Advertising Alive & well Pt4: The Power of Radio

Radio advertising

This is the 4th post in the Advertising Alive & Well series and it’s all about radio. Radio is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most traditional marketing channels, for that reason many will omit it automatically from their marketing mix.  In the current culture where Human to Human marketing and online channels are seen as the cure all to the failings of traditional marketing, channels like radio can be dismissed all too quickly. So in this post I want to highlight how radio can overcome many of the traditional objections to advertising.

Radio is part of our lives

Radio is an ingrained part of British culture, over 90% of the UK population tune into radio for 22hrs a week on average (RAB). We listen to radio at home, while we travel and at work and it’s also one of the most trusted media channels, perhaps because “people don’t feel that the radio station uses them – they use the radio station“, radio is seen as a positive influence in our lives unlike TV, which is often viewed as harmful.

Radio was an intrinsic part of my own childhood, Radio 2 was constantly playing in the back ground at my Grandparents house from speakers in every room. I constantly have the radio on in my own home, playing in my kitchen as background music.

Radio connects on a ‘human’ level

There is something intrinsic about radio that automatically gives brands a personality, this is very important in this age of Human 2 Human marketing. Bryan Kramer defines this #H2H marketing as; genuine and simple communication, with the humility and understanding that we’re all multi-dimensional humans, everyone of which has spent time in both the dark and delightful parts of life’.

Although many business people don’t like to admit it, research shows that many of our decisions are based on emotion which is why many of the most effective ads connect on a head and heart level.

Radio is one of the few channels that intrinsically has emotional appeal, an article on the RAB blog states;

Listeners use radio for emotional reasons – to keep their spirits up, to stop themselves from feeling bored in a car or isolated while doing daily chores. This leads to them seeing radio as a kind of friend, and this is a valuable context for an advertiser to appear in.

Perhaps this ability to stir emotion, explains why charities have such success with radio advertising, as the messages fit with the idea of connecting at the head and heart level.

There is something emotive about sound which is harnessed through radio

Sound, whether it’s the human voice, music or sounds from nature and the world around us has an amazing power to stir emotion. See what I mean by clicking the image below, what does each sound make you feel?

Emotions of Sound Interactive Survey from Amplifon

Emotions of Sound by Amplifon

Radio is a multiplier – it multiplies the effect of ads seen via other channels

The RAB states; Radio’s multiplier effect seems to originate in the fact that it is an audio-only medium, and therefore stimulates a different part of the brain.

This is why radio is an ideal addition to an integrated marketing campaign.

Most notably radio significantly increases online traffic, according to the RAB, allocating 10% of a media budget into radio boosts brand browsing online by 52%. The power of radio to boost online browsing is supported by this case study from the Occam Razor blog by web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik.

Radio advertising is accessible to small businesses

it’s important to note that small businesses can benefit from radio too:

  • Local radio stations are a natural fit with local businesses. in previous posts I’ve mentioned the importance of start-ups having a local marketing strategy, radio can be an effective addition to your local marketing efforts.
  • Radio advertising is affordable
    Radio campaigns can be expensive but they can also be managed on a budget especially for local campaigns.
  • Radio is cost-effective
    Brands using radio get their money back nearly eight times over on average, and in many sectors, radio offers the best ROI of any media. 

Radio is no longer hit and miss

  • Targeted
    Radio channels have very specific data about listeners, for each station this can then be used to target relevant audiences.
  • Relevant
    Most radio listeners listen to radio while they’re doing something else e.g., school run, surfing the Internet, getting ready for a night out etc.  This means that radio ads can be scheduled to be played at opportune times that increase their relevance to the listener e.g. a drinkaware ad on a Friday night during the time people are getting ready to go out on a Friday night. Ads that are relevant are significantly more effective.
  • Online multiplier
    Radio is a great complement to social media and online marketing efforts, boosting website traffic and online sales

For all these reasons radio advertising is very much alive and well. So the next time you’re rethinking your marketing mix, radio may be worth considering.

What are your thoughts on radio advertising? I’d love to hear your comments below.

Speak soon,


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