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Enhance Radio Marketing by Adding Online Media to the Mix

Radio has endured surprisingly well in the last year. The disruption of the work commute was supposed to be the death knell of the radio industry, but instead, radio has become a lifeline for listeners isolated from their communities seeking information and a morale boost. BIA Advisory Services projects that radio will bring $12.6 billion in ad revenue in 2021, making it one of the top five media platforms, at least in terms of local ad revenue. As one of the hardiest offline advertising channels, we already know investing in radio marketing is effective, but there’s something you can do to push its impact even further: pair it with your digital marketing strategy.


In 2020, as America was adjusting to a new pandemic-themed lifestyle, Nielsen released a survey detailing Americans’ media consumption, and the data on radio was a bit surprising. 83% of consumers said they were listening to as much or more radio as they were before the pandemic. While people spend less time listening in their cars, they spend more time listening to the radio at home, on their phones, on their computers and on smart speakers. These new listening trends have put radio closer to digital channels than it has ever been before.

At the same time, much of our lives has migrated to the web: school, work, socializing, shopping, entertainment and much more. According to Statista, average daily in-home data usage increased by 18% in 2020 compared to the year before, and in 2021, we expect the ad industry to double down on digital media channels as a result.

Even before this shift in consumer behaviors that brought radio and digital closer together, pairing your radio marketing campaign with your online efforts already brought tangible benefits. One 2015 report from market research company, Colmar Brunton, even found that the combination of radio and online provided an average uplift of 23% for ad campaigns - the most of any combination of media channels. Imagine how much more effective these two channels are now that their usage aligns better with one another.

You can’t just buy radio spots and run Google Ads to find this success, though. In order to get the most out of this duo, there are a few things you need to do.

Identify Your Audience

Knowing your audience is the first step to reaching them, and when you’re integrating such different formats, it’s especially important. There are a variety of ways you can utilize both radio and digital media, and you don’t want to expend energy doing the wrong thing or going after the wrong people. Fortunately, radio audiences are very segmented by station, so there is a strategy behind choosing the right stations to target your radio marketing budget.

You need to look at not only geographics, but also demographics and psychographics. Younger listeners tend to tune into contemporary music radio stations, for instance, while older and more educated listeners may prefer classical or jazz stations. Your goal is to find the audience that will be most likely to act on the information they hear in an ad. For most consumers, action involves turning to the web to learn more about a brand, service or product, and depending on your audience, there are several ways to get in front of them online.

Determine the Formats

Paid Social: Paying for your ads to appear in your target audience’s social media feeds can be very effective, especially when the platform you use provides remarketing tools. If someone heard your radio ad and then visited the landing page associated with that particular campaign, you can target these users specifically with remarketing ads. The trick, of course, is using the right platform. Millennials may be using apps like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, for example, while Gen Z consumers are more drawn to newer social media networks including TikTok and Snapchat. Beyond age, gender and education level factor into how different groups use social media, too.

Sponsored Posts: Another excellent way to weave your radio marketing and social media activity is by engaging in the larger conversations happening on social platforms. Sponsored posts, or promoted posts, are a great way to give your business social clout and legitimacy online. By using the same specific hashtags in your radio ads that are used in sponsored posts online, you’ll be able to guide consumers and nurture the leads generated from radio without actually having to be the one to educate them. Instead, influencers and brand ambassadors will nudge them further down the funnel.

Paid Search: When most people want to research an offer they heard offline, they usually turn to search engines, especially Google. That’s why most businesses already invest in paid search advertising. If you want to align these ads with your radio ads, you need to use memorable keywords on the radio that can easily be searched later, and then optimize your digital paid search campaigns with the same phrases.

Digital Promotion: These are things such as surveys, quizzes, contests, giveaways - essentially any offer, event or activity that encourages radio listeners to seek you out online. Digital promotion has several benefits, the biggest being that users have to exchange some of their information in order to participate. These kinds of marketing campaigns are easy to cross-promote on the radio and drive web traffic well. You can even utilize a short URL or specific entry code in your ad that will definitively prove which of your leads resulted from your radio marketing campaign.

The Key is a Consistent Media Plan

It can be very difficult to unify your offline and online marketing efforts, but one way to create a successful media plan that balances both sources of media is to create a singular focus and maintain a unified point of contact for both. Anytime you market a product or service in your radio ads, you should be duplicating the same messaging in your digital ads. And, this should go without saying, both the radio and the digital arms of your campaign should run concurrently.

For brand continuity, it also helps to carry the same design and goals in your offline and online campaigns. In the case of digital and radio marketing, “design” may seem like an especially nebulous term considering they are vastly different mediums, but you can mirror the same voice and personality in either format. Consumers expect to find the same tone and messaging both online and offline, so if you deviate, it can be confusing and ultimately discourage them from moving forward with you.

The Ward Group: Bringing Ads Together

As a media planning and buying agency with over three decades of experience in media, we know a thing or two about both radio and digital advertising. Our media stewards will help you find your audience, identify the radio stations and online platforms that will align best with your brand and goals, and perhaps most importantly, keep you within your budget.

Creating and managing a media plan that brings together radio and digital media is a balancing act for even the most seasoned professionals. If you have been trying to make your offline and online media sources workrt6 cvvv=======[7 seamlessly together and haven’t been seeing the results you expected, our stewards are here to guide you through the process and help you get the most out of your budget. Contact us today to get started!

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