Radio Advertising Isn't Dead: Here's Why It's Still Relevant Today


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, June 29, 2020

Radio advertising might seem like an outdated medium in our modern age of digital communications, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it still holds a lot of potential for brands.

Article 4 Minutes
Radio Advertising Isn't Dead: Here's Why It's Still Relevant Today

If you're currently looking into the various channels available for you to build your brand and get your advertising messages across to your audience, your thoughts might first turn to the digital domains that seem most relevant in the current era - for example, social media and online advertising.

But have you given sufficient consideration to advertising methods that may have been around for a while, but can still offer great potential to connect with your customers and deliver strong ROI?

A prime example is radio advertising. Research has highlighted some clear reasons why radio shouldn't be overlooked by brands.

It has extensive reach

If you're looking to get your messages across to the widest possible audience, there's no denying the potential of radio.

According to the Audio Today 2019 report from Nielsen, radio provides access to more consumers in the US than any other medium - 272 million people every week, to be precise. The research shows that radio reaches 92% of all American adults every week - more than TV (87%), smartphones (81%) and PCs (54%).

More people listen to the radio over the course of a typical month in the US than use websites and apps dedicated to online search, social media, video and ecommerce.

"The fact of the matter is, as consumers, our eyeballs are maxed out. There are virtually no open spaces left to bolt a video screen, or paste yet another logo. As the media landscape continues to fragment and evolve, a new trend is emerging: audio-based content is hip and decidedly in fashion." - Brad Kelly, managing director of Nielsen Audio


It delivers ROI

Demonstrating ROI is a key priority for many marketing department heads. In order to get the budget and executive buy-in you need to execute your strategy and take the business forward, you have to show that organizational marketing spend is generating returns.

Quantifying and proving ROI often proves difficult in the marketing space, but there's evidence to suggest that delivering clear results is one of the biggest strengths of radio advertising.

A case study by Westwood One and Nielsen Catalina Solutions, involving a men's personal care brand that ran a seven-month AM/FM radio campaign, highlights:

  • An 8% sales increase for the parent brand among male radio-listening households
  • For every $1 spent, a return of $1.23 among male radio listeners for the personal care brand
  • An $11.96 return for every $1 of ad spend for the parent brand across all households
  • A 0.8% increase in market category share for the parent brand

It supports emotional engagement

Emotional connection with customers is something all brands can benefit from. Once you start to build relationships that are based on emotion and mutual understanding - rather than purely financial, practical or pragmatic factors - you're on your way to achieving long-term brand loyalty and advocacy.

Radio has some unique qualities as an advertising medium that can help you achieve valuable emotional engagement. A study by Radiocentre, an industry association for commercial radio, found that TV, radio and online media all have the potential to improve people's moods, but radio generates the highest "happiness and energy levels" of all.

One of the key findings identified that radio broadcasting has mood-enhancing effects that extend into the ad break, supporting positive emotional engagement with brands and advertisers.

It's not interruptive

Interruptive advertising has acquired a bad reputation in recent times. When people use the internet or social media, for example, they're often searching for something in particular or browsing through content that interests them. They don't want their experience to be disrupted by pop-up ads or autoplaying videos.

The desire many brands have to move away from interruptive advertising is one of the key factors in the popularity of inbound marketing.

As far as radio is concerned, one of the big advantages of this channel is its suitability to deliver ads that don't come across as interruptive. Unlike mediums like TV and online, radio is often something that people have on in the background while they're doing other things, for example, driving, eating dinner or cleaning the house.

The passive nature of radio listening means adverts are less likely to be regarded as an interruption, but consumers are still aware and engaged enough to register the brand and the key message of the ad.

This is a valuable advantage of the medium if you're looking to boost brand awareness and build relationships with your target audience.

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