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Tune Into Radio Advertising

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Posted by luke on

Often referred to as “theatre of the mind,” radio advertising strives to create a strong impression on its audience through the use of only sound. It is both a challenge and a unique opportunity for advertisers to paint an extremely vivid picture in the mind of the listener without the use of visual aids.

With the recent rise of online radio apps such as Spotify and iTunes radio, radio marketing is still alive and well. In fact, 26% of mobile phone owners have connected their phones to a car audio system to listen to online radio, up from 11% in 2011 (EDISON Research 2014).

Mark Fratrik, chief economist at BIA/Kelsey, noted:

Radio is also beginning to deliver other compelling digital services that help its local advertisers navigate promotional opportunities. With the right attitude towards the new reality of increased competition and strategic planning, local radio stations can prosper.

So even though commercial radio may not be as strong as it was 10 years ago, radio advertising is still relevant, the medium has simply changed form.

So, why radio?

There are a variety of reasons why you should consider incorporating radio into your next advertising campaign:

  • The first reason to use radio is to utilise its wide demographic. Radio reaches approximately 16 million people each week (Nielsen) in Australia. As a medium, radio is largely used in local ad spending. In 2013, radio accounted for 11.5% of total local ad expenditure (BIA/Kelsey 2013). This is not surprising, as a recent Nielsen research has stated that each dollar of a radio ad spent generates an average sales return of $6. The massive reach of radio coupled with the ability to replay ads frequently makes it a powerful medium for marketing.
  • Radio also reaches people in a unique location - their car. Approximately 32% of all radio is listened to in the car (Nielsen), which provides an interesting situation for advertisers. There is a huge opportunity to take advantage of the fact that people are in their cars when listening to ads. Fast food outlets advertise on radio extensively for just this reason – because it might inspire someone to drive to an outlet and get some food! They are also probably going to hear the radio ads at the same time of day during their commute to and from work. All of this information can be used to create clever ads.
  • It gives you the opportunity to be really creative. The fact that there is no visual element to radio can be seen as a let down or as a challenge. Jingles, great voiceovers and clever writing can create a really compelling ad that will stick in the listener’s mind. Remember, less is more.

Radio is truly a powerful medium. It has a very stable base of listeners because of people’s desire for new music. Whether commercial radio is exchanged completely for online radio is still to be decided, but what is for sure is that there will always be listeners and opportunities for advertisers. Turn up the volume and take advantage!

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