Ignore the doomsayers. Despite Spotify, Amazon Music and the like, radio advertising ain’t dead yet. Instead, it’s still a viable, excellent marketing tool, and a whole host of studies back this up.
- The Radio Advertising Bureau published a study in which they claimed that 81% of consumers agree a “human voice can establish a connection like noone else can”.
- According to Radiocentre in the UK, it’s 20% better than other mediums at building brands!
You could call that evidence without reasonable doubt. People are still listening to radio on a regular basis, with the medium having survived the onslaught of new media channels (even TV back in the day!). Plus, it’s a great option for brand building and performance marketing. Only one question remains: Is it the right fit for your brand? That’s a question that requires a bit more digging. Let’s find out.
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Where does radio advertising fit in the marketing world?
First things first, it’s time to learn all about the marketing funnel.
We all know customers need many touch points with your brand before they convert, moving downwards from awareness down to eventual action. However from a growth perspective it pays off to start by focusing on users who already know your brand. They’re the ones who will make the first move.
Certain channels are better positioned to grab these users, like search engine advertising, retargeting and paid social media. Before you start with radio, you should make sure these channels are optimised. Wait till their potential is exhausted before you hit the airwaves.
At some point, many marketers begin to notice that the ratio of invest to ROI is hitting a plateau – or even declining. That’s a sign of exhaustion, showing that you’ve arrived at the reach limitations for these channels. Time to say hello to other media! Now performance TV – here’s some tips from us if that catches your fancy – and eventually radio comes into play.
Please note: as with any marketing campaign, it’s important to make sure all of your channels are aligned through the funnel to make sure that your potential customers are getting a consistent messaging and brand experience throughout the whole journey.
In particular for radio, the customer is unlikely to convert directly – people often listen to radio in cars or other situations where they don’t have a second device close at hand. Capturing that new demand and converting the user with targeted digital ads at a later stage is crucial.
When radio advertising is right for your brand
There are a few basics to think about before you dive into planning your first radio campaign. This boil downs to three main factors: radio’s fit to your target group, radio’s role in the media landscape of your market, and radio’s fit to your product.
First, try to find out about the media behaviours of your target group. Are they listening to radio on the regular? You can find this out through market research, or through media planning tools like b4p – that’s best for planning – and VuMA Touchpoints. If these tools show a high affinity, you have the evidence you need. It’s time to test radio.
Secondly, it’s good to know what role radio plays in the market you’re active in, or the market(s) you’re trying to enter. There are vast differences internationally – depending on the country, radio might be even stronger than TV!
- Is it a powerful and trusted media channel there?
- Is it driving purchase decisions?
- Beyond that, are competitors already advertising on the radio?
- In what situations are people listening to radio?
All of the above questions can help you work out whether it is the campaign for you.
Finally, certain products lend themselves more strongly to radio.
Radio is essentially regional media. Any product or business model with a regional aspect can make the most out of its local targeting capabilities. Whether you’re trying to drive foot traffic to brick-and-mortar showrooms, or if you have a special offer or activation in just one city, or your product is only relevant for urban areas, it could be the right medium for you.
Many B2B businesses, for example, can’t justify the investment in a national TV campaign, with its incredibly broad reach. But radio could be a more efficient way to limit spending to specific areas with a strong commercial sector.
Where radio advertising shines, and where it has limits
As we mentioned in the section above, there are both radio advertising advantages and disadvantages. Radio shines most when you have a regional aspect to your product. But it also shines when you need to move FAST. No other offline media gives you the possibility to book so spontaneously – sometimes it’s possible to book radio inventory up to just 2 days before airing. This can be key for situations where you need to respond in an agile way to suddenly changing conditions, like if you notice mid-month that you’re below your targets for a specific region and need a quick way to boost sales.
Radio is generally a highly flexible channel – the ad blocks aren’t so long, you have the chance to correct course and shift budgets more or less on the fly and even adapt to external factors like weather or special events happening in a city. It’s cheaper than TV too – although TV can be done cheaply too if you wish…
People also tend to have very high brand loyalty to radio, with dedicated listeners tuning in to the same stations every morning at breakfast or during their commutes – for years and years. What this gives you is an opportunity to get a very close fit to your target group, assuming of course you’ve researched your target group well.
On the downside, there are some disadvantages. Remember that radio is not a direct response channel. Unlike with TV, people listening to radio are not typically using a second device in parallel, especially when people are on the go and on their commutes. This makes it more challenging (but not impossible!) to measure and optimise. Its effects can be measured but not to the same nitty gritty as online channels or TV.
And it seems obvious, but shouldn’t be overlooked – radio is audio-only. Never underestimate the fact that you’re missing a dimension, so if your product just needs to be seen to be believed, maybe stick with a visual medium.
Radio advertising, the regional superstar
If you’ve got a regional aspect to your product, business model, or strategy, radio can be your secret weapon:
B2B and urban: If your product is B2B, niche, or specific to urban areas, make use of radio’s local targeting power and avoid losing cash with national reach media.
Bricks-and-mortar: Drive customers to specific stores with regional campaigns. Tip: measure foot traffic in-store to see if the campaign is working!
Having a sale or trying a special offer: Make customers aware of special offers or activations in certain areas.
Testing a region: Can’t justify a national campaign yet, but looking into new markets? Use radio as an offline test, limited to a specific region, and see where you get the most positive response.
Did you hear that? We aren’t just specialists in all things visual, but we can make your audio pop too. We have offices stacked with amazing talent across the world, from New York City to Berlin. Get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting.