Radio promotion wows through laser-focused digital strategy

A look at how YFM received over 1 million competition entries during a global pandemic, and what the station did differently during lockdown to cater for its young market over that period.

Since March 2020, radio programming in South Africa has been dominated by all things Covid-19, and many broadcasting platforms found themselves having to pivot rapidly to keep their audiences engaged with topical information during a time of global uncertainty. From daily statistics to coverage on government’s ongoing response, and from features on precautionary measures to advice on how to keep yourself occupied - all media was Corona-media.

However, YFM's approach to their Youth Month campaign was strikingly different. 

As the country prepared to enter a nationwide lockdown amid the anxiety and fear of a global pandemic, YFM - a commercial youth radio station based in Gauteng - set out to run their ambitious audience engagement campaign known as 100Racks, which promised listeners a total of R100 000 in prize money. 

Over the prior four years, the station had been using Fabrik to build, grow and engage their audience.

YFM had run versions of this campaign twice before with different executions as part of a broader strategic objective for the station to educate and connect with their most loyal audience, and to sustain that engagement over time.

This time round, Fabrik's audience engagement functionality combined with powerful real-time insights provided the backdrop to execute an integrated campaign of this magnitude.

Where it began YFM started this particular journey in August 2019 with their 992Racks campaign, which spanned 10 days and gave away R99,200 in total prize-money during The Best Drive, DJ Sabby's afternoon drive-time show.

The motivation behind the first implementation of 992Racks was to familiarise the audience with how a campaign of this nature works. YFM hadn't executed a campaign in this way in quite some time, so it was vital to get both their audience familiar with how these executions would work and to trial different executions with their on-air talent.

YFM levels up

Fast-forward to the weeks leading up to the first Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa, and the general mood in the country and the province was one of fear and anxiety.

What the station knew at the time was that a fundamental shift in radio engagement and consumption would occur during lockdown and that it would be important for them to connect even more deeply with their most engaged audience.

"As we headed into lockdown, we knew that listening habits would, would change fundamentally, and it was important for us to take our most engaged audience and to grow the size of that audience and to take them into lockdown with us." Hilton Tarrant, Digital Manager at YFM

It was primarily for this reason that they elected to run the campaign again, but this time known as '100Racks' - based on the R100 000 available prize money, of which the purpose was twofold:

  • To educate a data-sensitive audience about the app's data consumption and live-streaming efficiencies, which are particularly low as the app has been specifically developed and is constantly optimised for as minimal data usage as possible.

  • To derive certain key insights on audience demographics and usage on an opt-in basis, taking advantage of the app's member registration capabilities - which was a pre-requisite for entry.

The insights derived from this week-long campaign were indeed powerful, and a significant spike in new app registrations was observed during the duration of the campaign.

Graph depicting impact of 100Racks campaign on new app registrations