How Smartphones are Boosting Direct Response Radio Results

Smartphones are everywhere, yet none to date have a radio receiver embedded in them. This has led some to assert that radio is a thing of the past. Yet, once again radio is proving remarkably adaptable and resilient.

Terrestrial (traditional) radio has not only endured but thrived for over 100 years, even through the arrival of television, the personal computer and the internet. Today, 92% of the U.S. population over twelve listens to radio every week (Arbitron Radio Today 2012). And with the growing use of smartphones, terrestrial, streaming and satellite radio are poised to become more ubiquitous and therefore an even more powerful customer acquisition tool for direct response radio advertisers.

Advertisers in any medium are challenged to prevail over the distractions consumers face. Smartphones are making it easier for radio advertisers to cut through these distractions. In fact, thanks to smartphone technology, never in the history of direct response radio advertising has it been easier for listeners to respond to your ad. Long gone are the days when a phone number is hastily written down on dirty napkin in the car with the hope it might find it's way into the listener's home.

Now when you persuade the listener to engage, voice recognition like Siri and Dragon Dictation make it more convenient than ever to capture critical information like phone numbers and URLs. If you're running a great promotion and are relying on codes for tracking purposes, accessing the internet via your smartphone makes it quicker and smoother than ever for your customers to participate. When your radio ad does what it can and should do - stimulate, entice and inspire customers to respond - smartphones help advertisers close the attention gap, and more importantly, drive response and close a sale.

It's easy to see how smartphones are helping direct response radio advertisers, but why isn't AM/FM radio a feature of your phone? We recently pointed out in our radio advertising article for Electronic Retailer Magazine, penetration of smartphones in the United States passed 50 percent in 2012 and none of them offered terrestrial radio. This will soon change. Sprint's recent press release disclosed Android and Windows phone devices will come equipped with NextRadio FM tuners.

By the end of 2013, 80% of the world's population will be using a mobile phone. Add to this that in 2012 Neilson Mobile Insights' reported that smartphones account for 50% of all mobile phones in the U.S. By 2016, less than three years away, smartphones will account for close to 70% of all cell phone sales world-wide. Now that traditional radio will join streaming radio options such as Pandora and Spotify on your smartphone, there has never been a better time to take advantage of direct response radio advertising.