“With radio, the listener absorbs everything” – Bob Edwards
Some may say putting an advertisement on a radio channel is a waste of money. However, that’s not true at all, because even this medium still has the capacity to maximize a brand’s reach and popularity.
With the digital age looming upon us, several traditional media formats and mediums have had their work cut out in the recent times. Radio, which was a darling of the advertising industry back in the years, has seen challenges in its tenure like no other form of media has ever witnessed. First television tried to take away its sheen, and then the internet pushed us to shift away from it. And, who can forget radio’s most arch nemesis—the print media.
However, unbelievably, radio still has Game to offer! Advertisers still prefer to use this medium and format to promote their brand, service, or product on it. In the recent years, thanks to better broadcasting signals and impactful content, we are back in the era of 60s and 70s again mainly due to better radio service all around us.
Marketers couldn’t be any happier, as they believe the format still has the potential to be one of the best marketing tools and mediums for them to tap audiences—largely because radio is installed in almost every automobile, public area or establishment, and home!
So, let us check out how radio is a very effective platform to exploit for advertisers all over the world.
How radio is still a profitable platform to advertise on
Companies in the U.S. are about to spend around $ 18 billion on radio advertisement this year alone: Source
When companies want to promote their brand, product, or service, they always seek the best medium or media mix available to them. Advertisers always depend on traditional formats of promotion when they want to launch or make a product attractive. Along with availing the services of TV and print media adverts, putting a spot on radio channels, which is also a form of conventional advertising, gives them the edge and the support they need to make their brand a household name.
In 2015, Indian companies devoted nearly 5% of advertising budget to the radio adverts: Source
Against television and print media adverts, the radio medium is a very cost-effective option for the advertisers. With a wide and a national reach, the airwaves provide much robust and a budgeted solution than all other formats of promotion.
Both television and print media advertisement requires emphasis on equipment, skills, studio timing, editing, models, direction, and actors. Whereas, even though radio adverts have to be creative, they get produced at reasonable costs thanks to format’s characteristics. Even purchasing a radio spot is an inexpensive matter against buying space on ad television channel. Additionally, you are always on the front page when it comes to radio messages, unlike newspapers where your advert can get demoted to page number 23! Thus, you can say that radio is at par, if not greater, with other promotional mediums in terms of providing benefits to the advertisers.
Also, radio listeners are devoted fans of the format; hence, when you put an advert on it, you are sure to gain an attentive audience. With newspaper adverts and TV spots, people generally skip or mute the message—or even change channels. But, this is not a problem with radio as people tend to listen to it live and they seldom change channels on it.
The turnaround time on TV media is also much slower than radio campaigning. It takes weeks and months to produce and showcase a high-quality advert on TV. On the other hand, with radio advertising, one can highlight a competent advert from scratch within 3 to 4 weeks. It is a huge bonus for advertisers if they want to start promoting their brand in a quick manner. Hence, one cannot seriously ever rule out radio as a format from his or her company’s promotional plan or campaign.
How radio advertisement has changed over the years
In India, there has been an increase of four folds in radio advertisement spending done by companies in the past decade: Source
From the 70’s to 90’s airwave usage has changed a lot. Everybody had a radio in his or her home, office, or workspace, during those days but with television, and later on with internet taking over, radio viewership declined a lot after the 90’s. However, there are still people who like listening to songs, news, and programs on radio, thus making the platform profitable again. Radios are once again finding spaces in people’s houses/cars and hearts.
With multiple radio channels available to the audience, even marketers are making the most of the medium by posting adverts on specific channels. For instance, regional channels can attract local companies that are keen to promote their brand within a particular geographical area.
Likewise, an FM station of a certain language will pull the audience of that dialect and companies can tap the same crowd through it. Similarly, an FM station that is female centered would be a fantastic place to promote women-centric products and wear.
The option has emerged because of the fact that there are multiple radio channels in the air today. The more alternatives the public have, the more effective advertisement is possible for companies to do.
According to this statistic from TRAI, there are 245 private radio stations in India alone.
Thus, you can easily say that radio advertisement dynamics has positively changed a lot in the last ten years or so. Also, thanks to universal online media buying platform , the process of acquiring a radio advert spot has become easier for organizations. Advertisers are very keen on purchasing spots through these agencies, as traditional media buying earlier was a tedious task.
What benefits businesses are getting from radio promotions?
As mentioned above, advertisers are very particular about time-efficiency and the radio provides them the faster turnaround time. With quick results, this format of advertising appeals to the companies. Apart from that, organizations also realize the fact that they can actually track the results of radio ads when it comes with a call to action.
Direct responses can provide the companies details about the likability of their product/service, the radio station, the audience’s location, and the market as well. The data here is always instantaneous and most times live. A radio campaign’s effectiveness is judged within a week or two of its broadcast.
On the other hand, data from TV and print media adverts can take time to compile. There are several unique ways to measure the effectiveness of a radio advert, and because of it, advertisers believe the format provides a better output to them.
Also, remember, you can use your cell phone for listening to radio these days. And, companies know that with 4.60 billion mobile users worldwide, the domain is too large to ignore!
Besides, radio is a very intimate form of communication. When you have something important to say, won’t it be better to directly talk to your audience, with your emotions, over the radio? The format provides that intimacy factor which print media or even hoardings and billboards may struggle to offer.
Advertisements on radios are here to stay! Companies still have faith in the format, and with so many people engaging with their favorite radio stations around the globe regularly, the future still looks bright for the medium as an effective advertisement tool.
Also, thanks to the push given by online traditional media buying & selling agencies, radio advertisements have once again gained the charm of the industry.