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Radio’s Relevance

April 11, 2024

You probably saw The Ad Bargain study released last week about the effectiveness and relevance of audio, excuse me, radio ads. While it seems the main emphasis of the study is to pump up podcasting, there were several of nuggets that pertain to the original audio medium – radio.

First, 23% of the survey respondents said they actually listen to radio ads. Of course, that does mean 77% don’t. However, given that we live in a world of eight-minute stop sets with 14 or more units, that 23% figure is encouraging. (FYI – this was surpassed by podcast listeners who hear those ads at a 28% rate.)

Second, both radio and podcasting provided a 7% lift for the top-five brands per medium. This was stronger than television’s 4%.

Third, and most alarming, radio ads were deemed the least relevant when compared to any other mass medium. Not surprisingly, the ads on social medium platforms were perceived as being the most relevant.

This is not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. Radio is a broadcast medium. We have a wide (and deep) reach. We cannot specifically target our over-the-air ads to individuals like the digital platforms can.

That said, I think there are three reasons why radio’s ads are seen as less relevant:

  • See the eight-minute stop set mentioned above.
  • Of those 14 or more units in said set, how many are truly compelling? (The same can be said of TV/video ads, by the way.)
  • Finally, we have a generation conditioned to seeing ads that speak to their interests. We all experience this. Your search history follows you everywhere and so do the ads. Every time I (you) open our favorite internet browser we are greeted with ads that are relevant to what we have been looking at online. So while many may complain about being bombarded with pop-ups, banner ads, etc. – we have grown accustomed to that reality.

What can we do with this knowledge? I’ll skip over the stop set length and ad quality. Smarter minds than mine have been harping on that for years.

What this data does suggest is that radio ads in conjunction with digital advertising can be an extremely powerful marketing tool. Every radio group has an in-house or white label digital department. And every radio seller is tasked to bring in digital business.

This data suggests that the combination of a mass marketed message with a specifically targeted campaign can truly demonstrate the power of radio.

If you missed the article, you can click here.

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant