Radio has remained relevant to listeners and as a relentless force in advertisers’ audio media strategy. Its mass appeal has helped it survive the advent of satellite radio, music streaming and podcasts and, for now, remains America’s top reach medium. And even in the COVID era, there are still many advantages of radio advertising.
Most recently, changes in our lifestyles and work habits have reignited the discussions of radio’s relevance for advertisers. How is radio being impacted through less commuting and more and varied media choices?
Radio is a Companion to the Remote Workforce
One of the significant effects of the pandemic was the increase of at-home workers. A 2020 Stanford University research project indicated that 42% of Americans worked from home full time. Radio naysayers said that would lead to less drive-time and in-car radio listening. But with at-home productivity up 47% from those who work at home, radio is the perfect companion. Unlike at the office, individuals can choose the stations they listen to. Music alone has been shown to possibly impact productivity. The shift in listening habits may impact media buys and how radio is purchased, but it certainly won’t minimize its power. In fact, it may be only enhancing it.
Commuters Depend on Cars for Getting to Work
As of Fall of 2021, some businesses had employees returning to the office, but those workers are choosing to drive to work instead of using mass transit. In Chicago, for example, CTA and Metra have reduced trains due to a decline in ridership, but road traffic is back near pre-pandemic levels. Edison Share of Ear research reported that in 3Q 2021, AM/FM broadcast radio recieved 60% share of time spent on ad-supported audio among adults 25-54. Nielsen’s Scarborough Supplemental Study reported that as of October 2021, 7 in 10 employed Americans were commuting to a job outside the home, including those who continued to do so throughout the pandemic (49%), and those who had stopped working outside the home, but have since resumed their commute (23%). 21% of those surveyed said they will be driving their vehicles more in the next six months.
The Facts Behind Radio’s Strength
Research from Nielsen (Total Audience Report: August 2020 – Special Work-from-Home Edition and On the Road to Recovery with AM/FM Radio Audio Today 2020 Insight Series) confirmed that:
- 40% of at-home workers listen to radio or music streaming services daily, with 75% checking in at least once weekly. This is the most listened to media for at-home workers.
- Radio has the highest weekly reach of users 18+. It is particularly powerful at reaching blacks and Hispanics.
- Radio boasts the third highest share in daily time spent by platform, just behind Live and Time-Shifted TV and App/Web on a tablet. It is #1 in audio weekly reach for those 18+.
- 83% of respondents said they were listening to as much or more radio as they were prior to the pandemic
In addition, radio is still held in high regard by consumers. Nielsen’s survey found 60% of consumers 18+ felt it delivered timely and trusted information regarding the outbreak.
Radio is Positioned for the Future
While world, social and political events have created fatigue for some media, radio remains a beacon of music and entertainment. It also has adjusted well in working in concert with digital media platforms. Large radio companies have invested in podcasts, video streaming and social media. Radio is not just accessible from AM/FM receivers but via streaming on laptops and hand-held devices. Audio assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are popular listening devices for radio. People may own fewer radios, yet they have more audio vehicles than ever for accessing its content.
Radio’s Flexibility is Key
Radio allows marketers to target by demographics, geography, music genre and other programing formats like news/talk and sports. It provides the flexibility to target messages in the mornings, overnight or throughout the day. Messages can be placed next to news content, traffic reports or weather.
Perhaps best of all, radio remains very open to promotions and value-added media purchases. Co-promotional opportunities are abundant, especially for those with a knowledge of the potential possibilities.
The pandemic has posed some challenges for media and for advertisers. It also has provided some amazing opportunities, when we know where to look. While there may be less money spent on travel, there’s more consumer dollars for home improvements. People are investing more, utilizing delivery services and still buying homes. They also are remaining loyal to radio.
Those who are reluctant to utilize radio may not quite know how to most effectively use it. They may not understand its nuances and strengths. We invite you to learn more about our media buying services and how we’ve helped our clients use this media. When you’re ready, let’s talk.
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