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Add Radio and Stir

Add Radio and Stir

Even if you’re only paying cursory attention to the political landscape, you know that this year’s races are going to be historic. This is not a bold statement, as every presidential election has the potential to bring about huge societal changes. Add to this the fact that, at least at the top of the ticket, the current polls say this year’s race is in the “pick ‘em” category.

This column is not about politics, however. It is about the power of radio. According to a recent Nielsen study, radio could be the secret weapon in the political advertising wars.

For far too long radio has been viewed by political strategists as somewhat of an afterthought. For certain, digital is their number one choice because of the precise targeting opportunities it offers. Notice I said targeting. Serving a digital ad to someone does not guarantee they will see it (just look up the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s definition of an impression).

Radio advertising has also been considered less effective than television, despite the fact that more and more people are in the cord cutting category. There is also an enormous cost difference between TV and radio ad rates.

What the study shows is something we have believed for years; radio advertising is additive. It amplifies an advertising campaign and it is effective. Audio advertising is more engaging than digital or video.

There are many positive takeaways for radio in this study, but the one that stood out was this:

Adding radio to a media mix resulted in a 23% lift in reaching so-called unaffiliated/swing voters. By most “expert” accounts, this voting bloc will likely decide the election.

According to the study, radio helps reach voters of all ages, ethnicities, and geographic locations.

An optimized media plan that features a 20% radio budget increases reach by 17%. This is huge!

Digital loves to talk about metrics. How many ads were served, what the click-thru rate was, etc. These are the bright and shiny objects that allow marketing directors to justify their ad spend. The metrics in this study show that radio should not just be an option, it should be a requirement for an effective ad campaign. The winner of every 2024 election will need every single vote to succeed. That is why every single campaign manager should mandate that radio be included in their media mix.

Why? Because it works.