February 14, 2023

What Is Cume Conversion Rate and Why Is It Important?

If you’ve seen a Coleman Insights Plan Developer perceptual study, you may recall the term “Cume Conversion Rate.” Put simply, it is the percentage of Cume that a radio station converts into P1 listening. While success can vary based on factors such as the number of stations in a market, our typical Cume Conversion Rate benchmark is 40%. Meaning, if a radio station converts at least 40% of its Cume to P1, it is generally satisfying its listeners. Although this example applies to radio, this conversion is important to nearly every business. A flood of listeners checks out your podcast, but do they come back for more episodes? Lots of people may come into your restaurant, but are you earning their repeat business?

While it is never the sole answer to a burning question, it never ceases to amaze how often Cume Conversion Rate plays a key role in our findings.

In this example, Station A and Station B surpass our benchmark for Cume Conversion Rate, converting 58% and 45% of their Cume to P1, respectively

When a radio station is underperforming in the ratings and seeks to understand why, a high Cume Conversion Rate can be an indicator that the station is doing many things right with the audience it has. But its Cume may be too low, indicating a potential awareness challenge in the market.

We may see a similar scenario, where a station has high Cume but lagging numbers. A low Cume Conversion Rate may indicate that, while the station’s brand brings audience in, the product is misaligned in some way that is affecting the performance.

A low Cume Conversion Rate could be the result of several underlying issues that span a Plan Developer study. Is the station playing music that’s out of sync with market tastes? Are the personalities unknown or not making an impact? Has it not developed any images beyond its Base Music or Talk position and is thus seen as a utility? Has a station’s Cume Conversion Rate declined over time, and what does that tell us?

These are just a few examples of questions we seek to answer.

Cume Conversion Rate is a “what,” not a “why,” but insights culled from perceptual data gathered in a study lead us to the why.

It is those special instances when a station pulls it all together – high Awareness, delivering a largely appealing product aligned with the brand, along with deeply developed images that make a strong connection with the audience – where a high Cume Conversion Rate tells the greatest story of all.

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