The Benefits and Best Practices for Radio Advertising
By: Lisa Montague, Partner / VP of Media & Operations
These days, when it comes to advertising, many brands are zeroing in on the big three mediums – TV, digital and print – leaving radio by the wayside with the incorrect assumption that this outlet is fading into obscurity. In fact, I’ve even seen radio referred to as the red-headed stepchild of the advertising industry(!) Despite these dismissive views, radio is still found to be one of the most popular mediums around – just check out the following statistics*:
• Every week, close to 92% of the total American population are tuning into the radio. The majority of those who love to listen to the radio are people who drive and stay at home.
• Every day, around 59% of the total American population is listening to a radio program.
• 25% of those listening to radio advertisements are buying the product advertised after hearing it from the radio.
Keep reading on for the benefits of radio ads, helpful information you should know before running radio ads, and details about other forms of radio advertising.
Advantages of Running Radio Ads
• Cost-Effective: Radio advertising is cost-effective especially when compared to other forms of advertising such as television and print. Because repetition is important to advertising, the low cost allows you to run multiple ads — which is especially beneficial for igniting brand recall and driving action.
• Selective Targeting: Reps from radio stations offer listener profiles that include a breakdown of the demographic groups and market segments for the station’s specific shows and dayparts.
• More Memorable: Radio advertisements can sometimes be more memorable compared to print or even TV ads. Believe it or not, according to researchers, sound can be stored effectively inside memory for longer than visuals. This is why some companies create a catchy jingle that you will hear more than just a few times and never forget.
• Easier to Produce and Less Costly: When creating a television ad, the time frame required to produce the ad can span weeks or even months. However, when it comes to radio, brands only have to worry about the audio and not the visual, so a radio ad can be produced relatively quicker and for much less money.
Tips for Effectively Running Radio Ads
• Create an Engaging and Enduring Ad – Unlike television which has the advantage of sight and sound, radio is limited to sound, so advertisers need to think outside of the box and get very creative to produce an unforgettable ad that piques a listener’s imagination so they can create the visual in their minds. Make sure you include a clear call-to-action with a tagline, phone number, website or offer and repeat it several times.
• Know Your Target Market – As with any advertising, knowing your target market is paramount and will help you identify the right station to go with. For example, talk radio has been established as the best way to reach a 65+ audience. If you’re trying to target a much younger audience of adults 18-24, then Top 40, Alternative, and Urban stations are likely the way to go. 35-44? Rock and Adult Contemporary may be your best bet.
• Determine the Best Times to Advertise – The times during the day in which stations offer ad space is broken into “dayparts.” There’s morning and afternoon drive times, as well as nighttime and late night. Different dayparts usually capture different audience groups. For example, a rock station might play music that appeals to younger listeners late at night, but more classic rock in the morning when older listeners are likely to be driving to work.
• Keep in Mind, Frequency is Key – To be effective, radio ads require repetition or frequency. For best results, run your ad multiple times per day per station. However, be sure to run it during the same daypart every day, so the same audience is likely to hear it over and over.
Listeners need to hear a radio ad multiple times before it sinks in with them — running it once a week for a month won’t cut it. In fact, it generally takes at least three exposures before the audience will even notice and internalize your ad, additional exposures for brand recall to occur and even more exposures for the audience to act on the message. With that said, experts recommend that you allow at least three to six months before you expect to see an impact.
• Be Sure to Track Your Results – To assess how effective your ads are, implement a tracking system such as using a unique phone number or website address that can only be attributed to the radio ad itself. For example, you can create a specific website landing page or ask listeners to mention the radio station for a special discount.
Other Forms of Radio Advertising
While traditionally produced spots are the most popular types of radio advertising, stations also offer other ways to reach your audience.
• Sponsorships – Sponsorships are usually inserted in segments within a show. For example, the announcer or on-air personality will tell the listeners that a certain company sponsored a segment. This type of advertising is usually used for branding purposes and can help increase name recognition.
• Onsite Broadcasting Events – Otherwise known as live radio remotes, these involve popular on-air personalities broadcasting live from an event to entice the general public to come out to the event as well. These aren’t just a great way to advertise, but they’re also great attractions for events.
Interested in trying your hand at radio advertising? MassMedia is here to get you out there. Contact us for more information on how we can serve as your media buying partner.
*Nielsen 2019: The Steady Reach of Radio: Winning Consumer Attention