The Power of Radio Ads

Broadcast radio, the first electronic medium, is far from outdated or losing its value. Despite the introduction of the television and the internet, the radio medium is still thriving. While radio ads may not appear to be the most attractive use of a marketing budget, research done by Nielsen’s Total Audience Report shows the AM/FM radio reached 92% of adults in 2018 while television only reached 86% of adults. This can be attributed to the fact that the radio ranks second to television as a primary source for local news and because 86% of commuters will travel to work via their own vehicle, with 89% of those commuters traveling alone. This gives the radio a competitive advantage over television and the internet. The radio is also holding its own in the competition with streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, as the radio allows for the discovery for new music and less hassle.

Nicholas P. Schiavone, former CRO of NBC, points out that a good radio ad creates “Image Transfer”—an effective marketing tool that allows the listener’s brain to produce visual elements like the effects of a television commercial—but at a fraction of the cost. Not only is utilizing radio more cost and reach effective, the radio industry is taking steps to collect data on their consumers like data is collected on internet and television users. A few of these efforts include Entercom Radio harvesting consumer touchpoints into their data management system such as listener responses, emails and texts to refine consumer shopping habits and iHeartMedia developing Smart Target profiling using data from their mobile apps. While many no longer acknowledge the value of the radio, its relevance as an effective marketing medium is very much alive. (Forbes, 04.15.19)