.8 seconds, with the overall average of 88 seconds."

The COO said the benchmark given by Apple for US campaigns was 60 second in-ad, so Absolute's ads outperformed this.

He said the brand would continue to use other platforms, and launched two major campaigns - on Facebook and YouTube last week, "but the level of engagement is significantly lower."

The best comparison could be made with TV. "For TV, you are engaging perhaps with a 90-second ad, but here you are not just watching, you are actively engaged and interacting."

Dickens said iAd was chosen because it tapped into the desired demographic of a 30 or 40-something 'reluctant adult', with a male skew, as this group was likely to own an iPhone.

"All behaviour is targetable other than your name. The mobile time spent is so high – there is no wastage. The iAds allow you to filter out the people you do not want to target, and get to the people who want to use the product," he said, with TTR 70%-80% higher than targeted digitial campaigns.

Absolute knows exactly who ads had been successfully served to, and there was no resorting back to demographic profiling.

"That's what I call engagement and changing behaviour," he said. "It has demonstrated the strength of the platform, but at the moment iAds exist in a vacuum."

iAds are reputed to be very expensive, with initial campigns reputed to cost $1m, with this dropping by around half earlier this month.

"I will not say the $1m figure is familiar to me. The investment is over a long period of time, and it is not like spending £250,000 on an ad during X-Factor. The campaign will still be running well into the year.

"The impression I have is that Apple wanted commitment, and we took it seriously."

Dickens said mobile advertising had "A false dawn for the past five years. But without ROI I would not do it - we cannot afford to experiment."

Dickens has previously slammed Google's Admob system, "as a publising exercise. Google is an advertising-focused company, so you must never underestimate them."

Absolute in numbers:

  • Since iAd campaign started, unprompted awareness up 10%
  • Live Scores app linked from iAd downloaded 22,942 times with 6,000 active users
  • Average Live Scores use 39 minutes per day, rising to 57 minutes on match days
  • TTR of 1.19%, peaking at 1.3%
  • Time spent in-ad average of 88 seconds, peaking at 101.8 seconds
  • Absolute listening via smartphone - 378,248 hours in February, up 60% from January

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