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The Powerhouse Couple: TV and Radio Advertising


If you’ve ever heard Flo’s voice on the radio and instantly recalled a Progressive commercial you saw way back when, it’s because Progressive was utilizing this tried and true advertising technique: combining TV and radio advertising campaigns.


Radio and television are two of the most widely consumed media methods. Between the 99 minutes we dedicate to radio and the 197 minutes we spend watching TV every day, these media channels account for a huge share, nearly 5 hours, of the average consumer’s media day. Yet, despite how wonderfully TV and radio advertising complement each other, we don’t often talk about just how powerful they are combined. When radio meets television advertising, let’s just say, sparks fly.


Radio and Television are two peas in a pod, so to speak, but for many advertisers, these two channels have yet to meet. So, let’s get to know them a little better:


Meet TV:


Television became widely available to the average consumer in the 1950s, and since then, it’s been constantly reinventing itself. It’s changed from black and white to color, from analog to digital, from terrestrial to cable, and now it’s dabbling in advanced TV like CTV/OTT, VOD, and IPTV.


TV is widely popular; there were 121 million TV households in the United States in the 2020 to 2021 season. This makes TV an excellent advertising partner. Since TV ads were introduced to the US in 1941, television commercials have become one of the most effective, persuasive, and popular methods of selling products of many sorts, especially consumer goods. The only problem is, TV spots are highly sought after. The average cost to run a 30-second commercial on a national network is $115,000, and for a really great spot, it’s even more (a 30 second Super Bowl ad in 2020 cost upwards of $5.6 million).


Meet Radio:


Radio has been around for a bit longer than TV, but while it was born in the 1800s, it wasn’t commonplace until the 1920s. Once people in the mainstream got to know it, though, it became popular fast. By 1934, 60% of US households had radios.


Today, even more of us have access to the radio. In fact, a Nielsen report found that radio reaches more Americans each week than any other platform, making it, like television, a great advertising partner. Every $1 spent on radio ads results in $12 in purchase activity.


A Happy Couple


TV and radio advertising have a lot in common; they’re both very rooted in our everyday routines, have broad reach, and are emotionally engaging for consumers. However, like any strong couple, they also have a lot that sets them apart. TV tends to reach consumers in their homes, while radio often reaches consumers during commutes. And, while TV can boast higher production quality, radio is more frugal with lower production costs.


What Makes TV And Radio Advertising So Good Together?


Together, TV and radio advertising can work wonders. By using audio to trigger visual brand recall, radio can broaden the impact of a television campaign immensely.


Increase Brand Awareness


A Millward Brown Radio Multiplier Study involving nearly 5,500 interviews tracking awareness and attitudes towards 17 brands made an interesting finding: adding radio to TV has a 15% multiplier effect. If just 10% of a given TV budget is given to radio, the efficiency of the campaign in building awareness increases by an average of 15%.


In addition, transitioning some of your budget to radio can save you money, as radio is significantly more cost-effective than TV. While the study did find that radio in isolation was only three-fifths as effective as TV at increasing advertising awareness, this result was achieved at one-seventh of the cost.


Improve Brand Recall


Consumers who came across both TV and radio advertising for a brand had a 35% higher ad recall than those who only saw the ad on television. This is because strong and consistent messaging across both television and radio will make it easier for potential customers to make the connection between ads, placing the brand at the forefront of their minds. Couple this with strong creative and branding, and the familiarity of your brand will skyrocket. By simultaneously advertising across both of these huge platforms, you make it very difficult for a consumer to forget your company.


Expand Advertising Reach


TV and radio advertising both have incredible reach, and combined, they cover just about everyone. According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, the weekly reach for radio in Q3 of 2020 was 88% with an average usage of 12 hours, 11 minutes, and TV reached 80% of Americans who watched a whopping 30 hours and 46 minutes weekly.


Expanding your reach helps build brand recognition through several touchpoints. Your business will be in front of millions of new consumers, in turn, helping you grow the number of potential customers, and eventually, your ROI.


Targeting Potential


Both TV and radio advertising are known for their ability to target a certain demographic. With cable or satellite TV, you can target based on channel (ABC, NBC, Fox, The CW, etc.) or time of day, and with streaming services, you can even display ads based on the specific show viewers are watching. And radio is just as targetable, if not more so. To start, radio ads can target listeners by location at the country, city, or even suburb level. Not only that, but radio ads can also target listeners by music or talk show (or podcast) genre, which often correlates with age.


Get More From Your Advertising With The Ward Group


TV and radio are both exceptionally effective advertising channels, especially as a pair – but finding the right combination can be difficult. That’s where The Ward Group comes in. Our philosophy has always been to invest and manage each of your media dollars as if they were our own, and we take that philosophy to heart. With over three decades of experience under our belts, our media stewards can help you perfect your marketing plan. If you’d like to learn more about our media buying and planning services, contact us today!


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