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Advantages of Radio Advertising

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    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.  Radio still provides an ad environment where brands can capitalize on its high reach and engagement.

    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?

    AM/FM Radio’s Reach

    AM/FM radio is the top ad-supported audio source for all ages in the U.S., receiving nearly three-quarters of ad-supported audio time spent.  It’s also the most-used audio source in a car. Podcasts and music streamers Pandora, Spotify and SiriusXM make up other ad-supported listening.

    While over-the-air AM/FM listening has seen a decline recently, AM/FM station listening via streaming is increasing. According to Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, listeners aged 25-54 are the most likely to consume AM/FM radio via a station stream.

    Listener Engagement

    Listeners engage frequently with their favorite radio stations.  On average, radio listeners tune in 7 times a day. Half of radio listeners say a main reason they tune in to radio is their feeling of connection with it. This heightened connection is reported across generations but is especially noted among Gen Z and Millennials. A major driver is on-air talent. 60% of radio listeners say they tune in to radio for the DJs, hosts and shows — ranking higher than hearing their favorite music and artists.

    The Local Connection

    A radio station’s purpose is to connect with and serve its local community. 89% of listeners surveyed by Jacobs Media agreed that this local quality is one of radio’s biggest assets. By partnering with local radio stations and on-air personalities, brands can establish a meaningful presence in local communities and create authentic connections with consumers – especially younger listeners. 

    Companion to the Remote Workforce

    One of the significant effects of the pandemic was the increase of at-home workers. Like other media, radio received its fair share of listening.  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.

    Flexibility is Key

    Radio allows marketers to target by demographics, geography, music genre and other programming 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.

    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 ways than ever to listen to radio content. As an advertiser/marketer, make sure you explore all audio methods to reach your prospects and customers.


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    Changes in our lifestyles and work habits, such as less commuting and more varied media choices, have reignited discussions about radio's relevance for advertisers.

    AM/FM radio is the top ad-supported audio source in the U.S., receiving nearly three-quarters of ad-supported audio time spent.

    While over-the-air AM/FM listening has seen a decline recently, AM/FM listening via streaming is increasing, especially among listeners aged 25-54.

    According to listeners surveyed, one of radio's biggest assets is its local quality and connection to the community.

    The increase in at-home workers due to the pandemic has led to an increase in radio listening, with individuals being able to choose the stations they listen to.

    Radio is largely a local medium.  It allows marketers to reach intended audiences by using geography and/or various programming (like music or news/talk).  It's highly flexible in terms of scheduling time, placement, and creative costs tend to be much lower. 

    Radio has adjusted well by investing in podcasts, audio streaming, social media, and making its content accessible through streaming and audio assistant devices like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

    Advertisers/marketers should explore all audio methods, including radio, to reach their prospects and customers and take advantage of the diverse listening options available.


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