The Relevance of Radio

There’s no question the habits of consumers across the country have changed. With those changes comes the responsibility as marketers to ensure we are continuing to reach the hearts and minds of potential customers with a variety of products and services. For that reason, consumer behavior is of great interest to us. Where are the customers we want to reach getting their information and entertainment? How much time do they spend with a variety of media? How concerned are they by demographic and psychographic category about news, self-improvement, education or entertainment?

One blog post can’t cover everything about consumer habits and their use of different media. Since more is written today about digital media than traditional media, we at Oster and Associates decided to concentrate one article on the relevance of broadcast radio for today’s society and look at how it may or may not vary by age or ethnic group.

Universally, radio listening continues to increase. Rather than consumers switching all their sourcing of information and entertainment to digital media, 93% of the population listens to radio on a weekly basis. The only place we see a sizable difference in the amount of radio consumed is with teens, who seem to switch their preferences once they are out of high school and/or in the work place. A part of this change may have to do with more commuting time and the fact that broadcast radio dominates audio listening in cars, whether those cars are new or old.

If these consumers are listening, and we all must admit that a 93% reach is tremendous, then are they being motivated to act by what they hear on the radio? According to Sir Richard Branson, “People want personality, local insight, and a feeling of connection—all qualities great DJs on radio stations can share.” Research shows ROI is strong when radio is part of the marketing mix. The addition of radio to supplement a TV campaign gives it a 14% lift in effectiveness. Google searches increase by 29% by adding radio to a campaign. Brand recall increases five times through the power of radio. All consumer shopping behavior, both online and in-store, increases significantly when shoppers have heard the radio ads. The most interesting and perhaps unexpected part of that particular piece of research which was conducted by Nielsen Audio was that the largest impact for radio listening was really for online shopping.

We live in a digital age, and we cannot forget that a large percentage of purchases today are made online. But radio advertising has a significant influence on purchasing, either online or in stores. It may be that little portion of the secret sauce in your marketing mix that takes sales from stagnant to exploding.