AM/FM radio and podcasts are the ideal platforms for auto advertisers

Written By

Liz Iversen

Published On

Tuesday, Aug 31
Back view of a porche driving through a city at night.
AM/FM radio and podcasts are the ideal platforms to advertise auto aftermarket, according to a new study by MARU/Matchbox. The study, commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One, surveyed 805 auto parts shoppers in April 2021. As reported on Westwood One’s blog, here are some key findings:

  • Heavy AM/FM radio listeners and podcast listeners visit more retailers, make more shopping trips, and spend more annually in the auto parts category.
  • Compared to heavy TV viewers, audio listeners: 
    • Shop twice as often
    • Shop more auto parts retailers
    • Spent a far greater proportion of their government stimulus payments on auto parts
    • Spend more each year
    • Exhibit higher ad recall

“AM/FM radio’s best listeners are also the biggest customers for auto parts retailers: Key auto parts shopper segments are far more likely to be heavy AM/FM radio listeners,” according to Westwood One Research Analyst Justin Thomas.

Why is this the case? “There has been, over the last four years, a consistent theme that we have uncovered in this data,” Pierre Bouvard, Westwood One and Cumulus Media’s Chief Insights Officer, explains. “And that is that the more you spend in the [auto] category, the more audio you consume. There is a symbiotic relationship. You clock a lot of miles, you do more wear and tear on your car, you buy more auto parts, and you spend way more time with radio and podcasts.”

Audio is the soundtrack of the American worker, while TV is the soundtrack of the American retired population, Bouvard said. Audio listeners are younger, they have larger households, and they have kids. Add that up and “you are clocking way more miles, way more wear and tear, and a greater need for auto parts,” he said.

Yet there is a media allocation mismatch. Heavy auto parts shoppers are twice as likely to be heavy AM/FM radio listeners versus TV viewers, yet only 20% of media spend is allocated to AM/FM radio, while 80% of 2020 category spending occurred on TV, according to Kantar and Miller Kaplan. 

The Cumulus Media/Westwood One study concluded that, based on purchase data, the ideal auto parts retailer should allocate 60% of their media to AM/FM radio and 40% to linear TV.

Ready to add audio to your advertising campaign? Improve your campaign’s reach and response through radio or podcasting. Contact SMI today.

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