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Radio Still Matters. Here's Proof

Our American society may be plastered with ads everywhere you look, but there is virtually no limit to the amount of audio content that can be produced, whether it’s broadcast over the radio, streamed over the internet or downloaded as podcasts. And where there is audio content, there are advertisers ready to invest in this ad space.

In 2019, it’s safe to say that audio’s long legacy in entertainment isn’t going away anytime soon. Nielsen’s recently published report titled, “Audio Today 2019: How America Listens,” highlights several new trends in the audio field, such as smart speakers and podcasts. However, the most striking finding in the report is the incredible influence of traditional broadcast radio, not just compared to other types of audio channels, but compared to other media platforms such as TV or digital. Radio reaches 92% of Americans each week - more than any other type of media - according to the Nielsen report.

This report breaks down this large audience by age, race and gender to provide even more targeted insights into who could be listening to your ads. It paints a picture of a diverse group of consumers.

Fun for All Ages: 93% of teens ages 12-17 are listening to the radio each month. Their favorite channels are Pop Contemporary Hit Radio, Country and Adult Contemporary stations. Even at 93%, this group had the lowest percentage of radio listeners according to Nielsen’s data. 96% of adults 18-34 report listening to the radio as do 99% of adults 25-54. Regardless of the age of your target audience, radio advertising is sure to reach them as long as you do the proper research into listener trends.

A Multicultural Medium: Radio is a popular choice of entertainment across racial and ethnic groups in the US as well. Radio reaches 99% of Hispanics 12 years and older and 98% of Black Americans 12 years and older each month. Among these two groups of listeners, top stations include Mexican Regional, Urban Adult Contemporary, Spanish Contemporary, Urban Contemporary and Pop Contemporary Hit Radio. With such a wide variety of stations to choose from, you’ll always have options for targeting every type of consumer. This is where research into your audience demographics can really help determine where your ads will resonate the best.

All Day, Every Day: Radio is a unique media channel because it’s usually accessed by consumers outside of the home. Usage peaks in the morning and evening hours when people are commuting to and from work and school. It will also spike during the middle of the day when people are going out for lunch, running errands or listening at work. During the week, the percentage of those listening to the radio while out of their homes reaches 73% nationally. On the weekends, this number drops to 64%, still a sizeable audience. This is great for brick-and-mortar advertisers who want to deliver their

message to consumers just before the potential point of purchase.

Our Media Plans Still Need Radio

The audio ecosystem is definitely expanding with the growth of streaming platforms as well as podcasts and smart speakers. The types of audio content available and the means for accessing that content are more abundant and diverse than ever before. As a result, advertisers have more opportunities to connect with consumers in targeted and personal ways than ever before. Relationship building, active engagement and trust building with the audience will remain primary goals for an audio advertising environment fueled by smartphones and other mobile devices. But, we would be remiss to believe that the impact of radio has diminished. As long as we are a society of roads and freeways, radio will be an essential element of our culture. As the report says about radio, “It’s free, ubiquitous, and at the fingertips of virtually every consumer on the road today.”

What this report indicates is that terrestrial radio has a strong presence among all age groups, can be a strong asset to a multicultural media campaign and has the ability to catch a consumer just before they make a purchase. Of course, in today’s state of fragmentation, the most successful media plans cannot rely solely on any single media channel. Radio is most effective when used in combination with other channels to create a more well-rounded, layered ad campaign. TV and radio, for instance, work very well together in bringing awareness of your brand to a consumer and guiding them to a purchase.

Many large national brands have already rediscovered the benefits of incorporating radio into their campaigns, and smaller brands shouldn’t sit this one out. In a fragmented marketplace, audio offers incredible reach and immediacy. For a successful campaign, media planners and buyers need to understand the inherent value and have the audience data to create the right media plan.

You can find the full report from Nielsen here. To learn more about our media planning and buying capabilities, contact The Ward Group today. We’d love to plan your success with you.

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