Select Page

Measuring Streaming Radio in 2023

Game recording buttons. Gaming air live, online radio stream gamers twitch broadcast equipment streamer future technology, neon screen overlay panels media show vector illustration of air online video

Radio keeps soaring to greater heights despite the common belief that it’s dead due to its inability to appeal to younger generations. Each day appears to bring technological advancements for broadcast radio, podcast, and streaming, which means new opportunities for brands to reach their target audiences. In fact, according to a 2021 Internet Advertising Bureau Report, digital audio registered the highest year-on-year growth, up 57.9% to $4.9 billion.

With big companies such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify already deeply involved in digital audio, the market has become stable and is gradually expanding. Over the years, total streamed radio has expanded, now making up approximately a quarter of the total listeners in developed markets. In the coming years, it’s expected that more companies will enter the digital audio space, further growing the market.

That said, how will streaming radio be measured in 2023? This post will provide a detailed overview of how to measure streaming radio performance.

What is Streaming Radio?

Streaming radio means reading the radio through the internet. The radio signal isn’t transmitted via the internet. Instead, it is streamed via the internet, meaning your device must be connected to the internet to receive the radio signal.

One significant advantage of streaming radio (online radio) is that it offers you more channels to listen to, including those from other countries. With online radio, you can listen to your favorite channel on your smartphone while out and about. Additionally, you can pause and continue listening from where you left off later on.

Examples of popular streaming radios include Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRADIO.

How to Measure the Performance of Streaming Radio

With the number of digital audio platforms growing by the day and podcasting stepping up to the mainstream, it’s important to gauge the performance of your digital audio platform to determine how it’s fairing compared with the rest.

The performance of streaming radio usually entails measuring the number of unique listeners and the duration they spend listening. This data for assessing the performance of streaming radio is usually collected through tracking technologies and server logs which are embedded in the media player. With this data, radio stations and streaming services can gain valuable insights on their audiences and take appropriate measures to improve their advertising, programming, and other business operations.

Here’s a look at the specific techniques that can be used to measure radio streaming:

Hybrid Radio Measurement

Radio is still arguably the most popular way to consume audio. As such, quality measurement is still vital. As radio stations become more advanced, they are stepping up from traditional measurements like diaries and embracing more modern passive measurement strategies. But switching data collection techniques can be costly, hence the widespread adoption of the hybrid approach to radio measurements by some radio markets.

Hybrid radio measurement integrates various techniques in order to provide a non-disruptive transformation toward enhanced data quality. This measurement technique will see radio ratings generated using data gathered predominantly from electronic diaries, the GfK Sensic tagging system, and live streaming data extracted from station web server logs.

The streaming data will be verified by the data collected from the panel of respondents and will be integrated scientifically into the radio ratings dataset. In addition, information collected using questionnaires will also be used to get insights into various aspects, such as the time of the day with most listeners, listening frequency, and other data.

With different forms of measurement available when using hybrid radio measurement, you can expect to get a clear picture of the performance of a streaming radio platform.

Audio Streaming Server Programs Reports

Audio streaming server programs typically collect reports on active connections and use cumulative counters that accumulate metrics over time, such as how many people have been listening and how long they have been listening.

Various third-party software can obtain server reports from radio streaming servers. The types of information that the streaming modules can collect include:

  • Media player: Radio streams can be played on different media players. Alternatively, the streams can be played on browser-based online players.
  • IP address: This can be used to identify listeners and determine their location. With this data, you can determine which demographic your reading streaming service appeals to and where your listener base is.
  • Device: You can determine whether your stream is accessible via a mobile device, tablet, or computer. For computers, you can easily identify the OS that was used.
  • Listening duration: Audio streaming server programs can determine the time the listener began streaming and when they stopped. With this data, you can determine at what times your radio streaming is most popular, as well as your audience’s listening span.

Audio and Total Media Measurement

Today’s consumers engage with the media in many ways. Total media measurement, which entails measuring different forms of media together in a single platform, is a strategy that has elicited a lot of discussion among researchers and offers a way of measuring the different forms of consumer engagement.

While still not fully developed, this measurement technique is already in use. The Netherlands (NMO) launched the first true cross-media total audience measurement that integrates audience measurement from radio, online, and even TV in 2022. The cross-media total audience measurement allows advertisers to view audience statistics across channels, both combined and individually. Netherland’s total audience measurement technique will measure radio listening through a passive mobile phone app. The same app will be able to capture radio streaming audio.

In 2023 and beyond, the audio and total audio measurement approach is expected to be a big part of how audience listening data is collected and measured.

Wrapping Up

Streamed radio/online radios are a little different from AM/FM radios with respect to how they broadcast their content. Because of this, the approaches they use to measure listeners are also slightly different from those of FM radios. They, however, have an advantage, given that they are based on the internet.

Online radio platforms will use their parties, such as Nielsen, to measure their listenership just like FM radio stations do. Also, most of these platforms leverage the AQH method, giving them an excellent idea of how many people listen to their content.

Streamed radio platforms also use analytics software to gauge their full performance. And while the analytics platforms may be costly, they offer several powerful insights into your performance. When using analytics software, online radio platforms can break down their research data into multiple segments, allowing them to grow ultimately. These may include unique listeners, location of listeners, average listening time, and more