GM Collected 90,000 Volunteering Users' Radio Preferences for Marketing Insight

The Detroit-based automaker managed to collect the listening habits of 90,000 users and hopes to use that data to match their preferences.

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General Motors is garnering marketing insight by collecting radio listening data on 90,000 vehicles, WARC reports

Automakers, like any other company aiming to understand their customers better and thereby increase or generate new revenue streams, are aware of how valuable it can be to know what their consumers actively like and listen to. Since there are circa 10 million 4G LTE WiFi vehicles that are capable of processing speed, gas consumption, tire pressure, and radio listening habits, collecting this insight was merely a matter of user agreement.

GM was able to garner nearly a hundred thousand opt-in volunteers to do so, with the experiment lasting from November 2017 through January of this year. The automaker used its digitally-enabled vehicles in Los Angeles and Chicago to glean this priceless, radio-centric user data. By using AM, FM, and digital XM audio feeds, the company intends to match corresponding radio channels with the collected user behavior. 

The subject was discussed by Saejin Park, GM’s director of global digital transformation, at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Data & Measurement Conference.

“The radio industry and the car industry have been existing side by side…But, really, there hasn’t been that much interaction between the two,” said Park. “We decided to collect the radio listening data on 90,000 vehicles. We can tell if they listened to it to the end. Or, in the middle of the commercial, did they change it to another station?” 

Additionally, Park explained that certain vehicles immediately indicated what sort of radio feeds they were more likely to prefer. For instance, the owner of a Cadillac Escalade “might be more likely to listen to 101.5. But someone else might be driving a GMC Yukon—same-sized vehicle, but a different brand—would be more likely to listen to 101.1. And you can start testing by sending them different kinds of advertising to see some kind of behavior in the patterns.”

The collected findings from this dataset will be analyzed by GM’s marketing department, in order to provide a more customized service for its consumers and satisfy their preferences. 

“It’s natural for us to reach out to our friends in the Cadillac or Chevrolet [divisions] and their agencies,” Park explained. “We’re looking for ways to use these kinds of datasets. It’s a complicated, complex problem and I don’t know what the answer is. But GM is really interested in finding out what the potential path could be.”