Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 40 seconds

Consider These Two Statistics

there are 13,000 radio stations in America reaching over 94% of the US population 12 and over each week. But between 2012 and 2013, the total amount spent on radio advertising declined by 5.6%. Why would a medium that reaches so many people be so unattractive to advertisers? The answer is complicated, but understanding it is important for any business that wants to stretch its marketing budget and maximize its impact.

How Effective is Radio Advertising?

We’ve already established that radio reaches a lot of people. But the point of marketing is to drive sales/conversions, not just reach an audience. Radio advertising falls short precisely because it can’t make a strong impact. Here’s why:

  • Senses – Sight is the most powerful of the five senses. Radio, by necessity, relies on sound alone. That automatically makes it less engaging and memorable.
  • Distractions – Realistically, no one sits down and simply listens to the radio. It’s something we do while driving, washing dishes, or working in the garage. The target audience is always distracted by something, dulling the impact of the ads.
  • Scheduling – The morning and evening commute are prime time on the radio. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of stations with a limited amount of advertising breaks to go around. That forces businesses to pay inflated fees to enter an already overcrowded marketplace.
  • Avoidance – Thanks to iPods and other on-the-go audio devices, there is an easy, ad-free alternative to the radio at all times. As these technologies become even more ubiquitous, the radio will start to hemorrhage listeners.

How Effective is Online Marketing?

Earlier, we mentioned that radio ad spending was on the decline. Part of the reason why is that ad money is shifting into digital spaces. Over the same period of time, the amount spent on display-only internet advertising – just one element of digital marketing – rose by 15.7%. So why are so many businesses giving up on radio advertising in favor of online marketing?

  • Cost Effectiveness – Radio advertising is expensive to produce and requires you to buy airtime. Online marketing, by comparison, is effective at a fraction of the cost.
  • Flexibility – Online marketing can take many forms and integrate pictures, video, text, sound, and more. Radio advertising only has audio to work with.
  • Conversions – Radio advertising makes it difficult for the listeners to carry out the intended action – visit an event, call a number, try a product etc. Online advertising is far more customer friendly and facilitates instantaneous conversions.
  • Reach – Radio advertising relies on the right customer hearing the right ad at the right time. That takes either a lot of luck or a lot of repetition. Online marketing manages to reach a larger percentage of the target audience with much less wasted effort.

Pair the Right Message with the Right Medium

Marketing effectively is all about picking the right place to broadcast your message. Why spend more to achieve less by focusing your efforts on the radio? If you are ready to reap the benefits available to all businesses online, partner with the strategists at Studio C5.

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